Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Last Ship: SOS

In this episode, the crew picks up a distress call from a young girl, the sole survivor of a ship near Jamaica. Chandler assembles a team to stage a rescue attempt but a surprise attack by the Russians leaves Chandler and Tex stranded. Slattery leads the crew on a search hoping to find them before the Russians do. All hell breaks loose. Did I mention there are Russians involved? Yes, that smarmy bastard Ruskov is back. Hang on for the ride, it's going to be great!

Before I jump in, let me just say that I believe Tom Chandler hails from the James T. Kirk School of Leadership because well....if you've ever seen the original Star Trek you know what I'm talking about. If not, I can only help you by directing you here. You decide for yourself.

"Turns out it's a human gene."

Well, shit. Rachel makes a horrifying discovery that's about to set her progress back significantly especially given she's only got two monkeys left. How the hell did that human gene get in there in the first place? Well we know don't we? Sergei. And we can assume from what Rachel said about the human gene making the virus worse that there may have been a chance of containment and treatment for the original strain. Sergei's actions have me wondering about something--was he doing that research for mankind or was it self-serving? Did he seem all that concerned when his wife showed signs of illness? And speaking of that, we discovered in this episode that Sergei infected his wife, who in turn, may be the one who infected millions of people in Great Britain, Germany, and Italy during her travels.

"This does not feel right." 

Well XO you got that right. Every time Slattery gets a feeling about something, he's usually right. He made "the face" too and when XO makes "the face" you know he's on to something! He did not want to answer that call, he did not want to send that team out but the Captain insisted especially knowing the young girl on board could be the key to a vaccine. And who is going to tell Tom Chandler what he can and can't do? Anyone here think Slattery could've talked him out of it? No. By the way, Chandler disguising himself as a fisherman...even Slattery had to agree with that one. Come on people, our Captain is no fool.

"You're a leader. Lead."

Wise words by XO Slattery and we definitely want to see more of Green stepping up to the plate but the way it was done with front of Chandler just didn't feel right. I believe Green was sincere with Cossetti and I believe he wants to be a better leader but for the point to hit home with Cossetti, this was an interaction best done in private.

And then there was this:   "You gotta bring it."  

Really? If I was supposed to feel that, I didn't. Nothing against Travis Van Winkle, it was the dialogue that just seemed off. I think about what my Lt. would've said to me. Of course it was the eighties and the phrase "bring it" wasn't even born yet. My Lt. was a very firm but fair guy.  He probably would've said something like "Clackum! Get your head OUT of your ass and do your goddamned job!"

Trust me, it's simple. It's no nonsense. It's effective.

Later, Green does a reasonably good job of counseling Cossetti. He makes the point that they spend all that time training for the worst and then when it happens and you can't do anything, you're left haunted by thoughts of "what could I have done differently?"  We've all had those moments. It's tough.

As to Cossetti, he has a long way to go to prove himself after having caused such strife and nearly causing a mutiny. Fortunately for him, he showed real remorse and regret and there's some potential here for him to prove himself. In the back of my mind though, I can't help but think that the way this will go down will be in the form of an act of bravery that will cost him his life.

"Please tell me that was some kind of a code."

Nope Tex, 'fraid it wasn't. Chandler really did tell the crew to "ride off into the sunset" without him. That man and his neverending heroic charm is going to be the death of me...of all of us. Seriously? Chandler is the consummate leader, willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. His last hurrah speech was touching but...okay, no it wasn't. I was left shouting, "WTF? Don't you dare tell them to "ride off into the sunset!! You stand and fight, man!"

Okay, okay, that's just a little hard to do in the middle of the ocean. But still...

I liked how Tex called the Captain out on his decision but the whole "THEY NEED YOU!" should've been replaced with "YOU ASSHOLE! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST DO?"

Chandler is a lead by example kind of guy but his decisions to put himself in the middle of harm's way (James T. Kirk, James T. Kirk) actually endanger his entire crew and the mission. His job is to command that ship. Kinda hard to do that if you're hopping from vessel to vessel killing bad guys and rescuing people now can you Cap'n? The problem is...the show would be boring if Chandler wasn't out there getting himself into a world of shit, right?

