Con O'neill as Izzy Hands in Our Flag Means Death Nicola Dove/HBO

‘Our Flag Means Death’ Season 2 Has Changed My Mind About Izzy Hands

Call me late to the game, call me whatever you want, but Izzy Hands was never my favorite character in season 1 of Max’s Our Flag Means Death. There was a lot going on, and I just wasn’t really interested in whatever it was that Izzy was dealing with. Played beautifully by Con O’Neill, Izzy as a character is Blackbeard’s righthand man and often doesn’t put up with the nonsense that happens between him and Stede Bonnet—not in a negative way, but more in a way that’s protective of Blackbeard. In season 2, you can see why he was so worried.

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Blackbeard, Edward Teach (Taika Waititi), is so broken after his relationship with Stede (Rhys Darby) has come to a “break” that he goes on a murderous rampage, and it destroys the crew, takes Blackbeard back to his old ways, and turns Izzy into a version of himself that really highlights why he’s a character we always should have been looking at in a different light. Izzy, in every episode in the season 2 premiere drop on Max, has something important to go through.

The first episode, “Impossible Birds,” has Izzy trying to handle Ed’s temper. It doesn’t work; Blackbeard tries to kill him. From there, it is Izzy just standing up for himself time and time again and fighting back for once, and it really makes Izzy a character I’m rooting for, even though I wasn’t ready for that. Did I cheer when Izzy (who I did think was dead) came out of nowhere and shot Ed to stop him from killing the entire crew of the Revenge? Yes, even though I didn’t want Ed to die. All of this is because Con O’Neill really is a brilliant actor.

Somehow, the new MVP

It’s not that I hated Izzy before. I just didn’t really see what Izzy did that made him so special. He hated the idea of Ed and Stede, so he was my enemy. This season, we really see that his worry was for his friend and what it all meant for Blackbeard in the long run—rightfully so, after the destruction that their “break” caused. Izzy was trying to just be a good friend to Ed. Now, as he’s struggling with losing a leg, nearly dying, and fighting with someone he considered his best friend? He’s been going through a lot.

It made him a lot more understandable as a character. I’m woman enough to admit when I’m wrong. Now, I really love him and am so happy that season 2 is giving Con O’Neill time to shine. Izzy standing up for the Revenge and its crew was truly a cheer-worthy moment, and I know that it’s not easy to do that against someone you consider your friend, so for Izzy to stand up to Blackbeard? That’s rough.

So here is to all the season 1 Izzy fans: You were right. He’s the best, and I love him so much.

(featured image: Nicola Dove/HBO)


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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.