There’s no denying it: The Last Ship is my favorite new show in a long, long time.
When TNT’s post-apocalyptic drama debuted this past June, I had no idea it would sustain the pilot‘s fantastic quality for a thrilling ten-episode run and leave me gasping for breath by the end of its season finale. Simply put, The Last Ship is a riveting production that’s jam-packed with explosive action, intriguing characters, and gut-wrenching moments.
No Place Like Home proved to be a real gamechanger, as it brought the crew of the USS Nathan James onto solid land and into the crossfires of a whole new world. The introduction of the remarkably talented Alfre Woodard as Vice-Chair Amy Granderson injected a whole new dynamic into the proceedings. Woodard exudes just the right dose of menace, and her performance really elevated the final reveal with the whole body-burning plot. In fact, that twist was a great bait and switch as we were previously lead to believe that Thornwald (played by the ever-reliable Titus Welliver) was the villain of the piece. Well played show. Well played.
The finale’s most harrowing moment was most certainly Tom Chandler’s reunion with his family. Throughout the course of the season, Eric Dane more than proved himself as a likeable and charismatic lead. Dane used to be quite fun to watch on Grey’s Anatomy, but he’s even better suited as a bonafide action star. I have a feeling this guy is going to be headlining blockbuster movies in the near future; he clearly deserves it.
Honestly I’m sort of glad Chandler’s wife didn’t make it, because I’m seriously rooting for him and Dr. Scott to get together. Rhona Mitra is a highly underrated actress, and her chemistry with Dane is off the charts (as that kiss a few episodes back can attest to). The writers have done an immaculate job of slowly laying down the building blocks for their relationship. More importantly, they’ve successfully managed to make her viable as a character apart from her relationship with Chandler. The scene with the doctors giving her a round of applause (for finding the cure) was just goosebump-worthy and extremely satisfying after a season of watching the good doctor trying to cook up a cure.
Speaking of the cure, I love that we reached this plot point so early in the show’s run. This is an element that could have been needlessly dragged out for multiple seasons, but having Rachel discover the cure now opens up a world of possibilities for the show.
If I had any complaints about Ship, it would be that a large chuck of the supporting characters are pretty useless at the moment. Taking the time to develop the rest of the cast next season would definitely strengthen our emotional attachment. Alisha’s reunion with mommy dearest for example, would have been much more impactful had we been more exposed to the character in the past.
And finally, I must commend the season’s final line (“Nathan James where are you?”) for being a thematically powerful bookend to the season. The Nathan James was our home this year, and after a year of expertly commandeering it before our eyes, it’s stripped away from Chandler along with his crew. Wow.
– Although they didn’t get much screentime, it was fascinating to watch the aftermath of Quincy’s family after his wife had to endure capture by Ruskov. It was also heartwarming to see Scott bond with Quincy’s daughter. Let’s hope daddy survives that final gunshot.
– The sequence with Thornwald’s sniper almost taking out Granderson was remarkably tense.
– Walking Dead fans, didn’t Olympia sort of remind you of Terminus?
– How great was it to watch Tex finally make his move and kiss Scott? The guy really evolved into one of my favorite characters over the season. Let’s hope the brewing-love triangle is handled in a realistic manner.
– I’m not the biggest fan of Adam Baldwin but Mike Slattery also grew on me by the end.
– So Dr. Hamada is evil incarnate huh?
– How brilliant was that transition with the body-burning reveal leading into Granderson turning on the light powered by those very bodies? Talk about a horror movie.
Quotes & Cures
Tex: What I understand about women you fit in a shot glass.
Chandler: Red flu… is that what they’re calling it?
Slattery: Doesn’t do it justice somehow.
Tex: (about Rachel) Look at her. She’s in love with a toaster.
Tex: (about Rachel) She ain’t buying what I’m selling. I thought once she saved the world, she’d let loose a little.
Chandler: This is her letting loose.
A gripping and powerful closer to one of this year’s most exciting new shows. It’s also one of my favorite hours of television this year. Incredible.