Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Last Ship, Season Four, Episode Five: Allegiance

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Allegiance marks the official halfway point of the season. The Nathan James set sail this year without Chandler at the helm because he resigned his commission. Chandler has claimed that the reason for his resignation is that he lost his way.  You'd think that given the fact that his children have no one to look out for them that would be the reason but as it turns out, Chandler is having temper issues and occasionally acts out of a desire for vengeance. I guess that explains why he stupidly decided to steal Giorgio's boat for having his daily catch stolen. 

While many of the crew were happy to see Tom in Greece, they are still ambivalent about his presence on the Nathan James. While Tom was off fishing and dealing with his demons, they kept pressing forward.  As much as seeing Tom makes them happy, they want Tom to reenlist and vow to stay aboard with them. Continuing on with the pathetic Tom worship, it's Kandie who suggests that Tom running into the team on a mission is a sign from fate that Tom is meant to lead the mission to not only find the seeds but to secure a food source. Yes, the crew actually feels abandoned by Tom.
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Is anyone going to remember that Tom has children that he needs to care for? Yeah, they're just kids without any family or anyone who has vowed to see them through to adulthood, trapped somewhere on a Greek island, where a known villain happens to visit on a regular basis, while the entire world is going through a food shortage. How old is Ashley anyway? 12? The kids might as well not exist because Sasha, Slattery and Jetter make a point that not only did Tom disappear for sixteen whole months, he maintained radio silence. The very nerve of Chandler. Doesn't Tom know that the world needs its straight, white, cisgender, able bodied, male leader? When Tom finally remembers he has kids, he gives them a call. Tom need not have worried because Ashley readily accepts the fact that a sailor has to be at sea and besides, Tom's girlfriend is letting them work in her restaurant now.  Uh huh. I'd use a gif here but I think the crying baby has already taken up a lot of real estate, so use your own imagination as to my response to Ashley's reaction.

With Slattery detoxing, Meylan has control of the ship, or at least, he's supposed to have control of the ship. Meylan informs Tom that each naval vessel has a presidential pardon for any illegal actions he took during the immune war, as well as paper work to reinstate him to the rank of captain should he so desire.  Essentially, Meylan is telling Tom that he either has to shit or get off the pot. This is the last thing I wanted to see because it means that Meylan will be placed on the sidelines by another white man. 

Now that the Americans are in possession of the seeds, the question becomes what should they do with them.  The orders are for the crew to get the seeds state side but Tom feels that they should also be hunting down Dr. Paul Vellek.  Vellek had to flee the U.S. because of his research into human evolution and development. Tom believes that the best path forward might be to capture Vellek and work with him because even if he doesn't have all of the answers, he might be able to advance the timetable for the production of edible food.  Meylan of course objects but Tom points out that the U.S. used the research gained by Nazi's during their horrible experiments in concentration camps.  Dear writers while this is absolutely a historical fact, right now the world is all about shoving the Nazis back into their tiny little caves. 

Slattery is detoxing after being drugged and he is not in a good state. One of the things that makes this drug so attractive is that it allows people to get lost in their memories. When Slattery hallucinated his wife and kids, it all felt real to him. To Slattery, being high was like being with his family again. Now that Slattery is sober, he is feeling the loss all over again as though it just happened.

The Nathan James gets a mayday call and though it will take them off mission to return the seeds stateside, Chandler encourages Meylan to act in favour of saving human life. An away crew goes out to meet the sinking ship led by Burke. Throughout the process of checking out the ship, Burke is very aggressive and clearly struggling with the after effects of surviving the bombing which injured his older brother. The crew notices something is wrong with Burke but he's not really called out on his actions. With so much at stake, it's not like Burke can take time away to get counselling for PTSD anyway. 

Disguised among the the refugees from the sinking ship is none other than Capt. Harry Sinclair of the Royal Navy. He has been sent to make contact with Fletcher. It seems that the British have decided to end their long alliance with the Americans in favour of making a deal with Vellek to work on the seeds.  Fletcher is appalled with the news but Sinclair makes it clear that things are not going well in Britain and the Americans left them to their own devices during the immune wars, while they trotted up and down playing hero with the cure. Sinclair reminds Fletcher of just exactly who he owes allegiance to and tasks him with stealing the seeds and then procuring a way for Sinclair to get off the Nathan James before the ship reaches land. Fletcher is concerned that he will be shot if discovered but Sinclair believes that just remaining on the ship will make Fletcher look innocent. 

Tom finally comes to the decision we all knew he would and shaves his beard and Dons the uniform.  Meylan and Jeter swear Tom in as the crew listens in through the communications.  Now that Tom is in charge of the Nathan James, they are done playing it safe. Tom knows that Vellek cannot sink the Nathan James as long as the seeds are on board and so his plan is to challenge Vellek directly and perhaps take him captive and convince him to work with the Americans. Tom believes that they might as well use Vellek to their own ends.

Well, this episode was completely and utterly predictable. It was always a matter of time before Tom ended up in charge of The Nathan James. What I find disturbing is that while Meylan was functioning as Slattery's XO, he is a captain in his own right and therefore shouldn't have had to hand over command to Tom. Sixteen months is a long time to be out of contact with military events and filling Tom in so that he can make the right decisions will take longer than just leaving Meylan in charge.  The truth of the matter is that only Tom can save the world according to The Last Ship. I'm further irritated by the absolute fawning admiration of the crew members of colour. It makes me want to scream at the television, get some self respect. 

Tom makes a point about Vellek being useful especially given that working with horrendous people is something that the American government has done before. It really is the obvious play but of course the writers make it seem like such a brilliant strategy because Tom thought about it. It's especially true because of course Meylan wants to take the safer course of action.

Fletcher is in a spot because he has to choose between loyalty to his country and loyalty to the friends he has made on the Nathan James. There's also the matter that if he is discovered, it could mean death for Fletcher. I'm not really quite sure of what Fletcher's role is aboard the Nathan James. It's clear that Fletcher is a science officer and yet he goes on tactical missions. Is it just his proximity to the seeds that has led to this task?