In the new episode of ‘The Last Ship’, we rejoin our heroes four seconds after the end of the last one. Tension is high as the Russian ship pretending to be a British ship is pretending to bluff. I know how I would solve this problem: FIVE-INCH!
Episode 3 dials down the pace and slow jams the plot in a (how a pal of mine noted) Michael Baytastic kind of way. Buckle up, you’re in for a naval strategy chess match game for the ages. In the Red corner, the evil cigar chomping Admiral Something Something. And in the Red, White and Blue corner, it’s Captain McSteamy. Quick! Someone go get me that Russian book I have in my captain’s cabin! No, not the “How to Speak Russian in Ten Easy Steps,” the OTHER Russian book, the one Admiral Blah Blah Blah wrote!
The Admiral has pursued the Last Ship around the moon of Nibia and around the Antares Maelstrom and around perdition’s flames because the Americans have something he wants: Dr. Red’s pouty lips and her samples. Now give her to me or I’ll nuke the living daylights out of you and the only hope for humanity! McSteamy, ALWAYS fast on his feet, suggests that they meet up so he can Capt. Kirk his way out of this predicament. The Admiral agrees. That was easy.
After the commercial break, FAST CUTS! Boats! The German Shepard! Chickens in the yard! Important Chicken Foreshadowing!
The newly activated Navy tactical team, and Tactical Beard, escort the captain to the pool hall that will serve for our smoky/boozy meeting location. The opening move: The Admiral advances a pawn: The whole Artic helicopter attack thing was bad for both of us. The Captain counters: Yeah, heh heh, especially for you. In your face, Russia!
Meanwhile, the Admiral is actually carrying out several other moves. Muhah ha ha! His devious plan is to lay mines across the Last Ship’s only escape out of the bay, where they are currently tied to the dock and in no apparent hurry. Second in command Adam Baldwin spies said mines and defies all cries of “Blast those Russians!” He calmly explains that he can’t risk a firefight while the captain is off the “boat” (nautical term for “ship”), but decides to spin up the Tomahawks (missiles!!) just in case.
Quick side note: This episode was directed by Jack Bender, who directed 38 eps of ‘Lost’, 4 eps of ‘The Sopranos’, an ep of ‘Beverly Hills 90210’, ‘Child’s Play 3’ and ELEVEN episodes of ‘Eight is Enough’. So, if you don’t like this episode, it’s your fault.
Ok, back to the meet-up club. The Admiral is really serious about his demands. He is also a little crazy. He decides to let us know how crazy serious he is by blowing the brains out of one of his cohorts. This concludes the meeting.
With the captain back on the ship, the crew is hard at work figuring out ways to fit the FIVE-INCH into the episode. Then one presents itself. The Last Ship sends out SCUBA divers to see about them frickin’ mines. When, out of nowhere, a fast boat! It’s filled with newly trained Russian crack shots! They shoot the American divers! Nooo! FIVE-INCH PAYBACK! KA-BLAMO!! Wait, what? The U.S. response was to send the proverbial “laser guided 55-lbs shot over the bow”? That accurate waste of a now EXTREMELY rare kind of ammo merely knocks the baddies into the water? Really? Jack Bender, Jack Bender, we need to talk. The Rule Book of Bay clearly states that the FIVE-INCH must obliterate something, or better yet, someone, in each episode. Try harder next time or you’ll be doing ‘Under the Dome’ for the rest of your career.
Later that night, Dr. Spy Guy gets some screen time. At gunpoint, he tries to force Dr. Red to jump overboard so he can get to the Russian ship. Dr. Red tells him to go screw and a ship hallway chase ensues. They end up in one of the two ship based soundstages specially constructed for the show. (I wish I had some of that Michael Bay money.) Faced with several machine guns (machine guns!) Dr. Spy Guy threatens to open up a can of deadly virus whoop-ass that would kill the Last Ship. Dr. Red uses her super powers of suggestion to talk him down. After the shortest interrogation ever, we learn that Dr. Spy Guy has a British wife and family who are being held captive by the Russians, hence his behavior and general terribleness with actual spy stuff. We also learn what the plan was: Dr. Spy Guy was supposed to take Dr. Red over to the Russian ship on a little motorboat. This gives Adam Baldwin and the captain an opportunity to make “You thinking what I’m thinking? Hell yeah!” eye contact.
Ok, so here’s the plan: There’s an alternate route out of the bay through a super shallow channel, but the Russians are watching the Last Ship on the radar. However, if they string up like maybe 15 feet of Reynolds’s Wrap, that will be enough to hide the radar signature of a 500-ton warship while they shut off all the lights and cruise outta there. The real challenge comes with how they will coordinate torpedoing the shallow coral, to give them depth while, at the same time, sending a little motorboat decoy to distract/blow up the Russians. They need a lady to pose as Dr. Red in case the Russians have binoculars.
Hmmmm, a lady? Who do we have that might pass as Dr. Red? Well, there are only two female characters on this ship: Girlfriend and Uhura. I guess we’re sending the love interest. But on two conditions: 1.) Boyfriend gets to drive the boat, and 2.) Only if Girlfriend can shoot. Can Girlfriend shoot? Well, apparently she grew up on a farm where they used to bullseye womp rats… I mean, “I CAN SHOOT THE NIPPLES OFF A CHICKEN AT 1,000 YARDS.” What?! Chickens have nipples? You shot them off? Get that woman a rifle!
Now comes the tense precise timing scene. Torpedos are launched; machine guns are fired; love almost gets in the way; the Last Ship, complete with hull scraping, barely navigates through the shallow water; the little motorboat puts a little hole in the Russian ship, but not before Girlfriend gets to show off her chicken nipple shooting skills; and Boyfriend/Girlfriend are safely beamed aboard. All goes according to plan.
The cliffhanger/reveal at the end? Apparently the Russians have their own scientist, Dr. Mouse Wrangler. Who mouth-breathes on rodents in the same lab/soundstage that is on the Last Ship.
Despite being teased with the prospect of missile launchings and actual chicken nipples getting shot off (ahem, flashback?), all in all it’s not a bad episode.