Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode Three: Shanzhai

Instead of calling this episode Shanzhai, I think it should have been called, "A White Guy Must Lead Cause Reasons".  At any rate, let's get into it and see if you agree with me.

When we last left The Last Ship, Mike and several others had been kidnapped and Tom was making his way back to the Nathan James determined to get Mike and the other officers back.  Now on board The Nathan James, it's time for Tom to plan a way forward.  Things aren't running smooth back in the U.S. either, as Michener once again comes under fire regarding rationing and U.S. relations with China.

After having the bags removed from their heads, The Nathan James captives are hurriedly taken onto land. Andrea and Jeter talk about figuring out where there are, as they are led through a village by captives holding the leash of guard dogs.  Yep, they're not in Kansas anymore.  Mike is pulled away from the rest of the group and he's outnumbered.  He's taken to a hut while struggling the whole time, screaming, and asking his captors if they know who he is.  Mike tries to fight back but he is strapped to a bed and blood is forcefully taken from him. For good measure, Takehaya informs Mike that yes, they know who he is.

On board the Nathan James, Sasha finds a coin that the pirates use in Shanzha. Alica adds that this is the direction the ship they were following sailed off in.  Tom gives the order to get in contact with Michener and sets the ship in that direction. Considering that Tom is the only military adviser that Michener has, Michener wants him back home post haste. Tom however is insistent that whatever is going on is about more than his crew and becomes insistent that he must stay on board the Nathan James to figure out what is going on.  Tom also suggests that Michner delay his order to send ships to China, and instead leave them in Japan, to avoid alerting suspicions.  Okay, Michener is the Commander-in-Chief and he is taking orders from Tom.  Michener has never really been more than a figure head that Tom pays lip service respect to and when the chips are down, Tom's gonna do what he is gonna do.

Later, Big Burke stops in at Tom's bunk and Tom thanks him for the loan of a uniform.  Unfortunately for big Burke, that's not what this little visit is about.  It seems that Tom has decided to promote Ganderson, though she has less experience and length of service than Big Burke.  Tom feels that Big Burke is too emotional in his decisions and then there's the little matter that The Nathan James was out of position for a rescue, forcing Tom to fire on the ship the boat.  Tom decides that Big Burke will be running command.

In another area of the ship, Jesse is determined to fix her helicopter and leave The Nathan James. Sasha tries to explain how much they need Jesse and adds that Jesse will be killed as soon as she lands now that her cover has been broken but Jesse refuses to bend. Jesse's plan is not to return to China and adds that what is happening now isn't her fight. Overhearing this conversation is enough for Wolf to decide that he's not willing to help with repairs if Jesse isn't in on the fight and so he drops his hammer and walks away.

Tom steps onto the bridge and but balks at the announcement that the captain is on the bridge and instead requests a simple call to attention. Tom says that he needs Jesse to stay on board the ship and Ganderson agrees to handle it. Tom then begins giving orders, having decided that he'll take Green and Taylor on a mission to get some information about the missing crew members.  Sasha steps up to suggest that this isn't a good idea because Tom has the most recognizable face in the world and that if he dies, the ship will have lost another captain.  This makes perfect sense but Tom takes Sasha aside to give her the business about questioning his orders in front of the crew. When she accuses Tom of needing to control everything, Tom snarks that this is the reason he's made it so far. Tom then ends the discussion by pulling rank. In the sick bay, Big Burke whines to Little Burke about being passed over for promotion.  Little Burke explains Tom's decision by saying that Ganderson and Tom know each other well.

Mike regains consciousness but he's groggy and his vision is extremely blurry. Mike looks down and sees the wound on his arm from the blood they took from him.  A medical person takes a bag of blood and gives Takehaya a transfusion of Mike's blood.  This makes absolutely no sense to me.  Yes, Mike's blood has the cure but it's not safe to simply take blood from one person and give it to another unless the person donating the blood has a universal blood type. I guess The Last Ship isn't going to let a little thing like science get in the way of telling its story. Furthermore, clearly Takehaya has no concerns about blood born diseases like Hep C or HIV/AIDS either.

Back in the U.S., Michener meets with the White House press core.  I'm actually surprised that they've gotten to the point of stable news.  The reporters ask some pointed questions about what Tom is doing in Asia and Michener simply gives the party line about negotiations with Peng and doesn't release information about the captured Nathan James crew. This is so going to bite him in the ass.

