Tag Archives: TNT

The Last Ship: Healing and Loss

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Michener: This is President Jeffrey Michener addressing all Americans from the Navy ship the USS Nathan James. Which is now entering the heart of this nation. The Mississippi River. We are survivors of this great plague. Just as you are. We have struggled, just as you have. And we still have great hope in the future, just as you do. I know that you’ve stayed alive this long by telling yourselves and your families, that living in fear, of the virus and of others. Fear of the unknown. There have been people out there who have taken advantage of that. Despicable rumors and misleading videos have been broadcast from this network. Lies designed to manipulate you. To make you believe that this ship and the people on it are your enemy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The men and women on this ship are some of the bravest and noblest that I have ever met. And it is an outrage that their commitment to bring all of us the cure has been undermined by those who thrive on your fear. I can tell you now that we do have the cure for the Red Flu. Attached to this message is video footage so you can see for yourself, our doctor tending to and curing patients sick with the virus. It is our mission now to spread this cure to as many of you as we can. (A list of stops and times along the Mississippi River) It’s time to turn the tide, end the bloodshed, put the pain behind us, and begin to heal this great nation. All of us. Together. Thank you.

XO Slattery begins to debrief those in the room on the new power structure of the Immunes. This brings back the Pastor who appeared to be working for the Ramseys. Slattery is under the assumption that Kevin McDowell (pastor) is the new ringleader. There has been some speculation that McDowell always was the man in charge, but we’ll tie that down later. McDowell still has the ability to broadcast over the ‘Deadman’ network, so there is some concern. Dr. Scott then explains how the contagious cure will work. The cure resides in moisture. Miller and men at large thank TNT for what comes next. Dr. Scott, using Miller, gives a demonstration of some ways to effectively spread the cure. Shaking hands, breathing, mixing of saliva. That last one prompting Tex to suggest kissing, which practically speaking, would work.

There is a concern among some of the crew that broadcasting their location to the country with next to no artillery on board, may be the virtuous way to go but also a risky one.

Michener video conferences with McDowell following his offer to pardon any Immune leaders to cooperate going forward. McDowell seems confident still while Michener’s tone is slightly more defiant. McDowell tries to rile Michener by bringing up Michener’s emotional moment when McDowell found him. McDowell claims he will get out of their ‘hair’ for now, but these two men have unfinished business.

Granderson escorts Jeter to the communications room. A call has come in over an open channel from Jeter’s wife’s family. They want to get permission (essentially) to travel to Vicksburg, the Nathan James’ first publicized stop. Their current situation is safe. He asks for them to stay put and wait for him to come and get them in a couple of weeks.

Tex approaches Dr. Scott on the deck. Centuries have been posted every six feet. This is where Tex chooses to inform her that once they make port, he will go his own way. AGAIN. Tex just needs to wrap his head around the fact that he is a part of the Nathan James and quit trying to find reasons to part ways. He will find his daughter. Eventually. Not trying to be cruel, just selfish. He aims to find her, but it may take more than 8 days. Dr. Scott lets him know that an arrangement for an additional dosage or two is not out of the question.

As the Nathan James approaches Vicksburg, there is next to no one there. 127 by count when they were hoping for closer to 10,000. 127 is not nearly enough to create the chain reaction from the contagious cure as Dr. Scott was hoping for. Tex hears this. Chandler approaches but before he can say anything, Tex offers an extension to his service. Now I’m the jerk for not wanting him to leave the ship.

Tex: If things are going south, I can stick around.
Chandler: Find your girl, Tex.
Tex: Meet me in Saint Louie Louie.

McDowell and his cronies have some kind of plan to execute. At present, they are transporting a number of infected people by way of what looks like a refrigeration truck.

Tex heads out on a good old-fashioned chopper (motorcycle not aircraft). He pulls up to a farm where a man aims a shotgun right at Tex. Problem is Tex has seen too much to be scared off by a shotgun and an old man. States his business, naming his daughter and her mother by name. This changes the man’s tune slightly. The man and Tex identify each other as family. Kat eventually heading towards Memphis to see if the cure thing was real. Claire is a different story. About three months ago, looters came in the night. Claire was the first one down. She took out the looters with one shot. Tex pays his respects to the man dug grave and tells the old man who the news is true about the cure and the ship. Tex shakes his hand and pulls him close before walking away.

Michener and Chandler discuss plans in St. Louis. Up to and including using St. Louis’ still standing infrastructure as a likely site for the new National Capitol. Then Jeter knocks on the door with a confession of sorts. The reaction was stern, palpable, but eventually Chandler thanked him for informing them before dismissing him. Michener is much less quick to absolve Jeter of his wrongdoing.

Tex rolls up on a gas station. He barely dismounts his hog before realizing the dead bodies. There is one man still clinging to life. An infected man who was brought from Tallahassee to be planted to spread the virus again…by the Immunes. Tex gets close. Takes a drink from a water bottle then passes it to the sick man. The Immunes plan is to take these infected people to Memphis. Counter balance the attempts by the Nathan James.

McDowell’s men begin escorting and in some cases wheeling in the sick wearing US Navy uniforms.

Tex beats arrives at the College Of Memphis with a bull horn. He scales a car and starts calling out for Kathleen. She hears her own name is seconds. Overjoyed, they share an embrace. Tex delivers a very real and emotional performance that takes the viewer from completely fine to more than misty in about 12 seconds. This whole thing about finding his daughter (after ensuring she was alright) was about forgiveness for Tex.

The actual ground team finds the Immunes posing in ‘navy’ blue right about the time Tex calls in that he has eyes on McDowell. McDowell and his second wheel a sick man into the bulk of the crowd to claim they are here to deliver the virus. Naturally, instant panic sets in. No one in the crowd noticed that these men were not in military shape, that the uniforms didn’t fit properly or that McDowell’s second saluted lazily and with the wrong hand. The tact team and Tex start picking off impostors. The second runs back to warn McDowell. At that moment Wolf jumps in like a UFC fighter. He is covered by Green and the rest of the team taking out every impostor except for McDowell. Wolf gets right in McDowell’s face as if to convey, “The only reason you’re still breathing is because I allow it.”

The helo is less than three miles away with the aerosol version of the cure when Green calls in to say that a mix of infected and healthy people are trying to break contain. The helo arrives just as Green, Burk and separately Tex convince to mob to stay put. “Just breathe it in”.

Wolf (to McDowell): Breathe it in.
Miller (to McDowell): Yeah, just breathe it in @&%hole. Now we’re all immune.

With McDowell now secured on the loading deck, Michener spells out what will happen next. Despite what McDowell thinks, he is at this point, out manned. This game of infecting people with the virus or the cure is a game his is steadily losing. The deal on the table is to get McDowell to help by getting his men to stand down so they can spread the cure. Then maybe, some day, McDowell will see his own freedom again. Just before the commercial break, McDowell asks about one of those “pardons” that Michener extended others along the way for cooperation.

The Nathan James approaches the port of St. Louis on fumes. The numbers on the port are staggeringly large by comparison to previous stops. At the base of the arch is a sea of people. Young and old, male and female of all backgrounds and types. What follows is a heartwarming montage of various members of the Nathan James (including Val) passing along the cure however they can. Including Miller passing it along to a young lady using the exchange of saliva method. In this moment, the message is to heal America. Not some of it, all of it, regardless of nothing.

Although it was telegraphed slightly, a small surprise of Tex introducing his daughter Kat to Dr. Scott amidst the crowd. If I may interject my own selfish ‘shipping’ angle. Dr. Scott is enthused to meet Kat. So much so that it almost suggests how a would be step mother to be may embrace the new step daughter at their first meeting. Not saying that’s what TNT will do, but it’s what I would do. The emotions don’t stop there. Jeter’s in-laws show up and are escorted by Granderson. Any mention to the in-laws has all been met with some level of trepidation, as if Jeter was never welcomed by them. There is something missing to the equation. Whether I missed it along the way or it was held back intentionally. There is a moment that almost trumps that of Kat and Dr. Scott. These in-laws basically apologize for never reaching out. Jeter claims they never could. They refute that notion by saying they just didn’t. The father-in-law with tears streaming and a long felt embrace would follow.

The next scene is one I think most of us have been waiting for. With an old relic cannon and American flags as the backdrop, President Michener is sworn in. Hand on the bible and in front of thousands of witnesses.

A ballroom of sailors in their dress uniforms is a welcomed but awkward sight. Chandler thanks Michener for the ball, something that is not that unlike similar moments of celebrations put on by more popular and well-known Presidents that came before him. Michener wastes no time getting to the next thing. Attempting to promote CDR Tom Chandler to Chief of Naval Operations. This is the set up for season 3. While it seems the south-east region of the country is on its way to repairing and healing, the same cannot be said for the Northeast and other populated regions of the country.

Michener: We have a nation to build and a world to repair, and there’s no one I trust more.
Chandler: Sounds like an order…
Michener: It is. Tonight, we rest and enjoy our success. Tomorrow, the fight for America and the rest of the world begins.

Green tells a story about a mission involving himself, Frankie and hostile Hungarians to a captive audience of his peers, Lt. Foster among them. The story ends with Frankie coming down the rope dressed as Santa Claus to give gifts to the Hungarians. That was Frankie Benz. One of their men lost in the process. This begins a cascade of toasts to fallen sailors or anyone that helped and was lost along the way.

