In the first episode of TNT's new drama The Last Ship, the crew learns what their true mission is and takes on the job of protecting the entire world.
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Send in the Ducks
The episode began much as you would expect from a big, action-packed movie. No surprise there considering The Last Ship is brought to us by Mr. Blockbuster himself, Michael Bay. Throughout the episode, I found myself thinking that I was actually watching a movie and not a TV series at all, especially during the chopper vs. snowmobile fight that involved multiple explosions.
Dr. Rachel Scott and her trusty assistant (more on him later) were on a mission to study arctic terns (or "ducks" as Chandler called them), or so we thought. They were being escorted by an entire destroyer full of sailors, none of whom had any clue what they were really in for until the aforementioned choppers attacked.
I'm trying really hard to not say a joke about the famous 80's band headlined by Robert Smith, but it's not easy. After the USS Nathan James took out her enemies, they discovered that the Russians only wanted one thing: The Cure.
Cure for what? So glad you asked. Turned out that the entire planet had been hit with a deadly virus and the ship had been put on radio silence to keep Dr. Scott's real mission to find a cure a secret. Keeping a secret doesn't work nearly as well when you use your own personal sat phone, which brings the Russians right to your door.
Let's Go on a Cruise
Once Chandler found out Dr. Scott's true mission, the extent of the virus' terrible effects on the population was discovered. The US government had already lost its president and vice president and the form Speaker of the House was now the acting POTUS. Her orders? Keep the good doctor safe and help her find a cure to save all of humanity.
All in a day's work.
First thing's first. The crew is shocked when a nuclear warhead appears on their radar but thankfully it passes by them. It hits land nearby though and knocks out all of their power. In a super-sexy and super-macho moment (the first of many, I predict) Chandler grabs a fuse and holds it in place with his own bare hands, even after being shocked by electricity, to ensure his ship is running again.
After that, Chandler and his crew discovered a derelict cruise ship and boarded it to get the fuel and food they so desperately needed. That's when things got real - as if they weren't real enough already - when poor Frankie got exposed to the virus and decided to take his own life rather than expose his shipmates or die like the poor souls on the cruise ship.
A Ship of Hope
Finally, the crew gets 5-day old orders to head home to Jacksonville so that Dr. Scott can be delivered to a lab inland and continue working on the cure. She found some details after testing the blood of the dead people on the cruise ship and she was more confident she could do it.
Trouble was, Chandler wasn't so confident that he could keep her alive and his crew alive if they got that close to shore. Somehow his wife found a way to get a message to him and delivered the news that they were still alive. You would have thought that would make Chandler want to go home even more, but instead he turned the ship back out to sea.
Chandler hearing from his family was a turning point in more ways than one. Not only did it send him back out to sea to protect the doctor and her lab, but it sent the show in a new direction as well. We're going to be spending a lot of time with these people and I'm glad that their leader has people back home worth fighting for. As he said in his moving speech, their ship had become a symbol of hope for the entire planet, but it was nice that all of that began with something as personal as a man getting a message from his family.
Oh and remember how I said we'd get back to Dr. Scott's assistant? In the final seconds we saw him making a call to the Russians. What's an almost-post-apocalyptic show without a spy on board the ship that's supposed to save humanity? Nice little twist in the end.
My favorite bits:
The sailor trying to take a dog on board the ship.
Slattery asking Jeter if he still had a face.
Slattery wisely making himself scarce when he saw how pissed Dr. Scott was. Smart man.
"You know your attitude was mildly charming back in June."
Chandler referring to Dr. Scott's arctic terns as "ducks."
"The doctor told me to keep my distance, the Admiral is scaring off the birds."
"You sure it was the dog and not your breath?"
That intense snowmobile vs. chopper battle. I was very impressed with how well the guys on the ground took down those choppers.
Admiral attacking the Russian soldier. Good doggie!
Chandler deciding to tell his crew everything. I love that he didn't lie to them.
The crew on the bridge covering their eyes when the nuclear bomb went off. Somehow that made it more real.
Chandler holding the fuse in with his own bare hands.
"Badass, Captain. Badass." - I second that!
Dr. Scott giving the man morphine and telling him to let go.
Chandler getting that message from his wife and kids. Heartbreaking.
"We'll die out there."
"No, we will not."
Chandler's message to his crew when he explained why they were turning away from home. Not gonna lie, it brought a tear to my eye.
What did you think of the pilot episode of The Last Ship? Got any favorite bits or least favorite bits of your own?
The Last Ship airs on Sundays at 9pm on TNT.
(Image courtesy of TNT)