The Last Ship: Apocalypse Now, The Sequel

 

Episode 3.03: Shanzhai
Written by: Jorge Zamacona
Directed by: Paul Holoran
Original Airdate: June 26, 2016

This episode came complete with the soundtrack of your life, In a Gada Davida, played over it as Slattery and his fellow POWs contend with that mysterious and enigmatic Asian man always played by the same actor (Hiroyuki Sarada, from Lost, Helix, and Extant) hunkered down in a steaming jungle camp in the heart of darkness. Slattery gets bled in what I imagine is an attempt to create a cure or immunity for the plague, or something. At one point, two guys “crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can’t even imagine, or maybe I just don’t want to.”

Meanwhile, Chandler, Sasha, and Danny make their way back to land looking for signs of their missing shipmates. This time, Chandler wears a hat down low to disguise himself, because that’s not obvious at all. There’s a moment when Sasha confronts Chandler about his need to play hero and control things, and he gets pissy with her. I gather, given the lack of followup, that we’re supposed to think of Chandler as some heroic, macho guy who takes risks and runs headfirst into danger to protect his crew. In truth, he just comes across as a controlling asshole in moments like this, stiff and unbending and not at all a commanding figure. So I see what they’re going for, but it makes me kind of hate the character at times.

Burks brother…friend…I kind of didn’t pay attention to that part, gets Thomas Dekkered when Chandler assumes command of the good ship U.S.S. Nathan James and makes Granderson his XO. Granderson and Cameron Burk discuss their different command and persuasion tactics in a “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” moment. Granderson’s more feminine approach is to ply Jesse with cherry soda, cigarettes and repairs in the hopes that she’ll stay, instead of conscripting her and forcing her to serve, which is Cameron’s approach. Granderson’s approach works. Duh. I bet Chandler would’ve conscripted her, too.

Big gunfight toward the end. Very boring. Fast forward.

The best part of the episode is that I may have to start shipping Sasha and Jesse. Hard. Like Chandler/Beard theirloveissopure hard. And that was…unexpected. But damn, Bridget Regan brings the eye sex with other women. She did it in Legend of the Seeker, even though that show had an established het relationship in it (that was boring). But oh, delicious confrontation and tension between the two women, and Dichen Lachman held her own with Regan. They’re going to make an electrifying screen pair that makes up a tiny bit for the loss of Rachel.

The Last Ship: Radioactive

Episode 3.02: Rising Sun
Written by: Hank Sternberg
Directed by:  Michael Katleman
Original airdate: June 19, 2016

I liked this hour a lot better than the first hour, but I’m still not too sure of all the changes. It feels like the show had some kind of major creative shakeup between second and third season. I guess they decided the zealot angle wasn’t as interesting as good old-fashioned cold war intrigue and xenophobia. The Chinese are keeping the cure from the populace in a power play. But, some enterprising young mercenaries kidnap Slattery and a few others and feed them filet mignon because they want their blood. All I really got out of that side-plot is that Slattery has gone from dancing by himself in a video room as his crew fights to save the ship, to sitting around in his underwear for a few episodes. Sure glad he got that promotion. Also, haven’t we done this crew in captivity storyline already?

Danny and Burke somehow miraculously manage to run around Hong Kong without attracting a ton of attention as they shoot and fight and torture their escape. While all this is going on, Chandler, Wolfe, and Sasha shoot and fight their way to a friend of Sasha’s (so long, Valerie, it didn’t take long to replace you) who has a helicopter hidden at a nuclear reactor but only Sasha seems to have started to succumb to the radiation. Speaking of Sasha, she and Chandler went from flirty try-too-hard sexual tension to snippy try-too-hard bickering. I didn’t like either one.

Meanwhile, Rachel Scott is still dead.

While all this is going down in China, President Michener has problems of his own in St. Louis, trying to tap into his inner Bernie Sanders to bring socialism to a US that had kind of gotten used to being run by local warlords who took care of their own by any means necessary. Election drama is looming, I can feel it. Will Michener prevail? How can he lose with Chandler and the crew of the good ship U.S.S. Nathan James by his side?

We shall see.

The Last Ship: Hot and Sour Soup

Episode 3.01: The Scott Effect
Written by: Steven Kane
Directed by:  Michael Katleman
Original airdate: June 19, 2016

First things first.

Well shit, Rachel Scott is dead. I’m really kind of disappointed as I think she got the most interesting storyline last season, and having her just get randomly shot to death in the finale didn’t make any sense. There were other, more complicated exit strategies for her, not the least of which was last season’s big moral dilemma with murdering Niels and Chander’s reaction to it.

