The Last Ship promised a shocking season finale, and let me tell you, it delivered. Not only did we get see plenty of action and a new set of villains, but we also saw a bit more character development.
The episode opens with Chandlerâ€™s family, who are now all infected with the virus. Chandlerâ€™s father, Jed, is calling for help, fighting his own weakness. The children are red-faced, but Darien is clearly the most sick. She is lying on the couch with sores across her face and Sam begging her not to fall asleep.
Meanwhile, back on the ship, everyone seems hopeful as they are administered Dr. Scottâ€™s vaccine. Even Quincyâ€™s wife Kelly is helping. Chandler and Dr. Scott have a private moment discussing the cure.
Dr. Scott: â€œIt just feels soâ€¦â€
Dr. Scott: â€œI canâ€™t remember the last time I felt that emotion.â€
Chandler: â€œYou did it. Letâ€™s enjoy the moment.â€
Slowly, he rolls up his shirt sleeve. Dr. Scott smiles, gently cleans an area with a cotton swab, and then gives him the shot. Itâ€™s a quiet moment between them, but it speaks volumes. These two have had a strained relationship, but now we see the trust and mutual respect between them. Iâ€™m also glad that Chandler acknowledges Dr. Scott by saying â€œyou did itâ€ as opposed to â€œwe did it.â€ For a while I was worried that our scientist wouldnâ€™t get quite enough credit for her hard work. I also think this scene felt a little like a love scene, despite the fact that it involved a needle.
Back home, Jed tries to get Darien and the kids to Olympia (a sports arena), which is currently believed to be the best place to go for help. But thereâ€™s a barricade, and men with guns tell him to turn around. Luckily, Jed isnâ€™t the type to back down and with his sonâ€™s wife and children in his care, heâ€™ll do whatever he has to. He tells the kids to get down and he guns the engine, running over the barricade and speeding past the armed men.
The crew of the Nathan James have been having their own troubles, too. They are struggling to find a place to dock and realizing that home is worse than they had imagined. They notice some of the damage that has occurred, including what looks to be an intentionally destroyed lab. But one of the crew members has finally found a signal that seems hopeful. He runs to Chandler, and they listen to it together. Itâ€™s a woman and sheâ€™s been reaching out specifically to their ship, telling them that a place has been prepared for them. Chandler says to the crew member, â€œGood work son,â€ and weâ€™re reminded that having Captain Chandlerâ€™s approval is still important to these characters. But isnâ€™t this broadcast just a little too easy? Isnâ€™t it too good to be true?
In my Q&A with Christina Elmore, she hinted that we might get to know more about her character, Lt. Alisha Granderson, in this finale. She wasnâ€™t kidding. Because on the other end of that broadcast just so happens to be her characterâ€™s mother, Amy Granderson. Amy speaks with Chandler and tells him that not only was she aware of the virus and their search for a vaccine, but that she intentionally sent her daughter to work on the ship. She also gives Chandler a bit more of an idea of what to expect back home. The government is essentially gone, and there has been a â€œbreakdown in infrastructure.â€ All of this is really important information, but Chandlerâ€”being the perfect hero that he isâ€” says thereâ€™s something a little more important right now. And Alisha is brought on to see her mother on the screen. Sheâ€™s the first crew member to have contact with a family member back home and itâ€™s nearly impossible for us to hold back tears when we see Alishaâ€™s face.
So now thereâ€™s even more hope on the Nathan James as they head to Baltimore with the vaccine and the cure. Unfortunately, it looks like the Russians werenâ€™t the worst villains the crew would encounter this season. Instead, itâ€™s the people back home.
As the Nathan James arrives in Baltimore, we see men who we later learn are calling themselves â€œWar Lords.â€ They are former police officers who now hope to gain control of the entire country and theyâ€™re using the virus to do it. They watch the crew members arrive with sniper rifles in hand and we learn that they are after Amy Granderson. They try to take a shot at her, but Chandler is blocking them. This is when we learn that as much as they wouldnâ€™t mind seeing Chandler die, their goal is to kill Amy. So they hold off and miss their opportunity. The one who appears to be the leader says, â€œTalk to your friends on the inside. Find out what theyâ€™re doing here.â€ And then we know for sure that this was all too good to be true. Their â€œguy on the insideâ€ turns out to be the jovial police officer who greeted Chandler and his crew when they arrived and he spills the news that there is a cure. The War Lords want to control everything, including the cure.
