The Impact of ‘Our Flag Means Death’

The Impact of Our Flag Means Death

*this article features slight spoilers for the show*


In 1717, a pirate named Stede Bonnet went by the name  “The Gentleman Pirate” due to his wealthy upbringing and overall lack of sailing experience. In 2022, his story is told through a period romantic comedy on HBO Max, Our Flag Means Death 

Stede Bonnet (Ryhs Darby) and his dysfunctional crew sail the seas, eventually meeting legendary pirate Blackbeard, otherwise known as Edward Teach (Taika Waititi). The audience sees as Stede gets stabbed, stabs others, and struggles with the idea of being a pirate after abandoning his family for the criminal life. The show is playful, as Stede’s crew considers lack of oranges a main issue compared to looking for treasure like regular pirates. So what is so important about the series? 

The show features several members of the LGBTQ+ community in a casual, but canon, way. Most of television is known for a thing called queerbaiting. Queerbaiting is when a work of fiction implies the existence of or relationship between queer characters, but never explicitly says that they are in the LGBTQ+ community. Some of the most popular instances of this are John and Sherlock in BBC’s Sherlock or Dean and Castiel from “Supernatural, where the audience who watches for “queer representation” always fall short. 

“Our Flag Means Death ” features real relationships and characters who have various sexualities and identities. This is positively impactful on the LGBTQ+ community. As such a big show with high viewership, it’s proving that television can be successful and entertaining with representation that other shows are afraid to show. 

The show has surpassed demand for “Euphoria”, becoming the most in-demand show across all HBO and HBO Max series in the US. As fans wait patiently for a season two renewal, fanart and fanfiction have flooded the internet after only one month. With such huge success, it is expected that a season two is coming. 

Hopefully, “Our Flag Means Death ” will bring a new light to the possibility of less queerbaiting and more real representation. It raises the standards for members of the LBGTQ+ community, who in the past, have only gotten slight tension queer-coded characters and a passing comment on sexuality.