THE LAST SHIP
Commander Tom Chandler - Eric Dane
Dr Rachel Scott - Rhona Mitra
XO Mike Slattery - Adam Baldwin
Tex - John Pyper-Ferguson
OTHER UNDER THE DOME SEASONS
OTHER STEPHEN KING SHOWS
Salem's Lot '79
Salem's Lot '04
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Bag Of Bones
Pilot - Phase Six
The warship Nathan James is carrying out weapons testing in the Arctic Circle when the captain learns that the world is being ravaged by a terrible disease and the scientist his ship is playing host to may be the only hope of stopping the extermination of mankind.
Seeing the name Michael Bay above the title of anything is usually a cause for concern, but he brings in the audiences and no doubt that's the hope for this new post-apocalypse action series. It certainly is going to need something to bring in the audiences because the more discerning viewers will be firmly turned off by the pile of tosh that this first episode throws up.
The show sets its stall out early on when the scientists are attacked on the arctic ice by forces unknown and a couple of American soldiers on snowmobiles manage to take out a vastly superior armed force whilst not even getting scratched. It's this kind of jingoistic nonsense that gives action a bad name.
Still, we can fall back on the characters to keep interest up, or not since calling them paper thin would be inaccurate. Compared to these walking cliches, paper looks positively obese. There's the hard as nails commander, the hard as nails second in command, the hard as nails female scientist, the hard as nails... well, you get the idea. The performances from all and sundry are perfunctory and most of the actors are capable of better.
The plot takes second place to the action (let's thrown in a nuclear explosion for no other reason than we can) and the visit to a ship full of corpses is meant to add chills and character tragedy, but since we don't know the characters both of these are undermined.
THE LAST SHIP takes mindless action over plot and characterisation and we won't say that we expected more from a Michael Bay production.Top
Welcome to Gitmo
The Nathan James arrives at Guantanamo Bay to pick up some supplies, but finds the base a little less deserted than expected.
Hey, look everyone - Americans shooting the hell out of the very bad arab fellas. The politics behind this show are severely suspect. The disease popped up near Cairo (right by the pyramids in case US viewers didn't quite get the hint) and now we have a bunch of arab terrorists being all arab and terroristy just so that the forces of the good ol' US of A can shoot the bloody hell out of them. At least a couple of the good guys stub a toe or something in the process of killing off seventeen terrorists, all of whom have the drop on them.
This episode does introduce John Pyper-Ferguson as Tex, a man with more character in ten minutes than the rest of the crew have shown in two full episodes.Top
A Russian battleship arrives and threatens to blow the Nathan James out of the water if they don't hand over Rachel and her work.
After having shot the hell out of the Arabs last time around, the all-American crew of THE LAST SHIP get the chance to out-think a genuine Russian maritime tactical genius. He must be a genius because Commander Chandler tells us he is. We need to be told because from that point on, he makes a series of ridiculous blunders that would suggest he probably flunked sailing school. He's also supposed to be ruthless. We know this because he shoots his own man in the head just to prove a point and then kills a couple of Chandler's men to prove another. Moments later, however, he's surrendering every single tactical advantage he has just to save three of his own men. This is a man that we are told lobbed a nuclear bomb on France, again just to make a point. Clearly this is some use of the word 'ruthless' with which we were previously unfamiliar.
The death of the crewman at least shows that the heroes are not invulnerable and the dead-reckoning run through the narrowest escape route is not without tension, but perhaps someone can explain how two crewmen who jump into the sea less than a hundred yards off the enemy ship can be picked up by their own in open water miles away?
It's sloppy, careless writing like that which makes this show so risible.Top
We'll Get There
The ship's propulsion breaks down and there's no fresh water. Worse than that, the tropical temperatures are threatening to destroy Rachel's breakthrough on the vaccine.
Yawn. At least the lack of any enemy in this episode means that we aren't submerged under a tsunami of All-American gung-ho. That said, that might have been preferable to this episode, which is becalmed in more ways than one. The necessity of focusing on the crew members in the absence of any real plot just brings into cruel focus how dull and lifeless these characters are. It's hard telling most of them apart.Top
In search of monkeys to use for the Doctor's experiments, Chandler and his team encounter an ex-drug lord who has a community of scientists held captive to his perverted will.
After seeing off those Arab terrorists and doing in those nasty Russkies it's time to slap the Latinos around a bit for their drug-dealing ways. The villain isn't just a bad guy, he is ruthless enough to kill a girl for calling him a pig and if that isn't enough to make it clear that he is deserving of what's coming to him, he's a paedophile to boot.
The horrible jingoism of this terrible, terrible show with its xenophobic agenda reaches a real low in this episode. It can't even put the heroism aside to be realistic. Having been set free by the drug lord with everything that they wanted from the mission, the handful of Americans do not go back to their ship and return with overwhelming firepower, silenced weapons and the element of surprise. No, they go in unarmed and take out over a dozen armed men with only their skill, determination and square jaws. If it wasn't so odious, it would be laughable.
At least there is a single shot at the end of the episode that, as well as being a real downer, is a reminder that the Americans aren't completely omnipotent. At least not yet.Top
One of the crew comes down with a mystery illness and the rest worry about what they are not being told by the higher ranks. A mutiny foments.
With no horrible foreigners to slap around, the crew of the Nathan James turns on itself, which is at least a relief from the horrible xenophobia that the show has shown to date. There is still enough overblown jingoism and 'aren't we just the most noble people in all the world' going on to make anyone in the audience who doesn't think of America that way gag, but that's still better than the alternative.
That said, the plot is as static as the ship and it might have been a lot better had the characters actually had any, well, character. Since they're all just paper-thin cliches, their every response is predictable, right down to the 'Gosh, gee, aren't we Americans just wonderful' finale. Considering how easy it is to change everyone's minds, fickle would be a more appropriate word to use.Top
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