The next scene is a moment between Tex and Dr. Scott and it makes me worry if weâ€™ll get to see Tex in season two. Heâ€™s by far one of my favorite characters and heâ€™s offered comic relief and charm to the series so far. He tells Dr. Scott that heâ€™s leaving and she seems saddened by this news but simply shakes his hand. â€œYouâ€™re a special woman, you know that?â€ He turns to walk away, but pauses. He says, â€œWhat the hell,â€ and turns back to kiss her before he leaves. Iâ€™m not entirely sure what to make of this scene. Itâ€™s a nice moment for Tex, but I donâ€™t see chemistry between these two characters. Instead, I think this was about closure.
And for the rest of the episode, I held my breath. Chandler has been trying to find his family over the radio and after repeating himself several times with more and more urgency, he finally hears his fatherâ€™s voice. But when he sets out to follow the radio signal, all his finds is a sick man who says that Chandlerâ€™s family is at Olympia. But the policemen with Chandler turn on him and try to keep him from going after his family. Shots are fired. The Master Chief is shot. All hell pretty much breaks loose.
But Chandler and his father share a similar spirit when it comes to family. With Carlton by his side, he makes it to Olympia to see masses of people who are infected and wearing makeshift masks. Itâ€™s a difficult scene to watch as he wonders through the crowd hoping to find his family. But finally he hears, â€œDaddy! Daddy!â€ and follows the tiny voice to find his daughter. He rushes toward her.
Ashley: â€œDaddy! Weâ€™re sick.â€
Chandler: â€œI know, baby. But Daddyâ€™s here to make to better. Whereâ€™s mommy?â€
And the emotional reunion becomes bittersweet as Chandler notices that his wife is missing from the group.
Chandler: â€œDad, whereâ€™s Darien?!â€
Jed: â€œSheâ€™s gone, son. Sheâ€™s gone. I tried to do everything I could to save her.â€
I think this is the first time weâ€™ve actually seen Chandler cry. He is completely broken, but only for a moment. Always the hero, Chandler has to pull himself together and administer the cure to his father.
Chandler: â€œI know you did, Pop. I know you did. But right now I gotta give you this.â€
I have to take a moment to talk about Darien. It may not be an entirely popular opinion, but I think Darien had to die. She wasnâ€™t a very likeable character to begin with and we never got the chance to see her relationship with Chandler. But Darien had to die to make room for the possibility of a relationship between Chandler and Dr. Scott. I keep going back to this idea, but the chemistry between those two is simply undeniable.
Even still, itâ€™s an emotional moment for Chandler and his family. Even watching it over again I couldnâ€™t hold back my own tears. But the mood changes quickly in the last moments of the episode. The Nathan James is taken over, Quincy is shot and a conversation between Amy Granderson and Dr. Scott reveals that Amy has been playing God by letting the poor die but saving the â€œelite.â€
Amy: â€œThe virus doesnâ€™t discriminate. That unfortunate task falls to me.â€
Chandler realizes that people are being killed at Olympia. With Carlton and his family behind him, they run away as shots are fired then overlooking a bridge Chandler finally understands whatâ€™s been happening.
Chandler: â€œTheyâ€™re burning bodies to power the city.â€
We knew that their home wouldnâ€™t be the same place it was when they left it, but whatâ€™s become of America is nothing we could have imagined. Chandler calls to his ship, but he gets no response. Slattery hears the call, but he is being held at gunpoint. And the season finale ends in a monumental cliffhanger, with a close-up of Chandler as he speaks into his radio: â€œNathan James, where are you?!â€
And thatâ€™s it. Weâ€™ll have to hold our breaths a little longer as we wait for season 2 to return, which wonâ€™t happen until summer of 2015. In the meantime, Iâ€™ll be re-watching Season 1.
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