No One Beats Nathan James
Well, that’s it, folks. For this review, we’ll cover both episodes that made up The Last Ship Season 4 Finale. The two episodes work best back to back, so even though our 10 episode season only lasted 8 weeks, do you think you -really- could have waited a week after the events of episode 9? I thought not.
Detect, Deceive, Destroy
Episode 9’s title, “Detect, Deceive, Destroy”, gives us a pretty good idea of what events took place in the episode. The James’ crew knew of at least 3 Greek warships intent on sinking them. They suspected one of the ships housed Vellek’s (Peter Weller) lab, making their offensive options limited. For the bad guys, Lucia (Sybilla Deen) recognized the potential for subterfuge and sent the lab ship off on its own while three other Greek vessels maintained formation. As the name of the episode suggests, both sides needed to detect the other, played at deception and tried to destroy one another. “Admiral” Stavros (Christos Vasilopoulos) and Lucia couldn’t quite match up with Chandler (Eric Dane), Slattery (Adam Baldwin), and Meylan (Emerson Brooks) though. One by one, and in some creative ways, the crew of the James narrowed down the odds by sinking Greek ships. Which was your favorite: Danny’s (Travis Van Winkle) almost-suicide mission, the torpedo under the fishing boats, or Mike’s tricky missiles?
Episode 10, entitled “Endgame”, showed us the fall of Vellek and his little empire. His fragile mind in the end couldn’t deal, not so much with the loss of Lucia, Giorgio, and all his work, but with the final loss of Christos. When next you hear the phrase, “How the mighty have fallen,” think of where Vellek started this season and how he ended up: on his knees, digging through his lab, looking for drugs. Stay off drugs, kids, and your chances of being able to enslave the world drastically improve!
I invite any navy folks out there reading this to reply to this story or on Facebook with the plausibility of this episode. Don’t get me wrong. The cinematic awesomeness of ramming Vellek’s ship, boarding it with anybody capable of holding a rifle, and then seeing Gator turn into an action hero gives me everything I need from an action show. I just wonder, would that actually happen? Is that in the regs? To board another ship like pirates, I mean. Either way, I put any disbelief aside and just let myself enjoy the mayhem.
When this season started, we all wondered where we would find Tom Chandler. Once we found him, we all wondered if he could get over himself and resume his rightful place among his fellow sailors. Once he accomplished THAT… he pitched in wherever he could, advised the James’ command staff, but in some ways had a hard time becoming “Captain Chandler” again. In these last two episodes, Tom’s plans and actions result in, as Sasha teases, him having saved the world “again”. This time, more than any other world saving adventure, he brought the team with him, as if admitting, “I can’t do this forever.” In a way, Tom’s arc included getting the James ready for his eventual and more graceful departure next season. They dealt with him leaving before (last season), but weren’t ready for it. Now, (as long as he doesn’t take off) I think the crew will gladly assist him in his desire to get his family and head home (and maybe a job as Secretary of the Navy again?).
Sidenote: I liked how this season ended with Chandler trying to save the bad guy’s life rather than feeling forced to kill, like last season. (Yes, I know he had to kill about three dozen hapless Greek sailors to get to that point, but they just got in the way between him and Vellek.) That action, even with having been shot by Lucia, tells me he now controls whatever demon that drove him to leave the Navy.
Last thought: Am I alone in wondering how in the world he let Sasha walk away from him in the closing shot? You’d think that whole Dr. Scott thing would been a huge lesson called, “Don’t just let the girl walk away, bro!”
I usually require a television show to produce a body whenever the narrative manipulates me into thinking a character has died. Perhaps my incomplete screener made it ambiguous, but it looked a lot like Vellek just walked off the back of his ship into the sea. In this case, given the relative star-power of Peter Weller, I find it pretty easy to believe that he signed on to play season 4’s bad-guy and then wanted to be done acting on the show. That’s a long way to say, “I think he’s dead.” For all his intellect, Vellek’s mind eventually broke. When he wasn’t busy ordering his ship’s captain to give away their position (despite Lucia’s warnings), he was ransacking his own lab like a junkie in need of a fix.
