Our Flag Means Death E5 recap: “The Best Revenge Is Dressing Well”

Released: March 10, 2022
Network: HBO Max
Showrunner: David Jenkins
Genre: Rom-com, Alternate history

In which Olu and Frenchie invent the pyramid scheme.

My Thoughts

Frenchie talks about the island being gentrified, but that’s exactly what Stede is doing to piracy. He’s playing poverty tourist. He doesn’t understand (or even notice) what might make a person turn to piracy. For Frenchie, Roach, and Oluwande, they don’t have much choice other than enslavement. For Ed, Jim, and Lucius, where else can they be openly queer? For Black Pete, Wee John, and Lucius, where else can they find support for their disabilities? At least on the Revenge they have money, shelter, food, and companionship. Off the ship, they have nothing. Less than nothing. Even Ed got into piracy because he had no other choice. Growing up in extreme poverty with a drunk, abusive father and blood on his hands, at least piracy gave him the chance to make his own way in the world. Stede got into it because he was bored and obsessed with children’s stories. 

But on the other hand, Ed is also a tourist. Or, as the French sailor says, “A rich donkey is still a donkey.” This whole episode is about Ed playing tourist and thinking it’s real life, just as Stede’s episode was the third. Ed can skate through well enough, but he’s still a tourist. It’s Stede’s turn now to save the day. Speaking of tourists, although Ed sees the French travelers as posh, Stede knows they’re grabbing at the upper crust as much as Ed is. They’re wealthy, but they’re not Versailles wealthy. They’re trying to cheat their way to the top just like everyone else.

“We don’t own each other.” This whole crew is so fucking queer, I love it. Izzy thinks he’s going to get one over on Lucius with homophobia, but the crew cool with queerness (something Izzy should’ve seen if he was paying even the barest amount of attention). Not only that, but what Lucius is saying here is that he and Black Pete have a healthy relationship. At this point, they’re just friends with benefits. But that line specifically is like a bee in Izzy’s bonnet. Izzy feels he owns and is owned by Blackbeard/Edward (not Ed), that’s how he defines their relationship. He cannot comprehend a relationship built on trust and acceptance, only control and domination/subjugation.
I maintain that the moment Ed first begins to fall in love with Stede is when Stede proudly says “passive aggression” as the parlor catches on fire. The look Ed gives him there, it’s like he’s seeing Stede for the first time. It’s softer when they’re in the rowboat headed back to the Revenge, but that love is growing.

Final Thoughts:

  • A literal pyramid scheme! MLM and MLM!
  • White people, stop trying to touch brown and Black people’s hair.
  • It’s brief, but you can see tears in Ed’s eyes as he’s loading his gun and pouting over getting passive aggressed by the French.
  • Partnering with Abshir is the perfect way for Frenchie and Oluwande to get back at the racist colonizers.
  • That little step Ed takes toward Stede when they’re under the light of the full moon! My heart!
  • That scene in the moonlight is one of the most romantic things in television history.

Frenchie’s Fun Facts

  • “[A viscount does] Whatever the fսck he wants, babe.”
  • “I was in service for a minute so I know the lay of the land, and trust me, servants, they see everything.”

Fashion Corner

  • It’s hard to see, but Izzy is wearing a ring on a ribbon. We get a brief look at 21:45-47.

Closing credits song is supposedly “Compromised Royal Court” by Sylvain Michel Raymond Ott, but I can’t find an online version of the song to confirm.

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