Last Resort, Season 1, Episode 6: “Another Fine Navy Day”
Written by Ron Fitzgerald
Directed by Christopher Misiano
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on ABC
Following the tense face-to-face negotiations between Chaplin and Curry last episode, it was inevitable that the US government would try once again to strong-arm the USS Colorado into surrendering, if not attempt to kill them outright. The question was not if, but when, and how they would go about it, and this was in addition to the internal strife the crew of the sub was facing, as well as conflicts with the islanders itself. Last episode revealed that the SWAT team Chaplin and his crew rescued in the pilot were as much of an effective bargaining chip as the nuclear missiles, and it is the government’s attempt to take away this piece of leverage that forms the focus of this episode, another tense affair that once again serves to illustrate how outmatched the crew of the USS Colorado really is.
Forming an alliance between Serrat and the US government was a very interesting tactic for the show to take. Serrat has proven to be much more than a thorn in the side of Chaplin and his crew, posing a formidable threat, yet he’s been unable to regain the power he had prior to the sub’s arrival. Bribing him with promises of a restoration of his kingdom makes perfect sense, both in terms of why he would choose to work with spies from the US government, as well as why the government would choose him as their inside man. It will be interesting to see, going forward, how the clear outmatching affects Serrat, and whether he chooses to form an uneasy alliance with the USS Colorado to get the bigger threat off both their backs, or if he chooses to continue down the path he’s already on, simply steering clear of the bigger forces battling it out, or take a third route altogether. It is also worth noting that this is the second time he’s crossed the crew of the Colorado in a major way, with the remaining SEALs now also gunning for him for his indirect involvement in the deaths of their peers, so he may perhaps not get a say in his involvement going forward.
The nonlinear way this episode told the story was very successful in adding tension, without tripping up on itself. Due to the fact that the episode had to display the effects of releasing a gas, showing the effects was a great way to display how deadly the gas really was, adding weight to Prosser’s laundry list of its effects, rather than making that scene simply toothless exposition. Scott Speedman, who has more than carried his weight, was particularly good this episode, perfectly capturing XO Kendal’s internal conflict between duty and Christine, as well s his struggles to stay mired in reality as the effects of the gas kept taking hold of him.
One issue the episode had, however, was that it focused too much ofn Kendal and Chaplin. It would have been nice to see the hallucinations of some of the crewmembers besides Chaplin and Kendal, to get a better idea of the backstories of individuals such as Grace, Prosser, James, or even islanders such as Sophie, Nigel, or Tani. While this is a minor quibble, in light of the show being only six episodes old at this point, all six of which have advanced the plot in some form or the other, getting more history or a deeper characterisation of some characters other than Chaplin and Kendal would help heighten the stakes, as well as make the show feel more like an ensemble. A good ensemble show can deliver a compelling episode no matter which character is the primary focus, and while Last Resort has fleshed out characters such as Kylie Sinclair and James King enough to make them distinctive, the writers seem hesitant to move the Captain and XO out of the spotlight for too long, and that was made obvious in this episode. Characters such as Anders and Cortez may also prove to be fascinating to watch, and hopefully the show gives them, or others, a chance to shine as the season progresses.
Overall, this episode continued the stellar run of the show so far, effectively managing to follow up last episode while still being distinct. The death of the SEALs adds an interesting angle of desperation, despite both being relatively minor characters with a very limited number of lines between them. Not only does it indicate a new level of desperation in the actions of the government, the deaths also give James and Hopper a new purpose, as well as two new potentially powerful allies for the USS Colorado. Pursuing what happened to Chaplin while he was passed out also has promise, as someone injected him, as well as stole the firing key, so whether someone has conflicting loyalties, or whether two different people were involved in the actions remains to be seen; however, if it’s the former, the storyline could be a fascinating one. The promise of following this, and other plot threads established this episode, is worth tuning in next week.