Dr. Scott intercepts Chandler as he attempts to slip into his room early. She had an envelope she hoped to slip under his door before making a slip of her own. She will be on a plane first thing to begin doing a doctor’s work elsewhere. Recently pardoned by President Michener, there is nothing preventing her from doing so. They play out this game of ‘what if’ citing that he would have stood by his decision, she would’ve fought it. He would’ve given her a sterling character reference as would the other 204 men and women aboard the Nathan James.

If they ended it there, I would have been content. But instead, their conversation leads more in a flirtatious direction. Not flirtatious in the way Tex is with Dr. Scott, this is much more intentional. Dr. Scott advances and Tom Chandler is unwavering. There are a few different times in this short span where words or body language or even tone suggests, that both parties or on board with where this is going. Then predictably, following the Rachel and Ross rule that I despise so much, Dr. Scott hands over the envelope and walks away.

Chandler (as she walks away): Be safe. When you get back….Find me.

Down in the ballroom, the men and women of the Nathan James continue in their celebration. Now more than slightly affected by the alcohol and the old Navy songs they loudly sang together. They get through the first verse, then Burk stands up and takes the reins individualizing the song to fit the Nathan James. All are happy in the moment, but that is about to reach another uptick when Lt. Green nonchalantly opens a ring case, extends it towards Lt. Foster and asks, “Is now a good time?” Clearly, he talks too much.

Dr. Scott is almost to her room when a familiar voice approaches. McDowell’s number 2. He slowly advances and senses something wrong. His story of wanting the cure from her for history sake didn’t help either. He asks how close he needs to be, then she say close enough. He stops, pauses, then pulls out a gun and shoots her. But before pulling the trigger he quotes another mislead agent in our country’s past.

“Sic semper tyrannis!” The same latin shouted by John Wilkes Booth before shooting Abraham Lincoln. “Thus always to tyrants!”

The Last Ship: Let Slip The Dogs Of War

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Slattery, Gator, and Foster brainstorm over what is the best course of action pertaining to the pursuit of Ramsey’s sub. These thoughts are tactical in nature, but after what happened last episode (Valkyrie), Tom Chandler is no longer interested in the slow strategic approach.

Chandler: NO. We’re not hiding any longer and we’re not waiting for Ramsey to make the first move. If that sub is waiting for us in the mouth of the river, we go around. Attack her on from the flank. This ends today.

Granderson, makes known in no uncertain terms that she is not exactly thrilled with Valerie’s attitude. Despite Granderson’s direct demands to knowing what side Valerie’s on, Valerie pushes through, attempting to reconnect to the Valkyrie network.

President Michener paces in his oval-like office as Chandler briefs him on the current situation. They will be monitoring everything Val does, but with the understanding that Chandler believes they have won her over to the good guys. They still have no sonar, but the Engineering team is working to fix that, even if it’s only temporary. When their fix is done, they will be running ten times the current the system was designed for. So, the system could burn out in as early as mere minutes. Michener is not exactly pleased. It should be noted, that I like others, are still somewhat skeptical of Michener. He may have the right intentions, but his body language at times suggests that he might not be all in.

Chandler takes this moment as an opportunity to present the next step of the immediate plan. The biggest factor of this plan is instituting Chandler’s own version of the “Designated Survivor”. Instead of picking someone in the line of succession to be absent from whatever this is, Chandler conveys to Michener that he, along with Slattery, Dr. Scott and a few other key people will be removed from the Nathan James, guarded by the ships most experienced operatives, to ensure that the line of succession (namely President Michener) stays intact.

Granderson and Val brief the leadership on what they’ve found from connecting back into the Valkyrie network. Several phones have been plotted to show a deliberate attempt at a blockade. Based on the chatter they’re hearing, Ramsey has the immunes and civilians working side by side. Burk suggests taking three operatives and some RPG’s and they could single-handedly take out the blockade. Michener interjects that no civilians are to be fired upon under any circumstances. There is a visible desire of retaliation behind Burk’s eyes, but Chandler jumps in to support the President’s comment. Val, of all people in the room, suggests another tactic. She can’t disable the network, but she could very easily, engage in a misinformation campaign to throw the civilians off their scent. With Val’s idea, the risky window of available sonar, this could be their only and best shot.

The team prepares to separate the “Designated Survivors”. Green and Foster meet in a hallway in the ship, seemingly alone. At first they are professional. If my experience with my own wife and multiple pregnancies are any indication, even the strongest of sailors could not possibly handle the rigors of what might be approaching third trimester pregnancy, the loss of friends, the pressure of sinking a sub and the prospect of losing the father of her child. I said out loud to my wife, what’s the probability she says “don’t let me raise this child on my own”? Just as they begin to part ways, cue the passionate retreat. Father at belly height, then a heart-felt kiss later, they depart in different directions successfully this time.

Chandler and Slattery share some parting words. Chandler standing resolute with the mission at hand. Slattery mildly disappointed he won’t be on board when they sink the sub. Then Chandler hands him a folded envelope and says only, “for my family”, on the relatively slim reality that Chandler may not make it out of this scrape alive.

Val sets up on the bridge and begins sending out her messages of misinformation. With Granderson watching her like a hawk. Within seconds, they get reply messages confirming the civilians are on the move to intercept the Nathan James in an area where the Nathan James does not intend to be. Not only are the civilians falling for it, it appears that Ramsey is as well.

With no civilians in sight, Chandler wants to test their new rigged sonar. Meanwhile, Tex tries to put a visibly stressed Dr. Scott at ease. Before there can be a response to this awkwardly accurate sentiment, Burk notices two civilians. One of which seems to be a sick child. Against her better judgment for the mission at hand, Dr. Scott jets out of the tent to help the child. Before she can get there, a father figure jumps out to prevent the help. Eventually, he lowers his rifle. This is the painfully awkward part. The breathing the cure on an infected person is just difficult to witness. The mother seems almost angry at the sight. “I thought you were going to cure her?” Dr. Scott looks up to claim that she has already cured the child, merely by breathing on her.

The family was not without gratitude and to show their appreciation, they offered up some second-hand intel. They heard a couple British people from the sub talking about bringing along a very large weapon to sink the ship. For fear of giving away the Nathan James’ position, the ground team has gone dark. Green suggests they try to take out whatever this is themselves.

Val has been flooding the network with her misinformation campaign. And while it seemed like a smart idea, it was too much too fast. And Sean Ramsey knows it. Garnett fires up the rigged sonar but only for a moment. The sub hears the ping but doesn’t recognize it as sonar. Chandler readies TAO for a firing solution. With no movement and the ship moving dangerously slow, Chandler channels his inner Zen. Chandler orders the ship to steer right at the same time Ramsey believes they are close. Chandler orders another quick sonar sweep. Ramsey orders prop movement. This allows both parties to realize that the Nathan James is literally sitting on top of the sub.

Chandler: We can’t fire with them right below us. COME TO FULL POWER. ALL ENGINES AHEAD FLANK THREE!

Both vessels move ahead full. The Nathan James is turning while the sub attempts to match course. Chandler is gambling on the sub’s inexperience in the hopes they’ll move too fast. As the sub makes for the trench with all haste, Chandler orders the engines in full reverse. Just then, the sonar gives out and Chandler calls for all engines full. The sub dives with fish in the water. Mid dive, it appears at least one of the fish hit something. No time to celebrate though, as the sub had fired its own. The Nathan James takes a hit. They need to seal affected compartments, which could involve locking down Garnett, Jeter and O’Connor.

With only surface weapons, the Nathan James is forced to make this a surface fight. The sub was hit, but the severity is unknown. What is known, is that they are forced to lift to periscope depth.

Slattery, Green and Tex find the big something the Ramsey’s hope to use to sink the Nathan James. What look like to this novice as a four pack of surface to air missiles at the ready. Slattery can see from their vantage point that the Nathan James is leaking black smoke. An indication they’ve already been hit.

Slattery: What’d you do Tommy? Ok, here’s the plan boys. Win.
Tex: Good plan.

Green creates a distraction that brings half of their seven out. In short order they are widdled down to half of their group. Green takes a shot to the middle of his vest, but Tex takes that guy out. It’s now three on three. One of their two hits Slattery in his left shoulder. One of their men circles around to finish off Slattery, who catches him by surprise. The annoying cockney usually on board the sub takes to the controls. A one-armed, limping Slattery takes out his cover. By my math, that leaves 3 on 1, with their one unprotected. My math was wrong. A fourth emerges, but Tex takes him out in close quarters. At that moment, Slattery , with his good arm removes the man at the controls.

The sub surfaces. The sub and the Nathan James will now commence the surface fight. Meanwhile, Slattery is in a fight of his own. The man at the controls fights back, ultimately getting Slattery in a defensive position. Green takes out a guy resurging and Tex snaps the neck of his combatant. With the bad guy’s finger pressing into Slattery’s wound, Slattery finds the focus to pull his knife and penetrate it into his opponent’s torso.

Chandler maneuvers but is unable to find a clear shot. Ramsey puts the sub into position and has a clean shot. Instruments indicate the sub is preparing to fire. Just as it seems like Chandler’s gamble will not pay off. Something big and destructive impacts the sub. How you like ‘dem apples Sean Ramsey? Slattery, injured but not without focus, took the controls of Sean Ramsey’s big secret weapon and pierced him with it. Chaos befalls the sub. Lt. Foster and XO Slattery take turns firing on the sub from their different vantage points. The sub sinks and it falls to pieces. And to that end, XO Mike Slattery gets his well deserved moment.

