Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Last Ship: Two Sailors Walk Into A Bar


XO Slattery takes over as Commanding Officer of the USS Nathan James when Chandler and Tex are taken prisoner by the Russians. XO must find a way to save Chandler and Tex while protecting the vaccine prototype.

Spoiler warning:  There's a firefight! Yay! And oh yeah the episode kicks ass!


"My name is Thomas Chandler, Commander, United States Navy, 
Serial Number 4242022634"


Three times Chandler invoked that. Three! And every time I belted out a "Fuck yeah!" because I just couldn't help thinking how much it must've pissed Ruskov off. 

And that smarmy bastard Ruskov and his sneer and all his Russian bad-assness talking about how he's such a nice guy to give Kelly and her daughter "the treasures of the world" and kick his XO out of his stateroom so they could have a nice warm bed to sleep in. Gee, did he give them warm milk and cookies too? Maybe read the little one bedtime stories? I DON'T THINK SO!

"I'd like to treat you with the respect your rank affords."  

I honestly can't remember the last time I shouted "Fuck you!" so many times in such a short period of time. After watching this episode though, I thought the phrase had finally worn out its welcome in my vocabulary. (I'm a former sailor so that's not likely!)

Anyway,  Ruskov tells Chandler he'll gladly swap him and Tex for the doctor. Heh. Good one, man. Umm...how do you say "Moron" in Russian? It's actually "Морон" (I cheated and looked it up).  I tried "asshat" but there's no Russian translation :(

Fortunately this guy gets his comeuppance and OMG! if only I had known it was going to be so good, I would've thrown a party and invited people to celebrate the blessed event. I just want to add in that Ravil Isyanov really nails it here, he was so good.  
 

 Slattery and Rachel

"Let me just say what you're doing is very brave. I'm proud to know you."
"You make it sound like goodbye."
"I'll see you for breakfast."


Let me preface this with...if there's anyone out there who doesn't like XO and his bad ass Chicago homicide cop ass kicking attitude then don't talk to me. Just. Don't. 

In the earliest episodes, Slattery didn't trust Rachel, after all she'd lied to everybody and they were just a tiny bit pissed. Especially Slattery who probably had no problem keel-hauling her ass early on. After all, while they were hauling her to the arctic for her secret mission to gather primordial samples their families were dying of a virus they knew nothing about. I hated Rachel early on (it was that whiny bitch thing) but...man she grew on me and fast. And apparently she grew on Slattery too. And as we all know Mike Slattery is not the easiest guy to grow on.

Here, Rachel makes good by offering herself as a trade for Chandler and Tex. And you knew from the look on his face, that Slattery did not want her to do it. He knew she'd become a slave to Ruskov but he also knew that there was no way Ruskov would free the prisoners. No. Friggin. Way.  But he respected her decision because he understands loyalty and sacrifice (not to mention he had a plan in mind as soon as he got off the radio with Ruskov.) I get the feeling that if Mike Slattery had to sacrifice himself for the greater good, he would do it and given his civilian job, he understands sacrifice and he respects the hell out of what Rachel did.

The two big scenes between Rachel and Slattery, before she gave herself up to the Russians and after she'd been rescued and returned, were two of the most emotional moments of the episode. The bond here between Slattery and Rachel....well...I almost feel like these two should be kindred spirits. Rachel has no life, no family, no friends. She's basically a loner. Slattery is a homicide cop, a lonely guy working long hours, committed to the job. His marriage fell apart long ago, one of his three children is dead, the others may be too for all we know. There's not much these two have left. In my opinion they have more in common than anyone realizes. Just the way they looked at one another in that scene...I yelled, "OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, JUST HUG WILL YOU?"



Tex and Chandler

"How about The Great Escape?" 
"Kinda hard to tunnel out of a ship"
"Ah you got a point there."
"Have you ever seen Papillon?
"Are we just doing Steven McQueen flicks? What about Escape From Alcatraz?
"We need a dummy."
"What about bad english over there?"


Priceless interactions which kind of reminded me of Kirk, Spock and Bones in Star Trek. Always making a joke in the worst of situations. (By the way, any chance of getting Shatner in a guest spot? Maybe play a renegade Hungarian ship captain or something?)

Now, fellow cast members Jocko (Sims) and Andy (Tran) were joking with me the other night when we were tweeting about what Andy refers to as a "makeout sesh". (And yes Andy, we'll see about getting you royalties on this okay?)  But really...we knew what was really going on didn't we? I mean you people didn't possibly think that Tom Chandler, Father & Husband Of The Year was going to cheat on his wife by kissing another woman, did you?

