The Last Ship Season 4 Premiere, all two hours of it, just left port and we’ve got a lot to catch up on. Sixteen months have passed and somehow, the virus responsible for wiping out most of the world’s population has jumped species. It now attacks plant life, and especially food. Whole categories of fruits and vegetables die off as the virus hops from species to species. The show’s creators split the narrative this season between Tom Chandler’s (Eric Dane) journey and the crew of the Nathan James’ last ditch effort to save the world (again).
After watching these two episodes, the nature of the threats (man vs. nature again for the crew of the James man vs. man for Chandler) combines what worked best in the previous three seasons. Plus, they’re going to be doing it at sea! Seeing the adventures of Chandler and the gang happen mostly on land last year diminished part of what the show promised in the first season, at least for me. Chandler’s going to find himself by enduring a brutal quest to right some wrongs. The James will try and save the day by sailing where they need to be and kicking ass. Somewhere down the road, I bet we all meet up for some legendary ass-kicking and I can’t wait to see it!
Fair warning: If this review runs a little long, I’m putting the entire premiere into one review and we’ll pick up with episode 3 next week.
Like I mentioned, the virus has jumped species and now infects plant-life. According to Nathan James’ newest sciencey guy, James Fletcher, the virus jumped once humanity developed an immunity to it. The infected food turns red, mimicking the blood coming out of the eyes and noses of the human infected. People call it the “Red Rust” and have already died from the lack of food.
In this new world, untainted seeds are the currency of life. Smugglers and warlords protect what they have, using food as power. Picture how you probably think of drug-lords (given how TV represents them) and you’ll get a good image of the new seed barons.
Even though they don’t show it, riots endanger St. Louis and the president. Personally, I’m glad they only told us St. Louis’ troubles rather than taking us there. I got my fill of the Gateway to the West last season. The little bit we saw concerning the base closing in Spain confirmed all we need to know about the United States ability to support its people during the famine. It can’t.
Navy Situation report:
The US government needs to keep its populace fed and have sent the Nathan James to find a new source of safe seeds. Given their record for pulling of the impossible, I’d send them too. Naval Intelligence stud Sasha and Fletcher, on loan from British Intelligence, take point in all aspects of the mission. They deal with contacts, try to out-think the competition, and also approach the problem from a scientific angle. Sasha must be the single most capable human on Earth.
The season’s first big action scene features Sasha, Fletcher and all the usual suspects as turban wearing bad-guys try to take out Mahmood, their seed peddling contact. The action escalates with an attack on the US Naval Station in Spain where Mahmood recovers from a gunshot and the James gets restocked. Some cowardly rat let the bad guys, representing Omar the Seed Baron, in the back door after a child suicide bomber blew up one of the Burks. This goes badly for Mahmood and several sailors. Finally, after the James gets under way, she gets caught up in a trap which takes their power offline and leaves them wide open for missile attacks from the coast. The James takes a hit in the stern before the crew jury-rigs a system to get the mighty deck gun back online. Overall, I approve of the return to first season form in the combat department.
Sgt. Azima Kandie – She’s on loan from Kenya, the same way Wolf is loan from Australia. Speaking of Wolf, he looks very interested in getting to know Sgt. Azima. She looks more interested in getting to know Lt. Granderson though.
James Fletcher, British Intelligence – With the show returning to its “we gotta kill this virus” roots, they needed a new smartest person in the room. Since they actually went through with killing Dr. Scott last season, the position goes to Mr. Fletcher. It’s not clear what all his specializations are, but he runs a lot of tests on seeds so….. Science. Sasha likes the new guy quite a bit.
Capt. Joe Meylan – Technically not new, but new as a weekly character. Captain Meylan is Mike’s XO, putting two guys with the rank of captain on the bridge at the same time. Meylan accepts his role and does everything he can to ensure their mission. I don’t expect any trouble out of this guy.
The fishing net trap delayed them and now they play catch up to Omar the Seed Baron and his network of seed smugglers.
Can anyone blame Tome Chandler for wanting to find a simple, peaceful life in which to raise his children? On a personal level, no. I can’t blame him. If I were a member of a dwindling human race on the brink of extinction and the guy with the best track record for saving the world decided to retire… I’d probably get upset. Regardless of my feelings on the matter, Chandler created the life he wanted in a coastal town in Greece. He even gets to work on a boat!
When the local criminal middle-manager murders the man that took Chandler under his wing and gave him and his kids a starting point in Greece, Tom’s sense of right and wrong propels him into action. This is a big deal. His kids enjoy relative safety. The food supply seems ok for now. He’s even got a much younger girlfriend in Cali, a local waitress. Now, Cali takes charge of his kids while he has to go deep under cover into an organization he knows very little about. I have no doubt this new path will send him right into the crosshairs of the Nathan James at some point.
The local middle manager I mentioned goes by Giorgio. He regulates the local fisherman and takes in their “tribute”. For laughs, he also runs the local fight club where his Moose runs roughshod over the competition. When you’re the biggest badass in the world, the fight club works just like open door to their criminal organization, though.
Sidebar: That move Tom put on Stavros’ fighter to finish it… Bro never saw it coming! What can anybody expect? These guys killed his boss, harassed his girlfriend, and in the long-run threatened his kids. Almost makes you feel sorry for the guy. Almost.
The producers have openly admitted to patterning Chandler’s journey this season after Homer’s Odysseus. Need proof? Chandler won’t give up his name to the bad guys and hides behind the “Nobody” moniker Alex used to hide his identity. Homer had that idea like a thousand years ago. Keep an eye on Chandler this season for other parallels to Homer’s epic.
One question I have to ponder: why did Tom and Alex steal Giorgio’s boat? Given everything Tom has been through, how did he possibly think that scenario would end? Giorgio gets even with people by paying them back double whatever the perceived affront may have been. You don’t even need to know him to know that about him. Tom -had- to know that. In an otherwise awesome pair of episodes, this one moment left me scratching my head.
I had a small issue with the seduction of Giorgio’s sister as a route behind the closed doors of their little empire. I got the sense Cali fill more of a “Mrs. Right-Now” role for Tom, but I hope for her sake he keeps this part of the mission quiet (assuming she lives through all this).
The organization backing Giorgio will run much deeper than Tom can guess at this point. I’m positive Giorgio is just a low-level assistant regional manager. Think Dwight Shrute in Greece.
Shots from the Deck Gun
Dog’s name is Halsey – one of the ships that has stood in for the Nathan James
In Homer’s The Odyssey, the hero disguises himself and calls himself Nobody. His true name, Odysseus, means trouble.
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