Oh wait. He WAS a junkie. He was actually addicted to Christos (Drew Roy). The Nostos provided a gateway to feed his true addiction. Just like most drugs however, the more you use them, the more you need to get the same impact. His precious Christos blinked in and out of his perception as we witnessed his body build up a tolerance to the Nostos. I’m soooo glad Mike got past his brush with Nostos. Now we know: it eventually stops working.
Lucia and Giorgio (Jackson Rathbone) both met violent ends this week. Giorgio himself put any former thoughts of a possible flip to Chandler’s team to rest early on tonight. Last week we saw an unexpected loyalty to his father. This week, we saw more of that as he and Lucia compared notes about how worried they were about their dad. Giorgio’s dying words confirmed that all he ever wanted was some recognition from his dad. He was a terrible person, but that’s a sad way to die.
Lucia ended up popped in the back three or four times from Sasha on the aft deck of her father’s ship. The same ship she had ordered to remain silent. The ship that was supposed to escape while no one was looking. I’m afraid good old fashioned misogyny contributed to the downfall of the Vellek clan as much as any other factor. For as much as Giorgio tried, he lacked the “it” factor good leaders possess. Lucia on the other hand often made the best strategic and tactical suggestions, but her father ignored her. She should have been running the whole operation and Vellek should have stayed in the lab, where he was most effective. He occasionally entrusted her with important actions, but when push came to shove he ignored her in favor of a dead son.
She did her best and still wound up shot in the back. Also a sad way to die.
What in the world was that whole punctured lung storyline all about? If you’ve read any of my recent reviews you know. I thought the writers were setting the stage to kill off Jeter from an untreated internal wound. Instead, Jeter (Charles Parnell) … returned to duty despite the doc’s warning. OOOOOooooohhhh. Did any viewer anywhere have -any- doubt that Jeter would NOT return to duty? I feel used. Predictions for Jeter? (Holds sealed envelope up to forehead) Next season, we will find Jeter aboard the James as the stoic Chief of the Boat. Bold, I know. I like the Chief and I’m glad nothing happened to him. I just wish he could have been alright AND cashed in on like four episodes of subtle character moments.
Wolf (Bren Foster) and Azima (Jodie Turner-Smith) finally let the sparks between them kindle into a tiny flame this week. Although he’d spent all season pitching woo, I imagine Wolf had never been more aroused than when she plunged her Ka-Bar knife into his attacker’s neck. I wash them good luck.
A bad guy shot Danny Green in a pretty lethal looking spot. Burk (Jocko Sims) evacuated him and we saw him recovering, but I wonder if Danny will put in for a transfer after this.
Burk finally controlled his temper after the anger he felt about his brother getting blown up in the season 4 opener. Let’s hope we learn what happens to Brother Burk when we come back next year.
Commander Garnett (Fay Masterson) made an appearance! Although absent all season, she sent in a piece of intel confirming Vellek’s intentions in Malta. So, we didn’t see her, but we felt her presence. Aw.
Killed: Sunshine, helo copilot, Stavros, Giorgio, Lucia, Dr. Vellek
Wounded: Miller, Danny Green, Kathleen, Sasha, Chandler
Giorgio would flip: Nope. True blue, daddy’s boy.
Jeter (or Meylan or any other member of the crew would die): Nope. Well, kind of. Sunshine and his copilot died.
Gut-wrenching cliffhanger: Nope. Nearly all the good guys lived, all the bad guys died. A much neater ending than anticipated.
Odysseus still needs to get home. I trust the writers to make it exciting. They pulled a pretty effective twist on us this year with the whole Christos thing, but I wish they could have kept dramatic momentum going with a few more high-drama moments in the finale. I’ll keep watching next year to see if Chandler gets home and lookout for more twists. Expectations have definitely raised since now I know the writers can effectively use a long-con like they did this season.
Any navy people out there able to tell what kind of ship held Vellek’s lab? When they showed us the Greeks moving the crates of infected plants and crickets off the deck, I noticed some very large, World War II era deck guns. Correct me, anyone, really, but does anybody still use ships with guns like that (not counting reserve fleet)?
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