‘The Last Ship’ 3.01 & 3.02 Recap: “Let’s Poke the Elephant”

The two-part Season 3 premiere of ‘The Last Ship’ was all set to air on Sunday, June 12th, but was pulled at the last minute and postponed a week due to real-world events that happened on that day. Watching the episode, it’s pretty clear why the network panicked. Nevertheless, it ran the following weekend in what appears to be uncensored form.

Ep. 3.01, ‘The Scott Effect’

As we left things last season, a cure for the apocalyptic virus was developed and the Last Ship started distributing it to the public. Mr. President established a new national capital in St. Louis and named Cap’n McSteamy as his Chief of Naval Operations. Sadly, Dr. Hottie was gunned down in a hotel hallway, leaving her fate as a cliffhanger.

Even though the rules of TV Logic clearly state that any character who is not explicitly shown die on camera must still be alive, Season 3 opens by telling us that Dr. Hottie is indeed as dead as dead can be. Mr. President commemorated her by printing her face on food ration stamps, so it’s official. Poor Cap’n McSteamy will have to find someone else to make goo-goo eyes at this season.

The country is in recovery and, as we’re told, “The American spirit is alive and well.” Lt. Mommy (formerly Lt. Preggers) had her baby and now works as an aide to Mr. President. However, her baby-daddy Lt. Boyfriend is still stationed on the Last Ship and has never even met his son. Under the command of newly promoted Cap’n Jayne, the Last Ship is currently en route to deliver the cure to Vietnam, where the crew has been invited to a formal reception to thank them.

But wait! We need drama this season! A new, more virulent form of the virus is sweeping through Japan. Though Mr. President doesn’t want to believe it, members of his cabinet blame the new president of China, who has withheld the cure that America gave him and hasn’t distributed it to his neighbors like he was supposed to. Mr. President dispatches Cap’n McSteamy (who, yes, is still a captain, because he refused a promotion to higher rank) to attend a diplomatic summit in Hong Kong and suss out the situation.

McSteamy flies to Hong Kong with Wolf and Valkyrie, and meets up with his assigned translator, who just happens to be a sexy ex-girlfriend of his (Bridget Regan from ‘Agent Carter’). Goo-goo eyes commence!

Meanwhile, the Last Ship docks in Vietnam. Cap’n Jayne and the entire command crew get gussied up in their fanciest Navy dress whites, leaving Lt. Burk2 (newly introduced little brother to Lt. Burk1, who’s going to the party) in charge of the ship. As it turns out, the formal reception is a lot less formal than expected. To grumpy Cap’n Jayne’s displeasure, it’s held in a nightclub with lots of glowsticks and techno music and idiots taking selfies. While everyone else lets loose and boogies, Jayne sits and scowls. Honestly, that’s his idea of fun anyway.

In Hong Kong, Wolf flirts aggressively with Valkyrie. During the summit, McSteamy publicly confronts Chinese President Peng about being an evil douchebag. This was perhaps not the most politically astute move.

Radar on the Last Ship detects an odd assortment of random fishing and commercial boats sailing in what appears to be a military formation. Huh, that’s strange. Fearing that their communications are being monitored, Lt. Burk2 opts not to radio Cap’n Jayne. Instead, he sends a chopper to go pick him up.

Suddenly, baddies toting machine guns rush into the nightclub and open fire, killing dozens of innocent people.

Yeah, I see why this episode had to be postponed. Although the context is clearly different… yikes.

The Last Shippies put up the best defense they can considering that they all went to the club unarmed and there unfortunately doesn’t happen to be a Good Guy With a Gun around to take down all the dozens of terrorists, as we’ve been told is what’s supposed to happen in this situation. A couple of the Shippies are killed, but most of them, including Cap’n Jayne, are tazed and taken prisoner. Only Lt. Boyfriend and Lt. Burk1 manage to escape. Burk1 takes a round to the leg in the process. They limp to the extraction point, only to watch their helo get blown up by an RPG.

When news of the attack reaches St. Louis, Mr. President tells McSteamy to catch the first flight back and orders the Last Ship to retreat to international waters. Lt. Burk2 grudgingly obeys. McSteamy, however, senses that something very fishy is going on. He hops off the military plane, sending Valkyrie home to report to Mr. President for him. Just after the plane takes off, Valkyrie does some magic computer hacking and discovers… something. She asks the pilot to turn the plane around. As he starts to do that, KABOOM!! The plane explodes. On the ground, McSteamy watches in horror, knowing that Valkyrie just died. Wolf is also disappointed. He was totally planning to hit that.

Ep. 3.02 ‘Rising Sun’

The plane has blown up. McSteamy, Wolf, and Sexy Ex-Girlfriend (henceforth “SEG”) speculate whether that was an accident or the plane was shot down. Their question is answered when baddies in jeeps race toward the tarmac, shooting at them. The trio hop in their own jeep, which conveniently has a bunch of guns in the back. Also convenient, SEG is more than just a translator. She’s fully combat ready.

