The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 4 Review: Tropic of CancerDale McGarrigle at .
It was not a good day for the home team.
The U.S. military, in the form of the Nathan James, definitely suffered a setback on The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 4.
After the sneak attack on The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 1, things had been going better for the U.S. military. Tavo lost a warship on The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 2 and his air force on The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 3.
Of course, that couldn't last, or it was going to be an awfully short season. Even for cable.
The bulk of the episode was spent on Tom's plan to mine the Yucatan Straits to pick off Tavo's fleet (does four ships really constitute a fleet? More than one does, I suppose.).
And his plan worked, for a time. Something just seemed off, however.
Related: The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 3 Review: El Puente
Tavo had four ships, yet only three were showing up on the radar. I figured one was being held in reserve, just in case. Just the Americans' luck that it was a battleship, which, with the Nathan James' weaponry shortage, left them badly outgunned.
Using the minefields to cut down on the number of enemy vessels was a sound strategy, taking out two of Tavo's ships.
I kept expecting that the fourth ship had taken out the Cubans' dinghy, which was why Tom couldn't raise them.
But no. Cuba jumped ship, so to speak.
I wonder when Cuba changed sides. It must have happened midbattle; otherwise, Tavo wouldn't have lost those first two ships.
Another question: as Tavo gains additional allies, how much is that beefing up his arsenal? With Latin American countries recovering from the events of the past few years, I can't imagine they've rebuilt their militaries even as much as the U.S.
Related: Watch The Last Ship Online: Season 5 Episode 3
The battle was a good opportunity to watch the below-deck crew of the James does what they do best: improvise. They managed to get the engines back online using a length of fire hose. Unfortunately, there was just too much damage during the battle for them to get ahead of it.
Despite the unwelcome outcome, the Battle of Yucatan Straits did clear up one mystery. With two admirals and a captain onboard, who was in charge of the Nathan James?
Kara, definitely Kara.
She actually backed Tom down from his usual position of charging headlong into battle against impossible odds; damage be damned. Kara, supported by Slattery, opted for the sad but necessary choice of returning home for repairs.
You just knew Tom boasting on air last episode would come back to bite the Americans in the ass.
Props to the Mexican forces for blowing up the oil refinery so it wouldn't fall into Tavo's hands.
Fortunately, by the time the James gets repaired, it will have reinforcements coming in the form of Vulture Team.
The Last Ship's Bridget Regan Q & A
At least, I think they got a ride home from the narcos offscreen. Hopefully, those encrypted battle plans will yield some useful intel.
It seemed like they'll be down a member, however, as Wolf didn't look like he'll be back in the fight anytime soon.
Apparently, the narcos' airfield wasn't all that secret, as the local forces had time to mine around it and set up an ambush.
That was a great rescue by Danny of Wolf, who was able to shoot a soldier while in Danny's fireman's carry. I don't think those soldiers were expecting the resistance they got from Vulture Team.
The only good news was back at Command, and even that may have come too late for Alisha.
Clayton was able to dissect how the cyber attack happened. Alisha figured out that she was the Trojan horse for the attack.
But after she put the pieces together, she made the mistake of going home to confront her revolutionary honey, Kelsey, not even bothering to let Clayton know where she was heading.
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That bad choice, her need to "say it's ain't so" to Kelsey, was why she was bleeding out on her kitchen floor, while her Tavo-loving girlfriend escaped.
I want to believe that Alisha could be found in time to get saved, but she looked pretty dead in that last scene.
I sense a jump-ahead coming because watching the Nathan James in drydock wouldn't be great TV. So maybe the next episode will start with a "Three Months Later" card.
Maybe all the walls along the Mexican border will slow down Tavo's forces.
To catch up on the war against Tavo, watch The Last Ship online.
Will Clayton's discovery get the military's computers back online? Is Alisha dead? Will Wolf get back in time?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.