Bottom Line Up Front: KICKASS! Miffed about the lack of action and new plot development last week? Well, this one has it all, and all of it is done well. We’re back to action-packed naval porn, and in a much more satisfying manner than in the season premiere two-parter. This one stays on the re-watch list and would be a great entry point for new watchers this season.
Summary: Again, I’m playing catch-up like in the last BLUF Review, so SPOILERS ABOUND.
Ahoy! USS NATHAN JAMES is underway and en route antivirus labs in the southeastern US when intel informs them the Norfolk lab may not have just vanished. They may have gotten underway with their full lab setup and 15 docs aboard USNS SOLACE, one of the Navy hospital ships — which would be perfect for getting the cure all over the world. Cap’n Crunches, CDR Tom Chandler has the ship search for SOLACE, and they eventually find her. Meanwhile, we get to know some new faces. The ship’s SEALs and VBSS boarding teams / security force get augmented by some badass do-gooders: “Wolf” a Wolverine stand-in from the Australian Special Forces and Ravit, a tough but attractive butt-kicking lady from the Israeli defense force, both of which had been in Norfolk for an exchange course when the virus hit. GUNNO is in love, but is instantly shut down, to Tex’s delightful amusement, and Sexy LT 2 notes to Sexy LT 1 that all the females are keenly aware of Wolf’s manly attributes.
They find SOLACE adrift with a pre-recorded message looping out on bridge-to-bridge and they worry they were too late. The XO takes over and Cap’n Tom goes over with the boarding teams, including Wolf, Freckles, GUNNO, Sexy LT 1, Tex, and Ravit. No signs of any life, they split into multiple teams, with Tex, GUNNO, and Ravit going one way, and the Skipper and the rest going the other. They find the virus labs good to go, but recently unmanned, and signs of a struggle. Tex’s team finds bodies, plural, not dead of the virus, but all executed with shots to the head. They are not alone.
The Skipper finds a bunch of docs and crew holed up in an operating suite, trying to save a wounded crewmember. They tell them they’ve been boarded by mercs looking for the cure, and they are killing everyone. Both teams coordinate with NATHAN JAMES, who goes to GQ and brings guns to bear. The mercs then make themselves known and firefights ensue. Freckles and Wolf/Wolf-man have some mutual badassery, while Ravit amply shows GUNNO and Tex how much of a take-no-prisoners-I-don’t-need-no-man kind of gal she is. Great action here. The lead merc, who had been in an intro scene earlier with his brother aboard an infected British submarine, challenges Chandler on who’s team is more lethal. He is determined to kill everyone and get the cure. Firefights and battles continue, with NATHAN JAMES’ snipers and Sexy LT 2 getting some kills in with the remotely operated 30 mm cannon.
Main Merc realizes he’s lost, and he skedaddles. At the same time, Ravit, GUNNO, and Tex come on a tank room rigged to blow the ship, and Main Merc has the detonator! Chandler chases the Brit merc, GUNNO takes a bullet for Ravit, and Tex + Ravit disarm all the bombs, the last of which Tex throws off the ship right as the merc triggers it. SOLACE is saved, some bad guys and redshirts die, and Main Merc jumps into the sea . . . and never comes up. NATHAN JAMES realizes the mercs had to come from somewhere, so they freak out and start searching for a sub. They get one SONAR hit, but then its gone and lost.
Later, Typhoid Niels is revealed to still be with the immune survivalists who hate the cure, and they are revealed to be working with the Brit sub merc force, including Main Merc and his brother.
The Goods: THIS EPISODE KICKS ASS! Everyone gets to play, new villains are revealed, we remain at sea and aboard ship like I like it, and somebody’s torso gets esssssploded with a 30 mm round. The bridge chatter as they approach SOLACE is also very good. Like I’ve always said, this show listens to its Navy tech advisors (except for whoever teaches them Engineering or tactics, because that shit is just painful). The real hospital ships are MERCY and COMFORT, but it looks like the Navy let them film on a real one nonetheless. Thumbs up!
The Less Goods: I’m not sure you can use a 30 mm cannon as a sniper rifle, cathartic though it may be. The Skipper pulls a Captain Kirk and goes with the boarding teams. Ummmmm, no. Also, SONAR doesn’t work or look like that. The show also returns to its default position that positions of responsibility and importance MUST be manned by OFFICERS ONLY. In a pinch, they draft a clueless ENS as the anti-submarine officer. What happened to the SONAR chief or any of the petty officers? ASWO? Ah well, the complaints are minor, but they may be more next episode, as it looks to be an “The Enemy Below” ripoff. I hope I don’t have to hate on their ASW as badly as I hate on their engineering understanding.
Verdict: One of my favorites. Great job, crew!