Everything I Would Love to See in ‘Our Flag Means Death’ Season Two
Arrggg you ready?!
After months of trending online and begging for news, we all were informed on June 1st, 2022 at noon that the hit romcom pirate show, Our Flag Means Death, was being renewed for at least a season two. The show follows Stede “The Gentlemen Pirate” Bonnet (Rhys Darby) as he tries his hand a pirating and even falls in love with the infamous pirate Edward Teach a.k.a. Blackbeard (Taiki Waititi). Created by David Jenkins, the show has been praised for continuing the tradition of a workplace comedy but in a quasi-historical setting and for its diverse casting and themes, especially in terms of race and LGBTQ+ representation.
While OFMD has already given us more than most, that doesn’t mean we can’t make a wish list of everything we’d love to see in upcoming episodes.
** Spoilers for Season One of Our Flag Means Death**
More Jim … That’s it, that’s the tweet.
Give us more Jim Jimenez, as portrayed by nonbinary icon Vico Ortiz! In some respects, Jim was more important than Blackbeard. They were introduced earlier, and their journey to avenge their family was only second to Stede’s. I’d love for the story to follow Jim’s journey to kill Siete Gallos (The Seven Roosters), the bad guys who killed their family. The plot with Spanish Jackie (Leslie Jones) was just a side encounter to get to one, after all. This will probably take some finagling because they’re currently on Blackbeard’s crew (though unwillingly) and the only person (aside from Frenchie) not marooned at the end of season one.
Considering Jim’s blossoming relationship with Oluwande (Samson Kayo) and their loyalty to Stede’s crew, it’s unlikely that Jim is suddenly going to decide to join Blackbeard’s side—though they may pretend to do so for a while. The last we see of Jim is them being guarded in their cabin by Ivan (Guz Khan), so that they can’t leave to help their stranded crewmates. Because Oluwande and Jim are the most stable and bound in trust, I’m hoping they will play some sort of long game. There’s speculation that Jim’s character was inspired by real historical figures like Anne Bonny and Mary Read. I’d love to see at least one of them come to light and cross paths with Jim, especially since Jim is a fully realized character.
A focus on the crew
In addition to more Jim, I’d love to get more crew backstory in general. Any of them will do, but there are a few that would be more interesting than others from what we know at current, since we don’t have much about where they came from or how they ended up on The Revenge. Frenchie (Joel Fry) and Wee John (Kristian Nairn) are my prime picks. Wee John is almost a blank slate, so I’ll take anything. We already know a bit about Frenchie’s personality and knowledge of the nobility’s upper-class world. He’s also a talented musician and one of the wittiest on board. Frenchie and Oluwande’s side plot with the French aristocrats is a clear example of this.
If this isn’t too much and wouldn’t bog down the plot, at least one flashback episode showing how some of the core crew came together would be neat. In this case, we could see how Buttons (Ewen Bremner), Oluwande and Lucius (Nathan Foad) rallied the crew together under Stede. They seem like the most important as first mate, the most aware, and the secretary, respectively. How did they convince others to follow a clearly newbie and rather clueless Stede? The show points at Oluwande befriending Jim first, so maybe he saw the Revenge as a way to help Jim, and everything is motivated by that (and not dying). And while a single flashback episode would be appreciated, it would also be amazing if different episodes explored the crew’s disparate backgrounds, the way we saw some of Stede, Ed, and Jim’s early lives and origin stories.
Tweaks to names and nicknames
So with some exceptions, I was very hesitant to mention some issues I had with the show itself while we were manifesting a season two. Things like the downplaying of Stede’s wealth coming historically from slavery, not just “land-owning” as many suggest, might not make sense to work into the story the show is telling, and there’s a case for leaving that as is. However, there are elements like the nicknames “Blackie” and “Roach” that can and should be adjusted going forward.
In episode eight, Calico Jack (Will Arnett), a sort of crass pirate frat boy and old friend of Blackbeard’s, arrives and refers to Blackbeard as “Blackie” in a causal endearing way. This tasteless name is something hurled at Black and brown folks to this day. While I get we aren’t supposed to like Jack, I’ve seen some OFMD fans calling Blackbeard that in posts about fan art or in fiction. I’m not blaming the writers for other people’s ignorance, but they do have some responsibility to address it. Rather than just omitting usage going forward, I think it might be more helpful to introduce a different nickname or have a scene of Blackbeard, reflecting on his issues with Jack, directly address that he didn’t like that either.
Then there’s Roach (Samba Schutte, a hero who has spent countless hours promoting fans’ orange glaze cakes). While it’s funny to have a pirate chef named ‘Roach’ because pirates are nuisances and the last thing anyone would want to be associated with a kitchen is a roach—we could have gone without naming Schutte’s character is ‘Roach.’ It just doesn’t sit right with my soul to have one of the two darker, named crewmates with that name. Names that are synonyms with pests are racially loaded and historically tied to marginalized groups. He’s a chef, so there are so many other options.
More destinations and encounters
While the first season did feature a crew from across the world, the naval might on display was limited to the Spanish, English, and a bit of the French. In season two, I want to see the Portuguese and Dutch represented. OFMD confronts colonialism and racism, but somehow these two (especially the Portuguese) escape their grasp. This is also indicative of the way American History is taught. Sure, the Spanish, French, and English were the most important to us, but the Portuguese and Dutch were very powerful in the golden age of piracy being depicted onscreen.
Because of the events of the first season, I doubt they will travel beyond the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the western Pacific Ocean. However, it could make sense for them to head up the seas across the China coast. This is because Blackbeard and Stede talked about running away together there—and there is a rich historical vein of piracy in the area to mine. Also, European powers were already influential in Asia at this time through companies like the East India Trading Company. I’d rather see the crew traveling across the many seas in Oceania and South Asia for so many reasons, but mainland East Asia seems more likely. News that the production is moving to film in New Zealand for season two may mean we’re in for a plethora of new locations.
A blushing bride
Someone’s tying the knot on a ship and it will be adorable. We have three couples and a large deck. I don’t need something long and drawn out, but someone needs to get hitched. Because Blackbeard and Stede are having issues, plus Jim is tied up in a major personal journey, this would probably work best with Lucius and Pete (Mathew Maher).
Jenkins and the other show writers have incorporated many “modern sensibilities” into the show. These are things like the concept of a pyramid scheme or even a vacation for workers. Between the diverse, multinational set of characters and this tradition of playing with anachronisms, one could only imagine what kind of silliness and danger could ensure if a few crew members were tasked with helping organize this wedding.
From the first interviews about the show, Jenkins also brought up the historical concept of “matelotage,” that he came across in his research and cited as his favorite pirate fact. This was a same-sex civil union and economic partnership between sailors that was particularly popular amongst pirates. As Wikipedia notes:
While often interpreted as a platonic form of mutual insurance, many historians believe that matelotage would be much more accurately comparable to same-sex marriage. In the male-dominated world of piracy, homosexuality was common. A union such as matelotage may have acted as a manner of validating relationships that would otherwise have been considered against contemporary societal norms.
“The more you look at it,” Jenkins told Mashable about matelotage, “the more you write to the fact that this is a queer-positive world.”
If we don’t get a wedding or some celebratory ceremony like this, I will accept no less than three super corny romance tropes.
What would you like to see from season 2 of Our Flag Means Death? Tell us in the comments!
(image: HBO Max)
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