Friday, August 1, 2014

The Last Ship, Season 1, Episode 6: Lockdown

Mood on the ship is very very grim. In the radio room they still get endless requests for help through a vast number of SOS calls and the crew are becoming aware of that (but they’re assured it’s not their families asking for help. If you can call that reassuring).

The crew are also being kept in the dark – something Mike and Jeter (Master Chief) want to continue, hiding knowledge of what actually happened in Nicaragua. They don’t think the general crew (the “kids”) can handle knowing about the sick people they couldn’t help, the village, El Toroet al. (Tex seems to have become an honourary officer). Commander tom, being all good and pure, thinks this is a bad idea, especially given how pissed off everyone was about Rachel keeping the plague secret. Jeter and Mike are all for more secrecy for the sake of hope

Tom, after checking with Rachel’s vaccine tests, ignores their advice , and tells them everything that happened – including Rachel’s monkey experiments and his plan to head home. He also seems to be making promises – or indicating promises – that Rachel has to keep

Danny angsts about his relationship with Kara to Tex

And Kara worries that they’re just being fed a line by the captain to Alisha.

Quincy tries to convince his chess companion that he can help. But it’s not his place to help Quincy and he’s not a big fan anyway.

More problems, Rachel’s vaccine tests aren’t going so well. Tom is not happy but she’s not happy with him – she said she was ready to test the vaccine, not that she had a miracle cure all ready.  He’s all tetchy at her because he doesn’t understand how science works. He also tells her to hide the monkeys she disposes of, throwing them overboard at night, to hide the problems. So much for secrecy

Tom tells Jeter and Mike this and adds that they can’t head for home if they’re just going to have to turn round for more monkeys. Tom does a little “I’m not saying you’re right but I’m going to be secretive now so you kind of are”. The plan is now to stall – and stop moving.

But Quincy can see through that and tells his chess partner, Bacon, how Rebecca’s experiments must be failing because there’s no other reason they wouldn’t be heading to North America (South America was too badly hit by the virus to be a viable place to develop the vaccine, apparently). And it’s all because Tom would rather fail than admit there’s a mistake and make use of Quincy. He works to undermine Tom by spinning all the things he’s done.

Rachel is seen dumping her hidden monkeys, Tom and Mike continue to grouse about how Rachel hasn’t just waved her wand and created a cure. Some guys talk all paranoid about the disease – and Danny collapses. Rachel and Tom arrive and Rachel is quick to dismiss the idea he has the virus – though he does have a fever and is coughing up blood.

And the doctor arrives dressed in full Haz Mat suite. Rachel is not amused, she doesn’t think Danny has it and if he did have it they’d all be dead anyway so panic causing suits are not going to help. Rachel sharply stamps on any panic, irritated by all these people’s medical ignorance and more by being questioned by these medically ignorant people about whether she’s wrong or not, especially since it seems to be a dig about her being mistaken with the vaccine. Which also lets that cat out of the bag.

Despite Rachel’s advice, Tom quarantines everyone in the lounge including himself and leaving Mike to decide what to do. He has the whole ship locked down. Brief panic with everyone locking down – except for Kara who joins them in quarantine since she spends so much time with Danny, if he’s infectious she’ll have it.

Panic and paranoia, rather predictably, runs rampant, throwing in the earlier secrecy people have all kinds of theories about the disease spreading. Everyone cowers in hazmat suits (hey, a few episodes ago didn’t they not have enough of those?) And news comes in that, Rachel is right, it’s not the virus, it’s another fever, a non-contagious one. Hey, what do you know, the medical professional is right?! I’m sure this is a shocking development

Rachel tries to tell Tom off for doubting her when she said Danny didn’t have the virus but he talks over her, telling her all the things he does for her – not going home, not recusing people. She hits back – they’re doing this for the human race, not for her.

But drama has set in Bacon talks to Quincy again and he confirms that Rachel is throwing monkeys overboard because the vaccine isn’t working. Or that the suits aren’t working. Or that the tests for the disease don’t work. Quincy throws a huge amount of half-truths and slanders to Bacon to increase his paranoia.

Tex drops in to reassure Rachel after Tom pretty much publicly humiliated her and doubted her skills.

And Mike and Tom are discussing the tension when Jeter arrives with a respectful petition from 16 crew members wanting off the ship (buh-bye now, don’t let any of the food stores leave with you), which is awkward, especially with their enlistments ended and keeping them smelling a lot like what El Toro did.

Of course, Quincy is manipulating all of this through Bacon. There’s more arguments back and forth among the crew when Tom calls them all to a meeting on the deck (not, alas, to throw the dissenters overboard. Well something needs to amuse me at this point). He makes a speech and plays some of the messages they’ve been receiving to remind everyone of what they’re doing. He then gives all his soldiers a tour of Rachel’s lab.

Apparently without telling her first, by her reaction. He gives her a positive biography to the team (it would work better if those same skills he’s not lauding weren’t the ones you disrespected earlier) and then has her deliver an impromptu, unplanned, lecture. She explains how vaccination development works and Tom takes over with a big damn speech (and still characterising the vaccine as “failing”).

He also offers those who want to leave a boat and supplies so they can do so. He and Tex then have a moment convincing us that these 16 people leaving will actually be a problem. I’m not buying it.

It shocks no-one that all 16 decide to re-enlist and recite their oaths again.

Danny doesn’t die and Tom gives her a lecture and a light punishment for fraternisation.  He also takes away Quincy’s chess set and stops his meetings with Bacon.

Ok I take issue with so much here. First of all – yes fratnerisation bad, but lecturing Kara about nearly destroying the mission because he was worried about her? No no no, it was Danny who was unable to keep it professional – not her. But both Danny and Tom are applying blame to her for his “protective” (and sexist) instincts – like Danny can’t be expected to do anything else other than protective of her and it’s her fault for being there.

And Tom’s “I don’t know you but I’ve done X for you” bullshit. He doesn’t need to know her, he’s not doing a personal favour for her. She is creating the vaccine. She is trying to save the whole damn world. To act like he’s doing some massive service to her is a gross misreading of the situation.

And doubting her when she said, unequivocally, that he didn’t have the virus wasn’t just a matter of trust, it was utter disrespect for her expertise. He questioned her from a position of profound ignorance but still feels arrogant enough to make his own decision on the matter.

The same applies to Mike and Tom grousing that Rachel can’t deliver on the promise Tom made without consulting her. She’s to blame for their scientific ignorance; she is judged because she’s not reaching the expectations Tom has, in his ignorance, placed on her. And then he opens up her lab without even giving her a heads up? Who knows what delicate research she could have been in the middle of?

Which goes on top of Rachel STILL being blamed for the secrecy at the beginning of the operation  - because she was ordered to. The same order that Tom is now relying on Mike and Jeter to follow and from people with far more authority than Tom has.

POC as mouthpieces continue to be a thing – Jeter reports things to the Captain (in between fanboying) then reports them back. Alisha repeats what other people say even Bacon ends up as Quincy’s tool. We have some other random POC around as part of the voice of discontent muttering (I think Cruz is one of them) – but they’re scenery more than characters at this point. And by episode 6, it’s time to start questioning the representation here.