Rhys Darby and Taika Waititi in Our Flag Means Death

‘Our Flag Means Death’ Always Knows Exactly What We Need to Hear

From the start of Our Flag Means Death, music often accentuated the final moments of episodes. My mind immediately goes to “Our Prayer” by The Beach Boys playing as Blackbeard (Edward Teach, played by Taika Waititi) and Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby) finally meet each other in episode 3, and, of course, “The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac, which is basically the anthem for these characters’ love story and our love for the characters.

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A new teaser trailer for the show dropped Wednesday and gave us a new iconic musical moment. The new trailer features a song from Prince and the Revolution that was featured heavily in the movie Purple Rain. The marriage of that song with the show’s history of music has made me excited for what the song means for the future of the Gentleman Pirate and his Blackbeard.

The chain keeps us together

The use of “The Chain” in Our Flag Means Death came at the start of Ed and Stede’s will they/won’t they relationship. As they’re under attack, both Stede and Ed are thrown down onto the deck of the ship, face down but able to turn and look at each other. Stede says “You came back” to him because the two had been bickering for most of the episode. Ed responds by saying “Never left.” Then, the iconic solo of “The Chain” comes in and as the camera pans out, you see Ed comforting Stede in this moment by touching his foot to Stede’s.

It launched a thousand ships in the Ed/Stede fandom in that moment. So for many fans of the series, “The Chain” is a song that they’ve dubbed the Stede/Ed anthem, and rightfully so. Despite the song’s frequent use in movies and television, there was something so poignant in this particular moment that it has overwritten the other times it was used in art.

We should also note that “The Chain” is part of the greatest breakup album ever written: Rumours. Fleetwood Mac produced an album all about the break-up of their lead singer Stevie Nicks and guitarist and co-lead vocalist Lindsey Buckingham. At the moment in Our Flag Means Death that “The Chain” kicks in, it is more about the blossoming relationship between these two characters. But as the season goes on and we see the downfall of Stede and Ed? That changes the meaning of the song and their relationship.

Which informs the importance of the use of “The Beautiful Ones” by Prince and the Revolution in the season 2 trailer.

Is it him or is it me?

https://youtu.be/jHCsauMyJk0

“The Beautiful Ones” in the context of the film Purple Rain has the Kid (Prince) singing to his love Apollonia (Apollonia Kotero) and pleading with her to choose him over Morris Day. As the song says, “Is it him or is it me?” and in regard to Stede and Ed, the song really does fit with where their relationship is at the end of season 1.

Stede and Ed are planning on meeting together to spend a life with one another but when Stede is forced out of that meeting with Ed, he thinks that Blackbeard will know that his love is true and still wait for him. Ed didn’t take the missed meeting as well and is clearly on a path to revenge, thinking that the man he was willing to risk it all for doesn’t love him.

While “The Beautiful Ones” is a song that has more of an Ed Teach vibe than something that Stede Bonnet would know, maybe that’s a sign that Ed realizes what happened and is willing to try and fix his relationship with Stede but it might be too late? Or maybe I’m simply reading too deeply into the use of the song. Either way, as if this show could not make me love it more, it used a song from the film Purple Rain to just completely derail my entire day.

Just know that I would actually give my left arm if Ed Teach sings this to Stede Bonnet, historical accuracy be damned.

(featured image: Max)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.