Bottom Line Up Front: Oh, wait, there’s been an apocalypse? The Last Ship finally deals with the human toll on its characters from all the massive death that took place off-screen last season. Not much action, but the pathos was welcome and a long time coming. Good close-out for season 1, allowing us to move on to new plots.
Summary: Depending on when you read this, there may or may not be spoilers. I’m getting to it LATE, due to other distractions (did you know that your job and your family expect you to occasionally do other things besides review posts? I know! Totally unreasonable). NATHAN JAMES makes the trek from a newly freed Baltimore to Naval Station Norfolk, whereupon they are greeted by uninfected military folk in control of the base. As no new potentates have set themselves up as tinpot dictators, they inoculate the military personnel and establish what happened to the viral lab there (it ain’t good). The lab is no more, but they do gain contact with the other viral labs sequestered about the country and the world. With antivirals in hand, they utilize the sudden glut of pilots and operational aircraft to fly the cure all over, satisfying their primary mission at last.
Finally home, and with no hostile forces or plots to fight, the crew is allowed to leave the ship and search out for signs of their families, armed with the cure. Cap’n Crunches / CDR Tom Chandler already has his surviving family with him, so he heads to the ol’ homestead to do some basic maintenance and contemplate life out of the Navy, taking care of his kids and re-establishing order at home. He makes the decision to quit as CO. XO of Awesomeness CDR Mike Slattery follows a trail of bread crumbs and Easter eggs from camp to camp, but the unknown status of his family persists in remaining unknown. He eventually leaves some of the cure and a note for them (I really really hope that cure stays potent without refrigeration). Sexy LT Number 2 LT Kara Foster along with Sexy LT Number 1 LT Danny Green search for Kara’s mom, finding only a bunch of bottles where her maternal drunk had been staying. Figuring her for dead, either due to the bottle or the virus, she heads to the bowling alley her neighborhood used as a last redoubt to find her mom alive, sober, re-married, and with a new found purpose in life. It seems the apocalypse can be uplifting for some! Back home, Chandler’s daughter and pop convince him to stay Navy and continue saving the world. Slattery, Foster, and Green also return, but the Captain allows some crew to stay behind if they wish (or their characters weren’t renewed for the second season), filling their roles with new castmembers . . . umm, I mean crewmembers. NATHAN JAMES returns to sea, headed south to a viral lab where Hot Virologist Dr. Rachel Scott’s mentor had gone. And we see immune plague carrier Niels hook up with a band of immune survivalists with an agenda, telling them the rumors of the Navy ship with a cure are not rumors. They take this seemingly good news badly.
The Goods: This episode addresses all the emotional impact the series missed out on during the first season. I get that we are portraying dedicated military members, but damn, man, your families and friends are in all likelihood DEAD. Where are the breakdowns and tears? Well, we get them here, along with some uplifting survivals and reassessments of purpose. We finally see the great Eric Dane shed some manly tears for his character’s dead but not-much-lamented wife. We get to see Adam Baldwin go angry and stoic on us as his search turns fruitless. And we get another chance to change our opinion on Sexy LTs 1 & 2. I hate them less this season, maybe because there is less overall focus on them and they are less required trope stereotypes. I also like that this episode switches tracks for the ship’s mission in the new season, and allows for some swap-out of crew.
The Less-Goods: Not much action. Not enough Tex. Not enough lingering shots of Rhona Mitra working out. Ummmmm, moving on! A lot gets left unsaid and un-examined, with the fates of many crewmembers and their families left unmentioned. We spend too much time on mopey LT Granderson – “Oh, my mom tried to kill you all and take over the world as a megalomaniacal dictator eugenicist and now she’s dead – waaaaaaaa . . . .”. I honestly couldn’t care less. Stop worrying if the crew is hating on you and get back to being . . . whatever it is you are. Wikipedia says your job is Conn, and later OOD, but those are watch positions, not jobs. I thought she was COMMO or the Navigator, but that apparently belongs to someone else. Maybe she’s the CICWO? Either way, her useless ass is allowed to malinger in Sickbay the whole episode until the CMC and the Cap’n kick her in the ass (with all due civility and sensitivity, of course). As far as Navy gripes, about all I have is that WOW, those highly technical, maintenance-hogging aircraft they use to fly the cure out sure do work well after not being babied or put in lay-up during the apocalypse. And you’re using an F-18 to fly the cure out across the country or across the Atlantic? I really, really hope your end-of-the-world has extensive tanker support or some very friendly airfields available. Other than that, not much.
Good ep, a necessary ep, but not the one I’d recommend to folks wanting to see what all the buzz is about. I probably won’t re-watch it, but its existence is a good thing, not a bad one. Give it a B, let’s say.