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Why that Our Flag Means Death season 2 finale was the riskiest thing the show could have done

Spoilers below

Taika Waititi and Rhys Darby in Our Flag Means Death
Image credit: Nicola Dove/Max

Major spoilers below for the Our Flag Means Death season 2 finale.

Our Flag Means Death
Image credit: Max

After waiting ages for Our Flag Means Death season 2, the season is finally all out and available to stream on Max. The season ended with not only the death of a beloved character but the splitting of the beloved crew, once again. Let's break down why this season finale (check out our ending explained here) was so risky and whether or not those risks paid off.

Our Flag Means Death expanding the cast

Still image from Our Flag Means Death season 2
Image credit: Photograph by Nicola Dove/Max

Okay, so this isn't fully on the season finale, but the season finale does highlight this shift in season 2, which is the addition of a healthy handful of core cast members. We've got Zheng, Archie, Auntie, and now Jackie on the Revenge as well. This is a lot of new characters for a crew that was already pretty big, and this season already felt like it was leaving a few of our favorite crew members out a bit.

While it'll take til season three to see if this expanded crew is too much of a crowd, at the moment - it kind of feels like it is.

Our Flag Means Death kills off a fan favorite

Izzy Hands
Image credit: HBO Max

Con O Neil's Izzy Hands has quickly become a fan favorite, as you can see in the Popverse OFMD cast poll we ran earlier this year. In this season, Izzy became an even more integral part of the show, which is why his death seemed so risky, but I'd argue that it pays off.

First of all, death, while playing a big role in Our Flag Means Death, hasn't quite hit the main cast yet. Pirates lead dangerous lives, and death, even for regular non-pirates, can come randomly and when you least expect it (someday, I'll write about the impact of Buffy's mom dying of cancer for this very same reason). In the case of Izzy, who has gone from someone who thought there was only one way to be a pirate to becoming a fully fledged member of the weird crew with this big moment he gets in the episode Calypso's Birthday, his arc felt complete.

I think, as viewers, it can be easy for us to think, "but what was the purpose of his death?" and tack it on developing other characters, but I'd argue that death is a part of life (especially a pirate's life), and is just as interesting of an aspect of life to study and depict as anything else. Izzy was given a powerful death scene, and it wasn't brushed off, it was treated as a turning point for much of the cast of characters. His life and his death affected people, and what greater honor for any character is there than that?

Sure, will we miss Izzy Hands, yes. But I'd argue that his character arc was fleshed out enough for it to be satisfying (though note that David Jenkins has since tweeted that there is no version of the show that doesn't include Izzy Hands).

Our Flag Means Death separates our main couple from the crew

Our Flag Means Death
Image credit: Max

Putting Ed and Stede in a cabin on their own isn't necessarily a risk on its own, but it is a bit surprising to end a season on this note. We've had a season of them coming to terms with being in love with each other, and then a season of them figuring themselves out somewhat on their own, but we haven't quite seen them really be together yet romantically for any extended amount of time.

With questions on whether or not the show will be renewed for it's third and final season, it really feels a little on the risky side to set the couple up for a new life while their relationship doesn't quite feel resolved yet.

Certainly, if we do get a season three, we'll hopefully get to see Ed and Stede figure out the unique beats of their relationships and get a more proper happily ever after. We'll just have to keep our fingers crossed that we get there.

Our Flag Means Death: An appreciation of slow, floundering romance .