Now let's talk about who's in charge since the Captain is treading water in the middle of the Atlantic. That's right...Slattery!  And fortunately for us, XO doesn't give a shit about the "cease and desist" direct order as he intentionally disregards and begins searching for them.

Did anyone think he'd do anything different?

Slattery is sure that the Captain's words were code and discusses it with Barker who insists otherwise. Barker insists that the Captain would, if the situation was reversed, leave his men behind. (With all due respect, Barker clearly doesn't know Chandler the way Slattery knows him.).  Slattery clearly disagrees with Barker. It's a damn good thing he does too.

By the way is XO going to be pulling double duty for disobeying orders when Chandler returns? Just recalling his earlier convo with Green where he said, "It's not enough that people know you broke the rules, they need to know why breaking the rules is dangerous."     Hmm...

"Way to go Nathan James!"

I confess I get all giddy when the USS Nathan James blows things up. So any time they want to blow up something that belongs to the Russians, I'm okay with that. There was no way in hell I could write about this episode without including this...a lovely sight isn't it?  Buh-bye Russian drone!

"I'm sweet on her."

Oh Tex, you're adorable, don't ever change. By the way did you know Tex isn't really from Texas? He's from Reno. But Reno wouldn't have been much of a nickname now would it? It certainly wouldn't have been a hit with the ladies.

Now here these two are, floating in the middle of the damn ocean, twenty or more miles from a reef, no hope of rescue and to lighten the mood, Tex reveals his crush on Rachel. The exchange is hilarious, it really is. I loved it. I also laughed because uh...wasn't it a couple of weeks ago that Tex was hitting on anything and everything closely resembling female? In all seriousness though, we know that Tex cares about her and not just in the physical sense either. He's been there to offer her some real comfort and friendship when she needed it most. He's part of the reason her tough facade is melting away little by little.

"You wanna know something. The 
only reason I came out here today is to impress that Doctor Rachel."

"You gotta be shittin' me."

"Yeah I'm sweet on her. You weren't making a move."

"Oh my Lord."

"You think she's interested?"

"Get some rest Tex. Jesus."

"Hey opposites attract." 

The laughter didn't last long.  As soon as the skies darkened and the prospect of rescue seemed even more unlikely, that's when the fear hit both of them, especially Chandler who revealed another piece of himself that makes him so endearing and likeable. This tough guy admits...he's afraid to die but not because he's afraid of death but because he will never get to see his wife and kids again.

Screw everything else, get to what happened at the end, now!

I'm just going to skip everything else because the best was saved for last. First, this compilation of screenshots of the crew in the comms...

Excellent job panning across the room to get the reactions of all the crew as they waited anxiously to see if the helo found their men. And the music...the music was perfect as was the lighting. More on that later.


And then THIS fuckery happened!

I. Can't. Even!

I was...blindsided. I failed to see this coming. And when I realized what happened I was shouting "OMG! OMG! OMG!" at the television followed by "YOU SON OF A BITCH!" and my notifications timeline on Twitter was rolling so fast I couldn't even keep up with it, and my cats were zooming around the house like wild animals, coyotes were baying loudly outside, thunder get the picture. It was all-out general mayhem I tell you!

An hour later I was still thinking about reaction:  "I can't believe they did that!"  After which the cast and crew of The Last Ship patted themselves on the back for a job well done. And rightly so!

All in all...

I was floored by that ending and the preview of things to come. It opens up a whole new ballgame. I mean this shit just got real!

Overall, it was a good episode with enough action to get me shouting at my television quite often.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the interactions between Tex and Chandler, Rachel and Bertrise, Slattery and Green and Slattery and well...everyone else. Also, do not sell Ravil Isyanov short because the reason we all hate Ruskov so much is because Isyanov is just that good. 

I absolutely adore Hope Olaide Wilson's "Bertrise". This newcomer to the show is a lovely young woman, orphaned after losing her entire family and forever traumatized by having experienced living through so much violent death. Her scenes with Rhona Mitra were incredibly touching and I'm really looking for ward to more of her on the show. That final scene between the women, when Bertrise smiled. I smiled too. Could she be the one who saves mankind? If it's her or Sergei, I choose her. But only time will tell. 