The Last Ship: Here. I. Am.

Photo Courtesy of TNT
Photo Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

The Nathan James and their Cobra team try to pick of the proverbial pieces in the aftermath of Sean Ramsey’s little charade in New Orleans. Cobra team continues to pull bodies out of the water who would prefer to be saved by anyone else. The Nathan James is picking up audio from all around and the overwhelming consensus is the Ramsey ploy has worked…for now.

Shortly thereafter, the Nathan James picks up a broadcast intended for everyone. Sean Ramsey himself spewing more and more deliberate lies in an effort to win the loyalty of the people suffering. Every sentence is a lie. The message is difficult to take and all those on the Nathan James observing it seem to have a difficult time keeping their cool. He does however, reference that the Commander of the Nathan James has ‘stolen’ the President. This prompts President Michener to volunteer to speak to the people about the truth. The truth about the Ramsey’s, Chandler, and the Nathan James. Just as soon as they take over Ramsey’s network that is. Like most of us, I am giving President Michener the benefit of the doubt, even if he’s given numerous small hints to the notion that he might not be completely on-board.

Cobra team continues on the beach tending to the wounded. Tex uses a handheld device to measure the strength of the network’s signal. Flea claims the signal is strongest based on whose phone is closest by. Suggesting that each phone works as a signal extender. Tex finds the signal to get stronger near Flea. Then quickly realizes the signal is 100% off shore behind Flea. Off in the distance is a ling of seagulls sitting in the water in a perfect line. I’d love to think it’s the sub, but that would be too easy.

The Nathan James sends out a UAV to search for the source of the signal. Meanwhile, President Michener begins recording his address to the people. FDR’s Pearl Harbor Address or JFK’s Inaugural it is not, but it is a moving address considering the circumstances.

The UAV reports back that the signal is emitting from an oil rig in the middle of the water. From all appearances, there is no one on the rig. Cobra team descends on the rig quickly and quietly. They find the communication center in short order. However, there is a snag. While plenty is can be sent this way, Granderson has found no existence of the use of Bluetooth. Then a figure pops out of a hatch and tries the run. The truly funny part is that she pulled a handgun on Cobra team. Each member of which could take her out before she even decided to do something with her little handgun. The girl in the red hair is Valkyrie.

With weapons at the ready, Chandler begins to question Valkyrie (or Valerie) about what she thinks she knows. Why is it always the brilliant ones who think they need to spread the ‘truth’? Valkyrie believes that Ramsey is right and that there is a great conspiracy enacted by the U.S. Government. Chandler laughs it off as a ridiculous conspiracy theory by suggesting she left out the part about the aliens from space. Eventually, she listens long enough to hear Chandler ask her to upload the video on the flash drive, where she will hear the truth. This brilliant tool of a wasted mind refuses to assist. So, with the help of Engineer Chang and Lt. Granderson, Chandler gives the order to tear it all down.

Meanwhile on the beach, the transition of the doctored video has been released again. Flea sees it, then notices someone else in the crowd seeing it. He quickly runs over the crowd and points out that the men helping are Navy. This nonsense does exactly what it was intended to. Draws men with guns to turn their attention towards the Viper team and gives Flea an opportunity to escape. The team does what it has to in order to escape, but as Tex put it, he did get “shot in the ***”.

An unidentified civilian boat approaches the rig at some speed. They don’t have much time to react once they’ve discovered a guy in the back with a shoulder mounted RPG. The RPG hits causing a huge explosion with someone engulfed in flames. It then circles the rig. The Nathan James redirects the hero towards the rig. The explosion has even affected the group holding Valkyrie. Granderson looks like she’s in bad shape, Walker appears to be dead and Valkyrie makes a run for it with Chandler on her heels. To make matters worse, there is a natural gas leak that needs to be dealt with. Just as the boat makes its third pass and the man with the RPG reloads for another shot, the helo arrives and takes out the boat with minimal effort. The entire rig is acting like the meteor in Armageddon. Explosions at random all over the rig.

Back on the Nathan James there is chaos as the injuries start coming in. Chang and Ravit on stretchers. Granderson bleeding from her head. Tex shot, but more than happy to get in the back of the line. Granderson and Garnett had a front row seat to watch the lights go out on Lt. Andy Chung. Along the way, Chandler observes all of this under a delusional haze…then he collapses. Chandler took some shrapnel and is bleeding internally.

Sean Ramsey hears the news that some random Americans caught wind that there were Navy personnel on the rig and took it upon themselves to blow it to Kingdom Come. Sean is not angry or even disappointed. In his mind, the message is out and the tide is turning.

Dr. Scott has Chandler stabilized. How long he’ll be out is uncertain. But there are bigger issues of immediate concern. Ravit has some sort of metal shrapnel that’s lodged in her abdomen. The body language alone from those tending to her is not good. Burk hobbles over in time to see it protruding through her back. Regardless of what her intentions for him or his intentions for her may have been, it seems this story of flirtatious resistance might just come to an early end. Burk doesn’t hesitate to attempt to put her frantic concerns at ease. The flirting continues but without the resistance. They all know it’s over, they fight it when her shortness of breath kicks in but eventually the realization washes over everyone. Starting with Ravit. When Dr. Milowsky calls it, the emotions wash over Burk and Wolf.

Dr. Scott tends the Captain’s wounds after he’s come out of his haze. She makes a comment about still possessing the ability to use her skills for good, I rather liked that moment. Then Chandler asks about Ravit. She informs him that he almost became the fifth Sailor lost on this day. His progress from then to now, was a little touch ‘n go. The Captain refuses to go under for surgery for obvious reasons. His stubbornness only opens the door for a human moment between these two. A sentiment that has been missing since the Niels investigation. Chandler thanks her sincerely and she departs.

Everyone able, Chandler and Valkyrie included, attend a ceremony headed by CMC Jeter. In reverence to the fallen Sailors. Jeter puts their memory and their service front and center and finishes each line with the same three words, “and still we answer the call, here I am. Today we grieve, but tomorrow we answer the call. Here I am.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Valkyrie stands up and approaches a clearly wounded Captain. He went back for her because they need her. And in some way wanted her to see firsthand who they are. She admits that despite her hubris, there is still a lot she doesn’t know. Chandler formally asks for her help. Fade to black before she can answer.

Proof: Searching For What Comes After Death

Photo Courtesy Of TNT
Photo Courtesy Of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Over the last few years the TNT Network’s created original programming, resulting in some surprisingly good shows, that can hold their own against most series presented on broadcast networks. Tuesday night marked the conclusion of the first season of “Proof,” a medical drama with a twist starring Jennifer Beals who stole American’s hearts in the movie “Flashdance” back in the early eighties. Her character Dr. Caroline Tyler’s a highly respected heart-surgeon, who’s just gone through the toughest year of her life. Tyler survived a car accident, that took the life of her teenage son Will and she blames herself for his loss. Soon after Caroline survived a plane crash and had what is known as a “Near-Death-Experience.”

The crash caused Tyler’s heart to stop briefly and while her life hung in the balance, she saw her son Will near her and tried to grab his hand. She also recognized someone else in her vision, an elderly woman with short gray hair, wearing a green scarf. Caroline got revived before she had a chance to talk to her son or the woman, but the vision’s haunted her ever since she had it.

Tyler’s estranged from her husband Dr. Len Barliss, portrayed by veteran TV actor David Sutcliffe and both doctors work in the same hospital. We’re under the impression that their marriage fell apart due to Caroline’s accident, that killed their son, but we find out the reasons are far more complicated than that. They have a teenage daughter named Sophie (Annie Thurman,) whom like most teenage girls can be both adorable and incredibly frustrating, depending on her mood.

The stars from the Eighties keep arriving as Caroline’s life gets altered forever when she meets Billionaire Industrialist Ivan Turing. Matthew Modine, who as a young man starred in the movies “Vision Quest” and “Full Metal Jacket,” as well as a score of other films, takes on the role of the brilliant visionary diagnosed with terminal cancer. Wanting to find out what, if anything awaits us on the other side, he offers to build a new wing for Tyler’s hospital if she consents to help him in his research.

Yet another actor who came of age in the eighties, Joe Morton who portrayed “The Brother From Another Planet,” plays Dr. Charles Richmond, who encourages Tyler to work with Turing, so the hospital can get the new wing, but he’s unaware of the nature of their research. Caroline enlists the help of a young doctor Zed Badawi (Edi Gathegi) a young man from Kenya that Tyler’s taken under her wing and expresses passion for the project.

Throughout the series ten-episode run, the show explored topics such as reincarnation, receiving messages from the dead and in one episode, a young woman who woke from a coma without any memories of her own had distinct memories from the lives of the other patients she shared the coma ward with. Although the series left open the possibility, that there could indeed be an afterlife, they also presented the full spectrum explaining that there could be very logical reasons, behind the seemingly paranormal events.

The characters are empathetic, the writing’s strong and the episodes seem to pass quickly, all benchmarks of mine for an enjoyable viewing experience. TNT has yet to announce whether Proof will get brought back for a second season next summer, but the finale ended in a way that gave the viewers closure, while leaving open the possibility for another season. TNT’s currently streaming the show on its website, it’s a show worth checking out.

