Friday, July 11, 2014

The Last Ship, Season 1, Episode 3: Dead Reckoning

Evil Russian Admiral makes his Evil Demands of Big Damn Hero Captain Tom – he wants the primordial virus strain (I’m sure with all this effort they could probably have got it themselves), Rachel and her research.  Tom says no. We’re all shocked by this.

I think this bad guy needs a fluffy white Persian cat. He’s far too subtle at the moment.

He threatens to nuke them all (definitely needs a Persian cat) and, apparently, his ship is way scarier than theirs. Tom offers to meet face to face to negotiate and the whole crew gives him horrified side-eyes (my gods captain, you’re being sensible?!)

He goes to Rachel and, reasonably, asks if someone else could make the vaccine if they had the strain and if they would do better. Based on what she knew of the world before she lost contact and her own head start, she says they could make the virus with the strain, but they’d be months behind.

Tom decides to take Quincy on his meeting. Also Tex, the surviving guard from last week, who has even more ridiculous dialogue than is usual for this show. Of course Mike, the second in command, disapproves of the meeting because he disapproves of everything, ever. It is his role on this show. Tom has Evil Russian’s book because he’s apparently a naval genius. Also dramatic dialogue! He needs to LOOK HIM IN THE EYES guys! Because BIG DAMN HERO!

Big dramatic meeting on land between Evil Russian and Big Damn Hero. Quincy confirms that the Evil Russian is not infected. Because Evil Russian is Evil he doesn’t even consider himself being Russian to be relevant any more, Captain Tom, the Big Damn Hero, is still, naturally, an American because GOOD GUY PATRIOTISM RAWR. Evil Russian launches the nuke near France just to drive Tom off, he describes some of the horrors that happened during the plague to explain why he no longer gives a damn about anyone left alive – contrasting to Captain Tom’s “I will save the whole world”

Also, Evil Russian apparently has a secret ingredient needed for the cure. He repeats his demands, threatens nukes and refuses Tom’s reasonable counter offer (and Quincy’s offering of himself rather than Rachel) because he’s eeeeevviiiilll and his ship is nuclear and shinier. Evil Russian also kills one of his own crew because EVIL.

On the ship, Mike the Whiny is shown that the Evil Russians are dropping mines in the bay – so decides on an hour deadline – if Captain BIG DAMN HERO isn’t back, he’s starting a fire fight with the Russians.  Thankfully Big Damn Hero returns and we are spared Mike’s decision making. After a brief planning session, Tom asks Rachel about this secret ingredient thing. She claims he’s lying, blatantly lying as she does so.

After a brief cameo with Jeter (Tom’s fan club leader) and Alisha basically noting that they’re on the ship (no, really, this scene is just to remind us they exist because it does nothing else), we cut to planning a way out with Tex telling them about all the deadly weapons around and them finding a long unused channel. They scout it – and their scout passes on all the relevant information before the Evil Russians gun him down. Tom responds by having the Russian soldiers blown out of their boat (without killing them, because HERO) after making sure Evil Russian Admiral is watching

He calls Evil Admiral to have bad dialogue and talk about him sacrificing his men – speaking in Russian so Evil Admiral’s crew can hear.

He leaves the radio on while he commands his ship to get ready to fire on the wet Russians again, this time to kill. He counts down – and Evil Russian Admiral breaks and agrees to Tom’s demand to back off a bit. But he still gives then 24 hours to meet his demands. I’m not quite sure what Tom got out of that? Tex grumbles about lacking of Russian killing

In the lab, Quincy holds Rachel at gun point, he takes her hostage from her lab through the ship to the upper deck when someone finally spots him. The distraction gets Rachel to run and Quincy finds himself surrounded by military people. Quincy lowers the gun and grabs a vial of the virus instead. There’s a tense showdown which Rachel calms down with some clever use of clichés after which he is quickly subdued.

Quincy works for the Russians because his daughter is imprisoned on their ship. During the outbreak he broke government orders and shared research with other scientists – including a Russian one – rather than keep it just in American hands (much to Mike’s disapproval) – and said doctor is now dead and Quincy’s family captured; the Admiral probably used his wife to play the British captain for the odd and rather useless distraction last episode. He tells them everything

Planning with awful dialogue including this awesome exchange on sailing the ship through the canal:

“It’s impossible”
“And that’s why the Russian’s won’t expect it.”

