Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Last Ship, Season Three, Episode Thirteen: Don't Look Back

This is it folks, the last episode of The Last Ship for the season. I fell a little behind but  it's worth noting that the last episode aired on September 11th which was the 15th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center.  Call me a cynic but given the heavily patriotic slant of this show, I'm absolutely certain that the timing was no accident.

Chandler checks in with Meylan to ensure that the food is being distributed to the people.  Oliver meets with the people and listens to stories about the marines taking away everything from the people and how the marines had removed the United States patch from their uniforms.  Oliver comforts the people telling them that the marines were duped just like everyone else. Oliver promises the family that they will get through this.  Doc Rios treats the sick and wounded. Tom pauses when a man stops to show him a picture of his missing children.  He shakes his head no and then is confronted by a man and his wife, who are leaving the encampment, saying that his people have done enough. Chandler is clearly troubled by all he is witnessing.

Back on board the ship, it's time to meet to discuss the other regional leaders based on the information they got from Castillo.  They run down the list of the leaders and Tom suggests that they do small team assaults. It's Kara who stands up to point out that they've neglected to deal with Shaw. I'm just going to point out that Kara had the chance to take Shaw out when she and Tex were breaking Oliver out of the White House and chose not to do so.

Allison is on the phone with the other leaders who are upset about Castillo not transferring the cargo. It's Rebecca who lets everyone know that this was not Castillo's doing and that what happened wasn't a small rebel hit.  Allison tells them all to stop and that she will handle it. Allison is clearly in charge and she treats the regional leaders like they are squabbling kindergarten kids.

On the ship, Kara assures Green that their son is safe and with her mother.  He proposes that Kara take Wilson while he deals with Shaw because of the emotions involved. Kara however argues that this is personal for all of them and that if something happens to both of them their child will know that they sacrificed to change the world. The troops get locked and loaded and leave the ship.  Chandler comments that every time they put the country back together it falls apart and Jeter assures him that they are still there and will make everything right. Tom however simply replies that it's a big country.

Tom continues to oversea the plan from the ship and explains what's going on to Oliver.  The various teams get into place to attack the targets.  When all teams report they are good to go, Tom gives the order for them to execute their plan. Wolf and Slattery quickly take out Croft's guards and then Wolf uses a stun gun on Croft.  Wilson is the next regional leader to be taken. When Tex makes his way into Rebecca's bedroom, they find her gone.  She's too damn crafty to be caught that one. Sasha reports that Shaw is absent as well.  Oliver orders Tom to keep him updated.  Kara tells Sasha that there's only one other place that Shaw would be.

At the Whitehouse, Shaw reports to Rebecca that Chandler is indeed alive and Allison promises Rebecca that they will get Chandler.  It doesn't take long for Rebecca to figure out that Allison sold out Croft and Wilson.  The two women set off yet another set of missiles to go after the Nathan James.

Tom reports to Oliver that Wilson and Croft have been secured and given that Price's plan landed in St.Louis, they believe that Rebecca is headed to the White House to meet with Shaw.  Tom has ordered the teams to head to the White House and the plan is to have Oliver address the people. Oliver is worried that the rest of the military will not fall in line, thus starting a civil war. Tom however is all optimistically certain that he will change the view of the people.  Tom is certain that the people still want to fight.


Cobra team is at the White House and is taking their positions. Kara reports that there is no sight of Shaw and Price.  Inside the building,  Rebecca and Allison have found the Nathan James and have set loose the missiles.  Tom realises that the missiles were launched from a drone and orders Ganderson to find out who is operating the drone.  Ganderson tracks the signal back to the White House.  Tom gets in touch with the other teams because the ship is under attack but they are too far away to be of any real help in taking The White House.