The Last Ship: Protocol Amidst The Chaos

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

In a short flashback, we discover what may have been Dr. Rachel Scott’s ‘calling’ moment.  Her sick and dying mother on a cot with her Dr. father refusing to let her die.  Meanwhile, back at present day, Dr. Scott seems to be harvesting organs.  That would reference back to how last week’s episode ended.

Chandler returns to the Nathan James (with Ray) and is greeted with bad news from Slattery.  Niels is dead.  All three doctors are in agreement, the test results all point to a natural bad reaction to the blood transfusion.  Chandler goes down to Dr. Scott’s lab to follow-up.  His expression says he’s not buying what she’s selling, while her expression says she doesn’t even believe what she’s slinging.

Slattery ventures into what has become the Nathan James’ residential holding cell.  Three unsavory men sit handcuffed to various parts of the room.  Slattery wants to know about the cell phones.  The phones that correspond to no working cell towers, that have no text messages, pictures or anything else that might suggest use.  For the moment, neither of the three men say anything.

In the briefing room, Chandler and Michener lead the meeting.  Michener outlines the specific detail about the plan for New Orleans.  Tankers and barges equipped with diesel and solar power.  Enough to transport 5-10 thousand.  Assuming the Ramsey’s still plan to build their army, the prevailing thought is that yes, the sub is still planning on getting to New Orleans next.  Michener asks if there will be enough doses to save all of those people.  Chandler responds that if Dr. Scott’s aerosol is ready, they can just drop the cure from the air.  The problem is, Dr. Scott has abandoned the aerosol approach, in favor of using Niels’ lung tissue in the hopes of reverse engineering the cure so that it could become ‘contagious’.

Garnett sits in a room questioning Miller.  A typical formality.  As Miller runs back through what he can remember, his story piques Garnett’s interest.  Specifically, “Dr. Scott changed his IV then he began to bleed out.  Like the ones with the virus.”  Garnett delivers this room to Chandler and Slattery.  Only Chandler and Slattery.  Chandler orders them to gain as much evidence as possible and conduct a by the book investigation.  Garnett and a few others swoop into the lab like feds to collect as much pertinent evidence as they can.  Dr. Scott does not interfere.

Wolf talks about the ‘Niels’ situation, but Burk reserves judgement.  Before he can get to the line sink ships in the adage “Loose lips sink ships”, Ravit walks in.  She needs to take a shower but there is an issue with the women’s facility.  She gets a predictable reaction from Wolf and shrugs it off, suggesting maybe he should stand watch outside.  Wolf tells Burk he’s going to call for a rescue team if he’s not out in three minutes.  Burk stands shirtless trying to finish shaving.  On his way out, Wolf leans into Ravit and says, “be gentle”.  Once Wolf has left, Ravit continues to undress Burk with her eyes.

Ravit:  Guess this isn’t the place…

Burk:  What place?

Ravit:  Where people have sex.

Burk (slightly stunned by the conversation he finds himself in):  People don’t have sex on the ship.  It’s against regulations.

Ravit references Foster estimating how long she’s been pregnant.  Suggesting that conception had to have occurred on the ship.  She hops up on the counter positioning herself between Burk’s torso, and the sink he was using.  She loosely straddles the back of his legs and continues.  Burk reiterates that there is no sex on the ship.  She dispenses his after shave while making suggestions to where sex could happen on the ship.  He’s impressed with her suggestions but again, says there’s no sex on the ship.  She then softly slaps the after shave on his face.  When he opens his eyes, their faces are about an inch apart.  Burk adds that they will be in New Orleans soon.  And as she’s done before, she flips the light switch and returns to typical Ravit.

Ravit:  Well, if there’s no sex on the ship…then get out.

Lt. Chung and Lynn accidentally stumble upon just how the Immunes are using their phones.  There is a texting app disguised as a game.  It utilizes Bluetooth and not a cellular signal.  The catch is that they can send and relay as many messages and content as they want as long as the next phone in the chain is less than 90 yards away.

Cruz escorts the prisoner they call Fleet.  He’s the Joe Dirt looking gentleman.  Fleet apparently demanded to speak to someone in charge, so Chandler introduces himself as the Captain, then turns to his right and introduces the President.  Fleet recognizes Michener from “the videos”.  Fleet immediately regrets mentioning the videos.  Chandler plans to hang the death of Ray’s friend around Fleet’s neck.  Michener claims he can grant a pardon for the murder of a child, but not until he explains how the phones work.

The investigation is beginning to point even more suspicion Dr. Scott’s way.  It may not have been obvious to those involved, but we the viewer know better.  Especially if you caught this week’s promo.  Dr. Scott barges in on Milowsky to discover that he’s looking through her computer that she seems to have lost.  What he was able to find suggests that Dr. Scott introduced a “DNA Scissors” ripping the antibodies from his DNA.  Thus, forcing the virus to kill him from within. Milowsky asks her to leave as he’s under strict orders not to talk to her.  Before she does, he offers up something intriguing at the very least.

Milowsky:  Even without this evidence, all fingers point to you.  So, if you’re planning on doing what I think you are, I suggest you do it soon.  Before they lock you out of the lab.

After an awkward locking of eyes with Chandler, Dr. Scott does exactly that.  She heads down to the lab quickly.  Even quicker starts injecting various liquids into other liquids.  Then she fills a syringe and injects herself.  Then seconds, later blows on an infected rat, as if it would really work that fast.

Another flashback to young Rachel.  The nurse tells her to use her anger to do something good.  Tex interrupts her flashback as the only person on the ship who just wants to chat.  No agenda.  Despite what this dark cloud hanging over Dr. Scott, Tex takes a moment to remind her that without her, no one on this ship would still be alive.

In the mess, Miller and O’Connor sit while sailor after sailor come by dropping off candy bars and coins.  Both men are confused as neither one believes they said anything they shouldn’t have.  Elsewhere, Jeter informs Chandler that a growing number of the crew believe that not only was Niels murdered, but that senior leadership knew about it and potentially signed off on it.

Chandler summons Dr. Scott.  He’s hoping to get an update on the aerosol method.  Dr. Scott explains that she’s trying something else.  Adapting the vaccine the way the virus adopted in Niels.  Then like an illegal u-turn, Chandler flat-out asks Dr. Scott if she did it.  She says a bit about the deaths he’s responsible for but brings it right back around.   “Yes, I did it and I’d do it again.”  Moments later, Chandler briefs the President on the latest turn of events without a final decision on Dr. Scott’s fate in place.

Cobra team heads out into the water with “Fleet” to send or receive a message from the game app.  The New Orleans civilian fleet is within view.  The message comes in, “They’re here”.  Lt. Green radios the Nathan James all but ordering them to stand down.  Just then one at a time, the civilian fleet begins to explode.  Chandler orders the bridge to pull back. POTUS even seems sincere is his dismay.

In all the chaos, Lt. Foster identifies and an inbound torpedo.  The sub is hiding under the fleet debris.  A second torpedo is inbound.  Chandler and Foster collaborate on a countermeasure to evade the torpedoes.  The trick works beautifully…until the second fish reacquired the Nathan James amidst the countermeasures.  The second torpedo makes impact with the Nathan James.

There is no significant damage to the hull.  Cobra team is given permission to search for survivors.  While the crew assesses damage control, the bridge is being hailed.  Naturally, the voice on the other line is none other than Sean Ramsey.  Using what little technology they have, they took video of the Nathan James, then edited the video to make it seem like the Nathan James fired on the civilian fleet.  Crafty.  I would like to mention that whether or not it is skilled acting or convenient coincidence, President Michener’s body language in the second half of this episode is not doing a lot to instill confidence that he’s 100% in the game or even playing for the right team.  I’m not suggesting a conspiracy theory, just that he makes me uneasy.

Dr. Scott meets in Chandler’s quarters to deliver the news that it appears her little experiment worked.  The vaccine has attached to her lungs as the virus did to Niels.  Chandler is not enthused as it appears Dr. Scott was kind of expecting.  Even if she says the opposite.  The civilian fleet and the impending ‘propaganda war’ as Sean just made it look like the Nathan James is the enemy may be weighing more heavily on his mind that the notion of breathing the cure on people.

Chandler has reached a decision on Dr. Scott’s punishment.  She will continue to do her work (in the lab) as circumstances dictate moving forward.   After her work is done each day, she will return to her quarters.  She has no more access to communal rooms, and absolutely no access into rooms that otherwise would require clearance (i.e. the bridge, CIC, etc).  And finally, if they ever make a safe port, Chandler himself will turn her over to the local authorities so she can pay for her crimes.

The Last Ship: Rufio And His Lost Boys Complicate A Simple Mission

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Niels finally wakes to find Chandler standing over him. He proceeds to give Chandler most of what he’s looking for. How has he survived. Not from the virus that he is carrying, but how did he get from point A to being the Immunes secret weapon. Niels only makes one request. He wants to speak to Dr. Scott. A proposition Dr. Scott wants nothing to do with. She plans to do everything the hard way, the good old-fashioned scientific method way. Then Chandler says something that should lessen her resistance.

Chandler: He killed my wife! And I was able to talk to him. So unless you have a better idea…What if he can help. You have to talk to him.

Chandler ventures to the President’s quarters (I feel like there should be some cleaver name involving the word ‘Oval’, but chambers will have to do for now). Michener has accepted his role conceptually. It’s clear that his practical duties of Commander-in-Chief have not fully sunk in. Chandler explains that he will be consulted on anything strategic or military as they pertain to the purview of the office of the President. Michener still is visibly overwhelmed by such a thought.

