Last Resort, Season 1, Episode 9: “Cinderella Liberty”
Written by Morenike Balogun
Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on ABC
It has been an open secret that the biggest strain on the crew of the USS Colorado has been the inability to go home, or atleast see one’s family members. Last week’s episode explored how this had affected the psyche of Anders, and Sam’s struggle with not seeing Christine has been well documented. All of this made Chaplin’s allowance of one ship carrying family members understandable, as crew morale is crucial, in this particular case even more so. The allowance, however, also opens a weakness for the sub that was previously not present, and this episode explores what happens when someone decides to take advantage of, and exploit, this newfound weakness, delivering a nail biting episode in the process that tests the resolve of several people.
It was great to see Last Resort revisit the idea of non-American forces coming for the USS Colorado, to a greater degree this time. The fact that Chaplin and his crew are defenceless outside of the nuclear missiles – something which Chaplin was unable to use before Cortez gave up the key as well, leaving the sub completely vulnerable – is a glaringly obvious fact, and one the writers have fortunately proven they are well aware of. It was only a matter of time before another country followed in the footsteps of the Russians, and it was fascinating to see the difference in reaction by Secretary of Defence Curry between the last incident and this one, especially since the stakes were much more heightened here. It will be interesting to see how the three deaths on the boat affects public perception of the USS Colorado, as well as of the US Government going forward. With global tensions on the rise all around, another attempt to procure the services of the USS Colorado’s nukes also seems like an inevitability, and how Chaplin prepares for this, particularly without his XO, is also something to look out for.
It was also good to finally get the story on Hopper and James’ ill-fated Pakistani mission that set off the events of the show. Despite the presence of six SEALs at the onset of the show, five of whom made it to the island, there have only been two we’ve gotten to know well, and the writers cleverly made that a deliberate choice this issue by putting only James and Hopper on the mission into Pakistan. The ramifications of the mission as they were shown is huge, most importantly because it indicates that the US government was already heading down a dangerous path, before Chaplin and his crew ever got involved. This lends credibility to the elder Shepard’s assertion to Chaplin that forces were mobilising against the President, and adds a new dimension to the show.
Overall, this was a fantastically tense episode, a feat that is made all the more commendable with the knowledge that this storyline came in without any real advance warning. It is good to see James, who’s turned out to be quite an interesting character over the show’s run, get involved in the main storyline in a larger manner, rather than isolated one-off incidents. It will also be really interesting to see how Sam Kendal and Kylie Sinclair work as a team, since both are invested in Christine’s safe return. Paul Wells’ death this episode was certainly unexpected, and only serves to underscore how volatile the hostage situation was, and his death combined with Christine’s abduction completely changes the angle that Curry and his group are taking with regards to Sam and potentially fracturing the group. James, Sam, and Kylie will undoubtedly make a formidable team, and seeing if and how they work together makes next week’s episode one that shouldn’t be missed.