Ruibo Qian as pirate Zheng Yi Sao in 'Our Flag Means Death' season 2

Meet Pirate Queen Zheng Yi Sao of ‘Our Flag Means Death’

It's been a day.

Season 2 of Our Flag Means Death has thankfully brought in some lady pirates. They did a fantastic job with my favorite pirate women, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. Although she is a pirate out of time, the show is also doing a wonderful version of the pirate queen, Zheng Yi Sao.

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In the series, Zheng Yi Sao is a contemporary of the pirates from the Golden Era of Piracy, rather than being born long after they were dead. That doesn’t mean we can’t love her as an addition to the show. When we first met Zheng Yi Sao, she introduced herself as Suzane, a soup merchant. At the end of the first episode, she revealed herself to be the pirate queen. When some of the Revenge crew join her ship, she develops a cute relationship with Oluwande. The “you were the break in my day” scene was so adorable.

Zheng Yi Sao may be kind and loyal, but you also don’t want to get on her bad side. She’s powerful and means business. How else would she come to lead a fleet of ships and a crew of hundreds? I feel her vibe of being angry at mediocre men, especially when she’s not revered as the queen she should be. Why don’t the other pirates know exactly who she is, but they know Stede Bonnet? Part of what makes Zheng Yi Sao so great is the actress who plays her.

Who plays Zheng Yi Sao?

Ruibo Qian plays Zheng Yi Sao in the Max series Our Flag Means Death. Before OFMD, Qian had guest roles in shows like Broad City, Jessica Jones, and Black Mirror. She appeared more than once on Orange is the New Black and Mozart in the Jungle. Qian plays Zheng Yi Sao as someone both fun and dangerous. SO a person I would hang out with. One of Qian’s best deliveries came in the second episode of OFMD when she took a pirate ship. She confronts the captain and explains a woman beat him. When she said “I know, it’s been a day” it was perfectly hilarious. Hopefully, we will see Qian in more projects soon.

(featured image: Max)

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D.R. Medlen
D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a pop culture staff writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.