Dr. Scott does her best to stay civil. It’s difficult but she is able to chew back her anger. Make slightly more complicated after Niels tries to assure her that his intention was never to spread the virus. As much as it must’ve pained her to do, she extends an invitation to take a look at her research and see if he can’t help with the mass production issue. They both look over the images of the failed attempts to turn the vaccine into an airborne delivery system. By the way, Niels stroking his neck beard is not exactly comforting to watch. Dr. Scott leads him in a direction she wants to pursue and he arrives at the same conclusion. They need untarnished, freshwater mussels. The mussels produce a spore that could get them one step closer to viability.

CMC Jeter, who has been tasked with bringing the President and his confidence of his office up to speed, accompanies the President to the mess. Bacon is very eager to flex is culinary chops for the President who is again overwhelmed by the mere attention. Lt. Mejia follows suit but it only adds to the awkwardness Michener is dealing with. After some forced small talk, he asks Jeter if they should head over to ‘that briefing’ as a means to get out of this situation he finds so difficult.

Out on the deck, Michener stands hunched over for fresh air. Jeter circles around him. Michener is surrounded by twenty year-olds who know exactly what to do at all times, while as he puts it, he can’t decide what to eat for lunch. Jeter starts in calm and transitions into his leader voice.

Jeter: The Navy’s been studying leadership since 1775. Between the Captain, the XO and myself, we have 67 years of experience. Leaders aren’t born, they’re made. And we believe in you, sir. Just give yourself time.

Dr. Scott and Niels’ collaboration is about to hit a snag if he doesn’t give up the stabilizing sequence. Niels begins playing dumb. She tells him that she already has samples of his blood and can find it the hard way. Niels then changes the direction of the conversation by inquiring about a picture on her desk. The mystery man photo. Niels probes and profiles Dr. Scott.

The Tact team arrives in a harbor presumably to find mussels for Dr. Scott. They begin to secure the marina when Burk spots a runner. The runner leads Burk into a hallway. He removes his mask to reveal he’s just a kid. Then more kids emerge from every door in the hallway, weapons drawn. This was a trap. Apparently there is a bounty on Naval personnel. Just before it gets hairy the rest of the Tact team arrive. These are kids who have no real experience or know-how in this area. The leader orders the other kids to put down their weapons.

Chandler comes inland to hopefully get more answers from “Ray” and the other kids. A real Lost Boys of Neverland situation. Chandler talks to Ray as if they are equals. Leaders of men. After the initial reaction, Ray shrugs it Chandler’s gesture. The step aside to speak privately. All indications are that the bounty was laid out by the Immunes. Chandler explains very plainly that the Immunes are a cult. Naturally immune to the virus and therefore see the cure as a detriment to their belief structure. Chandler offers to take all of Ray’s people on board the Nathan James and take them to a safer place to settle if they help locate the bounty hunters.

Ray confers with his numbers and tells Chandler they have a deal. Food and shelter for the bounty hunters with one condition. Ray gets to stay and fight alongside the Nathan James soldiers. A condition that Chandler rejects immediately. Ray insists based on the fact that he’s only six months away from the enlistment age and they still need information he has. Ray=Rufio.

The President summons Jeter. With a plate of food at his side, the President has a couple of requests. He’d like to view the return of the Tact team from the combat center and he would like to see any intel retrieved from the White House and anything they have on the Immunes. Jeter, stands at attention, agrees to everything and leaves. This is the first time President Michener displays the body language of a Commander-in-Chief. Let’s hope that’s all it is.

The Tact team with help from Ray set up an ambush for whoever these bounty hunters are. Some other Lost Boys try to befriend Tex and solicit his help in convincing the Captain to let them fight as well. Tex has no interest in any part of this conversation, especially the part about recruiting young boys to fight.

Niels’ blood is doing nothing to infect the test subject mice. Dr. Scott believes the virus adapted and migrated exclusively to Niels’ lungs and therefore, his blood would do nothing. Might also explain why he’s so contagious. She goes down to where Niels is being held and asks for a moment alone. She starts doing a thing all to recognizable. Dr. Scott is attempting to appeal to Niels’ humanity and dare I say, his urges to not remain alone. The very hint at sharing herself with someone who just might understand is enough to break him. He doesn’t give her the sequence but tells her how to get it. Afterwards, she begins showing effects of someone with the beginning onset of the virus, just by getting that close to his breath. That or she’s just that repulsed by him.

In a stunningly stupid move, Ray fires a flare into the air when asked how to signal the bounty hunters. Ray is afraid of getting ‘benched’ once the Nathan James has what it wants. As it turns out that little stunt with the flare gun got him benched immediately. The Nathan James relays to Chandler that Cody (one of the Lost Boys) was not on the transport. This is the same time that Ray busts out of the trailer. All of this happening while the Tact team is executing their ambush on the bounty hunters. Chandler goes out on his own to find and secure Cody.

Chandler continues to search and eventually finds Cody. Laid out on the floor, visibly dead. There is a click. One of the bounty hunters has his rifle on Chandler. “The boss wants you alive. Unless you put up a fight. Please put up a fight.” Then something long pierces the bounty hunters torso. That something was a harpoon gun at the hands of Ray, who is currently experiencing his first casualty of war, Cody.

Chandler, Slattery, Jeter, Garnett, and Granderson debrief the President with what they’ve found. Three Immunes carrying what look like three smart phones, despite no indication of cellular use. Just as one would hope from an installed President, Michener hears the update and charges right into what needs to be done next. He begins with convincing the American public that they are not the bad guys and moves into how to best find and help the survivors before Ramsey’s men get to them all during a lovely gradual audio fade out.

On board the Nathan James, Ray reflects on his loss. Chandler offers to take him along to check out a nearby safe zone. Ray doesn’t hear much of that as he’s too busy blaming himself for Cody’s actions.

Ray: I knew Cody was amped up to join the fight. He never would have stayed behind if I went along like you said.
Chandler: Little old saying. Anyone can hold the helm while the sea is calm. Being a leader is not about being perfect. It’s about weathering the storm and carrying on.

Niels believes he’s having a nice moment with Dr. Scott reflecting on the good team they make. Dr. Scott slowly and methodically begins to change her tone. She plans to use gene scissoring to remove one very specific gene from Niels. Since the virus resides exclusively in Niels’ lungs that would be difficult but doable. Here’s that moment when it clicks in Niels’ own brain. By removing the gene it would essentially open Pandora’s box inside Niels body allowing the virus to run free like it would any other host. Killing Niels with extreme prejudice. Once the concept sinks in, Niels begins bleeding from his eye socket. Dr. Scott, O’Connor, and Miller all have front row seats to witness the death of “Niels: Carrier of the Apocalypse”.

The Last Ship: Every Soldier Needs Someone To Salute

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We begin tonight with newly named ‘President’ voicing his complaints, up to and including accusations of treason.  Dr. Scott has been brought up to speed on Niels’ condition, we assume after her conversation with Tex at the conclusion of last week’s episode.  It also seems clear that not everyone is in the loop on the specifics of the Nathan James’ newest addition.  The ship’s leadership trio discusses the sensitive nature of what happens next.  Will the ‘President’ gladly come over to the cause of the Nathan James?  Continue fighting to get back to the cause of the Immunes?  Or is there something larger at play?

XO Slattery pays the President a visit where he is being held.  Despite his refusal to speak with anyone besides the Captain, Slattery continues.  First playing him a message from the second in the line of succession (formerly Speaker of the House).  This message only states the current status of the government, but it does make it clear that the Nathan James is in a position of authority on some level.  A claim that the Ramsey’s cannot make.

The second message is from the Secretary of the Navy, a familiar friend and colleague to the former head of HUD.  This message further place the Nathan James in a position of authority.  Furthermore, it shows a superior to both Michener and the men serving on the Nathan James giving the Nathan James an order for a mission to be carried out.  Another claim the Ramseys cannot make.

A third message is from Dr. Hunter to Dr. Scott on the subject of how to mass produce the cure.  The above mission was to cure as many as possible to restore the country and by some extension the government.  A mission that was terrorized by Ramsey’s men.  The obvious didn’t need to be pointed out.  The gunman on that message was Ned Ramsey and his men.  All because the Ramsey’s and their “Immunes” believe they are the inheritors of the earth.  Misinterpreting scripture (or whatever) to suit their own ends.

Slattery leaves two flash drives at Michener’s disposal, experiment data and ship’s logs to support Slattery’s claims.  What Michener does with them when left alone should tell the Captain, who has been watching from a video feed the entire time, a great deal.  He paces before sitting at the computer.  Instead of inserting one of the flash drives Slattery left, he insert a flash drive of his own.  This flash drive shows a video of a Sean Ramsey speech.  The composition of the video suggests something nefarious.

Chandler finally joins Michener who abruptly removes his flash drive.  Chandler cannot ask for the flash drive and reveal he’d been spying on Michener, so he closes and removes the laptop instead.  With each and every mention of evidence to the Nathan James’ cause, Michener dismisses them as if they were all fabricated.  Chandler retorts that regardless of what he believes, their orders fall in line with protocols consistent with national interests. Michener believes the Immunes are the best chance for survival.  Instead of pushing back, Chandler quite simply asks Michener to, “Convince him”.

