The Monitor is a weekly column dedicated to everything that happens in the world of WIRED culture, from movies to memes, from television to Twitter.
I’ll just say, the last two weeks have been tough. Living the other way around. Turn-on-the-news-with-a-closed-eye. This column is usually devoted to these topics. But earlier this week, on Wednesday, the clouds parted and good news broke: HBO Max has renewed Our flag means death for a second season, and I choose to keep it close.
You may be wondering if this is because Taika Waititi, who plays Blackbeard on the show, is currently making fun of the cover of WIRED. That’s part of it, yes. (Waititi’s atmosphere definitely screams “One of us.”) But it’s more than that; it’s also a fan favorite show that finally gets a win. The first season ended with a scare, but for months the second was unknown. Fans started to panic, pressing hashtags like #RenovarLaNostraBandera means death even sending postcards to HBO asking for a second season. In a desolate week, the Internet successfully campaigning for a beloved program feels like a victory.
Our flag means deathThe renovation also comes at a very opportune time. Wednesday was June 1, the first day of this year’s Pride Month, and because it’s one of the smartest queer TV shows — really, the way it turned the script on queerbaiting is still a revelation — the renovation seemed like a gift to LGBTQ + Fans. The cast and crew confirmed it: Waititi’s tweet on the second season featured a rainbow flag and a pirate flag, and Con O’Neill, who plays Izzy Hands, he tweeted “Happy pride you beautiful people x” along with a screenshot of “#RenewOurFlagMeansDeath” which is trending among the topics of Pride Month on Twitter. It’s almost as if HBO stays on the news just to post them on that particular day.
Amidst all the horrible things happening on Earth right now, it seems strange to celebrate the renewal of a program, especially considering that the second season has not even been written and has no release date yet. But there is something about the celebration that show that you feel worthwhile. Our flag means death, a somewhat reality-based show, is about a pirate, Blackbeard, who falls in love with a “pirate knight”, Stede (Rhys Darby). Both are transformed in the process. At a time when one can feel the world receding, as if things will never evolve, seeing love flourish in illegality is the kind of joy that is hard to deny.