Monday, June 29, 2015

The Last Ship: It's Not A Rumor

“We’ve all waited a long time for this day to come. It’s here.”

There was no shouting at the television or dropping the f-bomb. Okay well maybe it happened just once.  Actually, there were more tears than anything else. This was an incredibly beautiful and heartbreaking episode written by Hank Steinberg and directed by Tim Matheson, who I hope returns to direct again.

Yes, it was that good!

First...that shot pulling away from the White House was so surreal. No signs of life and the bunker impenetrable, no answer from within. It's clear: no survivors. The heart of America's leadership exists no more.

In this episode, the mission is to disseminate the cure and find their families although more emphasis was placed on the latter and rightly so. It's time we learned the fate of the crew's loved ones and how they deal with it.

Tex confides to Rachel that he's searching for his fourteen-year old daughter whom he hasn't seen in two years.

"We have labs, we have scientists, we have you. If we get this right, with our ship covering the south, everybody spreading not just the cure but the knowledge of how to make it, we can turn the tide not just here but in Europe and in the world. We've all waited a long time for this day to come. It's here."

"Dad did this Sam, dad made this happen."

A beautiful tearful reunion between Kara and her mother Debbie.
With everything that's happened Kara really needed this!

XO cannot locate his family at Deer Park but he finds family photos and his daughter's sweatshirt.

Chandler returns home and grieves his loss.

Jed counsels his son as he struggles over giving up his command to take care of his kids.
"You think you're the first soldier to have trouble leaving your family behind?"
"You're Noah and that ship is your ark."

No joyful reunion for Garnett. Finding her home abandoned, she searched through piles of records at St. Vincent's and found her family members listed.  Clearly she's seeking comfort but Chandler never hugged her. His heart breaks for her but he remains a man in control of his emotions, especially in front of his crew. As Commanding Officer he cannot allow himself to show his vulnerable side. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but the distance he maintains, however slight in this case, is obvious. Chandler is a man completely in control all the time.

Rachel is distraught that there's been no contact from Michael.

Tearful goodbyes...

"You wanna stay."
"I want a lot of things."

 New beginnings...

Granderson is promoted.
"For your valor, for your loyalty."

A little humor...
XO and Captain are men of few words...
"I'm glad you're still with us, Mike."
"You didn't think about staying?"
"It's all I thought about."
"You mean I could've had my first command?"

And enemies abound...

Meanwhile in Port St. Lucie, FL
"We were spared because we are special. Because we are the rightful inheritors of the earth."

Neils Sorenson is back and things are about to from bad to worse.
"The ship with the cure, it's not a rumor. The question is what are you prepared to do about it?"

Every member of the crew is dealing with something right now. This experience has changed them. We've seen them in their capacity as sailors, working as a team to accomplish a common goal but we haven't really seen just how it has affected them personally. Watching Fay Masterson's tear-jerking scenes last night, I tweeted about how military men and women are not robots, just taking orders mindlessly. They are human beings with feelings. They're lost, hurt and terribly guilty and we were able to explore that a little.

Speaking of guilt, there was plenty of it to go around last night...
  • Chandler over his wife's death, leaving his kids behind.
  • Jed blaming himself for his daughter-in-law's death.
  • Kara leaving her mother, sober only a few months.
  • Slattery not being there to protect his family.
  • Garnett for being spared.
  • Granderson for her mother's role in murdering thousand of innocent people.
  • Tex for not being able to protect his daughter.
  • Rachel not saying goodbye to Michael.
  • Green for not being able to protect Foster the way he feels he needs to.

Now...what wasn't to love about this episode? The shots of aircraft overhead and the cheers from the sailors made me proud. I cheered along with the crew. I felt sorry for Tex, sighed a sigh of relief for Kara, and cried when Garnett realized she'd lost her family, when Rachel realized her boyfriend was likely dead, when Slattery left that note for his wife and when Chandler bid goodbye Jed and the kids.  Then there's the beautifully haunting musical score that pulled it all together and made it that much more gut-wrenching.

Of course I did laugh at least once...that final exchange between CO and XO on the deck. Perfect!

Some critics thought this episode was filler and too slow-paced but I disagree.  The two-hour premiere gave us a lot of action and we're still reeling from that. We needed to take a step back and see what the fallout was from everything that's happened. We wondered when the crew would have a chance to go back and search for their families. It was time to do this. "It's not a rumor" is a well-done episode with the mark of its talented Director apparent in every scene.  It was quite the emotional impact last night and no doubt the switch will be flipped to "all business" in episode four as we begin tangling with more bad guys....

Congrats to the cast and crew on a job well done!

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