Last Resort, Season 1, Episode 11: “Damn the Torpedoes”
Written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman
Directed by Clark Johnson
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on ABC
Before the show’s winter hiatus, Chaplin had formed an uneasy alliance with the Chinese for supplies to the island in exchange for cooperation. The terms of the negotiation remained nebulous, but the implication was clear; Chaplin and the USS Colorado had been forced into becoming a pawn in a larger fight, and Chaplin’s refusal to do the same when a rogue faction of the US government was looking to do the same is what kicked off the events that he is currently embroiled in in the first place. Chaplin’s alliance with the Chinese, however, as much as it makes Chaplin uncomfortable, was bound to rub other members of the USS Colorado the wrong way, making an already volatile situation even worse. How the sub crew would react to their new partner was something worth looking out for, and this episode explores how that changes the crew’s dynamic, while examining the rapidly changing situation in Washington DC, in another gripping episode that sets up all the pieces for a nail-biting finish.
It was very interesting to hear Prosser’s re-affirmation of his faith in the US government this episode, particularly when set against the discussion of the government coup that was occurring in DC in the presence of Kylie Sinclair and Barry Hopper. The dichotomy between the two discussions of coup is fascinating, especially in light of the fact that each one seems to depend on the situation elsewhere being stable. Should Prosser and his group of subordinates manage to gain control of the USS Colorado at the same time that the US government is able to overthrow the President and Vice-President, the sub and its nuclear capabilities will be in a very interesting position once again, and Prosser will have to decide whether he’s loyal to a government that has gained power by force, or whether he will stay on the island out of defiance, both betraying his thoughts on the government regime reigning supreme, and perhaps providing an unwitting beacon of hope to the rogue factions, such as Defense Secretary Curry, who may still want to use its nuclear capabilities for nefarious purposes.
The position of Kendal was also fascinating to watch this episode. As the most trusted member of Chaplin’s inner circle, Kendal’s priorities were very clear before; he wanted to get home to his wife. The faked death of Christine, however, which he still believes actually happened, significantly muddies what we know of Kendal, tossing his previous motivation to the wind, and his allegiances with it. Though he aligns himself with Prosser and the rogue members of the USS Colorado this episode, there’s no question that Kendal does feel a sense of loyalty towards Chaplin, which leads to the question of how much impact Prosser’s speech actually had on him. Where Kendal truly does end up in the coming days and weeks is something that is worth keeping an eye on, as he is now as much of a wild card as King, with the added factor of not having the option to disengage himself from the goings-on of the sub.
Grace Shepard and Cortez were also compelling to watch this episode. Grace’s arc since the sub formally docked on the island has been attention-grabbing on its own, as it has only distantly tied into the main story, yet has provided a close look at the character and what makes her tick, as well as how the changing circumstances have shaped her. Grace has yet to take a public stand, one way or another, on the larger issue, but the first hand look she gets at Chaplin’s unhinged thought process that Prosser alludes to might lead her to take a more concrete position as things progress, perhaps even putting her at odds with her own father.
Cortez, on the other hand, has seemingly now become one of the few people Chaplin can actually trust. It has been clear from the start, especially contrasted against Booth and his brief tenure on the island, that Cortez is not a cold-blooded spy, and Chaplin trusting her with taking over Anders’ position may have played a factor in her eventual decision as well, by showing her that he is simply trying his best to steer in uncharted territory. The reveal to Chaplin that Cortez is a spy, and the subsequent actions both take, is a fantastic scene, and allows the storyline to move forward in a manner that doesn’t stretch the show’s internal logic to date. There’s an imminent chance that Cortez may end up becoming a key player in the impending coup, as her allegiance to Chaplin is unknown to anyone else, putting her in a unique position.
Overall, this was another fantastic episode of the show, perfectly moving certain storylines forward while still managing to maintain both the sense of tension and setup. One of the show’s unfortunate weaknesses has been a lack of emphasis on the unfolding situation in Washington DC, and that weakened certain aspects of this episode, as the only recognizable face among the senior members of government was that of Admiral Shepard. The importance of the governmental factions moving against each other has unfortunately been undercut by their lack of exposure, which has been reduced further with Christine’s departure, severing the only connection Kylie Sinclair had to the events of the sub. However, things are nonetheless racing to a thrilling conclusion on Last Resort, and with only two more episodes to go, it’s worth tuning in for the remainder of the show’s run to see how it all plays out.
– Deepayan Sengupta