Even more importantly however, I will forever resent not having the opportunity to ship Rhona Mitra and Bridget Regan on the show. I don’t care that they’re both brunette’s, I was going to ship it, and ship it hard. Ship it even harder than Chandler and Tex (a.k.a. Beard, who also seems to be a casualty of between-seasons retooling). Now, all that seems left is a few boring het romances, such as Chandler and Sasha (Regan), who clearly have a past. And Wolf and Valerie (though Valerie got blown up at the end of the first episode of the season, so who knows).

My overall reaction to the first episode was a big “meh.” Very little about it held my interest, and I found myself reaching for the iPad to check social media on the #BrExit referendum several times. They’re going even more global than before, with what looks like a lot of nation building. And Chandler got to be all steely-eyed again as he faced down an opponent. But it just didn’t feel very fun or exciting.

So, Scott is dead, though mentioned many times throughout the episode (even titled for her). Foster and Danny had their baby and she now works for President Mitchener and is stateside. Slattery is captain of the good ship U.S.S. Nathan James now. Garret is still there, as is Granderson, though she just stood around looking worried.  And it looks like they killed off Valerie last night, too.

Hopefully the second hour of the opener will be better.

My Burning Question

I haven’t had a chance to sit down and watch the season three premiere of The Last Ship, yet. And I’ve managed to remain spoiler free.

My burning question is this: Is Rhona Mitra still on the show, or has she been replaced by Bridget Regan? I thought they might’ve killed her off last season, but I’m hoping not (even if I have a hard time seeing where her storyline will go now that she found a cure for the Bird Poo Flu).

Don’t get me wrong, Bridget Regan has been my TV girlfriend since I discovered her one Saturday afternoon in 2009 wielding dual daggers in a twirly white dress and a sexy scar on her upper lip on Legend of the Seeker. Bridget Regan is the reason I broke up with former TV girlfriend, Mary McCormack. (We’re still good friends, though.)

But I’m not going to lie, I might’ve flirted with Rhona Mitra a little bit, too.

And it would be an understatement to say I would be thrilled to pieces to have them both on my favorite summer trash TV show at the same time.

I’ll find out tonight if Scott survived being shot in the season 2 finale.

Fingers and toes crossed.

I’m back!

It’s a sad and unsure time, right now. I’m still struggling to comprehend what happened in Orlando, the rise of Donald Trump (seriously?), and the collusion between the NRA and the Republicans in congress to facilitate mass slaughter. Orlando happened, coincidentally (or not), to coincide with five months of watching the lesbian death trope play out in the worst and most cynical fashion imaginable on television.

I need a distraction. I wasn’t sure if I was going to bother much with any blogging this summer. But, I think I need it. “The Last Ship” was supposed to start up again for its third season Sunday night, but will now air on June 19th. But, with the cancelation of “Under the Dome”, “The Last Ship” is my favorite summer trash TV series left standing. So of course I’m going to watch.

I’m not sure what else I’ll watch, so I’ll just play it by ear for a bit. I know “Dark Matter” and “Killjoys” are coming back shortly. I’m looking forward to “Killjoys” and maybe “Dark Matter” will be better. I’ve got “Wynonna Earp” saved, too.

For now, stay strong. Start badgering your congress critters about gun control. Shame the NRA. And don’t forget to watch some trashy summer TV to give yourself a break.

The Last Ship: This is How the World Ends

Episode 2.13 A More Perfect Union
Written by: Anne Cofell Sanders
Directed by: Jack Bender
Original airdate: September 6, 2015

TheLastShip

In the aftermath of the Ramses’ defeat, the crew try their best to get President Michener to St. Louis and to spread the cure. The propaganda war is still raging, inadvertently helped along by Jeter, who is contacted by his deceased wife’s parents. Seemingly triumphant at last, the crew celebrates, only for a new threat to emerge.

Well, this season ended with whimper rather than a bang. Sort of. There is a bang, but it seemed to be more of a last-minute revision more than anything. Chandler was strangely low-key in this, too, and seemed to have almost withdrawn into himself. Honestly, I thought he looked ill throughout most of this episode, like he could barely stand and keep it together. That just added to my sense that Chandler’s footing is precarious–the reality that life is never going to be what it was, try as they might, could be sinking in and shaking him to his core. Or, Eric Dane was ill when they filmed this.