DID YOU? This guy is a boy scout for crissakes. So Give. It. Up.

Of course we all knew (you did know, right?) why she kissed him the moment she ran over to him all Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights and all. And when they separated you could tell he had something in his mouth and no, it wasn't half of Rachel's tongue. This was a brilliant move on Slattery's part to plan this and get Rachel to go along with it.

 "Unbelievable. I can't believe she kissed you."
"You're a married man. for Pete's sake and you're Navy."
"Did you not get the talk buddy? No fraternization with the ladies."


Oh Tex, from Reno Nevada, please don't ever change. The look on Tex's face as the two were kissing was nothing short of priceless. And later, as Chandler was opening the note Rachel had passed to him, and thinking about the plan they had to formulate in order to meet the extraction crew, Tex was still hammering him about it. About how she hadn't gone to him first. And I was laughing my ass off. Someone get this man a girlfriend.


Slattery as CO

"Are you still there XO? Of course you are, you just don't know what to say. 
I understand you've never been in command before."

Oh SNAP! As they say... them are fightin' words. Ruskov was deliberately insulting Slattery and if you weren't out of your seat screaming profanities at that scene then I don't want to even know you!

It was a tense moment when Ruskov told Slattery that he wanted Rachel in exchange for Chandler and Tex For a moment I was unsure how Slattery would respond. He seemed to hesitate...I'm not sure if it was because he was trying to keep his anger in check or because he just didn't know what to say at that moment. But he recovered quickly after Ruskov's insult and he never wavered after that. While it's true, Slattery has never commanded his own ship, make no mistake about it, he is in charge here, immediately formulating a plan and never hesitating to carry it out to the end.

When Rachel confronts him insisting she go to the Russian ship and Slattery denies her, she argues the point, "We all know this is the only way to stop him, once and for all," and you knew Slattery agreed. Slattery had to know Chandler would be angry with his decision but the situation was different since Rachel found the vaccine. She would not have offered herself up and he would not have given her up had that not been the case.

"I've got you now you son of a bitch."


Frankly, I think Slattery should say "son of a bitch" more often because he gets this face and you just want to sit back with a tall cold one and watch him kick some ass. (By the way I highly advocate more Slattery-ass-kicking in future episodes. Steven Kane do you hear me??)

"This is your XO. Two Sailors walk into a bar. And they both walk out.
We will get our men back. We will get our Captain Back. That is all."


In case you couldn't tell, it was a proud moment for CMC Jeter.

"Thought I'd open with a joke."
"It was a good one, sir."


By the way you gotta love Charles Parnell, his CMC Jeter gets this look on his face like he's so damn proud of you!

Was there ever any doubt in these scenes that Slattery knew what he was doing? No. I'm sure he couldn't help but wonder what Chandler would do. But if he thought about it, it wasn't for long because Chandler wasn't the Captain, he was. This is what leadership is about. You step in and you use your best judgment, you weigh your options and you act. With his experience in law enforcement, this is something that Slattery has done every day of his life for years. IMO there's no reason his abilities commanding that ship would be handled any different.

Chandler may not be happy with Slattery's decision to send Rachel to the ship but as Captain of the ship, it was Slattery's decision to make. (Of course Chandler didn't have the benefit of knowing what Slattery knew--that Rachel had found the vaccine.) One had to wonder if Chandler would've also made the decision to blow up the Russian ship. I'd like to think that he would have but I'm not so sure. We saw the look on Slattery's face when Rachel talked about stopping the Russians once and for all. In his mind, there was only one way to do it. Destroy the few for the greater good. I really don't think Slattery had much of a choice.


"Daddy!" 


There really are no words to describe this scene. I cried. Most of you probably cried too. If you didn't, you need to go back and watch it over and over again until you do.  At that moment all the hate I had for Quincy flew out the window. The reason he's done everything we've hated him for was because of these two! How can you hate a guy for that? Now that he's got his family back, I feel like Quincy will be able to make amends with the crew and work with Rachel to create the vaccine and save the remaining population. I kinda liked everyone hating Quincy but I also like the idea that he's got his family back. He's the ONLY one on the ship who has his family so we'll see how the rest of the crew react to it. Also...what happens when Quincy learns what his wife was subjected to by Ruskov? Will he be able to control his anger? Will he direct it at Chandler? Will having his family back change him or make him even worse?