In the oval, Agent Powell reports to Shaw, "we found them".  When Rebecca questions what is going on, Shaw responds by killing her and ordering her security be taken out. Rebecca thought she was different than the other leaders but it seems she was a useful fool as well. While that bit of drama was going on, one missile hit The Nathan James, leaving them without fire control.  Tom talks to Garnett about creating a smoke screen and is informed that they can only do this for a few minutes. At the White House, Witt if frustrated by the smoke and continue to work on targeting the Nathan James. Tom contacts Cobra team and asks them to breach without backup because they are out of options.  Sasha responds that they can do it because they've found a weak spot.

Cobra team begins its assault on the White House by disabling the security guarding the elevators. Witt continues to try to target The Nathan James as a frustrated Allison looks on.  Cobra team gets off the elevators and starts moving forward, shooting everyone they see. Once again, no matter what weapon the Secret Service is using, they cannot seem to make an accurate shot.  I get that Cobra team is an elite navy team and the secret service is now probably made up of bouncers from before the plague but come on already.

Witt finally has found a target and Allison gives the order to shoot.  The Nathan James turns its guns on the missiles and destroys it as Cobra team continues to make their way through the White House. Cobra team has made their way to the oval office only to find Allison gone and the missiles on auto fire. Once again, The Nathan James manages to take out a couple of the missiles.  Sasha gets control of the UAV and sends it under water.  The team is now barricaded in The White House and take position for what they believe to be the final assault.  Fortunately for them, instead of being Shaw's men it's Tex and Miller to the rescue.

Shaw is making her way to what is now Airforce One when Wolfe and Slattery arrive blocking the plane from taking off. Slattery orders the soldiers to put down their weapons but Witt calls for the soldiers to stand their ground, calling Chandler and Oliver criminals.  Witt says that Shaw is willing to negotiate her surrender.  Tom gets a call from his daughter Ashley.  Allison takes the phone away from Ashley and tells Chandler she wants him to trade himself for his daughter. Tom is there in a heartbeat and boards the plane with Tex and Kara having his back.  Allison is all smiles because she has the upper hand but she does release his children.  Ashley tells Chandler that his father has been killed which earns Allison a steely gaze.   Kara leaves the plane with Chandler's children. Allison then orders Tex off the plan and he complies telling Chandler to be safe.

Tex sneaks around back of the plane and Slattery gives the order for the trucks to be moved. The plane leaves the hanger in preparation for take off.  Allison refuses to say where they are going but it's clear once they arrive, the plan is to kill Tom.  The plane moves forward and is being guarded by the military.  Slattery calls out that the CNO is on the plane and reminds the opposing soldier of swearing to defend the constitution from foreign and domestic enemies.  Witt calls out that Slattery is the enemy and tells his soldiers not to listen; it's clear however, that the soldiers are beginning to waffle.

On the plane, Tom asks about Michener's death and Allison says that he died because he believed in Tom. Allison says that there are winners and losers and if you wanna win, you have to fight. She of course is ironically parroting what Tom said to Oliver earlier in the episode. Allison talks about what happened to her family while the virus was raging and how they were locked out of the safe zone to secure food.  In response she killed the man in charge of the safe zone. Allison declares that she makes the choices now. Cue the arrival of Tex, who takes out Allison's guard and Tom shoots the pilot.  The plane shuts down and Allison finds herself on the ground with Tom pointing a gun at her. Tex tells Tom not to kill Allison because she's not worth it and Tom struggles with his hand on the trigger. Tex collapses, it seems that he was shot during the brief gun battle. Tex's last words are to tell Tom that he is a good man.

On the ground, Slattery continues to urge the men to stand down.  First one soldier lays down his gun and then he is quickly followed by the rest.  When Witt realizes he has lost, he drops his gun.

On the plane, Allison grabs her jacket and tells Tom to take her away and that someone else will take her place because people are to scared to think for themselves.  Allison tells Tom that the virus unleashed the worst in human nature and that to change the world, the people need to be terrorized. As Allison goes on about the America Tom believes in being gone, he shoots her. Slattery boards the plane and finds Tex dead and Chandler staring off into space.

