For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to see any of The Last Ship you can either check out the First Impressions from our very own Joshua Wellington-Constantine Barnett or just read this killer synopsis: The Nathan James, under the guidance of Commander Tom Chandler (Eric Dane, Grey’s Anatomy…yep, he’s McSteamy) and XO Mike Slattery (Adam Baldwin, Chuck), are tasked with finding a cure for a worldwide pandemic that has wiped out over 80% of the world’s population. Dr. Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra, Shooter) believes that she can create a vaccine to save the planet…but there are several obstacles in the way including the comeback of Russians being evil, South American slave traders and even some defecting crew members.
The biggest strength of the show is also the biggest weakness: the cast. The main cast (Dane, Baldwin, Mitra and John Pyper-Ferguson who plays the loveable Tex) are outstanding. The love-hate relationship between Chandler and Slattery is often uncomfortable but their butting of heads is mot only entertaining but leads to several heroic/brotherly love moments (which I am admittedly a sucker for). Dane’s Chandler is not only a buff heartthrob but he inspires others to do dangerous, heroic actions by being in the front lines of every confrontation. Slattery commands respect as well, but with more of a hammer vs scalpel approach. Dr. Scott does a great job at relaying the stress that would come alongside having the enormous pressures of trying to save the world in an extremely short amount of time. The scene stealer here though is undoubtedly Tex. His playful charms is not only endearing to Dr. Scott (some of my favorite scenes in the show revolve around these two) but to the audience as well. Conversely, the rest of the cast is just…well, meh. There are some underlying subplots (a traitorous doctor, a forbidden love, a “sick” sailor) just don’t add up to much and seems more filler than anything. Also, I’d like to say that even though I enjoyed the villainous Russian Admiral Konstantin Nikolajewitsch Ruskov (man, am I glad that Russians are the bad guys again), his over stereotyped take on the “bad guy” is bordering on the cartoony side. I kept expecting him to tell his XO to lock target on Moose and Squirrel. Luckily, the main cast is on screen 99% of the time.
The real hook here would be the show;s season one finally. Man, was it good! There is a palpable sense of desperate hope in the beginning of the episode as the lab at the nearest military base is destroyed. Could it be the target of a terrorist attack or something more devious? The sense of hope is realized in the middle of the show as survivors, and even governmental leadership, is alive and well with some strides in the right direction. Then, everything, and I mean everything, gets turned upside down. I won’t spoil anything here, but let;s just say that it’s pretty spectacular. There some things about this episode that bugged me, however: For one, why didn’t the dad who was trying to get to Olympia not stay put? Secondly, is there a reason that fuel type is used? What the hell is good for? Lastly, and most importantly, the Nathan James gets taken down by the most unlikeliest of foes…it’s odd and a bit disconcerting how easily the vessel was taken. I have a feeling that Chandler will have some choice words for Slattery on this issue.
I was initially afraid that The Last Ship was going to be just a ten episode propaganda campaign to join the Navy…and to an extant it is (some of the commercials? “The Best, Never Waiver”…Sheesh!). However, the end result is a show worth sticking around for. The top heavy cast could be a problem, but at least the focus is on the principles anyway so that shouldn’t be much of a problem going forward. The way the show ended its inaugural season is almost torturous in its suspense. Where are they going from here? Who’s going to make through to next season? Where the hell is Tex? The next ten months will be a torturous wait as these questions will be answered and naval justice will be served cold… and salty!