Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Two, Episode Eight: Safe Zone

Everyone is back on The Nathan James and President Michener is not pleased by this turn of events, having drunk Sean's kool aid by the barrel.  The crew escort him into a secure room as Michener tells them that they have no right to do this.  The crew review old video of Michener standing up against Congress which wanted to close the Department of Housing and determine that Michener has metal in him.  I think that they had to look awful hard though.

Jeter is hopeful about being able to turn Michener but Slattery believes that they should just break Michener to get the information they need about Sean and the location of the sub.  Personally, I'm team Slattery at this point.  Chandler being the captain gets the last word and decides that they are going to try to convince Michener to do the right thing, fully aware that they are on a tight schedule because if Michener cannot get it together within 24 hours, the crew will never see him as POTUS which means that they won't follow him.

Slattery debriefs Michener, showing him the orders they received to find the cure, telling him about the small network of labs they established, and showing him  a video of one of Sean's men killing a scientist to stop the spread of the cure.  Michener listens but it's clear that he isn't taking in what Slattery is saying.  Slattery leaves him alone without a guard but with a computer.  Instead of reviewing the files that Slattery left behind, Michener pulls out a memory stick and listens to a message from Sean about how they are the chosen ones and that they are going to rebuild society from the ashes.

It's now Tom's turn to take a shot at breaking down Michener. The moment Michener sees Chandler, he demands to be released and taken back to Sean because he believes in Sean's mission. Chandler does his cold ass routine and tells Michener that he needs to be convinced that Sean has the right path forward. Michener has come to embrace the idea that he is part of a master race because he is immune. When Chandler brings up the cure, Michener balks, claiming that the virus will mutate again. It seems that the plan is to gather in New Orleans because of its food and water supplies and rebuild society.  The people who are not immune who live there will be handled somehow Michener claims.  Tom is quick to make an analogy to the Third Reich and suggests that what Michener is planning is to make a master race.  It's a shrewd comment and enough to spark Michener's attention because after all, who wants to be compared to Nazis.

With the information they need, Slattery is ready  to be done with Michener and honestly, who can blame him.  Jeter however believes that what Michener really needs is something to hold onto because he feels responsible for the death of so many people at the safe area he had created.  Tom does some research to find out the exact source of Michener's grief but what he doesn't know is that at that very moment, Michener is so overwhelmed that he has decided to take his own life.  They manage to save Michener and Tom reveals that he learned Michener broke protocol to bring his son to the safe house. It seems that Michener's son was infected and it set off a wave of illness.  For Michener that isn't even the worse part of what happened.  We learn that his wife asked him to put his family out of their misery so while they slept, he suffocated them with a pillow.  Unfortunately, his daughter awoke and so the last thing his daughter experienced in the world was her father killing her. Michener is racked with guilt over this and has no idea how he is going to go on. This is when we see the softer side of Tom because he talks about the people he killed since the outbreak of the virus. Tom goes on to talk about losing his wife and finding his aging father and children in an extermination camp. It keeps Tom up at night that he has had to leave his children with his father who has a bad heart to work on this mission.  It's heartfelt and it's moving and serves the purposes of getting Michener to see sense and switch his allegiances.

Now that Michener is on side, it's time to brief him about what has been going on. Rachel pulls out the teddy bear that Sean had planned to use to distribute the virus to kids. He is absolutely horrified by what his mentor had planned.  They all decide to go forward and head to New Orleans before the sub can.  Unfortunately, there's a transmission going out which The Nathan James cannot trace.  It's warning the people that the cure is false and that if they run into The Nathan James they are to run the other direction or fight the seamen.  This is going to make their mission that much harder.

Safe Zone is yet another episode in which Tom is set up to be the good commander with a moral heart.  He's uncompromising in his mission.  That being said, what I took away from it is that Michener really isn't a leader; he's a beta not an alpha.  What Michener needs is for someone to tell him that it's all going to be okay and someone to look up to.  This means that Tom will have the ability to manipulate him just like Sean did but naturally, Tom's innate goodness is going to stop him from doing so.

Now we know that Sean's big plan is to set himself up like some kind Neo-Nazi.  With the population being decimated, a lack of clear leadership, and the feelings of hopelessness for the survivors, it's easy to see why Sean is so appealing.  We would like to think that in the worst of times that people would pull through to survive together but fear and loneliness makes people make terrible decisions.

Obviously the big show down between Tom and Sean is coming.  We already know that Sean will be defeated it's only a matter of how.  I am more interested in how they are going to establish some sort of democratic society after Sean is out of the picture than anything else.