Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Last Ship, Season Four, Episode Eight: Lazaretto

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So now we know that Vellek plans to make a cure for the red plague and introduce a drug to the public which will end all aggression. Yeah, I know that collectively we've rolled our eyes at The Last Ship a lot but really, they've given up all pretense at reality with this plot.  With at least one more season to go, we know that somehow, as bad as season four has been that the writers will have to descend into even further nonsense for season five. 

You would think that Vellek's past would be enough to make the British government think twice about getting into bed with him but I suppose between the immune wars and the fact that they are close to starving, desperate measures require desperate acts. Or at least that's what the writers are expecting us to believe as plausible.  In Lazarretto, Fletcher discovers just what kind of insanity he leaped into for the sake of Queen and country. 

Fletcher's first action is try to come between Vellek and Giorgio and it seems a reasonable course of action because father and son do not have a close relationship. Every chance he has gotten, Velleck has berated Giorgio but honestly who could blame him? Giorgio hasn't acted responsibly enough to be entrusted with a paper route let alone the important missions he has been assigned. There's also the little issue of Giorgio just walking Tom Chandler into the family compound and involving him in this whole thing to begin with. Fletcher is only reasonably successful in causing a rift, as he tries to bring Giorgio on side, offering him the one thing Fletcher believes Giorgio wants the most - power.  Giorgio seems conflicted but at the very least he appears to be considering what Fletcher is selling. 

It doesn't take long for Fletcher to discover Vellek's plan to make every one into docile slaves. Vellek notices a change in the Greek military and so hunts down Dimitrios  to find out the reason for such a rapid drastic change.  Of course, since Vellek has already fed Dimitrios tainted food, Dimitrios is merely a shadow of his former self.  Fletcher is absolutely astounded in the change in the once proud Greek man. Even striking Dimitrios does not get a rise out of him and instead the man actually seems to whimper like an abused dog. Realising that something has to be done, Fletcher removes a suicide pill that he had hidden in his tooth and forces Dimitrios to take it, hoping to hide the fact that he's discovered what Vellek is up to.

Things take a turn for the worse when Fletcher then discovers that Vellek is more than a power hungry bastard but someone who is clearly troubled. Throughout this season, we've seen Vellek working in the lab Christos.  We've seen Christos in a room with more than Vellek but we haven't seen Christos interact with anyone other than his father. It turns out that there's a reason for this - Christos is dead. Not only that, but Vellek's family is well aware that he's been talking to Christos this entire time. 

At this point, Fletcher knows that he has made a very bad mistake by following orders and blindly handing the seeds over to Vellek.  Now that he is incommunicado from British military command, Fletcher has one option left and that is to contact the Nathan James and pass on as much information as he can about Vellek and the location of the seeds.  Fletcher struggles to get his message out and when the signal gets cut off, he turns to find Giorgio and Vellek waiting for him. That's right, Giorgio was just playing along and he reveals that he would never turn his back on his family. It seems that Giorgio isn't quite the idiot we've been led to believe that he is.  Fletcher's reward for changing sides again is a bullet to the head.  Good bye Fletcher, we always had a feeling that this wasn't going to end well for you.

While Fletcher is figuring out just how wrong he was to sell the seeds, the crew of the Nathan James is hard at work tracking down Velleck. This of course means an away mission to the island where all of the fighters  are being held and fed a steady diet of Velleck's super food. Because the camp is for men, Sasha is forced to stay behind. Wolf, Danny and Miller infiltrate the camp and pretend to be submissive in order to fit in.  Even though Wolf doesn't get a lot of lines, he's constantly in the thick of the action, so it felt weird to see him act so harmless and calm.

The forced submissiveness of the away team does give Ares one final chance to shine. Ares may not really be able to put up a fight against his captors but he can and does drop a dime on them. This stops the away team from eating the food they've been given.  Once Wolf, Danny and Miller know the score, it's time to get the hell out of dodge. Ares once again steps up to the plate and puts his body between his captors and the away team at the cost of his life, so that they can escape. It's a great lesson in the fact that there are plenty of ways to fight back against oppression and not all require aggression and or violence. Jeter is hurt on the exit but perhaps he will finally get the medical attention he requires now.

Back on the ship, Sasha is brought up to date on Fletcher. Sasha doesn't yet know that Fletcher is dead but she does feel redeemed regarding putting her faith in him now that he's reached out to the Nathan James.

I really think learning that Christos died violently and that Vellek keeps talking to his dead son is meant to humanise Velle a bit because he had become a bit of a mustache twirling villain.  I'm not really sure it worked as well as the writers were hoping. It did however give us a motivation for Vellek's actions beyond wanting to be master of the world. 

It's clear that there's more than meets the eye when it comes to Giorgio, but how much more is the question? Has he simply been pulling his father along all of this time? Giorgio really has come across as less than bright to date and so having him actually be the power behind Vellek might  be an interesting proposal, even if it will be a hard sell. 

From the minute Fletcher stole the seeds, death was the only possibility for his character.  In fact, some might argue that his death was assured the moment he became a romantic possibility for Sasha because heavens knows that Chandler certainly cannot have any competition, given that he is the straight, cisgender able bodied white male hope for the whole damn world. It's hard to mourn for Fletcher, given that I don't feel as though we really got a chance to know him. I certainly don't feel that he was redeemed by contacting the Nathan James because what other option did he have after he discovered what Velleck was really up to?

It's clear the show down is coming and that the writers are just moving everyone into position.  Given the fact that Velleck's lab is a ship, we are looking at at least one more big battle at sea before the season finale.  This season can only end one way and that's with Tom Chandler being victorious and hailed as hero once again. Of course, we knew that going in but it makes the show anticlimactic from the very first episode.  What keeps this show afloat is not actually Tom but the villains.  Only an interesting antagonist with unique motives can actually sell the show. Unfortunately, the only remotely interesting antagonist was killed in the last episode.