Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Two, Episode Nine: Uneasy Lies the Head

The title of this episode implies that the focus is about how people learn to become leaders and while I agree that it is significant to the entire story of Uneasy Likes the Head, for me it was all about creepy ass Niels finally getting his. BOOYEAH!

Niels isn't fully co-operating with  the plan to find a way to spread the virus more efficiently and Rachel and Tom are all too aware that each day they delay, more people die.  At first, Rachel doesn't even want to work with Niels but Tom argues that he interrogated Niels even though Niels killed his wife.  I understand what Tom is saying but I really don't like the idea that one person's loss is more significant than another, particularly now that The Last Ship has become a world in which everyone has lost someone. Until Rachel can get full cooperation out of Niels, she asks Tom to gather up some mussels to aid in her experiments. Yeah, I would have asked for him to give some to the kitchen staff as well but that's just me.

On land, the crew quickly runs into a gang of armed teenagers. Not to worry, the kids haven't gotten all Lord of the Flies and the they are quickly outgunned and maneuvered by Chandler's men.  This is when they learn that the immunes have placed a bounty on their heads.  This is worrying because the kids were in an isolated area which means Sean's reach is far.  Tom offers Ray Diaz, the leader of the kids, transportation, shelter and food in exchange for their help tracking down the immunes. Diaz accepts but adds as a condition the right to stay behind and fight with Tom.  Chandler of course balks at this counter offer but ultimately gives in when Diaz points out that no one knows the area as well as him and that in six months he would be eligible to enlist anyway.

While the drama is going on with Niels, on board the Nathan James, Michener is still not completely comfortable in his role as commander in chief.  He knows that he will be included in all briefings having to do with the immunes, the government and of course national security but Michener's big concern is that he'll be asked to make military decisions.  I have to say at this point, everyone would be better off if Michener just played the role of figure head without being given any real responsibility.  Michner heads down to the mess to finally meet the crew and is so overwhelmed that he cannot even decide what to eat for lunch.

As the crew prepares to meet with the immunes, Cody asks Tex if he has killed anyone. When Tex responds yes, Cody says, "cool".  I know that this is to remind us how young and naive these kids are. Cody then asks to fight alongside the crew and Tex promptly responds negative.  Later that night, the navy gets ready to meet with the immunes and Ray actually shoots off the flare before Tom and the crew are ready.  Tom quickly locks Ray up for his own safety but Ray breaks out when he hears on the radio that Cody didn't make it back on the ship because he wanted to stay and fight.  By the time Tom and Ray find Cody, he's dead.  I don't know what the writers were hoping to accomplish with this one.  Ray is obviously a one off character because at the end of the day, he chose to stay and lead the teens and we didn't learn enough about Cody to make his death meaningful.  It's like they wanted to play with a Lord of the Flies type theme but at the end of the day didn't know what to with it.

I must be honest and admit that I didn't follow alot of the scientific explanations that Rachel went through this week.  What I did follow is that the virus primarily lives in Niels lungs and that she can use Niels's lung tissue to make it possible to pass the cure.  This meant that Niels had to die but by the time Rachel made the call to kill him, Niels, who was completely full of himself actually thought that Rachel was totally in to him.  The horror that crosses his face when he realises that the same death he subjected so many to, was waiting for him, was absolutely priceless. I doubt anyone is going to cry any tears for Niels, given that the crew referred to him as a cockroach. Watching Niels die really made up for the fact that for awhile now, Rachel's storyline has been really rather dry or nonexistent. Woot, Niels is dead.

By the end of the episode, Michener has come into a leadership role.  He's managed to order a grill cheese successfully and read over the files from the White House.  He sits in on a meeting of the command structure of the Nathan James and starts making suggestions as to what they can do to ensure the cooperation of society once they get to NOLA.  His idea to gather up extra fuel to deal with the stranded boats is actually a good one. Who knows, maybe they'll make something out of Michener yet, though personally, I wish that The Last Ship had more examples of female leadership rather than trotting out another straight, cisgender white man to save the day.