On The Last Ship Season 1 Episode 4, we were given a look non-human enemies through mechanical failures and weather that failed to cooperate.
It was a good perspective. It proves that there is more to propel the series forward other than the lure of the cure and bitter adversaries.
The ship itself suffers due to a lack of docking and refueling. The crew is tasked with keeping it afloat and protecting the cure with only the ingenuity of the sailors on board. As it turns out, it makes for a pretty compelling tale.
Chandler was feeling nostalgic, sitting at the radio hoping to catch Darien on her father's ham radio. It's a long shot, but what else does he have to do with his time?
Rachel wants access to Quicy to help her with sequencing her lab work, and everyone gives him a hard time. Chandler still never answered his question, what would he do if he had been in the same situation as Quincy. When Rachel thanks Chandler for taking a chance on her and staying afloat at sea, we realize he's already made the ultimate sacrifice.
Chandler could have docked the USS Nathan James in Norfolk and set off to find his family, instead he's left with radio signals and hope. He chose to save the world instead of his family. Quincy just didn't think of it in the abstract.
When it seems the propulsion system is at risk, Chung isn't quite sure what to do about it. He's only in charge while Garnett is in sick bay healing from her gunshot wound on Guantanamo. She has complete faith he'll pull them through.
It comes down to water rationing and pulling the ship via parachutes, should the wind ever cooperate. While Chandler is, essentially, throwing his fist at his misfortune and the lack of wind, Jeter comes topside to share his story.
Jeter was in a car accident that killed his family. He was at fault. He coded seven times, always wondering why he survived when his family perished. He was left to faith. God had a greater purpose for him, and being on the Nathan James now makes him more certain than ever.
Jeter also believes Chandler is there to lead them.
Jeter: You are here to lead us and we are here to follow, to execute your vision.
Chander: I don't have vision.
Jeter: Yes you do.
Jeter went on to recount how Chandler put his hands into the engine and accepted electrocution to keep the ship moving displaying courage and proving his capacity as a great leader. Jeter believes they're all on a journey that will not end with them unable to reach their destination in the middle of the ocean.
As Jeter leads the crew in prayer, the winds pick up and the chutes are launched. Still, with the system down they're forced to ration and the crew falls ill. Rachel has to drop her samples overboard to keep them cool (since they're nearing Costa Rica and the outdoor temperature is over 100, is the ocean water cool enough to do the job?).
When it seems all might be lost, sea gulls are spotted and they're nearing land. I'm happy the episode focused on the fortitude of the crew to get them through and lost sight of the guy I'm calling patient zero on board the Russian vessel. With the world ending, there are plenty of natural foes to keep them on their toes.
That's something that went awry in Revolution. The premise we were given was about an end of electricity scenario, and we ended up watching a series about new world order and government factions fighting each other. The day-to-day frights of just staying alive in a new world were lost. Here's hoping that The Last Ship continues to recognize there are a lot of dangers to losing 80% of the worlds population and terrorists and Russians are only a very small part.
Other things of note:
- I'm so done with the Kara/Danny BS. If it was supposed to be illuminating that even randy Tex could read the subtext hanging in the air when Kara joined them, it really wasn't.
- I liked Quincy's demands of sunlight and a chess opponent in return for helping Rachel, but I'd like to know who the hell he thinks he is that he can even make any.
- There are so many characters on the ship that we can always be introduced to someone new and interesting. Chung taking the helm for Garnett worked really well.
- I was initially unsure of Rachel. She seemed like a bit of a prima donna, but thanking Chandler for taking a chance on her and watching her dodge Tex made her more human.
- The beach scenes were a relief, allowing us to see everyone out of uniform and enjoying each other's company. The reinforcement of their friendship will also make them fight harder to keep each other alive.
- Rachel has a vaccine prototype and it was one of the least interesting moments of the hour. That's pretty amazing, considering.
If you need to catch up with the rest of us, you can watch The Last Ship online via TV Fanatic. Hit the comments to share your reaction to this different episode and expand on the question below.
Are you as interested in the normal issues encountered on the Nathan James as much as the political and biological?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.