Monday, July 07, 2014

The Last Ship: Dead Reckoning

In this episode we're treated to a standoff between the last remaining warship in the United States Navy versus the last remaining warship in the Russian Navy. I'll admit the thought made me a little giddy. I mean when all is said and done, it always comes down to the Russians doesn't it? They're sort of our go-to foe and their leader is always some crazed madman.

Works for me, I remember the Cold War. Hell I even served in it.

Enter Admiral Ruskov. He wants Dr. Rachel Scott and the primordial strain of the virus. He will not compromise, he will not negotiate. He was so determined to stop the USS Nathan James earlier that he nuked an entire country (buh-bye France!). That is the measure of his resolve. You think he's crazy now? It gets better.

Chandler meets with Ruskov and offers to compromise by giving him a sample of the primordial strain but Ruskov laughs in the face of stupid American!  Besides, he says, the Americans don't have what he has--a little special extra something needed to create the vaccine. He lets Chandler know in no uncertain terms that he does not give a shit about peaceful negotiations. He does not care about the world they left behind.

"The virus spread like invisible fire, bodies piled up sky high, fear spread quickly, pitting country against country, brother against brother. Governments against own people. Sixty million Chinese were murdered in three days. The world is not worth saving." 

This man clearly has no allegiance to any one or any country as we see very clearly when he shoots one of his own officers in cold blood and refers to it as "one mouth less to feed."

Chandler and co. stand around going "Did he just fucking do that?"

He did.

Meanwhile, Slattery is back on the bridge when Master Chief gives him the bad news:  the Russians are laying land minds in the harbor. Slattery's response?

"Oh what the fuck is this shit?"

Okay not really. It was more like:

"Get the hunter in the water, find me a clear route out of this harbor. And spin tomahawaks one through six. If I don't hear from the Captain in one hour we're unloading on that Russian son of a bitch."

I have to admit when Slattery starts talking about spinning tomahawks, I get all excited. I mean, who wouldn't? Renegade Russians. Tomahawks. You get the picture!

Later when the Captain is back on board (don't worry, it ain't over yet with our Russian fella), he asks Scott if the Russians could possibly have someone working on the vaccine and it sure seemed to me like she was leaving something out. When Scott leaves the room, looks are exchanged between Slattery and Chandler. I don't know if they believe her either. Chandler's been supportive of her but Slattery, not so much. And I am not so sure I trust her either.

Anyway, I digress. Let's get back to Chandler because he's just so badass. Ruskov goes a step too far when he orders his men to fire on two of Chandler's men who are scouting the channel in a submersible looking for a way out. Chandler, who has no problem with the use of deadly force orders the five-inch to fire near the Russian patrol boat.

"Consider that a warning, which is more than you gave to my men. Next time I wont miss." 

Ruskov replies,  "I am disappointed in you Captain, you're not the leader I imagined."

And then Chandler dropped the bomb. He responded to Ruskov in Russian, which was for me the best moment of that episode. Ruskov was clearly not expecting that and Chandler sent the message loud and clear that he is indeed a most worthy adversary and should not, under any circumstances, be underestimated.

And that pissed Ruskov off even more.

"I will sink you."

"This is an Arleigh Burke destroyer, it was built to fight. You better know how." 


There was the entire episode wrapped up in one sentence. We can all pack up and go home now. I got up out of my comfy recliner and pointed at the television and yelled, "Take THAT bitch!" 

That said, I'm with Tex when he said they should've just blown the damn Russians out of the water when they had the chance. I've got a feeling I'm going to like Tex.

Not long after this goes down, Dr. Quincy Tophet goes over the edge. He decides to take matters into his own hands by taking the samples and Rachel hostage and threatening to kill everyone on the ship by releasing the virus if they do not let him take Rachel and the samples to the Russian ship.

We soon discover that Ruskov is holding Quincy's family hostage and after the hostage situation ends with Quincy handing the strain over to Rachel. In the next scene, we see Quincy's wife Kelly having drinks with the madman in his quarters. Though it was her voice that helped rope the Nathan James into the current situation, she doesn't look to be enjoying herself. She's likely doing this to save her daughter but you have to wonder if she'll decide to stick with him because she thinks it's her best chance at survival. 

After questioning Quincy, the CO, XO, Green and Granderson meet to find a way out of the mined harbor. They formulate a plan when in comes Foster, nice wholesome farm girl turned Navy sailor who when asked about her expert marksmanship states she can,  "knock the nipples off a chicken from a thousand yards, sir."

I'd hire her.

Chandler wants her on board in their plan to fool the Russians into thinking Quincy and Rachel have escaped and are headed, with the samples, in an effort to serve as decoy so they can blow the coral with torpedos and get the hell out of dodge. Green shocks CO and XO when he announces he wants to ride Alpha with Foster. He uses the excuse that he feels responsible because he's just lost two men but we know it's because he wants to protect his girlfriend. 

On the way to the Russian ship Green tells Foster to keep her head down and she argues that's kinda defeating the purpose. I'm already rolling my eyes and cursing at my television screen. I've said it before and I'll say it again:  Dump. This. Storyline. Please!

