Last Resort, Season 1, Episode 7: “Nuke It Out”
Written by Nick Antosca and Ned Vizzini
Directed by Michael Offer
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on ABC
Despite essentially amounting to Last Resort’s version of a standalone, last week’s episode did a lot to advance a few plots, the most important of which was the theft of Captain Chaplin’s firing key. With one of the necessary triggers for launching the nuclear missiles now out of Chaplin’s hands, his leverage is significantly reduced, and all he can do right now against the US government is bluff, and hope they don’t call him on it. Thus, finding the key and getting it back to Chaplin is practically the only way to guarantee that US forces don’t take the USS Colorado and its crew out entirely, so it made perfect sense that the hunt for the key formed the main storyline this week, in another great outing that turns the focus of the conflict inward once again.
The storyline of Cortez this week is perhaps the most intriguing. The writers smartly chose to shift the focus away from Chaplin and Kendal following last week’s episode, and Cortez perhaps benefitted the most. Her actions at the end of the episode shed a very interesting light on her speech to Commander Shepard about traitors. The audience has gotten a clear idea of what Prosser thinks of Chaplin’s actions, but the private thoughts of most of the crew regarding the USS Colorado going rogue have yet to be expressed beyond a simple desire to go back home. Thus, it’s entirely believable that Cortez considers Chaplin to be a traitor for not firing the nuclear missiles when ordered, much like Prosser and Curry believe, which would make the motive behind her theft of the key very obvious. However, she also told Chaplin in private this episode that she’ll support his actions without question, which throws some very interesting shades on what she’s done, as this was not a statement she made to Chaplin under duress, or out of any kind of physical or mental coercion. She is also aware of the lengths Chaplin went to to free her and her colleagues from Serrat’s grip when they were being held captive. All of this adds up to some very fascinating turns Cortez can take in the ensuing episodes, as her allegiance is still very murky, and it’s also possible, if she is in fact in communication with the CIA, that she’s aware of something even Chaplin doesn’t know yet. There’s plenty of reason to believe Cortez both took the key from Chaplin, and administered the Epipen to snap him out of the effects of the chemical, and which side of her ultimately wins out can be a major factor in deciding how the conflict plays out.
The teamup between Kylie Sinclair and Christine Kendal also continues to be fascinating. Christine’s attitude towards Paul Wells is much more interesting in light of her declaration that she was aware of his true intentions, and displays a level of shrewdness that has yet to be acknowledged by her opponents. It will be very interesting to see how far Christine and Kylie, another woman whose intelligence has seemingly been underestimated, can manage to take things, as Kylie’s idea to use Christine as the instrument with which to rattle the government already pays off this episode. The confirmation of Chaplin’s declaration that the government would declare the meeting never happened was done very effectively, and using the coverup of Straugh’s death as a weakness is a very smart move. The rebellious forces against the President that Admiral Shepard alluded to last episode and Booth spoke about this episode are clearly interested in helping Kylie and Christine, but it will be worth watching to see if they are simply setting up the duo to take the fall should things go south, or if they’re genuinely concerned about how they feel about the whole situation and are interested in ensuring both women get justice. How Kylie and Christine get treated by the rebellious factions of the government will go a long way in determining whether letting them come into power will effect actual change, or if it will simply be a case of swapping out one corrupt regime for another.
The other compelling part of this episode was the storyline of Serrat. Despite being very clearly outmatched, Serrat continues to be a very formidable threat to the well-being of the crew of the USS Colorado. His actions against C.O.B. Prosser this episode, in particular, were quite brutal, and coupled with his cold-blooded killing earlier, and his conversion of another crew member this week into a human bomb against her will indicate that Serrat isn’t against crossing whatever line he needs to to ensure he gets his way. At the same time, Chaplin’s already thin patience with Serrat was clearly snapped this week, and that was before Serrat burned the soles of Prosser’s feet. This makes the impending showdown between Chaplin and Serrat, which will no doubt be accelerated and heightened as a result of Prosser’s injuries, something worth looking out for, as Chaplin will definitely bring down the force of the USS Colorado against Serrat, an endeavour in which he will surely have the full support of his crew. At the same time, Serrat is bound to inflict some major damage of his own, and may have a few tricks still left up his sleeve that would catch the crew by surprise. What that might be, and what toll this week’s actions take on the crew, remains to be seen.
Overall, this was a fantastic episode, and one that makes last week’s episode better by expanding on numerous plot points that were simply briefly introduced. The character of Booth proves himself quite intriguing this week, and how his arc plays out promises to be interesting. Watching the differing ways Chaplin and Kendal treated the crew following the key’s theft is also fascinating to watch, and lends more weight to Booth’s assertion that the rebellious forces would feel more comfortable with Kendal leading the sub, rather than Chaplin. How the news of support from a resistance group affects Chaplin’s actions, as well as how these other storylines play out, is more than enough reason to tune in next week.