I’ve been anxiously waiting for Last Resort for quite a while now. I’ve always been a sucker for high-concept shows with an intricate mythology and this show’s premise seemed to fit the bill: the crew of an American nuclear submarine are ordered to fire at Pakistan, and once they refuse, are branded enemies of the state as they set up shop in an unknown island and declare it a no-man’s land. Of course not all high-concept shows are successful; Lost was undoubtedly brilliant (in the beginning at least) while Flashforward pretty much tanked right out the gate. And while there’s still plenty of room for Revolution and Last Resort to fail, I’m happy to say that both had exceptional pilots which have me suitably pumped for the fall season.
The first 15 minutes of the premiere proved to be quite complex. While Revolution took its time in introducing us to each of its characters, Last Resort jumped straight into the action and we were forced to fend for ourselves trying to decipher who was doing what. This approach was a good one as it disoriented me just enough to shock the hell out of me as soon as the nuclear order came on. From there on out, the rest of the hour was a nail-biting and breathless thrill ride that literally had me on the edge of my seat for the first time in a long time.
The production values, the rousing score, Last Resort as a whole is a pretty impressive production. We’ve got so many things to keep track of from the sub crew, to the NATO gang, and of course Sinclair and the Admiral hopefully uncovering the conspiracy together. The acting in particular is superb. Scoot Speedman is surprisingly good but it’s Andre Braugher who is an early standout as Chaplin, the unhinged captain of the sub who is a complete enigma. He’s equal parts likeable and borderline psychotic. I can tell he’s going to be a favorite of many (and plus he reminded of Locke from Lost quite a bit). Thankfully the island stuff looks like it will be quite different from that show as I was wondering how similar they would be. Thankfully, it’s doubtful Last Resort will ever add any sci-fi elements into the mix.
Moreover, I appreciated the pilot’s attempts at humor which did a great job of breaking the tension and the convoluted seriousness of it all. The crew dancing to “La Bamba” just before all hell broke loose was just fantastic. I also have to mention that I’m intrigued by Dichen Lachman being a part of the cast as she was wonderful in Dollhouse so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more of her.
If there were any weak points to the pilot, it would probably be the island’s militia leader who is already too one-dimensional for my liking. The writers are really going to have to work at giving him some depth (and sadly the actor doesn’t seem especially adept at his craft).
Finally, I absolutely loved the captain’s final speech to DC as he threatened his country with the very nukes they’d supplied his sub with. Suffice to say, it provided a captivating bookend to a different kind of premise.
Gripping and thoroughly engaging, Last Resort‘s pilot is a highly impressive and thoroughly compelling production.