What They Say:
Valkyrie – Sean Ramsey broadcasts a message implicating the Navy in a devastating disaster; Chandler attempts to regain the trust of the American people; the Nathan James locates the source of the Immune’s signal.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Though I understood the need for what was done the last time around, The Last Ship proved frustrating in how Chandler had to handle the situation with Rachel. I get the need to keep order in order to maintain the ship and what they want to accomplish here and adhering to codes and regulations is what’s helped immensely since the world turned to crap. But considering what it is that Rachel’s doing and what Niels himself was capable of, letting both of them near each other without more supervision was just foolish. Even taking Rachel out of the situation there’s no way Niels should have had as much freedom as he had, even within the lab, without someone essentially riding his back and looking over his shoulder. Having that situation play out alongside the chaos of what Sean has now orchestrated in order to damage Chandler’s reputation is like a couple of gut punches to the Nathan James.
The stage is set well here for what kind of problems Chandler has to face when it comes to what Sean is doing. Understandably, people are afraid and generally frightened after the collapse of everything and with Sean’s messages going out there pointing the finger at Chandler and the Navy, even implicating them in the kidnapping of the President, the propaganda campaign is easily effective. Sean doesn’t really need to be compelling, but he has the right kind of charisma to pull it off and comes across as a figure of authority. And that’s something that we get to see being understood by Chandler and the President as they watch the messages play out on the Nathan James. They understand the power of the message and the fear that people will have, especially those that are not Immune as they’re fears are even more heightened at this point.
The push to change the narrative of what Sean is pushing takes on some welcome changes here. So much of the season has had Chandler and his crew making progress only to have it kicked out from under them. But now that they’ve lucked out and discovered where the broadcast is coming from that Sean sends out they’re intent on bringing the President’s message out. While I’ve been wary of Michener, thinking he could be a deep mole for Sean, he puts together a solid speech here to try and change hearts and minds away from Sean’s story. Of course, to be able to do that, Chandler and his team have to take over the oil rig that’s being used as the broadcast location for a thousand miles around. Though I once again dislike that Chandler puts himself out there, playing the Kirk of the series in this way, it does make for a solid military style precision sweep of the platform. And I’ve enjoyed the way the show plays things as professionally as it does in contrast to so many other shows with ragtag groups.
The oil rig platform does provide for some good action beyond that, first dealing with a cocky non-immune woman that’s on board there that’s essentially running the Valkyrie network. Obviously she’s named Val. This provides for some fun with Chandler in how he deals with her and her conspiracy theories but it all turns to hell quickly when what Chandler believes is one of Sean’s group arrives there with a rocket launcher and lights up the place in a big way. This puts them all in a real bind and with some real injuries and losses to make it feel like there is some weight and danger to the situation. It plays well in showing how far people will go once again to deal with those they view as a threat in this panicked world and it lets Chandler’s team do their best to survive the situation that gets worse as the damage piles on top of itself. Again, it’s the professional and can-do attitude of the team that’s appealing since they don’t deal with whiny moments or panicked moments.
But the aftermath of this is what proves to be the human moment as we see the return to the Nathan James and deal with the fallout, the loss and the damage that they’re taking. The whole thing takes a significant toll across the board and interestingly we see a lot of it from Val’s perspective where she really starts to realize that she likely did back the wrong horse. Of course, the losses aren’t big name characters so it goes only so far, but the reactions help to make it all the realer. The big loss here though is what happens to Ravit as she got taken down hard in the explosion and has to go through the waking awareness of what’s happening, even as her friends do their best to ease her through it and be there for her. It’s not a surprise to have characters lost in the show but it’s frustrating when it seems like the wrong characters keep getting taken down, leaving us with a crew that while decent loses its more interesting personalities and presences.
One of the advantages of a crew like we have with The Last Ship is that it has a greater allowance for speeches. Most shows come across as awkward and forced when they do it, but this series manages to slide more of them in regularly and convincingly while also being appropriate to the situation. There’s some real loss here and it’s a defining part of the episode in a strong way, one that isn’t forced even if I think it went with the wrong kind of losses. The Last Ship provides for a solid balance of action, character and emotion here and with fewer stupid moments this time around and the inclusion of some wonderful humor from Chandler it all hits a good rhythm for me. Definitely one of the better episodes of the season.