The mother of all "I am so fucked!" faces!

 "Like with all tragic heroes, your hubris brought about your downfall."


I. Can't. Even. There are not enough fine adjectives in the dictionary to describe the screencap above or well..the whole damn scene for that matter. The moment he said those words early in the episode I just kept thinking it was going to come back and haunt him. Now for the history challenged let me explain that hubris...in Greek tragedy refers to excessive pride or defiance of the gods.  And didn't we all think that Ruskov thought himself a God? I mean after all, in Dead Reckoning he boldly claimed that once they had the vaccine in their possession, he and his men would "walk the earth as Gods".

Guess not.

It looks like Ruskov got his hubris handed to him on a silver platter, courtesy of the last ship of the United States Navy. A word of advice to eh Ruskovs of the world--if you have the chance to sink the last US Navy warship you probably should do it because if you don't, they are going to hunt you down and Kick. Your. Ass!

Go on, admit it. It was kinda nice seeing this in the background, don't ya think?



All in all...

Wow. Just...wow. A great job by cast and crew. The whole episode was classic Michael Bay. Drama, action, suspense. A win in my book and to the people hell bent on pointing out errors in minor details just please...shut up. Just sit back and enjoy the damn thing. The cast did a fine job, the suspense was great, the action was awesome.

It would've been interesting to explore what might've happened if Sergei aka Sorenson (can we all agree here that the Sergei that Quincy had been talking to early on is in fact...Sorenson?) had breathed on Chandler or Tex and Rachel had been forced to try the vaccine on one of them, but the extraction team hit at that moment and the vaccine was destroyed, forcing them to get back to the ship in time to save the person who'd been injected. I know, I know. I wondered why Ruskov chose to use one of his own men but then again, I suspect he had more respect for his adversaries who, hate them as he might, were not afraid to go up against him, in contrast to his own crew, a bunch of mindless minions.

I was thrilled when Rachel announced a vaccine, I'll have to admit the reaction of the crew got to me too but...then when she claimed the ship's doc could manufacture the vaccine, I was like "WTF is this? I mean ...you work all this time to find it, you find this girl, she's immune, the monkey lives, and now...the ship's doc can simply reproduce?"


Cossetti's (Tommy Savas) death was sad but...predictable. In last week's recap I mentioned that his act of bravery and the chance to finally prove himself would ultimately cost him his life. Looks like I was right. How he went out, and his final scene wasn't quite the impact one might have hoped though the scene at the end, with Green carrying his body...was touching.Wish we'd had a chance to know this character better.

Oh and then there's Sorensen---my prediction is he isn't dead. He'll be picked up by another ship. The problem with this is...Sorensen is a carrier. No one around him would survive. Now, the only person who has seen Sorenson is Rachel and Quincy. Nobody on the ship has...and if he were somehow taken aboard the Nathan James without anyone knowing who he was...


In my opinion, the highlight of this episode was without question Adam Baldwin's XO Slattery taking command of the ship.

In the earliest episodes, Slattery was bucking authority, pushing Chandler, who pushed back and at one point demanded reaffirmation of his loyalty to the mission, which Slattery was shocked to hear was even necessary, though he gave it. After that we saw smooth sailing between the two. There is no question of the mutual respect between Chandler and Slattery and no doubt that Slattery is committed to his job and to the mission.  But we all knew there would come a time when Slattery was in charge and for a moment would be forced to ponder the question:

"What Would The Captain Do?"

Slattery made two moves that could have Chandler fired up. First, disobeying a direct order by sending the rescue team to find him and Tex in the ocean and second, when he sent in the extraction team to the Russian ship. These were very bold and dangerous decisions that could have cost them the mission. These were calculated risks and isn't Chandler used to that? This is a guy who faces risk head on with every mission and  intentionally inserts himself into dangerous situations which, if he were kidnapped or killed, would put the mission in jeopardy. And would he even do it if he thought Slattery couldn't handle things if it did happen?  Chandler takes all kinds of risks but I have to wonder if he can he handle someone else doing the same.

As to orders, it wasn't that long ago that Chandler punished Green and Foster for disobeying orders and putting the mission at risk. In fact, Slattery chastised Green on it as well. The question is will Slattery face the same? When the Captain was no longer in the capacity to give orders or command the ship, Slattery was the Commanding Officer and as such he had to make some tough decisions.Though Chandler may view it as disobeying orders, technically Slattery was the Commander and had the authority to do so.