Remnants of the cult are still running around, spreading lies and shooting Scott at the end. This made me wonder if Rhona Mitra is staying with the show or moving on. They introduced her trial plot as a really big thing, and now suddenly she’s just been pardoned by the president. It seems a shame but I guess they didn’t want to get bogged down in courtroom drama since this is a shoot shoot show. They introduced a set of new characters this season, and any one of them could be her replacement. There was the doctor from the medical ship, Wolf and the recently dear departed Bivas, the leader of the kids who seems to be hanging around on the ship, Valerie, Patrice is lurking somewhere, and now Beard’s daughter. It’s like The Last Ship 90210!

Speaking of Beard, they mentioned his daughter at the start of the season, so I knew she’d be showing up eventually. And here she is. I guess she’ll be hanging around next season. There was a nice scene between her and Scott when Tex introduces them. And, oh my god, are they really going to try for a romance triangle with Beard, Scott, and Chandler? I will only accept this if the reason for it is because of Beard and Chanderl’s growing feelings for each other, which, at this stage in their lives and given the circumstances, is just much too hard to face right now. So they express that delicious tension through a mutual attraction to Scott. Please don’t disappoint me on that, show!

I know I will be disappointed.

The one good thing about the cult plot is that it probably can extend into the third season, even without the sub and the Ramses. If it got a deep enough hold on a shattered America, and given my country’s tendency towards pockets of fundamentalism, this is a realistic scenario. It also revealed just how cut off the crew of the Nathan James have been from the rest of the world as they completed their mission. This whole cult thing grew up in a matter of months, and managed to get a working sub in just a few months as the world collapsed. Who knows what other surprises are waiting out there for the crew. It’s a big world.

I do think the deadly virus has played itself out now, since Scott has now created multiple cures. I wonder if the series will find some new twist on that, a mutation perhaps. Or if it shifts into post-apocalyptic rebuilding. Since the US Navy is vetting this show, I can see a lot more propaganda use for the later. The navy is traditional, it’s a comforting remnant of the past that could be an organizing element. It would be interesting to see how forces opposed to going back to the old ways might respond to that, since it’s a legitimate question. If they re-establish the presidency, assuming something doesn’t happen to Michener, he will need a strong military to keep the peace at home and abroad as they rebuild. Scott as the new Surgeon General, perhaps? To go along with Chandler being promoted to Commander of Naval Operations (I half expected him to end up as vice-president).

We’ll find out next summer. Overall, however, I think this season of the show was much better than last season, even if it upped the ridiculous factor in a lot of places. They moved the story forward in significant ways, while still leaving lots of room. There was some good action, some good drama, and they touched on some interesting and complex moral and social issues as well. I will look forward to this show’s return next summer.

The Last Ship: Hug it Out

Episode 2.12: Cry Havoc
Written by: Mark Malone and Nic Van Zeebroeck
Directed by: Greg Beerman
Original airdate: August 30, 2015

TheLastShip

I am compelled to open this blog entry with a deep appreciation for the hotness that is Rhona Mitra in this episode. Sure, the tent city they stumbled their way into was meant to bring her full circle from the flashback to the death of her mother in some missionary tent in deepest, darkest Africa. Who cares about that, when she’s sporting those tight, tight pants and that tight, tight tank top looking all sweaty and intense. Yes, please! I really enjoyed that particular part of the episode. Just so I don’t get accused of too much objectifying, the scene really does bring her full circle. She gets a nice moment when she cures a little girl by giving her a hug. Cheesy as hell for sure, but I liked it. And she looked really hot doing it. I appreciated the scenes on many levels.:)

There were a lot of over-the-top elements in this episode that made it fun. I particularly liked Sean’s Home Alone scream at the end. I think Chandler may have broken in to Danny’s stash of anti-psychotic drugs and Oded. He had a wildman stare in his eyes throughout the episode, and alternated between being a guy who’d gone deep inside himself to the point where he thought he could see the bottom of the ocean to barking decisive orders. Maybe he could farsee at this point in the series, since he’s demonstrated such superior tactical intellect all along. I think the scenes were meant to showcase that, actually, Chandler’s genius at chess that allows him to anticipate and outmaneuver. It just looked like he was high as a kite. Meanwhile, Slattery finds a nice big gun and saves the day for a change. He’s come a long way from dancing in the monitor room.

Is this the end of the sub? Will the finale this week be about the Nathan James and President Michener winning back the hearts and minds of the people? Will Scott decide to stay on land, walking the earth like a really attractive Johnny Appleseed, curing the masses with hugs (I’d watch that show, btw, TNT)?  What new conflict and trial will they introduce next week for season three?

Speaking of which, will we see Scott stand trial in the season finale? For a moment in this episode I thought she was going to ask for a pardon, but to her credit she didn’t. Let the chips fall where they may on that one, I think she’s decided. Good for her.