The away mission has landed in Shanzha which Tom calls a modern day Dodge City.  Being all white, they stand out like a sore thumb.  Sasha leads them to a bar where she hands over the coin and takes a shot of liquor.  They head up a flight of stairs and Sasha greets Wu Ming, who is quick to point out that Tom is bad for business.  If I were Sasha I would have been all I told you so to Tom.  At any rate, Wu Ming is quick to claim that he has no knowledge of the kidnapping and so Tom opens a bag containing Navy weapons in the hope that greed will loosen Wu Ming's tongue.  As it turns out, Wu Ming isn't interested in the weapons and actually wants Tom's watch because it's a Miramar pilot's watch.  An excited Wu Ming says, "Top Gun" repeatedly. Ming now claims that a man named Kenji came in with a lot of money bragging about the kidnapping and was thrown out. Tom hands over the watch warning that if Ming lied, he will drop six Tomahawks on his village.  Sasha translates this to, "you lie you die" for Ming.

Jeter has been separated from the group to undergo the same treatment as Mike. The rest of the group is led through the woods, as Mike explains about the blood withdrawal. None of the captives can understand the motive behind this given that the Americans are trying to make the cure readily available. They are taken to a dining area and Mike is ordered to sit with Takehaya. Mike protests that he wants to stay with his crew but is given no choice in the matter. All of the food the captives are given is high in protein because they are clearly being fattened up for the slaughter. In their conversation,  Takehaya admits that he used to be a part of the Japanese navy and that he adapted to changing times.  Clearly, Mike and Takehaya have some history but at this point, Mike cannot quite pinpoint from where.

When the captives return to the hut they are being held in, Jeter is thrown at them. Rios is quick to declare that Jeter is dehydrated. Umm ya think? At any rate, Miller has found a way out and it involves climbing out through the latrine and then throwing the food they stole at mealtime to distract the dogs. Miller is convinced that he won't be killed because the crew is needed for their blood.

Back on the ship, Alicia is still trying to enlist Jesse's help and to that end sends her lunch with her favorite pop.  Of course, Big Burke isn't impressed with this tactic but I don't see him tossing out any ideas either.

Back in the states, Jacob Barnes, the journalist who was grilling Michener about what is going on in Asia has some questions for Kara. He begins by trying to ask her out for dinner, only to be told by Kara that she is married. Barnes then fixates on his real question - what is going on in Asia. Barnes brings up the fact that when the virus first broke out, Kara was on The Nathan James and so she has no idea the way in which the government hid facts from the people and suggests that it would not be wise for Michener to use the same tactic.

Back in the market, Sasha is asking around for Kenjii, when Mike spots a man wearing Mike's shirt. Tom rips at the shirt as the man explaines that he bought it from someone in Vietnam.  Proving Sasha right that Tom is far too high profile, the MSS show up. Tom orders the guy brought along for questioning in case he might know more about Mike. Tom warns the rally team that they are switching to plan B and then they race through the market trying to evade the MSS. This comes complete with a martial arts fight for Wolfe with a member of the MSS.

It's time to escape the hut and Miller climbs through the latrine and is followed by another captive. Both men take off in opposite directions to look for markers and escape routes. In short order both are captured and brought back but not before seeing a radio tower that they can perhaps be used for outside contact at a later date.

Tom's team is absolutely surrounded and needs an evac by a chopper.  On the Nathan James, Alicia explains the situation to Jesse and she finally relents to fly to the rescue. The captive Tom took from the market runs into the line of fire with his hands up but is shot for his trouble.  I guess either way he was a dead man. Jesse comes in guns blazing and manages to get the away team out.

Back in the captivity area, Takehaya is not impressed with the escape attempt and has the captives brought out.  Takehaya has his men point guns at the captives. One by one a gun is held to each of their heads and Mike orders his team to look their captors in the eye and not to show fear.

Back on the ship, Sasha asks if Tom is sure he heard their captive say the name Takehaya. Sasha explains that Takehaya is a pirate thought to be dead, who took his name from the Japanese God of the sea. Tom points out that Kenji chose to die rather than end up in Takehaya's hands and therefore this needs to be investigated.

Alex rushes to find Michener. A video has been released of Mike and the fellow captives. On the video Mike gives his name and rank and says that he and five others are being held captive. The video has gone public which means that the secret is now out.