You Do NOT Talk About Fight Club
Whoa. None of you saw that coming. If you say you did, out loud and in front of others, your friends will leave and your family will disown you because they know you lie. This episode, The Last Ship 408 – Lazaretto – redefined the kind of narrative I thought TLS was capable of. It made me re-evaluate the way I watch this show from now on. And that is a VERY good thing.
The episodes main plot centers on the James sending a raiding party to a “Lazaretto” or small prison on the island of Kleos. Thanks to data recovered last week from Giorgio’s (Jackson Rathbone) house, the James suspects they will find info on Vellek’s (Peter Weller) ship there. Sasha (Bridget Regan) leads Green (Travis Van Winkle), Miller (Kevin Michael Martin), Wolf (Bren Foster), Burk (Jocko Sims), Jeter (Charles Parnell), and Azima (Jodie Turner-Smith) ashore and into the prison. Surprise greets the team when they find guards and about forty prisoners. In pretty short order they figure out these are Vellek’s guinea pigs for his anti-aggression drugs.
The team splits up with Burk and Jeter breaking into the prison’s comm room, Danny, Miller and Wolf making friends among the prisoners, and Sasha and Azima covering their escape with sniper rifles. Burk and Jeter find some data they can send on to the James. That’s good. Jeter went down after one punch thanks to him having hidden his injury. That’s bad. Danny confirms what I proposed last week: that Vellek’s food would be laced with the anti-aggression drug. Suspicions confirmed and data transferred, the team evacs more or less intact.
The Other Ship
Fletcher (Jonathan Howard) starts to put together that his involvement with the Velleks may not pan out the way the Crown thought it would. During several appeals to Giorgio, Fletcher discovers the anti-aggression plot. Maybe Fletcher figured he’d entered a no-win scenario, because he starts taking bigger and bigger chances throughout the episode. He kills Demetrius in a short-lived and ultimately fruitless plan to delay Vellek. After several dead-end conversations with Giorgio, he kills a guard and radios the James. Here, we learn the depth of Giorgio’s loyalty to his father as he sells out Fletcher and then blows his brains out.
Throughout this sub-plot, we were shown pre-apocalypse scenes revolving around the Vellek family sending Christos (Drew Roy) off to his new career. Dr. Vellek on the one hand wants him to stay with him, but on the other, wants to make it clear who’s got the biggest brain in the room. Christos would rather stand on his own, so he leaves. The final scene in this sequence shows us Vellek himself having to identify Christos’ corpse on the street following a mugging. Wow. They Sixth Sensed us. They Tyler Durdened us. Never saw it coming.
We knew, well, we hoped, Fletcher wouldn’t survive much longer. Most fans, excluding those in the UK probably, had hoped the capable Commander would make some act of redemption – and then get killed very shortly thereafter. His sin of killing so many sailors aboard the James could never have been repaid, so winding up back in US custody would have been a fruitless narrative pursuit. Still, something about this ending bothers me. It makes sense, but it doesn’t satisfy. I wanted Sasha to decide whether Fletch lived or died. Having Giorgio pull the trigger shortens Fletcher’s character arc dramatically and alters Sasha’s. She will now never gain real closure with Fletcher, leaving her wounded (and ripe for Chandler?).
Giorgio surprised me. Yes, I didn’t quite expect him to execute Fletcher, but that’s not what I mean. Given the fuller revelations in this episode, an entire dimension to Giorgio’s personality just appears out of narrative ether. This whole time, we’ve seen Giorgio endure endless criticism and favoritism toward his brother Christos from his father. Giorgio never once said anything against his brother. He never, now that I think about it, even acknowledges his brother. In conversations with fellow fans this week, many of us thought Vellek’s rough treatment toward Giorgio might trigger his defection. While that play may remain on the table, Giorgio’s actions this week seemed to solidify his devotion to his father.
Really. Color me surprised. I thought Rathbone was just hamming it up (and he may have been), but now we can suspect a few things. Giorgio DOES see the bigger picture, even though his father shares little info with him. Giorgio, beyond any other person, endures Vellek’s emotional assault so that the world may live. Yes, he’s also party to the whole behavior-control plan, so I’m not claiming Giorgio’s a good guy. I am saying he deserves a little credit for keeping his dad, the only guy who can save the world, from cracking completely.
That last scene when Giorgio studies his dad talking to and embracing Christos hopefully gives him pause. Something like, “Wait a sec. I’m killing people for this guy?”
Brilliant. He figured out how to stop the red-rust. As a side project, he also figured out how remove aggression from a person’s personality. There’s only one catch. He takes Nostos all the time so he can hallucinate that his dead son Christos lives and works with him in the lab. Lucia (Sybilla Deen) and Giorgio endured endless lunatic references to their dead brother and their father’s favorite child just to keep their dad from cracking completely. I love that the writers did this to Vellek. Up to now, his only weakness was that he was a jerk. Now we know he possesses a super fragile psyche. Forcing him to face reality will probably break him.
For the past couple weeks I’ve been telling you: Jeter hiding his injury would come up at an inopportune time. Well, does a raid into an experimental prison qualify as an inopportune time? I think so. Luckily, no one shot Jeter. Also luckily, no one shot either of the guys incapable of being combat-effective because they were dragging Jeter to safety, either. Come on, Jeter. Get well soon. And don’t do that again.
The Drug IS the food – Well, it just made sense, didn’t it? All of us probably saw that one coming.
Sasha (or maybe Chandler) would get to finish off Fletcher – Giorgio will probably tease Sasha with a crude account of Fletcher’s death, but she won’t get her vengeance. Who knows? Maybe her attachment to Fletcher will drive Sasha into shooting Giorgio upon their next meeting for stealing her chance to kill Fletcher!
After tonight’s episode, I have to reevaluate the kind of straight-forward narrative possibilities I usually put here. Can this series have another jaw-dropping revelation this season?
We lose another crew member – I’ve been eyeballing it all season, but I stand by the idea that Meylan or Slattery will go down. Remember, season 4 and 5 comprise one large narrative arc, so it make sense that this season will end in a gut-wrenching tragic cliffhanger.
Giorgio turns on his dad – Giorgio made his loyalty to his dad crystal clear this week by killing Fletcher. Previously, I had thought Giorgio may betray his dad based on the way he treats Giorgio. Now, I think if some way to “help” his dad were to present itself he might just take it.
Check out The Daleys on their own website: www.DaleyReview.com.
Like us on Facebook or Subscribe for instant notice of new posts.