Our Flag Means Death E3 recap: “A Gentleman Pirate”

Released: March 3, 2022
Network: HBO Max
Showrunner: David Jenkins
Genre: Rom-com, Alternate history

In which Stede begs for someone to buy his fabulous booty.

My Thoughts

I think this is the only time we see inside Blackbeard’s cabin – the only time we see inside his ship, for that matter – and honestly it’s just as poorly designed as Stede’s. Candles all over the place in precariously tall candelabras and stands, loose papers and bric a brac, impractical furniture. No harpsichord though. I’m trying not to talk about future episodes, so I’ll hold my discussion of the parallels between Blackbeard’s cabin, Stede’s cabin, and Blackbeard in Stede’s cabin during and post-breakup until episode 10.

For a man trying to build himself a family, Stede is awfully disinterested in their wellbeing when they’re not directly in his line of sight. Lucius is missing and Stede shrugs it off. Like, boy, where is he gonna go? You’re on a ship! In the middle of the ocean! He’s either on it or overboard. At least try looking for him. Not that he’d find him stuffed in Jim’s trunk. 

Speaking of poor Lucius, poor Lucius! This is not his week. First he’s imprisoned and nearly killed by Jim, then Stede forces him to dress in matching white outfits while dragging him around the filthiest island ever known to man. 

So far we’ve seen two inhabited islands, and there is a stark difference between them. Where the Indigenous people live in a clean, organized village full of families, the colonizers have created hell on earth. Compare them to the French in a later episode, and white folks really don’t come off that well here. Spanish Jackie is the only sane one on Pirate Island. Despite keeping a nose jar and being ready to gut Jim like a fish, she’s more like Blackbeard in that her reputation does most of the peacekeeping work. 

Stede is really leaning into this whole “gentleman pirate” thing, but it’s all a game to him. Unfortunately, he’s also trying to be two distinct things at once instead of creating something new. Not unlike Jim, actually. That poster of Bonifacia Jimenez contrasted with Jim in disguise as a man makes me feel a lot of things as a genderqueer person wrt how we deal with gender roles and clothing. As Bonifacia, their hair is longer and the poster is feminizing. Their disguise swings hard the other direction with a fake beard and face-obscuring hat. Jim is playing a part in both situations, two distinct people jammed together in one body and not working out well for anyone. Stede and Jim are both overconfident in their ability to be both their past and their present, but that means they end up being oblivious to their potential futures. 

I actually really appreciated Lucius stumbling over how to address Jim. Lucius catches himself gendering Jim as a man, but isn’t sure if he’s supposed to gender them as a woman either. His stumbling isn’t framed as a joke where Jim is the target but as an honest, kind thing. Stede could learn a thing or two from Lucius.

This is such a great way to introduce Blackbeard. It plays right into the Black Pete’s story sequence in episode 2. But it’s also super romantic (in the Byronic sense) and sexy.

Final Thoughts:

  • Lol at Izzy whining that Stede isn’t professional. Because pirates are known for obeying the rules and doing only what is expected all of the time. 
  • “Stupid fucking Stede Bonnet.”
  • “Bit of a pirate pooper.”
  • Another fat joke.
  • My season 2 hope is that we finally get to see inside the Republic of Pirates gift shop.
  • “Someone buy my booty!”
  • “Please join me in welcoming for his regional debut the brigand of Barbados, the cream of the Caribbean, the Gentleman Pirate.”
  • Lucius has the world’s most interesting backstory. I want to know everything about him! (I also want to know more about Wee John helping his mother sew dresses.)
  • That kiss was definitely meant to annoy Olu. Lucius, don’t get your hopes up.

Fashion Corner

  • So, is Stede trying to turn Lucius into his son? Because their outfits felt very parent/child matchy-matchy.

Closing credits song is “Our Prayer” by the Beach Boys. The wordless acapella song is the intro for the album Smile, their unfinished 12th album that veered heavily away from pop and into experimental.

2 thoughts on “Our Flag Means Death E3 recap: “A Gentleman Pirate”

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