Monday, August 1, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode Eight: Sea Change

As we know, President Michener has committed suicide and it's now time for the American people to somehow comprehend the loss.  To some degree, many in the top echelon blame themselves.  Allison and Michener were lovers and she knew about his suicide attempt on the Nathan James and therefore feels guilty that she left him alone knowing that he was under immense pressure thanks to the leak regarding his safety zone and the The Nathan James captors.  For his part, Tom is enraged and actually irrational. The basis of Tom's emotions are centered in his belief that maybe, just maybe he pushed Michener too far too fast.  Even Jacob seems to feel culpable.  This manifested in his report to the nation about the role his investigative reporting may have played in Michener's decision to kill himself. On an aside, can someone tell me why it is that whenever television decides to portray a funeral they always do it in the rain?

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Are we supposed to somehow feel sadder because it's raining? Yeah, that doesn't work on me, especially because it all seems so contrived.

At any rate, Tom's initial reaction to the death of Michener is to strike China. Yep, when all else fails just start a war. Why deal with emotions of loss or impotence when explosions are cool man.

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It's absolutely ridiculous as Sasha thankfully points out.  Even if Tom had been able to take out Peng, that would not stop the second in command from taking over and following Peng's agenda. There's also the matter of collateral damage. Tom chooses to settle for heading to Shanzhai to track down Wu Ming.

It's time to hand over the brass ring and so, Michener's VP gets sworn is as president. Howard Oliver is sworn in as president and his first task is to get up to date on what is happening in the world. Oliver is insistent that they get proper communications with the Nathan James in order to have those who were in captivity prove that they are free and alive.  Kara promises to get right in it. Oliver gets on the phone with Tom and is absolutely deferential. Tom basically tells Oliver his plans and then asks for permission.

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It's unspoken but clear that Tom is going to do what Tom is going to do and he of course backs this by claiming to want to finish the last mission that Michener assigned him.  I guess not even when you're president can you question a white man in this world. But hey, Oliver is hoping to earn Tom's trust. Oliver then decides to have a meeting with the regional rulers to get a proper understanding of the state of the nation.

Once the Nathan James arrives at Shanzhai, they discover that Peng has destroyed the entire town. Tom is in shock that Peng would kill so many in the hope of taking out one man. It's time for a sit down with Takehaya, (now in full on servant mode) who says that Wu Ming never strayed far from home in order to keep his mother's peace of mind.  And so the next stop is Wu Ming's mama.

The regional rulers come to town and with Michener out of the way, they are determined to bring an end to his national policy.  This means an end to ration cards, an end to land dispute and an end to a limitation on withdrawals from the bank.  Texas in particular does not want a strong federal government. Why is it always Texas? Kara is quick to speak up in defense of Michener's policies, claiming that they are protecting vulnerable Americans and ensuring that everyone has the basics that they need for arrival. Kara contends that ending these policies would lead to anarchy.  Alex acts quickly to silence Kara, saying that when they need her advice on military matters they'll ask.  Talk about being told to stay in your lane. Oliver however just wants to get to the bottom line and asks if the domestic policy is working, only to be told by everyone (and yes that means Allison) that they most certainly are not.  Later, Kara decides to call out Allison and is informed that if Michener wanted his domestic policies to continue he shouldn't have committed suicide.

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That is some stone cold shit.  Clearly with a new leader in the office, Allison is more concerned with her political career than doing what's right for the people.  So much for being in mourning over the loss of her lover. 

Doc Rios has been working hard to figure why it is that Takehaya's version of the cure didn't work. After finding some notes he's able to ascertain that something has been added which means that the cure doesn't work.  Tom is immediately worried about the fact that they've all been exposed to Takehaya and his wife but is told that because they've all been inoculated that they are fine. 

It's time to get down to business. The crew has managed to track down Wu Ming and his family but so has Peng. The landing crew manages to take out the Chinese operatives; however, Wu Ming isn't exactly forthcoming with information.  Ming blames Tom and the crew for the destruction of Shanzhai.  Fortunately, the answer is right in front of them.  Ming has lottery tickets hung up on the wall and when Green takes a closer look, he realises that the numbers actually represent longitude and latitude.  They start ripping the papers off the wall until they find one with a black dot.

The Nathan James tracks down the ship in question and it turns out that it's a luxury liner.  This is most certainly not what they were expecting. The captain of the ship is pissed that he has been boarded and is adamant that he will not lose his ship.  First the landing party finds weapons which the captain cannot account for and then drugs.  Finally, they come across a missile which is a shock even to the captain. It seems the captain thought that he was just a drug smuggler.

The missile is brought back and during the process of working on it, it releases a green mist.  Why does this mist matter? Will this is the mist that Takehaya's wife saw.  This mist is the reason why the cure isn't working in certain Asian countries.  Peng is purposefully releasing this chemical in order to ensure that the cure in ineffective. I guess we will just have to wait to learn why exactly he would do this. 

And that's it for the American propaganda show of the week.  They replaced Michener with Oliver but I fear that it's going to be another case of promoted to obscurity. Sure, The Last Ship is diverse but none of the characters of colour have been developed or are in roles that are critical to the show. After all the stink Big Burke made about not being made Chandler's XO, how much time has he been given? How many lines has been given to speak?  Don't even think of pointing to Takehaya, because that character is one big nasty trope and so is his wife, whose main role seems to be delicate Asian flower. Thanks but no.  Oliver is now president but I suspect he will never be a fully realised character because all The Last Ship seems to have time for is to have White, cisgender men running around and saving the world. 

I really do think that The Last Ship has run its course. How much more American propaganda can it possibly spew? Enough already with the racism and enough with the minimisation of women unless they are in the role of love interest.