Friday, August 29, 2014

The Last Ship, Season 1, Episode 10: No Place Like Home

On the land, after her little run in last week, Darien Chandler, Tom’s wife, is sick and dying.

On the ship everyone is glowing and happy – Rachel has made enough vaccine/cure for the whole crew and more they can now go home and heal everyone they come across (well, unless they are already sick and the disease is too far advanced).

We get a brief reminder of the pointless dramas (Tex is crushing hard on Rachel, Kara is pregnant) before they make plans to head to the US to a lab where they can, hopefully, mass produce the cure. There’s also some foreshadowing that they may get some radio contact and even mobile phone messages as they get close to the coast.

As they sail closer they have to rely on a spy satellite (not at its best since there’s no-one controlling it) to grab images of where they’re going because the helicopter and drones are all out of fuel (they used it looking for Tom).  What they find isn’t great – a mass evacuation from the sight, big red crosses and the lab building has been burned to the ground. Who could have done such a thing? (insert gasps)

To the land and the Chandler family have to ram through an armed road block to get to where Granddaddy Chandler thinks there could be help. The people manning the blockade don’t seem too concerned by this since the Chandler family will be dead soon.

On the ship they receive a message from someone who claims they know about the ship’s mission. The same call is heard by Jack and the other Chandlers

Another minor drama, on the ship all the British people with super- posh accents all gather together, it seems Quincy and his wife Kelly are arguing a lot. She blames him for, well, everything and fairly rightly

All this family drama is rather less important than the world wide plague so let’s go back to Tom contacting the mysterious broadcast – Amy Granderson. It’s Alisha’s mother and she’s always been in the know because she’s part of some defence board. She decided not to join the president in the bunker underground because having everyone in the same place would be a bad bad idea. She was right and everyone else appears to be dead. With everything falling apart she has worked with the police to try and create a few safe zones which are very much under threat. They plan to go see her in Blatimore then we cut out as Alisha and Amy catch up

Time for the nefarious – the same people manning the roadblock the Chandler family broke through also intercepted the communication and they plan to go to the meeting (their leader appears to have plague marks on his back).

The meeting happens (Amy’s people got a great deal for product placement for finding the most ominous cars they could find). Danny leads the ship people while they’re met by a Lt Pete from the police (he and his people seem considerably less smooth and precise than the Navy). Everything is  declared secure even though Nefarious Guys are watching from a distance with a sniper rifle and focus on the armament the sailors have.

 Tom & co arrive with a second party (including Tex because… reasons? He flirts with Lt Pete’s second and she seems to flirt back – yes Rachel doesn’t look happy with that. Ugh, can we not?) finally Amy arrives and she and Alisha hug. The Nefarious Guys seems surprised as well – and eager to shoot her but they never get a clear shot. We do learn the Nefarious people have “friends on the inside”.

Tom & co drive to their destination, through a safe zone full of people in masks and apparently living in rather wretched conditions. The building Amy has is much nicer and even has electricity; she warns them of the enemy who call themselves Warlords who are now killing lots of people (and, in terms of odd priorities, tried to steal the original Constitution). The building also has a lab and everyone is amazingly elated by there being a cure

On the ship, Mike is hosting Lt Pete who also tells him about Nefarious guys, the boss is Thorwald. He also tells Mike the place his family were heading to was a Safe Zone, but there’s been fighting there.

And this Thorwald and his minions are not so happy about the cure – thinking it will let Amy take over everywhere and they’d lose the city. They plan to hit the lab. At that lab Tex is still moping over Rachel, we discover the no-doubt-pertinent information that the Warlords are blocking all frequencies and they have to use a radio room to call the ship or anyone else.

Tex decides to leave since Rachel doesn’t love him and they have a stilted goodbye that ends with Tex kissing her. Tom uses that room to try and call his family – while an announcer sends out messages about where is safe and we see a map with big red blocks, some of which are crossed out. No-one answers Tom, he despairs until he finally gets through – but Jack is clearly sick but luckily he’s heading for Baltimore (what an amazing stroke of luck! Someone hit the writers with a haddock for me). Tom arranges to collect him and the family

They arrive, disguising their uniforms and with a cure. But Jack isn’t there, just a sick man telling them that he went to Olympia. Tom plans to go but Amy’s people say Olympia is for sick people and demand they go back to base – and pull guns when Tom refuses. Lots of shouting, lots of gun pointing. Tom tries to calm it down – and one of the police starts to fire – only to be shot by one of the navy. Firefight time! Master Chief is injured but says he’s fine. Of course, the radio jamming means they can’t call the ship.