Michener tells his story.  From the directive he was given by the elected President, through the outbreak, and discovery that he was an Immune.  Sean’s ‘vision’ boils down a Hitler-espque master race.  Not exactly the angle you want to take when convincing any level-headed person of anything.  Just before this meeting falls off the rails, Chandler is able to misdirect just enough to convince Michener to spill some of the intel that Slattery believes must be priority one.

The next step is New Orleans.  After Katrina, the government put into place certain fail safes to ensure such a large-scale incident wouldn’t happen again.  New Orleans is to be ground zero for the rebuilding of the country.  Chandler stops this line of questioning to redirect again.  He tries to cast doubt on Michener’s convictions by suggesting that Sean has already begun moving west towards New Orleans without him.  Michener is not willing to consider that he is not as big a piece of Sean’s plan as he’d like to believe, even if it was a bluff on Chandler’s part.  He suggests that he is a prisoner to which Chandler claims he is not.  Then there is a long pause after Michener asks, “then I’m free to go?”

The notion that it was ‘impossible’ that the sub would be on the move was peculiar.  Enough so to sway the Nathan James’ leadership to question if they have sustained enough damage to literally make movement impossible.  Chandler orders Slattery to move the ship outward, but quietly.  While they gained the intel they were looking for, there is a concern that any hope of turning Michener away from the Ramsey’s cause may have been lost.  Gaining his trust now becomes the new direction.

Chandler ventures to Michener’s quarters to take another swing.  This time he begins with honesty about the tactics used to gain the intel as to the sub’s location.  Now it’s time to sweeten the pot by creating a narrative more alluring and heroic than that of the Ramsey’s.  Chandler begins in on his own virus back story.  The loss of this wife, not even getting to hold her hand before she passed. The image of his children watching her die.  Finding his children in an extermination camp. This mission he did not ask for and how all of it creates meaning.  He tries to create empathy.  Right before he turns to leave, Michener admits that he did get to hold his son’s hand as he slipped away toward death.  Michener takes Chandler through each member of his family dying before him.  It feels like Michener is just about turn when there is a knock at the door.  CMC Jeter has something Chandler needs to hear. Michener seems to refocus out of the moment.

The message he needs to hear is a publicly heard message on an FM frequency warning anyone and everyone to avoid contact with the Nathan James.  Suggesting that their ‘cure’ is either a new strain of the virus or an experimental drug.  Bottom line, avoid them or fight them.

The mental images and sounds of the memories shared of Michener’s loss weigh heavily on him.  Chandler runs through Michener’s file and discovers something relating to his family.  His children specifically.  Chandler intends to bring this information to Michener’s attention, but Michener is not in his quarters.  Ultimately, Chandler finds Tex standing watch outside the men’s head.  After no response, Chandler breaks in the door only to find Michener bleeding out from self-inflicted wounds to his wrists.  Chandler applies pressure to those wounds while he awaits medical attention.

Dr. Scott seems to have him stabilized.  Concealing the incident from the crew is a notion not easily accepted considering that was the catalyst of a previous mistake.  Chandler believes the radio message about avoiding the Nathan James makes the President’s safety and his allegiance to the Nathan James’ cause paramount.

When Michener wakes, Chandler doesn’t hesitate to start in on the why.  Before they grabbed Michener last week, Chandler said if he has power he can be manipulated.  Chandler has found his vulnerable spot.  Michener’s emotional attachment.  Chandler suggests that Michener must face what he can’t let go of.  Michener shouts back that there is nothing to let go of, but in this case, Chandler’s holding all of the cards.

Michener preemptively removed his son from Ann Arbor and brought him to the stadium in Tallahassee.  Michener was responsible for more deaths than just his family’s.  Once he accepts that responsibility, it was easy to embrace the story that Sean Ramsey gave him.  Chandler almost begs Michener to share with him what makes it something he can’t understand.  Being responsible for is one thing.  Actually executing the deed first hand is something else entirely.  After his son died, Michener’s wife asked him to put his daughters out of their own misery before it got worse.  So in their sleep, Michener smothered them to death.  One of them even woke up mid act.  His daughter’s last memory was her father killing her.  How does someone live with that?

Chandler tries to match Michener’s story and tone.  Not in a one-upmanship short of way, but in an empathetic “I feel your pain” sort of way.  Eric Dane even manages to squeeze out a tear or two.

Michener:  What do you say about that?  How do I live with that?

Chandler:  I’ve killed people.  More than I can count now.  Some of them were firmly aligned against us with the worst of intentions.  Some of them were just caught up in the madness that all of this has created, just trying to survive.  We’ve all done things that are hard to live with.  So let this be your redemption if it needs to be, because it might be mine.

(Michener gives a subtle head nod)

In the ship’s briefing room Michener begins telling Chandler, Slattery, Jeter, Dr. Scott, and now Garnett what he knows of the sub’s condition, plans and communication capabilities.  Slattery asks for the red flash drive which Michener turns over quickly and willingly.  A clear sign of intention.  Dr. Scott then turns to the teddy bear device.  It didn’t seem needed, but important to show just how misguided Sean’s men are.  Michener had no idea they were intentionally infecting children in order to weed out the immunes.

The group leaves Michener and Chandler to themselves where Chandler makes it very clear that their emotional sharing from earlier will stay between them.  Then a moment that must have come with a great swelling of pride for all involved, Chandler shows Michener to his new quarters.  It’s a much larger room.  The first image of note is a hand painted Presidential seal.  A desk that is as close to the Resolute Desk as one might find on an US Navy Destroyer.  All of the crew in the room stops what they’re doing to address him as “Mr. President”.  Chung informs the President that the room is operational.

The room is decorated with images found in the White House.  Computer printouts, but still the effect is there. Aside from the aesthetic of the room, Chandler has given some of his own clothes and affects to help add the feel of normalcy.  There seems to be a genuine sense of gratitude.  From both men.  Chandler then stands at attention and salutes the new President of the United States.  President Michener returns the gesture.

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

The Last Ship: POTUS Extraction

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Chandler circles back without breaking eye contact with the Brits and their new pawn to meet with his undercover crew. Ravit updates him on the count of hostiles on site. Chandler breaks eye contact to suggest that if the guy in the blue shirt (Ned) makes him, they will have problems and in a hurry. Based on the loose information that the previous 11 in the line of succession actually did die in the bunker, this Jeffrey Mitchner actually would be the President. Even if Mitchner is compliant against his will. The newer more immediate mission is the extract their new Commander and Chief out from under the oppressive thumb of Sean and Ned.

Meanwhile, in the back Green and Tex keep up their cover while Wolf watches from a distance via rifle scope. Wolf and Green relay their coordinates to XO Slattery. They find an area large enough to land a helo, which is great news for Slattery. His priority being to keep the Commander alive.

Sean and Ned have another of their lopsided conversations. Sean enthusiastic about the turnout and not worried at all about the sub. Ned freaking out about the sub not caring about the dog and pony show inside. Sean orders Ned to accompany Niels on his next little ‘magic trick’.

Ravit uses her feminine wiles to distract a patrolman on duty. Burk moves inside to get a closer look on the operation inside the loading stations. Green makes his way around the building to discover Niels working on something. The man in charge (I use that term very loosely) of the unloading catches Green spying but with one gesture, Green makes it appear as if he’s relieving himself. Upon a second look, Chandler believes that Mitchner’s body language reveals that he not completely a hostage. He may need some convincing to be removed from his current position.

Chandler: I don’t know how deep in he is, but he has drunk some of the Kool-Aid, that’s for sure.
Burk: We have to do this quietly.
Chandler: If he’s here of his own free will he has power, if he has power, he can be manipulated.

Dr. Scott, with the help of the Engineering department of the crew, has developed a machine that will act like a large inhaler for the mice. Going back to last week, Dr. Scott believes Dr. Hunter had created a way to make the cure airborne. This machine may just accurately test such a feasibility.

The team is positioned inside the next stump speech location. Burk walks in and casually drops a book bag. He then locks the door behind him. Ravit locks the doors on her side. Burk then acts like a concerned citizen to a strange woman next to him. Playing the role of protecting the new President from a bag that appears to be ticking. The woman unwittingly does her part shouting “there’s a bomb in here”. Burk runs the other way demanding Mitchner get him out of there. Chandler then punches Burk to get him off the President. Chandler stands over the President to protect him.

The President brings Chandler into a room. Call it the lion’s den because that’s what it is. Ten feet from Sean Ramsey. Sean offers his hand and they shake. Then Chandler respectfully interjects that “here in the US of A, we guard the President with more than two men”. You could cut the tension with a knife. It takes a moment, but Sean concedes. He adds a third man, but the President wants an American. He wants Chandler. A realistic demotion, but it works for their immediate plans.

Sean asks Chandler for some background. Chandler has the advantage here as he knows who Sean is, but Sean doesn’t know Chandler. Chandler plays right into his soft spot. Calls himself Tommy. A bodyguard for the rich. Was guarding one of those pop stars in Miami when the virus broke.

Chandler: People started dropping like flies, but I’m still standing. Until I met one of your boys and I found out why. I was chosen.

The awkward standoff between men continues. Sean trying desperately to catch “Tommy” of guard or in a lie. Tommy is unflappable. As the Commander of a Naval Destroyer should be. Eventually, Sean hands over a side arm to Tommy and welcomes him as a brother.

