The Season 2 finale of “Our Flag Means Death” confronts a problem that has haunted many a romantic relationship: What if the chase is better than actually being together? It’s navigating the answer to that question that will set the stage moving forward.
“We see it all the time, where it’s like, ‘If this person were just available we could be in love.’ And then they become available, and you’re like, ‘Oh, no,'” series creator, showrunner and executive producer David Jenkins told TheWrap.
The creator likened Stede (Rhys Darby) and Blackbeard’s (Taika Waititi) relationship to finally scoring the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.”
“There’s all this damage. Wait a minute. There’s a reason they never settled down,” Jenkins said.
That sentiment concisely sums up Stede and Ed’s complicated romance in Season 2. After vowing to run away together last season, Stede broke his promise and returned home to his wife and kids. That detour didn’t last long, leading to Stede spending most of Season 2 either looking for his lost lover or convincing Ed to give him another chance.
Yet when Ed finally relents, their relationship is anything but picture-perfect. They bicker, are distant to each other and eventually break up. It’s only after a traumatic fight that the two lovers reunite. Jenkins noted that in Season 1, Stede and Ed are emotionally about 14 years old. As they start to actually date in Season 2, these two middle-aged men emotionally grow to be around 24.
“You’re watching Steve come into his own as a pirate and Blackbeard say, ‘I don’t know that I want to do this anymore,'” Jenkins said. “That’s a more mature conversation, then, ‘Are we going to run away to China?'”
This time around, the tension between the couple boils down to what each of them want out of life. Do they both want to be a pirate power couple with all the stress and adventure that entails? Or are they happy to take a step back? Jenkins compared the dynamic to a couple thinking of opening a bed and breakfast together.
“What would that be like? What would the division of labor be?” Jenkins said. “To me, that seems that that puts them at about like 35 to 38, which is a lot of growth for them.”
For Jenkins, the main question for Stede and Ed moving forward will be can they stop their personal crises for long enough to be a good partner?
“I think that’s the thing they’re trying to figure out,” Jenkins said. “Do you have to sacrifice your happiness for the other person? Is there another way? I liked seeing these guys grapple with that because it’s way above their skill set.”
No matter what happens, Jenkins promises his love story won’t be boring and he won’t shy away from the “deficits” of his characters.
“That’s what I love about a love story. It doesn’t matter how accomplished the person is, it’s always about where are the holes in their growth?” Jenkins said. “That’s the at-home game of watching love stories. You’re like ‘I have that hole’ or ‘My partner does that thing.’ And I like playing that at home game with with these two characters.”