Two pirate women smile in a room full of antiques in 'Our Flag Means Death.'

‘Our Flag Means Death’ Gave Us Another Perfect Queer Pirate Romance

I could watch them for hours.

Since watching the first episode of Our Flag Means Death, I hoped Anne Bonny and Mary Read would make an appearance. For years I have been obsessed with the real-life Bonny and Read. I’ve researched them, written about them, and just daydreamed about them for hours. History can’t tell us with complete accuracy if the legendary duo were just friends or something more. With much of recorded history skewing toward straight white males, it is difficult to find information about women—especially queer women. After seeing how OFMD took the real relationship between Stede Bonnet and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach and made it into a fantastic romance, I wanted to see its take on my favorite pirate ladies. This week my wish finally came true. And it was perfect.

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Spoilers ahoy for Our Flag Means Death episode 4!

In episode 4 of season 2, the crew of The Revenge voted Ed off of the ship. His abusive behavior became too much for them. So he got in a little dingy and rowed to shore. Stede couldn’t let him go without talking first, so Stede and Buttons went after him. Ed runs into Mary Read (Rachel House) while befriending a rabbit that Mary kills. Stede meets Anne Bonny (Minnie Driver) at the antique shop she shares with Mary. Then the two couples crash together in an episode full of chaotic queer energy that was beyond anything I could’ve imagined.

I wish everyone could have a love like Anne and Mary’s

Anne and Mary know Ed from their lives as pirates. We learn from Anne and Mary that Anne cut off a guard’s face and wore it to break Mary out of prison. I loved this since actual court records show that Mary Read died in prison; there are no records of Anne Bonny’s fate. I’ve always imagined somehow they escaped together and sailed off into the sunset—maybe to open an antique shop together as a couple of lesbians might.

These ladies may have a house full of fancy furniture, but nothing about them is conventional. They keep an axe on a pile of newspapers titled “The Fancy Tickler Tribunal,” which shows exactly where their interests lie. It’s also fun watching them call Ed out on things with Stede. Both women make fun of him for not consummating the relationship and for his flair for drama. Not that the two of them aren’t a little dramatic. I mean, Anne kisses Stede just to make their partners a little jealous.

We soon discover the couple has a passionate love with shades of sadomasochism. In an awkward yet very hot scene, Anne pulls a knife out of Mary’s back (that Anne put there) in a weirdly sensual way. There’s also a little poisoning between the women. You know, to keep things interesting. When Mary says she is sick of their boring house, Anne points out that they have a boring life because Mary is afraid she is getting too old for pirating. Anne does what any good partner would do in this situation: She sets their house full of priceless antiques on fire to please her love. She frees them so they can both be happy and roam together. The way Mary looks at Anne when she realizes what Anne did is just … magical.

Is it chaotic? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t wonderful. Driver and House nail their roles perfectly. It is easy to believe that these two were pirates who took whatever they wanted from ships full of shocked men. I just want to watch them for hours as these characters. Can we have a movie or spinoff? Anne Bonny and Mary Read in OFMD were worth the wait.

(featured image: Max)


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Author
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.