Elsewhere, Ravit walks in on Burk in his least manliest moments of the series thus far. Head tilted back pressing a bloody towel over his nose. “He didn’t have to break it”. Ravit mentions that the transition is still on schedule according to her source. Despite, the moment lacking masculine prowess, Burk shows a little jealously about this guard source of hers. She slowly and very seductively walks closer to him eventually standing right on top of him. She slowly leans in and begins kissing him. Effectively. Burk is completely lost in the moment. Then she suddenly snaps his broken nose back into place.

Ravit: Only a job, so…that was just anesthetic.

In the President’s room, Chandler looks for an opening. The President is working on his “Just as Noah in the old testament” speech, Chandler finds that opening. He suggests the group clear the courtyard of people so the President can get some fresh air.

Ned’s caravan comes to a stop. Niels has made a solution that he has stuffed into a teddy bear. The idea being, someone hands the bear to kid in a nearby trailer park, the solution gets soaked into the fur and the child as well as everyone he or she comes in contact with gets infected. With the exception of the ‘chose ones’. Ned won’t do the deed and Niels doing it would be redundant. So Lt. Green volunteers.

The men have cleared the courtyard and Chandler has signaled to Burk and Ravit who are in position. Wolf spots Chandler with the man Wolf doesn’t know to be the President. He relays the confirmation to the Nathan James regardless.

While the caravan waits, it appears Niels recognizes Tex. Tex pulls the ‘you’re creeping me out’ card and it seems to work. Only momentarily. Niels pops from around the corner intending to blackmail Tex. Tex, cool as ice turns the same concept back on Niels. Niels is the man behind the curtain. Niels is responsible for all of this. If Niels is outed, their entire belief structure falls apart and Tex knows it.

Green escorted by a duo of Ned’s men who are about as smart as a box of crayons. They find only one person in the trailer park. Green tries to shrug off his escorts and convinces the girl to run. Instead of chasing after the girl, the goons are focused on Green. Green tries to explain they are helping Ned to infect innocent people to draw out immunes. They make the mistake of pursuing further. Green takes them both out with minimal effort. A shot rings out. Tex strong arms Niels as Niels tries to out Tex to the group.

Tex is in the middle of a caravan wide fire fight. Ned goes down and Niels takes a shot to the abdomen. Tex throws Niels into the back of a van and continues to exchange rounds with others in the caravan. He peels away then comes to an abrupt halt to pick up Green en route.

All the pieces are in place. Chandler plus two of Sean’s men escort the President down the halls towards the courtyard. Green, Tex and Niels are at the rally point. Slattery has eyes on the sub. Ned was hit but not out. Midway to the courtyard an alarm goes off. News of the caravan hit has made its way back. They need to get the President back to the sub. Chandler thinks quick and redirects them back on track, because the President could get mobbed the other way.

Burk and Ravit take the kitchen. This is the drop point. Burk and Ravit take out the first of the President’s detail, Chandler turns on a few others with the President cowering in the middle. Low on ammunition, Burk and Ravit use anything they can get their hands on in the kitchen. Meat tenderizers and carving knives later, they take the kitchen leaving no one but the President vertical. Upon hearing their true identities, the President tries to evade them. He only gets about 3 inches away before meeting the end of Ravit’s sidearm.

Outside, the group moving the President are met with hostiles but mow past that obstacle quickly. They are on their way out (in a truck) before Sean even gets the news about the position of the Nathan James. At that moment, the truck with Chandler, Burk, Ravit, and the President speeds off. Sean yells out to stop them then instructs the sub to ‘blow that ship out of the water’. All the while, Wolf is picking off their pursuers one kill shot at a time.

To recap, the Nathan James is moving (slowly) to a location where they can send the helo to the rally point. Chandler, Burk, Ravit, and the kidnapped President head to the rally point where Wolf will meet them. At the same time, the sub is in a position to fire on the Nathan James, potentially putting a hex on the whole darn thing.

The literal moment that the Nathan James is far enough out for the helo to take off, the sub instantly loses them on radar.

All three elements of the tact team are in position as the helo lands. Problem is, Sean’s reinforcements are on their way. Close enough that they must see the helo. Burk and Wolf cover the helo as the rest of the team are secured on the helo. As efficiently as we would expect, the team gets into the air with no real consequence. Tex tells Chandler they grabbed Niels just in case he and the Dr. might want to have words with him. Tex then gestures to Mitchner.

Tex: Who’s that?
Chandler: Jeffrey Mitchner. Commander-in-Chief.
Tex: Come again boss?
(Silence in a loud helicopter)

With the team safely on the ship and Niels being tended to, Green briefs Slattery. When asked if he destroyed all of the toys, Green says, “Yes sir. All but one”. Tex places that one teddy bear in front of Dr. Scott and strongly suggests she take a seat before he explains what it is.

Sean meanwhile is angrily tearing apart the hotel room. This is the time that Ned decides to poke the bear. For the first time since we were introduced to this pair of brothers, it seems that Sean is more than happy to direct his efforts towards destroying the Nathan James first and foremost.

Chandler and Slattery meet in a quiet spot on the deck of the ship. Chandler knows they have something on Mitchner. Beyond that, he explains that the people are buying what Sean is selling. Then a very angry POTUS is forced passed them by Burk and Ravit yelling the entire way. “You can’t do this to me.”

Slattery: Our Commander In Chief doesn’t seem too pleased to be with us, does he?
Chandler: Well, that’s something we’re going to have to change.
Slattery: Won’t be easy. He really is one of them.
Chandler: This country needs a leader almost as much as it needs the cure. Ramsey was going use the President to win the hearts of America. (Turns to stare down the corridor) Now that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

The Last Ship: Florida Adds Scope To The Sub Problem

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

Sean and Ned observe some Americans working outside of a large building. Declan does the math on 5% of the American population eager to join the cause. Ned fires back with this skepticism of the “chosen ones” act. Sean asserts that it isn’t an act. To which Ned rolls his eyes. There is a shift within the pairing. Ned wants to go after the Nathan James to ensure there is no outstanding cure. Sean believes it can wait while they tend to their sub. Ned wants to get the job done and enjoy the spoils back in England. He’s very much not a fan of our majestic country. Virus or no virus. Ned also dislikes Niels, but Sean sees him as the divine grim reaper. Used to bring out more immunes.

Dr. Scott as well as XO Slattery show some concerns with pursuing the Chosen sub. It’s a question of resources vs. the mission vs. getting these guys. In a matter of 4 seconds, Chandler goes from welcoming their council to almost angrily asking Dr. Scott what they should do instead. He begins rattling off labs that have been destroyed. He gets through about six before Dr. Scott fires back.

Dr. Scott: Captain, you don’t think I’m aware of this? I’ve spent the last twenty hours trying to figure out why this happened. How this could have happened? But we need to stay on course. Or millions more are going to die.

Chandler: That sub is the mission now. We’ll find the people who did this. And we’ll make them pay.

All over the ship, the crew is beginning to question why the change in priority. Not so much in their words but in their body language. Granderson has found a video message from her mentor (Dr. Hunter). He’s under attack mid message. He has put together a plan using a previous measles project to ‘help’ with the vaccine. The elder doctor is killed before the message concludes. His plan was to create a powdered delivery system for the cure. That could be essentially crop dusted over populated areas and the infected would simply breathe in the cure.

Leaving for the lab in Florida is not an idea Chandler is warming to. The medical part of this equation is not substantial enough for the risk that comes with it. Chandler then refers to the sub mission as “bigger fish to fry”. A comment Dr. Scott was not at all pleased to hear. Insinuating that taking out a sub with a few bad guys is more important than curing millions of infected people. Dr. Scott tries to reiterate the original mission, but even that seems to fall on deaf ears.

The sub’s crew is also exhibiting a little dissension among the ranks. However, their issue almost comes with the territory when a military vessel is crewed by people who are not all military.

Chandler, Wolf and the rest of the tact team (Dr. Scott included) venture inland. Inside Dr. Hunter’s lab, they find pretty much nothing but dead doctors. Dr. Hunter among them. Dr. Scott falls to her knees. “He was a giant”. She collects herself and moves to what they can use. CMC Jeter asks to speak freely. His request is granted and the rest of the team vacate quickly. Jeter also tries to appeal to Chandler about the larger mission at hand. Chandler’s almost reckless focus on the sub is not about the sub itself. Moreover, the extreme damage those men can cause. The belief is that they almost singlehandedly took out Europe. Chandler will not allow them to do the same the United States.

Chandler: We can’t keep looking over our shoulders for that sub. We take them out and Dr. Scott can finish her work. It’s all the same mission.

Jeter: Fair enough sir, but I can see it in your eyes sir. Your desire for vengeance. So I’m asking, as a man who is never more than 509 feet from his Captain, don’t let this sub become your white whale.

After their short conversation, Chandler divides the group. Two will escort Dr. Scott back to the Nathan James and the rest push forward tracking those who attacked this lab. Dr. Scott is taking pictures of what’s left of the lab when she can feel Chandler behind her. She asks only one thing pertaining to the ‘who did this’ portion of their visit. “When you find them…kill them”.

Chandler, Wolf, Tex, Green, Bevis and Burk roll up on another truck. The trial ends with two fan boats. Chandler calls in for a sweep of the area.

Niels returns to Sean and Ned inland almost jolly. He’s mingled with the locals and finds the ‘southern hospitality’ notion to be one founded in truth. This was not a spell of R and R, but part of the plan. Niels mingles with the locals and the locals gets sick. As they die, more immunes should present themselves. Out of the ashes and all. Ned snaps. He breaks his beer bottle against a house by a pier and fires into a rant about how Sean is afraid to lead. Comments that force Sean’s knife blade towards his brother’s face. Ned has a choice. Help without consequence or die. A Beyonce joke later, and it would seem all three are on the same page again.