Back on board The Nathan James Tom tells Slattery that he didn't have to kill Allison. Slattery argues that Allison was responsible for what happened in Asia. Tom remembers how he lectured Rachel on the rule of law and says that he has to hold himself to a higher standard. Tom now believes America has lost its moral compass and needs someone to guide it back to its core values; however, he is now certain that he cannot be that person.

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At the White House, Danny sees his son for the first time. An emotional Oliver turns away and shuts down the football.

Sasha confronts Tom in his cabin and finds him dressed in civilian clothing. Sasha tells Tom that there's too much left to do. Tom hasn't even gone to see Kathleen because has run out of things to say and lists the names of those who died under his command. Sasha tries to order Tom into putting on his uniform and instead he puts on his hat.  He turns to kiss Sasha goodbye. Yeah this scene had to happen because somehow there just weren't enough cliches in this episode.

Oliver address the nation from the White House about the mistakes he made during the coup.  The crew is assembled on deck of the Nathan James and they salute Tom, as he makes his way off ship. Oliver implores the people to stand with him and to fight with him, promising them they can be strong again.  Tom pauses to salute Sasha and then asks Slattery for permission to go ashore for the last time and Slattery grants him permission.  Slattery advises Tom not to look back.

Okay that's it for a horrendous season.  It makes me sorry that at one point I had wished for The Last Ship to get to the business of rebuilding the US.  Instead of really rebuilding the country, The Last Ship basically focused on saving Asia through infantalizing some Asian people and treating the rest as evil and shifty. I understand that the great narrative of the show is to project American military might and place America as the saviour of the world but enough already.  Much of this season was outright racist and painful to watch.  Takehaya for instance went from the enigmatic Asian man to the subservient one who went off to die like a dog.  We never did find out why Peng decided it was okay to infect the rest of Asia.

Season three was also another season which wasn't great when it came to gender.  For the most part, Sasha was the only woman who was active on missions and its worth noting that she was positioned as Tom's love interest.  Even Garnett who was captured with the rest of the crew of The Nathan James was given very little to do.  Kara spent most of the season in the White House acting as a personal cheerleader for Tom and only became active when it became apparent that coup was underway.  It's particularly maddening that Kara was accused of being emotional and had to point out that everyone had something personal at stake.  The strongest female character this season were Allison and Rebecca and of course they had to die for stepping out of place. Can we just have a strong female character who is accused of being emotional, isn't a love interest for Tom and isn't cast as evil? Yeah, I know that I am asking the impossible for this show where only a White, straight, cisgender man can save the world.

For his short time on the show, I really detested how Jacob was treated.  It's so clear that the audience for a show like The Last Ship are war loving right wing thinkers. The very idea that the media should just be quiet and allow the government to do whatever they want is ridiculous.  Jacob was actually painted as a traitor for daring to question Michener.  In part, the media not asking questions is how the Iraq war was started. To make matters worse, they had Jacob then express guilt for questioning Michener because the writers made it all a part of the set up to take down Michener. Jacob didn't have a thing to regret because he did his damn job. What The Last Ship is suggesting in terms of media acquiescence is dangerous and counter to the safe society the characters of The Last Ship supposedly want to build.

For much of the season, like many I kept wondering where the hell Tex was.  He's been one of the few bright spots of the show and what did they do? Why, they killed him off. I'm really going to miss Tex who provided limited comic relief.

So, Tom has resigned his position as CNO and left Slattery in charge of the ship. He's experiencing manpain and now questioning whether he is moral enough.  I do like that he recognized his hypocrisy in attacking the doctor for killing Niels who needed killing btw but I doubt his character will grow from this incident.  What we do no for certain is that Tom will lick his wounds for a little while before some implausible situation occurs which will place him back in charge of The Nathan James. It's a really weak set up for season four as far as I am concerned.