That nonverbal exchange between Chandler and Slattery at the end of this episode had me wondering. That slight nod could've meant "good job" or it could've been a simple acknowledgment that he's back in command. We've yet to see the fallout from this and I feel that even though the end turned out okay for them, there has to be fallout. Early in the series I said let's not have a mutiny situation on our hands with Chandler vs. Slattery because in my opinion we need these two to make this show work however...I do like the idea of the two going head to head. There's only two options here, either this will go into something deeper or it's over and they move on and nothing comes of it. I for one, would like to see a little more out of this. Knowing Chandler, I don't think he can just let it go and knowing Slattery, if the CO pushes hard enough, he'll push back.

How will this turn of events affect CO & XO's working and personal relationship? How can they work together if Chandler is angry about Slattery's decisions?  Will Chandler be able to trust Slattery? Will this cause Slattery to hold a grudge against Chandler? They're already under an intense amount of stress as it is.

Or...am I overthinking this and really, it was nothing and they move on? 

This episode was a win. It had action, suspense, a little humor--everything I thought it would be.  And to the technical peeps out there whining on the discussion forums that some details are inaccurate, oh come off your high horse for pete's sake. Sure, they're probably are taking some liberties, but quit focusing on the little things and sit back and look at the big picture and enjoy the entertainment value here.

Finally, last but not least, in a much earlier recap in the season, I touched on the many facial expressions of Adam Baldwin's XO Slattery. There are drinking games in honor of it! The #SlatteryFace has now become popular in The Last Ship fandom. The people love it, they want it and who am I to stand in the way of what the people want?

And so here it goes...Enjoy!
 

3 comments:

  1. I was so excited when I got home from work yesterday and saw your recap was up. Wonderful as always!

    With every episode, I love Tex more and more. His line about not fraternizing and Ruskov needing to be back in Transylvania before sunrise were hilarious. This scene with Bad English was one of my favorites;
    “Hey! No talk! Or I kiss your ass!”
    “You mean kick my ass?!”
    “Just shut-up your head ok?!”
    And then later, in true Tex style, he tells him, “Now you can kiss my ass” right after they kill him… :)

    Anyways what exactly did Rachel take onto the Russian ship? Was it really a sample of the vaccine? Was it a fake? What was left in the case? I ask because I think they left the case behind. Now it didn’t look like Sorensen was carrying the case at the end, but was there anything he was able to pocket? Anything he might be able to analyze and use to modify the strain into one that Rachel‘s vaccine wouldn’t provide immunization from? I don’t believe we are done with him either and I have a bad feeling we will not like it when he reappears. He got way too much twisted pleasure out of infecting that Russian guy. I didn’t think of the possibility of him ending up on the Nathan James, but that could be a scary thought. How much of the vaccine could they produce out at sea? How quickly could it be produced? Is it truly effective and safe? Rachel did say in an ideal world she would test it further, but they didn’t really have that luxury prior to rescuing Chandler and Tex and they still might not have it.

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  2. Love this blog! I ran into it last week and I read it all the time now. I'm stoked to see you're such a huge fan of the show for I am too!

    I want to ask you your thought on this, "Rachel said the virus has killed 4 billion people. That leaves about 3.4 billion still alive. Now, that's a huge chunk of people! You're telling me that not one other US Navy ship is on the seas to help aid the USS Nathan James. Yeah, I know it's a tv show, but come on. There is over 100 million people in the US alone. Where's the rest of our military? Are we to assume they are all dead? I am excited to see what Michael Bay does in the upcoming episodes. There just has to be more military out there to help the USS Nathan James and Capt. Chandler's crew! Thoughts???

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  3. Hi! Awsome writing!
    Hate to dissapoint you but there's no russian word ''Морон")). It's just a transcription of english word whith the russian letters)).
    I love the show! And I don't mind that the evil side are russians, as long as they speak proper russian).
    Ruskov is beyond great - his acting, acsent, vocabulary is perfect! That was a nice surprise!
    Also I admire Adam Baldwin's XO. Loved Serenity very much and I hope the XO will show us some rebel Jayne Cobb))).
    Glad the 2nd season of the show is coming.
    Looking for your reveiws for the next episodes. Thank you for the pleasure of reading your notes)
    PS yelling on my notebook too))) (curse words mostly)))

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