The sweep finds only one heat signature. Not very large. A decent sized camp ground is the early assumption. The sun begins to set before they reach the target. The target appears to be a genuine pro-American safe zone. A flag waving, men tossing a baseball around, nothing that resembles anything like the men from the sub. Then Chandler hears chatter in a foreign language by men carrying military weaponry. He believes they are speaking to the sub.

Bacon drops in on Dr. Scott to offer her some food. Chicken and mushroom in a scratch rue. He mentions that he prepared it for the President, a nice feather for one’s cap. Then goes into greater detail on the nuance of a good rue. I’m not culinary expert, but I have definitely ruined quite a few rues in my day. As he describes the difference between a good one and a horrible one, the scientific analogy in Dr. Scott’s head gets her wheels turning. Once again it seems that Bacon might be saving their bacon. They need a food source to bind the medicine to.

Tex mingles with the camp. Every person he encountered are American, friendly, and show no signs of being hostiles. The group seems to be departing the area soon. In the hopes of not standing out, Chandler divides the team again. Green, Wolf, and Tex take to the truck while the rest plan to go radio silent in civilian clothes and ride among the campers. Slattery is very much against this plan but Chandler removes his coms before Slattery’s objection can be noted.

Chandler sits down on the bus next to a woman of comparable age. She starts talking about those she’s lost. Chandler, not shedding much of his ‘commander of men’ persona, engages in the conversation which quickly renders important intel about the leader of the chosen ones.

Meanwhile the Nathan James is zeroing in on the communication inland. Despite not knowing what is being said, the signal is strong enough. The bridge is able to create a vector and the accuracy needed for success in this area seems very solid. Upon further analysis, the contact is not a sub. Whatever it is, is on land. They don’t know what is being said, and it’s not the sub. The least Slattery can do is disable whatever it is. One shot (of whatever it was) and the radio communication is dead.

Inside what appears to be a hotel ballroom, Chandler and Burk meet at the coffee stand in the cafeteria. The leader of the what can only be described a cult of the religious variety sounds very familiar to Chandler. He is as certain as he needs to be that this is the voice from Dr. Hunter’s video message. These are the guys they’re looking for. Moments later, Chandler stands at the back of the room staring at Sean who speaks from the podium. Chandler and Burk share a look as Declan adds the tally of their numbers. North of seven thousand.

It’s not until Chandler spots Ned, that all the pieces seem to come together. The men in charge of the sub at the very least are in this room. Sean speaks to the crowd like a preacher. He rallies their response and eventually transitions into turning to a new leader. An American leader. The man in question just so happened to at one point, be the twelfth in the line of Presidential succession. Sean’s assertion is that this man, Jeffrey Mitchner, is in fact their President. Despite this claim, Jeffery Mitchner does not exactly seemed thrilled at the idea. Something is off. Chandler observes the crowd, blissful in their optimism and hope for this new American order, lead by non-Americans. The expression on his face reads only disgust.

The Last Ship: Misdirection

Courtesy of TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Warning: Spoiler Alert

We begin tonight with Niels’ escorted onto the mysterious submarine. Dating back to the cold open of last week’s episode, the brothers in charge were really just the brothers that survived. This was the vessel that showed crew members dying off one by one. Except these two. The revelation being that it wasn’t due to luck, it was by design. They were chosen.

Slattery: Anything?
Chandler: Only one thing I hate more than seeing a submarine on sonar.
Slattery: What’s that?
Chandler: Not seeing one.

The brothers grill Niels about the ship (The Nathan James). They don’t seem to care much for the medical element of the ship, but instead, the military nature of the ship. Niels tries to articulate the type of man Chandler is. Even informs them that he defeated Ruscov, twice. Which this sub’s crew finds to be good news. Even suggesting that a destroyer such as the Nathan James is no match for a sub.

Slattery begins to interrogate their Spanish prisoner taken from the shootout on the Solace last week. The man is relatively forthcoming with what information he does have. There seems to be real fear and concern in his eyes. What happened on the Solace was not what this man signed up for. And joining the crew of the Nathan James would definitely be preferable to returning or dying.

Understaffed and using what Chandler refers to as the ‘second string’ manning sonar, they are less than optimistic of finding this sub. Just then one of the crew hears something. Its vague and far out there, but consistent. If it’s a sub, its small and prepared to not be detected. Around the same time as the Nathan James detects the sub, the sub detects the Nathan James. They’ve armed their torpedoes.

Chandler orders the bridge to make a slight course correction just to see if the sub is paying attention. Moments later, sonar picks up a similar course correction from the sub. They are most certainly paying attention. Foster’s primary concern is that based on what they think they know, the sub is already within torpedo range. The sub, having nothing of value to the Nathan James, opens up the strategic opportunity to strike first. First strike would reveal specific location though.

Ned and Declan argue over why pursue so cautiously. Ned believes Juan Carlos (the Spaniard) has not proven his loyalty. Older brother Declan believes it’s not a question of loyalty. The important detail is that Juan Carlos is a believer. The real question is, which version is the real Juan Carlos. Loyal believer or a good man put into a tough situation spilling whatever intel he has to Slattery. Or is he playing one side or both. Juan Carlos has made an official request. As a sailor he would prefer to not be handcuffed to a bunk below when whatever this is starts happening.

Slattery believes the sub’s motivation is to sink the Nathan James. Chandler describes a tactical scenario that would provide a few moments to navigate the Nathan James out of harm’s way. It’s a nice idea, but Slattery is in Foster’s camp of logic on this one. Bet on the Commander and fire first. Take their changes in a dog fight.

Chandler: Alert all hands. We’re going quiet too.

Jeter gets on the radio to relay the message to the crew. Going quiet. Not kill the engines and hope for the best quiet. But nothing moves, no sound kind of quiet. The maneuver works, the radar loses the Nathan James completely. Predictably Ned loses it in response to a missed opportunity to seek revenge for their fallen men. The sub changes its course to intercept the Nathan James around the far side of an island they aren’t headed for. Declan explains to Niels their plan to sink the Nathan James. With his man on-board, sinking the ship is the best decision. Their man will survive such an attack. Which is the goal. Securing Juan Carlos.

Slattery and Burk have escorted Juan Carlos on deck. He is still restrained and still compliant. Or so we think. They continue to play this game of ‘answers for water’. Eventually, he begins to violently throw up blood. Here comes the elephant in the room regarding being on deck. He has been holding his chest, throwing up blood and requested the deck because he carries with him a homing device of some sort. Going quiet means nothing if Juan Carlos is transmitting.

Inside the loading deck, Dr. Scott meets Slattery, Burk, our dying friend and a few of the medical staff. Slattery tells Dr. Scott they need her to open this man up. She is the only one resistant to the idea. Burk even suggests that if the man is not long for this earth, just tossing him overboard might be the easiest thing to do. Dr. Scott agrees to do the deed.

As the sub gets closer-maybe within 40 miles, the concern is that the beacon could have a range within 30 miles. Chandler orders the helo to get airborne. Chandler also orders the Nathan James to increase speed in almost random increments as they head north into open water.

The sub meanwhile, is experiencing a total breakdown in discipline until Declan yells out. They toss around options. At the risk of being detected, Declan decides to go with active sonar.

Instantly, Chandler jumps into action. Directing the crew for evasive maneuvers. Two fish in the water, now. Now we are engaged in an all out strategic fire fight. Multiple torpedoes from both vessels. The Nathan James is able to position itself to avoid the first three fish, but not by much.

The sub dives to avoid getting hit, but the Nathan James has heard nothing to indicate that it was hit or where it’s headed. They are so low that the sub is actually scraping the ocean floor, quite possibly doing significant damage. Meanwhile, Dr. Scott found the culprit of Juan Carlos’ bleeding. It was not a beacon or tracking device of any kind. It was a flash drive. I assume, the chaos from the assumption of a beacon might buy them time or force a mistake. Nonetheless, Granderson will try to retrieve the data.

While both vessels are safe for the moment, Niels does find something of some significant importance. The location of Dr. Hunter, Dr. Scott’s mentor. Find Dr. Hunter, find the locations of the labs and eventually find the Nathan James.

Granderson was able to decrypt the data on the flash drive. They are coordinates of all of the secure labs. Just as the crew is discovering the locations and deducing that Juan Carlos wanted to be on the deck to deliver the flash drive when the ship when down, is the same time radar identifies almost 20 missiles headed in a number of different directions. They’re firing on the labs. All of the labs.

With few options, Chandler decides to fire intercepts in the hopes of saving as many as possible. They were able to intercept 2. 2 of the 26 missiles fired from the Nathan James hit their desire target. Meaning 24 were wasted, fired when the target was already out of range.

Juan Carlos didn’t make it through post op, which raises more questions. Dr. Scott and XO Slattery are under the impression that perhaps the sub and its men already had the cure. Or at least the primordial strain, which wouldn’t make any sense. Dr. Scott figured it out quite quickly. There are more like Bertrice. Maybe as many as 1-5% of the world’s population could potentially be naturally immune. That’s how they took Europe. That’s why they don’t want anyone else to get the cure. They plan to cleanse the earth with the virus and stand behind the notion that they are the selected. The Chosen Ones.