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The Last Ship Review: Mankind's Only Hope

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You either love Michael Bay productions or you hate them.

Lucky for you (and me) I happen to love his over-the-top sense of adventure -- and The Last Ship Season 1 Episode 1 brings to life the end of the world and the hope for survival aboard a Naval destroyer.

Eric Dane is Commander Chandler -- the man who will keep everyone safe -- and Rhona Mitra is Rachel, the paleomicrobiologist who can create a vaccine to save what remains after 80% of the world's population succumbs to a virulent strain of a mutated virus.

The Last Ship aims big and, in the first hour, it delivers.

Looking for Samples

Chandler starts out thinking he's conducting training maneuvers and is out of radio contact for reasons related to their mission. Rachel is on board because there wasn't another vessel big enough to accommodate her lab facility and is merely along for the ride. Or not.

When helicopters arrive in the arctic shooting at Rachel and the sailors who were transporting her and her fellow "virologist," the Russians who are brought back to the USS Nathan James are looking for the cure. Something is amiss!

When Chandler gets the full story, he reaches out to the government who sent him and is told their mission has been extended and when the POTUS finally gets on the SAT screen, it's the former Speaker of the House. The President is dead. It's going down very fast, but since Rachel can create a vaccine, they're asked to return home immediately to start production.

The closer they get to their destination, the less likely it is that they will be staying. Watching a news broadcast, they see chaos. Governments have crumbled; there is nobody in charge of many countries, including Russia. When a nuclear warhead comes straight at them -- only to overshoot and explode over France -- they lose power. They need fuel and food to go home, but no way to get it.

An Italian cruise liner in the distance offers hope. They board to get fuel and food. The dead are everywhere. There's no meat in the freezer unless you're counting dead bodies. One sailor trips over a body, loses his hazmat helmet and is immediately contaminated with the virus. He takes his life right there.

It's not going to be an easy ride. The closer they get to home, some learn of the fate of their families. Others reach no one. Chandler's wife and children are safe according to a message five days old, so that could kill any hopes for McSteamy to be born from the captain as he floats at sea with the beautiful scientist.

XO Slattery's (Adam Baldwin) family is also safe. Any romantic notions will have to come from the crew. We didn't learn much about the crew other than their dedication to their mission and their commander. They are in good hands and good spirits, considering, even after they learn they will stay at sea because it's the safest place they know to create the vaccine.

I don't know where the series will go from here, but if there's one ship floating about, there are sure to be others. In a dog-eat-dog end-of-world scenario everyone will want the cure. If they find out it's on the USS Nathan James, all sorts will be gunning for them, even if their own mission is to create a vaccine to save all, not just the US.

The Russians will know about the cure fairly soon, as the fellow assisting Rachel made a call in his native tongue to alert someone they wouldn't be hitting the shores of the US as anticipated and he was unsure of what move to make next. Since Rachel said the virus had mutated and was possibly weaponized, the total destruction of the planet may have been planned.

There was thrilling action and filming on actual Naval destroyers thanks to the participation of the US Navy and that lent some realism to events. During the first hour, the ship didn't feel limiting, but rather exciting. They can be on the move to stay safe. They can visit exotic locations and and take short trips to land or aboard other vessels. 

My attention was never unfocused on the story and it felt as if I was watching a feature film rather than a TV show. That all bodes well for holding interest going forward. What did you think? Give it a grade and hit the comments with your thoughts.

Grade The Last Ship premiere:



Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
  • 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (33 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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The first episode was good but it seems like a lot of recent shows about pandemic viruses, rogue navy vessels (there was one about a submarine last season, can't remember the name), and foreign villains. Basically, I think it will be an action show with the crew having to thwart attacks from outside and sabotage from inside (you can bet after long enough at sea, some of the sailors aren't going to be following orders anymore!) I give the show one season at best. If they don't find a vaccine by then, the rest of the world will be gone anyway.


I watch new shows basically because of the actors I liked from prevoius shows and then continue if the pilot is good. I am a Greys fan and was a Boston Legal fan so I watched. This pilot did not disappoint. I loved it and will look forward to the rest of the season.

@ retiredinlavernia

It's great fun, right? Like a blockbuster movie. Not going to be winning any awards, but a lot of excitement.


kinda of remind me of Battle ship can't wait let hope they don't make the mistake NBC did with crisis

@ Michael

I never finished Crisis (maybe that was the mistake?). What did they do that turned you off? For me it was discovering the dude doing it for such lame reasons that cast me away. They need to keep up the pace and plow forward and it should be alright. There's so much they can do, if it's done right. I never read the book. Did you? Anyone? Wonder if it's following along...


What is the point of the vaccine now? If 80% of the world's population is infected--they're dead. The remaining 20% will either get the virus and die, or not. By the time a vaccine is created, manufactured and distributed it will all be over.

@ Jim

I will agree that seems a little odd. You'd think the 20% would be resistant to the virus at this point. But, it's fluff TV and end of world scenario stuff, so I'm willing to give it a pass for now. Maybe there are more people squirreled away and safe than we know... I still think shows like this are a boat load of fun! (Pun intended.)


I watched it... It is UNCONSCIONABLE that Good TV Shows got cancelled to put this Boring, Lame, Predictable, Propaganda Trash in its place.

@ Jerry

What good show was cancelled? We don't have enough information on the scope of the virus and why it was created yet to call it propaganda.

@ Jerry

I completely disagree with you. But what propaganda was there?!? My husband jumps on any crap like that and gets annoyed too and he neither saw or mentioned a thing except to say that he liked the episode.


Love end of world scenarios and loved this too! Lots of ships floating about to keep them and the story afloat. Can't wait to see where it goes!


Just watched this...hooray...the gay navy to the rescue. I think it's impossible for people to resist making some personal statement when crafting entertainment these days. It's easy to tell it was an afterthought as well, because it's always artificial and awkward in someone with no storytelling ability whatsoever thought it would be a good time to place a same-sex gender preference in the dialog. Other than that, I think it was a tiny bit of a letdown...not terrible...but not great either.

@ jtmkinsd

Really? The gay navy? With ONE character mentioning a same sex spouse and at least 3 others showing heterosexual partners and you think it's the gay navy? It seems more like a realistic view of the current world. Although I would argue that that person might not have mentioned the fact that they were gay if they weren't worried about never seeing them again. If the end of the world as we know it happened, how do you know how people would react? Besides, it's a FICTIONAL story.

@ Tvfan

I didn't even notice the same sex reference. I guess I figure it's so natural it's no longer an agenda to put it into entertainment. Just a part of life.

@ Tvfan

One huh? There's been plenty of apocalyptic stories done in every form of media...and oddly, it wasn't necessary for character development to focus on their sexual preference. In any event, it was just an relax.

@ jtmkinsd

Dude, what the hell are you talking about? Do you watch TV exclusively to find references so you can make a commotion over homosexuality? We get it. Move on.

@ Carissa Pavlica

Do you reply to general comments about an individual's experience to create commotion? If by "move on" you mean ignore what you see and don't say such things, then I would simply say buzz off. Maybe nobody cares...and YOU surely aren't the arbiter of right and wrong. Sheesh...I posted a simple review and some libtard just can't let it go. *shakes head*

@ jtmkinsd

First, I'm not a liberal. So. Whoops! We have too many comments of a political nature against homosexuality. Scouting out the most obscure references and talking about them with a political agenda rather than discussing the show as a whole doesn't make sense to me. My comment was one of exasperation late at night. Apologies for my tone, but not the sentiment. I'm not going to engage on the topic further.

@ Carissa Pavlica

Lol I was thinking this too Carissa