More on this later because right now I have to ask a more important question:

Which one of the writers came up with the tin foil idea?

The Master Chief devises a plan in which the Nathan James powers down completely and at that moment, they set up a ten foot strip of tin foil in its place to reflect the Russian radar, thus allowing the Nathan James to attempt to escape. Master Chief insists it's all about reflectivity and that the Nathan James has low reflectivity and using tin foil pointed in the right direction will work.

I'm fairly certain had I come up with this during my seagoing days, my crew would've have thrown me overboard.

Okay so it's slightly MacGyveresque. It's artistic license. I know, I know. But still...tin foil?

I digress.

Remember Ruskov? Madman? Psycho? He's baaack! As Green and Foster speed toward his ship, Ruskov, thinking that Quincy and Rachel are headed his way, is busy telling his men that they will "walk the earth as gods" likely thinking once they have the vaccine, the world will owe them. Then he orders his men to blow up the Nathan James once they get the goods. Because...that's what Gods do right?

The countdown is on. Green and Foster and their bomb-laden small boat head straight for the Russian ship. Green picks up speed, our adrenaline is rushing and then...

He slows down.


At that very moment onboard the Nathan James, they have ten seconds before the ship hits the coral. They need to blow through it so they don't rip the ship to shreds but they can't until Green and Foster complete their mission. I like Green, but I wanted to throttle him when he told Foster to bail. I was like:

What? You took an oath! Blow the hell out of that ship man, the hell with the girl! 

Any delay in the mission will sink that ship! Thankfully Foster convinces Green to speed up and do what they set out to do. A shootout ensues between them and the Russians and the two bail just in time to avoid exploding along with the boat as it rams the Russian ship. At that moment, the Nathan James fires torpedos into the coral and they barely make it through. We know of course they do because there's a fourth episode.

BTW did anyone notice the bird? Yes, the bird? And need to call PETA because it was just special effects but where in hell did the bird come from? 

Unfortunately the Russian ship has only slight damage that can be repaired and they only lost a dozen men.  Ruskov decides not to fire on the Americans, in fact, looking at the blip on the screen, he knows they are no longer there.  Does he know about the tin foil trick too?

The unfortunate thing about not sinking the Russians is that we know this psycho will be back.

Back on board the Nathan James (how on earth did Green and Foster escape that explosion?) we have Green bitching at Foster (dude, chill!) blaming her for the delay in their mission. He says she was the reason that he lost his focus and nearly compromised the mission because he was trying to keep her safe. He says he can't do his job because he's trying to protect her. So like a men eh? Then, he tells her he loves her and to add insult to injury he tells her to stay away from him.

Oh Foster, I just wanted to smack you and say "SNAP OUT OF IT!"

I mean here we have Green blaming her because he can't do his job? Huh? How is that her fault? She wasn't asking him to worry about her, she didn't even want him on that small boat with her. This is crazy because she of all people should understand the complications that will arise, not for him but for her in that relationship. Being a female sailor and an officer, she has to prove herself worthy. Yes, I know in a perfect world....but still, being a woman in her position requires her to have to go the extra mile to prove her worthiness to her male counterparts. Being in a relationship with another officer on the same ship = disaster. I could like Foster....but not like this.

And the fact that I just wrote an entire paragraph on this nonsense is the reason the storyline has to be dropped. It just doesn't fit!

Finally, we're taken back to the Russian ship. Guess who we thought was dead but isn't? That's right---Quincy's buddy Sergei. His lab is a mess though, I mean the guy is a complete disaster. He tells the Admiral he needs Scott and the primordial, no excuses. Next thing you know he's yelling and chasing down one of his lab mice which crawled under something. He catches it, holds it up in front of him and....he breathes on it.

And then it hit me. Ruskov does have a secret weapon. Remember what he talked about earlier? That he had something the Americans didn't have?
Could it be that the secret weapon is Sergei? What if he's infected with the virus but is somehow immune?  He's part of the vaccine but he needs Scott, her equipment and samples to create it. Is an immune human the key to making the vaccine? Remember, the Russians wanted to capture the Nathan James so they could get their hands on Scott and the primordial strain but what if now the Nathan James will have to get their hands on Sergei? 

So there you have it. The episode in a nutshell, from my point of view. Not that you give a damn but...

Now, where does this episode stand in comparison to last week? I'll admit it had its moments where I was on pins and needles though the action this week was far more subtle. Chandler & Slattery never disappoint, we finally got to see that weasel Quincy in action, and well...I like Green but his interactions with Foster made me almost wish one of them would just die of the virus so we could all move on. (Okay not really!) There were a few cheesy lines of dialogue and eye-rolling moments like the impossible feat of Foster and Green surviving that explosion not to mention the now fan-favorite WTF! moment:

Tin Foil.

I have a feeling that last one will inspire a new episode of Mythbusters.

That said....though lacking the thrill-packed action of Welcome to Gitmo, Dead Reckoning was a good episode and there's promise for more greatness if they can stick to what brought in the viewers in in the first place---the action and suspense. I mean this is TNT and their motto is... "We Know Drama" and we know they do.

Keep bringing it and I'll keep watching..

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