Friday, July 4, 2014

The Last Ship, Season 1, Episode 2: Welcome to Gitmo

Welcome to Gitmo? Oh this is going to be awful…

They’re off to Guantanamo Bay for supplies and the equipment they need to make a cure on the shop. Spy Quincy tells his Russian bosses who order him to stall the ship. Somehow. Even he thinks this is a bit of a tall order. To achieve that, Quincy convinces Dr. Rebecca to let him go off shop with the away team to get supplies, not her, using the excuse that she’s already pushing herself to exhaustion.

On deck, we have firing drills and ridiculous dialogue (they need balls damn it! BALLS!). And time is something they don’t have but they need to make sure their soldiers are ready… is there a reason why these soldiers aren’t already ready, or do we just need an excuse for overdramatic awful dialogue?

Alisha tells her coms people to record messages and not spread rumours – bad coms people! Mike (2nd in command and designated captain arguer) checks in engineering and the chief engineer informs him that all the fuel they got from the cruise ship last week is super terribad, also that they have to use all the engines because the captain said so (lots of eye flicks from people not entirely agreeing with that order).

Danny (the one with the dog) and Kara (his illict love interest) have a moment where we try for some belated humanisation of the dead Frankie. He’s dealing with grief and loss by being snappy and bad tempered having also accepted that it’s not just a matter of Frankie being dead, but pretty much everyone any of them have ever known not on the ship is probably dead.

Continuing that theme we have the coms people flicking between numerous distress calls they can do nothing about. On deck there’s a little ceremony where many of the crew gather to talk about the people who may be dead, loved ones they can only hope and pray for. Which goes from moving to a REALLY clumsy segue into “this is god’s plan!”

I’d find it more touching but a) the dialogue is awful (did I mention that) and I just keep hearing the Captain saying “we need balls!” which is going to ruin the whole episode.

To Dr. Rebecca who expositions about the disease basically summed up as: airborn, wear masks, animals are fine. Mike decides to question how much Rebecca can be sure of all this, she throws back that she would say if she had doubts (and, hey, maybe she doesn’t know everything. But she knows more than anyone else).

The Captain takes Mike aside to call him out on his passive aggressive pouting and that, hey, maybe getting the other officers to think her advice on how to stay alive is wrong may be bad for morale and their confidence in the mission. Mike’s also angry that Rebecca lied to them for 4 weeks. Captain Tom makes him get back in line

They fly a helicopter over Gitmo and see no-one around (“where is everyone?” Oh, sorry were you asleep? See, there was this plague…). Three teams are put together to go to the food supply, hospital and fuel store. With bad dialogue (did he just tell someone to “stay frosty?”)

And Captain Tom has decided that both curiously English CDC doctors cannot go with them – he’s sure that his men will be able to recognise the advanced scientific equipment the doctors need because of their abilities to shoot down missiles. This counts as sensible dialogue on this show. Anyway Captain Tom is going because he’s totally replaceable and Mike, contrary to all evidence to the contrary, will do so well in his place. Anyway, he’s a big damn hero and has at least 4 layers of plot armour.

The teams arrive (with the dog) and Rebecca goes to the command room to follow the action. No-one likes her and she tries to explain to this room full of military personnel what orders mean, since they’ve all kind of forgotten. One of the teams has a trigger happy scared rookie, apparently (did not Captain Tom say they needed balls? BALLS DAMN IT! Yes I’m probably going to keep bringing up that line for a long time).

The hospital is, of course, full of bodies which is tragic and awful (of course the dialogue steps in to ruin it “do not vomit in your mask!” well, thanks for that order. I was totally going to projectile vomit while wearing an enclosing face mask, but now you’ve said that I’ll rethink it!) and Rebecca guides them by radio to the equipment she needs (including a centrifuge. She doesn’t have a centrifuge? Her lab on the ship doesn’t have a centrifuge? My school had centrifuges)

The Captain’s team advances when a random man charges towards them yelling that he’s American and they need to get away – and a car explodes.

Lots of frenzied military speak and the guy who warned them tries to convince them he’s friendly and not ill – and nor are the ones who tries to kill them with a bomb. Those bombers would be 14 members of Al Qaida. He’s the last of the guards, having let the Al Qaida members go because political and religious divisions seem rather moot in light of the apocalyptic plague, the former prisoners turned on them because EVIL! And they have rocket launchers, apparently. Do prisons regularly stock rocket launchers?

The hospital team is running out of air so they decide to pause in getting supplies to have a speech (such a terrible speech.). The fuel team can’t stop the fuel because the valve is stuck and their solution is to hit it with a pipe.

Firefight breaks out at the fuel depot, the Chief Engineer is hit (why is she even there? You needed her skill to turn a valve?) but the fighting is stopped when the ship uses its big gun. The food team finds a dead man killed by the terrorists, just to ensure we know they’re evil and for more awful dialogue (did he just say “revenge is best served cold”? Really?)

The hospital team tries to leave but the dog uses its terrorist sensors to warn them they’ve been locked in. there’s another firefight and they only have a little air left while surrounded by infectious corpses. They get out using bombs and guns. One man is hit (not in an honest firefight! No by some dastardly fiend playing dead! Because only by dishonourable  ambush can American soldiers ever be hurt) and they need a doc – so Rebecca is sent off. She arrives and helps by removing the bullet (which she shouldn’t have done, certainly not in non-sterile conditions but this is TV medicine). He’s stabilised by her artery closing tool.

The captain’s team (Team Ultra. No, really) gets into its own little firefight in the food warehouse. Tex (oh gods) the guard is captured and there’s a brief hostage situation resolved with guns and explosions (and more ridiculous speeches)

Everyone back on the ship, everyone’s alive and Quincey makes up some desperate ruse to delay them. They’re also hailed by another ship-  apparently an uninfected British war ship that wants to replenish their food and work together. More awful dialogue follows.

To the hospital for more bad speeches and Captain Tom telling Rebecca she doesn’t have to play field medic to prove herself to the sailors.

There’s some brief attempt at character development with trigger happy rookie, Captain Tom’s Biggest Fan, sad!Danny and Kara.

And surprise, it’s not a British ship! No-one knows what it is but Captain Tom can see through his binoculars it’s the Russians! Evil Russian puts on his best supervillain voice to introduce himself.

World wide plague, devastations, populations destroyed – but these American soldiers manage to fight the Russians and Muslim terrorists? Which kind of sums up the entirety of the characterisation of these groups. EVIL! The idea that maybe, for example, men locked up for years without any kind of legal process facing all kinds of abuse and torture may be pretty pissed and untrusting would be far more nuance than this show follows.

Mike is just throwing up ridiculous conflict – is this how we’re going to stretch out the season? Because his tantrum doesn’t make sense? Are we honestly saying that Mikey here doesn’t understand the concept of a top secret mission? “Waaah she didn’t tell me about the mission I didn’t have security clearance for!” He doesn’t get that? And he doesn’t get that it wasn’t exactly Rebecca’s choice to tell him or not? If he throws around terms like “chain of command” presumably he should understand it?

The dialogue on this show is just AWFUL. I keep having to check if it’s a parody – it’s like someone wrote the scenes then all the dialogue was outsourced to the writers of Team America, World Police. But it’s actually serious! Actually is it serious? Are we sure this isn’t satire? I have to say, I am enjoying laughing at the show

See there are elements of this that could be poignant. They actually do a real good job of showing the loss and grief and horror of the mass death and the loss of all their loved ones. Then someone will speak and it’s all ruined. This show needs more brains and less balls.