I… see. They also won’t expect you to sink their ship by thinking bad things about them – how about you try that?

They also need a female for this mission to imitate Rachel so bring in Kara and ask if she can shoot since she grew up on a farm. Um… she’s also in the armed forces, isn’t that more relevant? Kara at least points out she’s an expert marksman.  She also thinks she can shoot the nipples off a chicken which makes me question whether she grew up on a farm  - and it’s a further example of the dialogue on this show.

Danny pouts because Kara is so not ready (and he’s her love interest so much PROTECT the little lady – y’know, the actual soldier). Danny insists on going on the mission with her.

Evil Russian has an Evil Leader Speech. Captain Tom has a “we’re awesome” line to Alisha’s doubts. Jeter and some other sailors set up a distraction with foil on the dock to confuse the Russian radar.

Kara and Danny drive (drive? Sail? What is the appropriate verb here?) in a dinghy to the Russians posing as Quincy and Rachel – with a big bomb in the boat. Except Danny nearly screws up everything because he slows his dinghy down to a near stop to try and get Kara to jump out and get to safety. Kara tells him what a fool he’s being and prompts them to speed up again – she and Danny getting in one of the Last Ship’s firefights (taking no casualties but having amazing accuracy themselves). They jump out just before their bomb boat hits the Russian ship

The explosion covers the noise of the main ship shooting its torpedoes at the coral blocking the canal. Freedom is achieved!

Kara and Danny get back on board and Danny is all furious because he nearly destroyed the whole mission – because of Kara. He decides, belatedly, that all the fraternisation rules are actually sensible and tells Kara to stay away from him

Quincy and Tom argue about Quincy’s family, Tom roaring that Quincy having a choice and Quincy hitting back that it wasn’t Tom’s family on the line.

Evil Russian Admiral also has his own doctor in his own little sealed lab who thinks it’s hopeless without Rachel. This scientist is breathing on lab mice, for some reason.

Hey did you catch the subtlety? The US captain makes a speech about how the cure isn’t just for America but for the whole world while the Evil Russian doesn’t even want to help his own people! This show is virtually a parody of itself. The evil Al Qaida terrorists last week and now the Evil Russians – neither of which care the whole world has been devastated and only have their own agendas while the Americans are, of course, noble and good and sparing of lives and want to save everyone…

Also, the 80s called, they want their plot lines back. Is this the dated origins of the book or is Putin’s colossal arseholery now making Russians good movie villains again?

The Russians are almost comic in their evil while Captain Tom is a send up of every bad RAWR AMERICA action hero ever. I should hate it but it’s all kind of hilarious – especially with the dialogue.

The fact that Tom didn’t even shoot to kill with his retaliatory shot, again, seems to be ludicrous attempt to sanctify this man – and I don’t get why Evil Admiral backed down – he’s willing to shoot one of his men, himself to make a point (with his own men looking on) but having 3 men in a dinghy shot is not something he can stand? His crew are going to be supremely pissed off that these three die in an enemy engagement, but their Admiral happily gunning someone down to make a point is something they’re willing to swallow? And why even kill the scout (and so late) when he knew he’d be exposing his men to the ship’s guns?

I almost didn’t mention that pointless scene with Jeter and Alisha before realising the importance of it – this is the show ensuring that it’s tokens keep some screen time, because, as I cynically expected, the POC (including Alisha, the sole LGBT person) who so filled the pilot are shrinking in significance. It’s still early so I don’t want to make a full judgement because series can surprise you – but it’s an established pattern it seems to be following.

And Kara and Danny? It’s Kara’s fault that Danny isn’t a professional and treated her as a delicate flower to protect rather than an actual soldier? He’s angry at HER because he’s a sexist fool who can’t do his job or respect her choices and skills? And he’s now going to pout and tantrum about it? Can he catch the plague now? Or be killed by Russians (we’ve done Russia – maybe North Koreans? It would fit the pattern of this show).