Shiver Me Timbers! I Love Our Flag Means Death


Our Flag Means Death is a show you can find on HBO Max.

Madelyn Woodard, Opinion Writer

Land Ho! In a sea of depressing entertainment, Our Flag Means Death is a wonderful island oasis. This queer pirate rom-com starring Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby is delightfully fun, cheery, and proves that explicitly queer content can succeed when given the chance.
Whenever I hear about a new show that features any LGBTQ+ themes I take it with a grain of salt. The representation in this show, however, is something to be celebrated. With a cast of characters that is diverse in gender, sexuality and race. More than that though, the plot isn’t about the characters gender and sexuality, the main conflict isn’t about homophobia or discrimination. The characters have traits other than their identities which is something other shows should strive for. Our Flag Means Death is about adventure, righting wrongs, growth, and most of all, love.
Samson Kayo, an up-and-coming British actor plays a loveable crewmate, Oluwande. His character is often the voice of reason on the ship and his friends to lovers arc with Jim is simply lovely. Speaking of Jim, I can’t even remember the last time I saw realistic nonbinary representation like this. Often the characters that networks try to pass off as nonbinary are just robots. It’s a ridiculous idea that to not fall into the girl or boy category you must be an emotionless piece of technology. Jim completely throws this stereotype out the window. They are dramatic; they have a thorough and compelling backstory and they are quite possibly my favorite character.
Rhys Darby’s portrayal of Stede Bonnet, the Gentleman Pirate, is magical. His character is somehow emotionally intelligent yet hopelessly naïve. Having grown up in a sheltered environment, Stede’s reactions parallel the thoughts any modern day person would have if suddenly thrown into the violent world of piracy.
Taika Waititi, who is known for bringing back the Thor franchise in Marvel and making movies into instant classics with his spot on comedy and knack for lighthearted, well thought out characters, lives up to his reputation in Our Flag Means Death. He plays Edward Teach, Blackbeard, and adds an element of pizzazz to the drab life of a pirate.
The side plot in every episode never fails to have me giggling hysterically, from the original pyramid scheme to Carl the seagull, the writers, directors, and actors can do no wrong.
The crew doesn’t take historical accuracy too seriously, and it’s wonderful. Obviously Blackbeard never wore a purple crop top, but the storyline and acting grabs you by the arm and drags you into a world where he did. I was so captivated by the plot that no part of me questioned the Gentleman Pirate wearing a cheesy drama teacher’s black turtleneck.
I would be remiss if I sang the praises of Our Flag Means Death without so much as mentioning the music it features. Amazingly, the score has made the iconic song The Chain by Fleetwood Mac its own. Never again will I hear this song in passing without my brain being flooded with scenes from the show. Other, lesser known songs such as High On a Rocky Ledge and Avalanche are featured; the former presents such tender and open emotion that it has quickly become a fan favorite.
Although Our Flag Means Death has yet to be renewed, fans are hopeful that HBO Max will pick it up for a second season. Many fans have semi-jokingly stated that if the show is not renewed they will begin their own lives of piracy by illegally watching any and all shows on HBO Max in an act of defiance.
Overall, I cannot recommend Our Flag Means Death enough. There are so many scenes and plotlines that I want to tell you about but alas, I could never hope to encapsulate the essence of the show better than the actors themselves. Go watch Our Flag Means Death right now, please, my friends are tired of me talking about it.