They grab the truck the fleeing police left and Tom orders his men back to the ship, and to get everyone out of Baltimore. He and Burke decide to walk to Olympia.

Amy gets a phone call that makes her look slightly worried (in a “I’m the evil mastermind behind all this” kind of way) which she hides from Alisha. Alisha suggests looking for Sarah, her girlfriend, but Amy says they can’t get to her in Wisconsin – and calls her Alisha’s “friend.” She shuts down any attempt by Alisha to suggest possibilities. Amy is more concerned about whether Tom will obey her orders. Alisha realises something is up.

Tom and Burk arrive at Olympia stadium where Haz-mat clad officials sort through crowds (several of them masked) of people arriving at a make-shift refugee camp. Tom gives the whole thing disapproving squinty-eyes. Walking through the crowds he finds his family and inoculates them – but Darien is already dead.

On the ship, Lt. Pete shoots a sailor and holds Mike hostage – demanding he drop anchor, he tells them him and his troopers are taking over the ship. More shouting and Quincy rushes him and gets shot in the stomach.

Rachel also realises something is going on, looking at the research and treatment Dr. Hamada is using, his “treatment” is just speeding up the death of the infected. She goes to see Amy who is taking the cure (after her troopers took it) and Amy pretty much admits that yes, they’re killing the infected. She draws upon the Black Death as an example of what plague can do and adds that those on the ship had no idea what chaos they left behind adding that there are barbarians at the gate (here the scene switches to Thorvald and it seems him and his warlords are protecting and caring for the poor and destitute). Amy considers it her duty to save the “right people first” (and to contrast with Thorvald and the destitute, we have Amy’s lab of scientists). The virus doesn’t discriminate – that “unfortunate task” falls to Amy.

Which is where we find Tom in Olympia, watching the dying who magically realises the haz-mat people are killing the sick (and the not even sick). They seek trucks full of bodies being taken from Olympia to the distant power plant – which runs on bodies.

Alisha is brought to Amy by the guards – she was trying to leave (she quickly swears to Rachel she had no idea what her mother was doing)

On the ship Mike musters the crew for the ominous cliffhanger ending.

So we can assume that Amy’s government is a) evil and b) ridiculously foolish. No, really – they have no reason to believe they cannot actually get Tom & co on side quite early on – instead they decide to pull gun in two separate locations (so it’s not even a one-person issue, this is policy) and try to compel them by force – that’s Amy’s police officers vs Tom’s trained military personnel. This… just… doesn’t seem sensible.  And now we have the set up for the next season – eugenics Black woman and her evil empire. And a good chance of some new “heroes” – Thorvald and his patriots (who tried to steal the original Constition – so I bet they’re going to be “patriots fighting for liberty” or some such). We could hope for a discussion of the extreme measures Amy has had to take in desperate, impossible circumstances but this show does not deal in nuance.

Expect a lot more manpain from Tom since Darien was dropped into the story in order to be fridged. More relationship angst for Tex and Rachel (though there’s a good chance she will need rescuing) and Kara is pregnant so lots and lots of Danny being even more “protective” than he is now. It hasn’t been a great season for women, in addition to this and women lurking in the background we’ve had Kelly and the women of El Toro, both of whole are likely to have been raped for gratuitous villain characterisation.

I’ve already written about the treatment of POC this morning – extras, sidekicks, enemies and tokens – with lots and lots of Tom worship. Alisha is also a token lesbian/bisexual.

The story itself just feels very flat – the whole season was Rachel in a lab and random distractions, usually handled by big Damn Hero Tom and a whole lot of really cheesey dialogue. Everything was cheesey but not fun enough to run with it, the enemies were gross jingoistic clichés and it all felt stretched out as they tried to make a full season out of this lack of plot. They threw in some romances, some random dengue fever – honestly you could feel the writers getting desperate. At least a dystopian on land will give them more scope – but we really then have to question the whole “last ship” element – are they going to stay in the US? Are they going to, perhaps sensibly, look for a lab somewhere other than Baltimore? Or are we going to segue into overthrowing a tyrant with a ship in the background?

And did I mention the dialogue? Because the dialogue is truly specially awful.