I can't help but wonder what's going to happen to Tex? He's become a beloved character and I think Rachel might actually like him. If they kill him off, and let's face it, someone is going to have to die to shake things up a bit, it's going to hurt. Everyone likes Tex and especially Rachel because I believe she's bonded with him. Besides Quincy and now the young Jamaican girl, they're the only civilians on board and they don't fit in with everyone else. Rachel already seems a hard person, emotionally speaking, she's apparently lost people she's cared about in the past. Remember Quincy alluded to her coldness. Even though she hasn't known him that long, Tex's death would affect her dramatically as he has been her supporter since day one.

From the preview of next week's episode, we know Chandler will be taken prisoner by the Russians. They will demand an exchange for Rachel. If Chandler talks to Slattery he will order him not to do an exchange. Slattery.... well...he's commanding the ship now and when it comes down to trading Rachel for the Captain, what will he do? The mission is about the greater good and that means you don't trade the scientist creating the vaccine that can save the world. That said, Slattery will not leave a man behind.

Whatever Slattery's decision, it's a losing situation. The only alternative is to engage the Russians in battle. I'd be okay with that. Firefights on this show are awesome and I highly encourage them especially if it results in Ruskov getting his ass kicked. There is no way Slattery is going to trade Rachel, nor is he going to allow the Russians to kill Chandler. That is not who he is.

I'm so looking forward to seeing this because you just know that Eric Dane, Adam Baldwin and Ravil Isyanov are going to well---bring it. (Yes, I went there!)

In closing, I'd love to see more beefing up of dialogue and scenes for supporting players. Make what they say count and make what they don't say count even more. As an example I recall Marissa Neitling's scene with Eric Dane last week when Chandler chastised Foster for her actions. She hardly said a word, her expression conveyed it all. I thought it was well done.You can do a lot with so few words. Quality over quantity. Any day.

And on a technical note, I'm giving a kudos to the music and lighting effects. The use of red and blue light on the ship is incredibly effective adding to the drama and suspense. The combination of music and visual effects is perfect. Please keep those up!

Final final thought...

When I feel that my ass needs to be thoroughly kicked, Adam Baldwin always comes through.
"I swear to god, if you are lying to me I will strap you to a torpedo."

Was there a single person out there watching who thought for even one moment that he would not do it?


  1. Anonymous8/06/2014

    HELL YES. Well said. Excellent review and summery.

  2. HUGE fan of the show! I really enjoyed reading your blog post. I would be shocked if Tex was killed. It seems too early. Rachel and him were getting somewhere and I truly don't think he's done. It will be interesting to see how Chandler is rescued. Maybe a Russian betrays their crew mates and helps free him

  3. Ever since finding your blog a few weeks ago, I've been looking forward to your recaps just as much as I've been looking forward to watching the actual episodes.

    Cossetti annoyed the hell out of me in 'Lockdown', but after this last episode I'm thinking that he'll end up losing his life at some point too. They’ll make sure most of us like him first though. After all, who would have cared had they killed off the little mutinous ass in one of these last two episodes? When they kill members of the crew off, they’re going to make it sting. Thinking back to Frankie, Smith, and Berchem and how jarring those deaths were for both the crew and the audience, I can't help but feel that another death like that is overdue.

    Tex is definitely a well liked character and it's been nice to see Rachel have someone who cares about her and supports her. She has someone she feels she can open up to and she really needs it. She needs to feel she’s not alone and his death would be devastatingly cruel. They wouldn't do that would they?

    Of course they would. Most didn't think they would have the Russians pick them up at the end of the episode. I had a bad feeling near the end, but I kept thinking ‘they’re not going to do this. They're not going to have the Russians find them first.’ They never showed us the Russian's had a helicopter, but they didn't need to did they? Ruskov bragged earlier in the season that "Helicopters are easy to replace. Look around you. The world is ours for the taking”. Of course, it had to be them. Not only did they allude to it, there's unfinished business. Quincy's wife and daughter are still alive on that ship. More importantly though, Ruskov needs to be taken out.

    On your final final thought... I think I might have pleaded with my TV for Slattery to strap Quincy to a torpedo. Seeing as that didn’t happen though, we have something important to consider. Which would we prefer for Quincy? Keelhauled or strapped to a torpedo? Is keelhauling him and strapping what's left to a torpedo an option?