Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Last Ship - 2.01/2.02 - Unreal City / Fight the Ship - Preview

The Last Ship premieres on TNT this Sunday at 9/8 C.

Wow! Just wow! In its season 2 opener, The Last Ship loses none of its pacing or intensity from last season. In fact they jack up everything until this 2-part premiere feels more like a movie than a TV show. It's a Michael Bay classic with gun fights, explosions, and all the heroics fans expect from this show. Best yet, everybody gets to be a hero since the action takes place in so many areas. These two episodes are less about great speechmaking, although there is some of that too, and more about strategizing and kicking butt. Alliances are made, heroes are born, and a whole lot of people get shot, but the pacing never lets up until the end. It's an action-packed adrenaline thrill ride to the end. Starting right where they left off, the crew of the Nathan James is in big trouble. Granderson's militia has taken the ship, Rachel and Alisha are held captive, Jeter and Quincy are shot, and Chandler's family are in a death camp. Things look more grim than they ever have. Yet that is just the time when the crew of the USS Nathan James does its best work. Instead of being defeated they rally even harder to show their cunning and skill, rising to every new challenge.

The main action starts in 4 places - the bridge, helo pad, Avocet, and Olympia - quickly jumping from one setting to another, increasing the frantic nature of the scenes. On the bridge, Quincy is bleeding out. Slattery tries to take down Norris, but they are outgunned. He does convince Norris to send for Dr. Rios, mostly by stressing how important Quincy will be if something happens to Rachel. Rios however is on his own mission. He hides the primordial strain in his medical bag to keep Norris and his thugs from finding it and killing them all. Down on the deck, the crew is rounded up. Granderson's police thug wants them all in the helo bay but O'Connor manages to jump off the ship as a distraction, planning to rendezvous with his buddies later to take the ship back. Garnett, the ranking officer here, tells the crew to wait for their moment. It's a patience game in which both the crew and the viewers are itching to fight. Garnett also warns Quincy's family to say they were rescued with Bertrise so they aren't taken hostage again. Back at Avocet, Granderson tries to convince Rachel to help with the cure but Rachel negotiates. She wants to give what little remains to the sick and Granderson reluctantly agrees because Rachel's vital to her plans. In a great scene, she even concedes to giving the cure to a wider assortment of people to jumpstart Rachel's cooperation. While out delivering the cure, Rachel finds that not all scientists knew what was going on at Olympia and ends up in the middle of a heartbreaking moment. Chandler has his own crisis of conscience when he meets up with Danny and Jeter at the rally point. He wants to stay with his family but he needs to get his ship back and take down Granderson. In the end he compromises by leaving a still injured Jeter to watch over his family as he and Danny plan to take out the power plant.

This episode spiked my adrenaline but it also took me through a wide gamut of feelings. I spent equal time between cheering on the crew of the Nathan James and wishing certain douche bag characters would die. The top of my "to die" list included Norris and Dr. Hamada, who ticked me off equally. Hamada's treachery was particularly hard to watch. They both make a better Big Bad than Ruskov did last season, although like him, they come off as over the top in some places too. However Alfre Woodard, as Granderson, is outstanding. She's cool and calculating but also classically overconfident, sure her vision is best. She has a great moment with her daughter early on where she's pressing Alisha to convince Chandler to surrender only to be gob smacked when Alisha refuses. It's clear that she's drunk her own Kool-Aid and she's not the type to go down easily. Titus Welliver also gets an extended role in these two episodes, joining forces with Chandler in his quest to take down Granderson. Of course the two have a different view of what taking her down really means. In all, I loved this premiere. It had a lot of action and I watched breathlessly as one daring plan came after another. Yet herein lies the biggest flaw of the episodes as well. They go through too much plot and I say that as a plot and action-driven viewer. There's not a second for any of the emotion to breath and things I thought would take half a season are addressed and moved on from before I fully processed them. Let's just say that what I thought this season was going to be about was 100% wrong and I'm not sure how that's going to play out in upcoming episodes. I can't wait to see though even if I doubt anything this summer can top the straight up action of these two episodes. Thank goodness they ran back-to-back because I'm not sure I could stand to wait a week if it ended on the first one.

Grade: A / A-

Episode Awards:

Best Speech - tie - Granderson and Slattery
Most Disgusting - the death of ???
Most Intense - watching guards take valuables off the dead and seeing the assembly line of bodies heading into the incinerator
Worst Name for a Militia - the Warlords
Biggest Douche - tie - Norris and Hamada
Biggest Eye Roll - tie - Quincy's wife and Chandler's daughter
Biggest Plot Device - Thorwald already has a plan in the works
Most Heartbreaking - Rachel when she has to choose
Most Far-Fetched - Danny at the power plant
Most Incongruous - the man playing music underground
Least Surprising - Norris finds out about Quincy's wife and child
The "I Feel for You" Award - Alisha Granderson
Quickest Thinking - Rios grabs the primordial strain before Hamada can find it
Best Timing - Danny shuts off the power right before ????
Best Covert Communications - tie - O'Connor and Slattery
Best Confrontation - Granderson and ???
Best Plan - taking out the power plant
Worst Plan - when Granderson decides to ???
Biggest Twist - taking Kara
Worst Twist - ??? gets sick
Most Heroic Death - ???
Most Surprising Death - ???
Best Vicarious Death - when Kara kills ???
Quickest Job Hire - Tex
Most Persuasive - Garnett
Most Fun -tie - Danny at the power plant and Slattery after Norris removes him from the bridge
Smartest Thinking - Jeter hides the family in a house marked with a red X
The "Say What?" Award- Bacon has a ??? Since when?
Last Quote of the Episode - "So this is home."

Great Quotes:

"Baltimore Water and Power. How can I help you this evening? Predicted hold time is forever. If you need immediate assistance, please place your lips firmly on my a** cheeks and press the pound sign."
"Four of us against 80 of them. I don't like those odds."
"I am not a monster."
"I didn't come all this way to die in Baltimore."
"I don't know you. At this point I don't trust anyone I meet in this town…"
"If this city is any indication of what's become of our country, Mr. Chandler, as far as I'm concerned you're a hero for surviving this long."
"Kid, I'm telling ya I'm one of the good guys."
"People do whatever they can to survive. They make their choices."
"The apocalypse is here. It's been here for a long time, but I am willing to adjust my philosophy to suit your sensibilities if you just help me get the lab up and running."
"What the hell country are we even in?"

Check out the 2 hour premiere of The Last Ship this Sunday on TNT at 9/8 C.

Season 1 review and rankings

Screencaps by The Last Ship Wikia, Spoilers Guide, and SpoilerTV.

About the Author - Dahne
One part teacher librarian - one part avid TV fan, Dahne is a contributing writer for SpoilerTV, where she recaps, reviews, and/or creates polls for Teen Wolf, The 100, Grimm, Younger, Major Crimes, and others. She's addicted to Twitter, live tweets a multitude of shows each week, and co-hosts the Sleepy Hollow "Headless" and Teen Wolf "Welcome to Beacon Hills" podcasts for Southgate Media Group. Currently she writes a Last Week in TV column for her blog and SpoilerTV. ~ "I speak TV."
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