What trials and tribulations will this week’s episode of ‘The Last Ship’ bring? How will the crew manage to overcome every obstacle? Obstacles like “Which storyline will we follow?” and “Who gave Tactical Beard so many lines?” and “Things sure have been looking up for a couple hours. I hope there’s no engine room fire.”
We kick off this episode by learning that it’s totally OK to share naval vessel locations and plans with your wife. “I hate to tell you this, my dear, but that call I just got? I’m totally not going on that three-hour tour. In fact, we’re heading up to the Artic, in radio silence, for four months, while we do some top-secret weapons testing. You know, super classified stuff.”
Fortunately, ‘The Last Ship’ hasn’t had a specific character-centric episode. Well, at least not yet. However, this episode comes pretty close by showing the wide and varied roles a captain plays. Starting with: Captain Good Dad. Back before the world fell ill, he was plopping down on the porch with the kids. Captain Good Dad will put his kid’s bracelet in his front pocket and make promises that will surely lead to A) someone dying ironically or B) said bracelet showing up again before the episode is over.
Back to the present and now he’s Captain Can’t Sleep. Likes to listen to the radio chatter. Nothing like a million frantic distress signals to calm the nerves. When Second in Command Jayne can’t sleep either, we shift into Captain Good Friend mode. He and Jayne chat it up as they reminisce about the glorious when-everyone-was-still-alive days.
Then, suddenly, possible plot movement spotted! There’s a Costa Rican monkey reserve just up some Costa Rican river a little bit. That seems like the perfect place for an action scene! I mean, to go to during a deadly virus outbreak! I mean, Full Steam Ahead!
Meanwhile, Boyfriend and Tactical Beard are now the Professor and Gilligan for some reason. That is, until Girlfriend Chicken Nipple shows up and Tactical Beard is all like, “Hellllooooo, lovely lady.” And then Boyfriends is all like, “Dude, no fraternizing with military chicks. That’s my bag.” Then Tactical Beard abruptly changes the subject in possibly another attempt at some plot when he ominously asks where the lab is. Really? You don’t wanna to go see the FIVE-INCH?!
Dr. Sexypants meets up with Captain Arbitrator and makes her appeal to get Dr. Traitorpuss back in the lab. The captain thinks that’s a terrible idea, but Dr. Sexypants is very convincing. Under heavy guard (machine guns!), the good doctor is taken to convince the not-good doctor to help her. He totally grouches out. All the while, Captain Eavesdropping/Wisecracker hangs in the hallway. Of course, he’s got a good idea. Let’s let Jayne do the “convincing”. You see, Second in Command Adam Baldwin joined the Navy later in life, to eventually rise to the position of Executive Officer on the Last Ship, but he was once an experienced homicide detective. Blah, blah, blah, cigar smoking, don’t be a bitch, keelhauling, blah, blah, blah. Dr. Google Eyes agrees, with conditions – one of them being, “I want someone to play chess with. Someone good. Because that makes me sound totally Magneto smart.”
Side note: Jack Bender directs this one too. This is his third ep in a row. That is all.
Then, the dangerous-event-that-will-be-solved-by-the-end-of-the-show rears its head! Engineering Officer Chung can hear engine things that no mere mortal engineer can hear. So instead of actually finding out what it is, he leaves the mere mortal engineers to try and fix it. Good thing, because FIRE IN ENGINE ROOM 2!
Apparently that hull-scraping escape last week really messed up some engine stuff, as well as the ship’s ability to filter seawater. This means the ship barely has Impulse power and only 3,000 gallons of fresh water left. Captain Calculator translates this to just under three days until the crew starts to dry up and croak. Bummer.
It gets worse. During a dark and sweaty meeting in the map room, we learn that, with the engines busted, the crew’s best bet for water is six days out. Later that night, Captain Stargazer remembers that time when he was Captain Good Dad. Man, those were better times. That porch, those sprinklers, that bracelet my kid gave me? He snaps out of it when Dr. Red shows up with a raincheck cup of tea. The good doctor reports that she may have a tester vaccine. AWESOME! So, what do the captain and crew have to do? 1. Fix the engines, 2. Find water, 3. Find people who are alive but only recently infected., 4. …or maybe infect someone on purpose THEN test the vaccine. Yeah, let’s try that.
Then comes a ridiculous power and fridge problem scene where the lab samples start to warm up. The only way to save the samples is to use an iPad and some rickety-ass rigging, and to drop the only hope for humanity to the bottom of the ocean where it’s exactly the same temperature as the fridge. Whew, that was quick thinking!
Where will the plot carry us next? Well, Captain Wind Power decides they can sail the old-fashioned way, with SAILS (parachutes fired from machine guns!). If only there was any wind for the “sails.” After a little (inspiring?) Master Chief character development and a lot of praying. The holy winds pick up and three parachutes are shot from assault rifles. (These are the only shots fired in the entire episode. Speaking of “fired,” I’m looking at you, Jack Bender.) I am unclear how this could possibly create enough lift or thrust to move a ship this size, but it does. Too bad the water filters still don’t work.
The deadly countdown of thirst is now on Day 2. Captain Cottonmouth and some of the parched crew hang out on the bridge when Uhura spots something with her binoculars. In her dehydrated delirium she reports “seagulls” as “unidentified flying objects heading towards the ship!” The rest of the crew, DYING for some FIVE-INCH, perk up just as she says, “Seagulls, ho!” Everyone else pulls out their binoculars and spies an island paradise, complete with giant waterfalls. Captain Beach Party!
Bonfires are lit, water is drunk, fraternizing begins. Girlfriend might be hookin’ up with another dude right in front of Boyfriend. Talk about end of the world. Good thing a circle of song has surrounded a campfire.
Meanwhile, some poor saps don’t get to go to the party.
Engine Room fix-it guy is busting his ASS. He’s really tired and greasy. Captain Good Captain/Waiter shows up with a plate of fruit and other exotic dishes to show his thanks and confidence.
Dr. Googly Eyes is holed up in his cabin/prison when he gets a knock on the door. Chess Master Bacon is there. He’s huge! He’s PISSED. He’s gonna crush this little man quick so he can go get him some BEACH PARTY!
Captain Final Scene. After some more alone time with Dr. Red, we see the bracelet we’ve been waiting for. Once again, triumphantly, all the loose ends are tied. Now back to testing that vaccine…