Season 2, Episodes 1 and 2
Air Date: Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 9/8c on TNT
“My enemy’s enemy can be my friend.” — Captain Chandler
The promos for the two-hour season two premiere, stating how exciting and action-packed The Last Ship is, are not lying. After watching both “Unreal City” and “Fight the Ship,” I needed some time to unwind from all the intensity. These episodes won’t put anyone to sleep; if anything, you’ll want to enlist in the Navy to help Captain Tom Chandler (Eric Dane) and the crew of the U.S.S. Nathan James fight against the twisted forces of acting Commander in Chief Amy Granderson (guest star Alfre Woodard).
In case you missed season one, check out my review of the pilot “Phase Six” to catch up on the premise of the show and key players. Part one of the season two premiere, “Unreal City” picks up right where season one left off – Captain Chandler has just rescued his two children, Ashley (Grace Kaufman) and Sam (Aidan Sussman), and his father (Bill Smitrovich) from becoming part of the human fuel feeding Granderson’s power plant. The city of Baltimore is laboring under the delusion that Granderson will save them but as we saw at end of the season one finale, “No Place Like Home,” she has ulterior motives that include plans for the cure.
I’m a fan of The Last Ship and was glued to my set every Sunday night last year. I waited patiently each week to find out what would happen to the crew of the U.S.S. Nathan James and if whether Rachel (Rhona Mitra) and Quincy (Sam Spruell), the CDC doctors, would be able to manufacture a cure for the deadly pandemic that wiped out 80% of the world’s population. The season two premiere doesn’t disappoint, but if you are at all squeamish, you may not want to watch. There is plenty of bloodshed, atrocious behavior, despicable acts, and mayhem. But in the midst of it all, hope is on the horizon as human kindness prevails in the darkest of times.
“Unreal City” pits Captain Chandler, Lt. Danny Green (Travis Van Winkle), and Lt. Carlton Burke (Jocko Sims) against Granderson’s forces while the crew of the Nathan James is being held captive. Meanwhile, Command Master Chief Jeter (Charles Parnell) watches over Chandler’s father and children until the captain and his men can figure out what their next course of action is. The performances by all are absolutely outstanding. If you come from a military background, you’ll appreciate the dedication and hard work that went into these actors’ realistic portrayals of soldiers in the U.S. Navy. The direction and cinematography lend themselves to the realism – you feel like you’re in the cramped quarters, feeling the heat being pumped through the ship as the Nathan James crew tries to free themselves from Granderson’s hired guns.
Sacrifices are made while others do heroic things to ensure the survival of many people. They also strive to make sure Granderson doesn’t get her hands on the “primordial strain” of the virus to monopolize the cure. There are a lot of gut wrenching moments mixed in with the enthusiastic ones.
As we dive into part two, “Fight the Ship,” the title speaks for itself. The crew of the Nathan James does what’s necessary to gain control of their ship. XO Mike Slattery (Adam Baldwin) looks like he’s ready to snap heads off, literally, especially when it comes to Lt. Pete Norris (Derk Cheetwood). My hat is off to Cheetwood; he does an amazing job of making you loathe his character. I was ready to throw his ass off the starboard bow. The tension in the control deck is palpable. The tension in the room is palpable as Norris leverages the life of Quincy’s wife Kelly for key information about the “primordial strain.”
The action is amplified in “Fight the Ship” as bullets fly. In addition, Granderson’s lead scientist, Dr. Hamada (Marcus Choi), does something quite disturbing where the primordial strain is concerned. The disregard for human life blows me away. The writers really outdid themselves with showcasing the depravity and disparity of what people will do in an apocalyptic scenario.
Captain Chandler finds himself in an unlikely alliance with someone you may have thought was the “bad guy” but Thornwall (guest star Titus Welliver) may not be the “enemy” after all. As “Fight the Ship” progresses, you’ll find yourself at odds with many ideals while also trying to rationalize them. Granderson’s grandiose plan to be selective with the cure sounds like something from the history books when Hitler wanted a master race. But when the story plays out, there really isn’t a right or wrong answer in this scenario. Is Granderson nuts? In a word, yes. She burns the dead bodies to fuel her power plant in order to keep the lights on. That’s just gross. The pollution alone from those who died from the infection could be toxic. In all honesty we’ve all probably thought about getting rid of a few people on this planet whom we deem unworthy; however, it’s not for us to decide who lives or dies.
Whatever your point of view, one thing’s for sure – “Unreal City” and “Fight the Ship” will have your pulse pounding as you sit on the edge of your seat waiting to see who will prevail.
Check out my interviews with the cast and executive producers of The Last Ship from this year’s Wonder Con. What did you think of “Unreal City” and “Fight the Ship?” I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment here or tweet me @judybopp.
Tune in to The Last Ship, Sundays at 9/8c only on TNT.
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Photos ©2015 TNT/Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
© 2015, Judy Manning. All rights reserved.
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