Our Flag Means Death creator on shock season two finale death: ‘It’s heartbreaking’

Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet kiss in Our Flag Means Death (HBO)

Our Flag Means Death creator David Jenkins is spilling the behind-the-scenes tea on killing off his “favourite” character in the dramatic season two finale.

(Warning: Spoilers for the season finale of Our Flag Means death season two follow).

Queer pirate comedy-drama Our Flag Means death came to an explosive conclusion on Thursday (26 October) as fans mourned the death of grouchy pirate turned reluctant father figure, Izzy Hands (Con O’Neill) after he received a fatal wound in the battle to rescue their safe haven, the Republic of Pirates.

Izzy Hands has played many roles over his time on the Revenge ship: spurned lover and second-in-command to Ed “Blackbeard” Teach (Taika Waititi), begrudging mentor to Stede “Gentlemen Pirate” Bonnet (Rhys Darby), and icy but fiercely loyal shipmate, to name a few.

Not to forget his iconic, and surprisingly moving, rendition of “La Vie En Rose” performed to the Revenge crew in full drag.

His tragic death ended in his burial on land and closure for Stede and Ed as they embark on their new lives as innkeepers. In an interview with Variety, Jenkins reflected on the emotional conclusion to the character’s arc.

You may like to watch

“To kill a character is such a big thing, even in a world that is this violent,” Jenkins explained.

“We had to do justice to Izzy, and to that relationship between he and Ed. There is a nice parallel to have Ed treat him so badly at the beginning of the season [Ed shot Izzy in his heartbreak following Stede’s departure].

“And then come all the way around to where Izzy is this sort of father figure he doesn’t want to lose — because Ed usually kills his father figures.”

Jenkins expanded on his decision to make Izzy the sacrificial pirate in another interview with Entertainment Weekly.

Con O'Neill as Izzy Hands in Our Flag Means Death.
Con O’Neill as Izzy Hands in Our Flag Means Death. (HBO Max)

“It feels like the logical end of Izzy’s arc. It’s heartbreaking to me because he’s my favourite,” he shared. “They’re all my favourite because they’re all my kids, but Izzy is very near and dear to my heart.

“The season was kind of built around [the idea of]: What’s the best journey we can give him? And what’s the most interesting thing we can do with Con, who can do just about anything?”

Jenkins explained that he broke the news to O’Neill over dinner, midway through the filming. “I gave him a cuddle, and he took it pretty well,” he said.

As for shooting the poignant scene itself, Jenkins explained that it was “one of the last things we shot” from the season. “As we got closer and closer to it, I could see it weighing on Con,” he continued. “It’s hard: This is something we both made together, and his character is gonna die.

“He was taking it really seriously. Then, when we were shooting, I made him a playlist. I asked if I could play him some music, and I did, and we sat there and we watched Izzy die.”

Our Flag Means Death creator on shock season two finale death.
Our Flag Means Death creator on shock season two finale death. (HBO Max)

Amidst the heartbreak, there were some joyous moments in Our Flag Means Death‘s season two finale, with Lucius and Black Pete’s heartwarming wedding ceremony and Stede and Ed’s long-awaited happy ending as they bid adieu to their dangerous sea-faring ways.

As for season three, although Max have not yet confirmed the series renewal, if it does go ahead it is likely to be the last.

“I think for the story of Stede and Ed, that is a three-season story,” Jenkins told Variety. “That first act, second act, third act structure is so satisfying when it is done well, and you don’t overstay your welcome.

Although he adds: “I think this world of the show is a big world, and if the third season is successful, we could go on in a different way.” So there is still hope for many more seasons to come.

Our Flag Means Death season one is available to watch on BBC iPlayer. Season two is available to watch on HBO Max in the US. There is currently no UK release date.