Monday, June 6, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Two, Episode Eleven: Valkyrie

Valkyrie was very much an action packed episode.  It seems that more and more, The Last Ship, is moving away from telling stories about people to just blowing shit up.  This week, we lost four characters including Chung and Ravit whose death was extremely sad to watch.  Ravit wasn't with the ship from the beginning but she had proved tough and not afraid to call the menfolk out on their bullshit. Even in the last moments of her life, when Burke and Wolf tried to lie and claim that she wasn't that injured, Ravit kept it real and let them know she was aware that she was dying.  In her final moments she whispered a prayer in Hebrew which reminded the audience of exactly who she was.

So how did all of this mess get started? Well, The Nathan James arrived in New Orleans as planned but Ramsey set off a bomb injuring civilians.  Shortly afterwards, Ramsey released a video which showed doctored footage of the explosion, blaming the crew of the Nathan James and claiming that the virus was created by the government in a conspiracy to create a  new world order.  I can potentially understand people believing the doctored video footage but a new world order?  Really? Why would the government need a new world order when they were fully in power with no threat against them before the virus even started?  Yeah, I know conspiracy nuts but this takes a whole lot of twisting to believe.

A group of soldiers including Tex, lands on the beach and they start helping out the wounded.  On the ship, Michener has taken on his role of President and is starting to make decisions.  Instead of finding a way to destroy whatever is transmitting Sean's message, Michener wants to take it over and send his own message, particularly because Sean is claiming that Michener was kidnapped.  He feels that if the Americans hear the truth from him, they cannot help but believe it.  Here's the the thing, Michener was part of the Housing Department.  How many Americans would look at a video of him and believe that he is the president? For all they know, The Nathan James could have just dressed up one of the seaman in a suit and sat them down behind a desk. Finally, despite all the bravdo he now displays, Michener is not very presidential.

As Tex, Danny and Flea help survivors on the beach, one of them turns on his cell phone, (as you do at the end of the world) and picks up the Sean's transmission.  He quickly riles up everyone else and the team is forced to flea for their own safety.  It seems that Sean has the transmission rigged so that anyone who turns on their cell phone will be able to access it.  Yeah the technology behind this seems a bit off to me but what the hell do I know.

They manage to figure out the source of the transmission and it's an oil rig.  It's time for Tom to get off the ship and he takes a team with him.  On the oil rig, the crew meet Valerie Raymond, a graduate of MIT.  It appears that she's some sort of tech wizard and has created a network with six million users to get the truth out about the plague. Valerie's been hiding on the rig to avoid getting sick. Tom and Valerie are not feeling each other in the slightest.  She's pissed to be written off as just another conspiracy whacko and he's frustrated that she's aided the enemy.

Tom and Valerie don't get to hash it out for long because the civilians that Tex, Danny and Flea were trying to help have spotted the crew on board the oil rig and decide to get a little revenge.  A boat approaches the oil rig and shoots an RPG at the rig.  Okay pause.  I know that Americans love their weaponry but how the hell do ordinary civilians gets their hands on an RPG? How? The civilians manage to get off a shot and all hell breaks loose.  The oil rig is now leaking and with fires raging, this is absolutely a problem.  Slattery sends in a helicopter which promptly explodes the civilian boat.

When next we see the crew, they are back on board of the Nathan James, tending to the wounded and in shock from what they have survived.  Luckily for Valerie, Tom chased her down on the rig or she would be dead as well.  Tom suddenly passes out and we learn that he has taken some shrapnel and is bleeding internally.  Is this supposed to remind us that the great Tom Chandler is human?  At any rate, Tom recovers thanks to the quick work of Doctor Scott, who snarks that she can still use her powers for good.  As far as I am concerned, she did use her powers for good when she killed Niels.  Is anyone really going to miss him?

Slattery is particularly pissed that Sean has managed to get the crew of the Nathan James to kill their own people.  On board the sub, Sean isn't even the least bit gutted that he lost the ability to transmit his lies to the public.  He's actually spent time writing a manifesto and feels that he is on the verge of creating a new world order.  Sean actually believes that he and Ned are like Moses and Aaron.  From the look on Ned's face, it's clear he believes that his brother has absolutely lost it but he's powerless to end Sean's demagoguery.

The crew holds a small service for the members they have lost in the mess area. Having seen what Tom went through to save her from the oil rig, it seems that Valerie is now onside. To that end, Tom wants to know if what she has in her knapsack can help them in anyway.

As I said in the beginning of this recap, The Last Ship is gone all explosion and we're American man. It's a side of the show that I personally like the least. Let's wrap ourselves in the American flag for the good of the people while spouting patriotic clap trap doesn't work as a plot point for me.  I want to know about the people, their relationship to each other and how they are mentally holding up under all of the strain. Having Foster visit Rachel for a pregnancy check up just doesn't cut it enough.

The most interesting part of this episode was not the oil rig blowing up but Rachel confronting Tom after treating him.  It's clear that do gooder Tom is still not happy that Rachel killed Niels.  I personally don't see a downside to Rachel's actions. She got rid of someone who was happy to keep spreading the illness around, had no problem purposefully infecting children and at the end of the day, Rachel created a cure which would be easier to transmit. It's a freaking win win. Tom is rawr rawr rule of law and slippery slope which I suppose is necessary for the Nathan James to function but in this case makes no sense.

I was really sad to see Ravit go this week. The Last Ship, does have quite a few female characters but with the exception of Rachel, they seem to be taking a back seat this season.  It's all really been about Tom and his white whale (read: Sean Ramsey).  Going into this I knew there would be a problem with gender representation because the Navy has always been a boys club.  That being said, because The Last Ship is a television show, there's no excuse not to give the female characters more to do. The weekly explosions and shoot outs cannot cover for what is obviously not there.