JEEP CHASE!! SHOOT-OUT!! Finally, some harmless fantasy action that doesn’t make me feel nauseous with its similarities to a recent real-life tragedy.

Cap’n Jayne and the Last Shippies from the nightclub are taken prisoner and locked up in cages aboard a dirty old boat. One kid got shot in the gut and is bleeding out. The baddies are indifferent to the Shippies’ begging for medical supplies to save him. After they’ve had enough of the whining and screaming, the baddies grab the kid and haul him away. That can’t be good.

Lt. Boyfriend and Burk1 find (or steal) some civvies and change out of their dress whites. They make their way to the port hoping that the Last Ship hasn’t left yet. Whoops, too late.

SEG has an idea. She brings McSteamy and Wolf to meet her best friend, a surly, hard-drinking pilot (Dichen Lachman from ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’) who can fly them to the Last Ship. There’s just one problem: She’s hidden her stolen military helicopter in an irradiated zone near the site of a nuclear meltdown. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

Lt. Boyfriend and Burk1 have a shootout with some baddies in a warehouse, because… I don’t know, reasons. They intend to keep two alive for questioning, but are such incredible badasses that they wind up murdering all but one instead. They interrogate the survivor to find out who’s behind this nefarious incident, but the only thing he’ll say is that “He” (whoever that is) will be disappointed that Burk1 has lost a lot of blood from his leg wound. The guy dies before they can press him for more details. Dammit.

Back on the Last Ship, Lt. Burk2 sets a course to chase after a fake fishing boat he believes may be holding his buddies.

On whatever boat where they actually are, the hostages are delivered a meal of juicy filet mignon in their cages while the crew of baddies have to eat beans. That seems odd.

With SEG hiding in the trunk and both McSteamy and Wolf clinging to the underside of her Land Rover, Indiana Jones-style, Pilot Girl tries to drive through a military checkpoint. The whole group of them wind up shooting their way out, murdering a bunch of Chinese soldiers who may or may not have anything to do with the baddies. They then drive on to where she’s hidden the helicopter. Pilot Girl informs the others that they’ll be fine so long as they don’t stay in the irradiated zone more than 11 minutes. It’s a good thing the helicopter itself is completely impervious to radiation, right?

Wouldn’t you freakin’ know it, the helicopter’s battery is dead and it needs a jump-start. That’s going to eat into their 11-minute countdown. And oh no, here come a bunch more baddies in jeeps! More shooting happens, but Pilot Girl gets the chopper working just in the nick of time and they all fly away to safety. Hooray!

Burk1 and Lt. Boyfriend steal a tiny motor boat and race out to meet up with the Last Ship. Unfortunately, before they can get close, they’re chased down by a bigger evil boat filled with baddies. Just when it looks like they’re about to be overtaken, the helo buzzes overhead. McSteamy and Wolf fire lots of grenades into the evil boat, blowing it to smithereens. Whew!

The helo lands on the Last Ship. Cap’n McSteamy is home at last! Lt. Boyfriend and Burk1 come aboard as well. They’re all saved! What a great victor… Wait, where are the rest of our friends? Oh yeah, still being held hostage.

The episode ends on the hostage boat. Needless to say, the kid who was shot in the gut isn’t getting proper medical attention. Instead, the baddies are draining his blood. They must want to siphon the cure right out of him. That’s why the other dude made the quip about Burk1 bleeding, and that’s why the hostages were fed a meal of fortifying red meat. Ooooh, those evil bastards….

Premiere Verdict

Meh. Even setting aside the uncomfortable nightclub massacre scene, the season premiere isn’t particularly exciting. Despite their sporadic shootin’ and stuff blowin’ up, the action scenes are pretty rote and lack inventiveness. As much as it may be a little ballsy to make China an outright villain in the current political environment, the season’s new storyline hasn’t grabbed me yet – which is kind of the point of what a premiere is for.


  1. cardpetree

    “The Last Shippies put up the best defense they can considering that they all went to the club unarmed and there unfortunately doesn’t happen to be a Good Guy With a Gun around to take down all the dozens of terrorists, as we’ve been told is what’s supposed to happen in this situation.”

    So the terrorists didn’t realize that private gun ownership is banned in Vietnam. Shouldn’t be a need for a Good Guy with a Gun right?

  2. Elizabeth

    Was going to read this review but the juvenile nicknames instead of actual character names turned me off. I guess if this what I can expect from future reviews of the show, I won’t waste my time. (No idea if this is the same style used for previous seasons, but don’t particularly care if it was.)

  3. Wayne

    I’ve enjoyed the season so far–not quite as strong as the first two but there are some dumb mistakes in basic science that could be avoided and still work dramatically. Wouldn’t the helicopter stored at the. I less power plant that had a melt down be radioactive as well? If there are substantial levels of radiation that are Lethal to humans it would also contaminate anything stored there as well yet they continue to use the craft?

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