What They Say:
A More Perfect Union – The Nathan James puts a call out to civilians to meet at ports across the country where they will receive the cure; small immune factions remain active in their quest to fight the cure.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The second season of The Last Ship draws to a close here after some pretty good action the last time around that supposedly brings things to an end for Sean and his group. Though they’ve been a nemesis of the Nathan James for the season as a whole there’s this sense that things aren’t final – even though it certainly looked like it with the way the submarine sank the last time around. With a few strong episodes behind it recently, the final episode offers up a chance for some closure and a good sense of hope to work with before going into the third season. Though the series still feels awkward more often than not with its execution and how it handles the big picture elements, I’m still mostly enjoying the show.
With the Nathan James making its way up the Mississippi River, they’re working a decent plan of stopping at several ports along the way where they’ll hit up a lot of contact with the non-immunes and spread the cure to them. It’s not the easiest thing to do overall but with the way it spreads there’s some good potential to push back a good deal. It won’t solve everything but if they reach critical mass in spreading it across the event here it’ll cause a good chain reaction that will cause it to go pretty wide. While this is the big part of the mission to be sure there’s also the other big aspect of getting some repairs done on the ship while also dealing with the potential of what forces are aligned against them from those among the Immunes. And with Kevin MacDowell still out there and the things that he’s put into motion, well, you know they’re seeding for a long term fight to be had against an insurgency of sorts.
While that’s in motion, we’re seeing that things aren’t going quite as well as had hoped for Rachel with what she needs as MacDowell had managed to warn away enough people for some time. When they hit the first stop and there’s barely over a hundred people it’s not going to reach the critical mass they need. But it’s interesting to see how it plays out because you have to wonder how many survived. They do with the easier route of people being scared because of what the master chief did in warning away his own family, but the idea that there are so many people left that just didn’t show up feels uneasy. It’s far easier to believe that there’re few people left. What does happen though is that since people do show up they are able to start waging more of a PR game at this point, which is just as important in getting the word out beyond the cure itself. Chandler’s views on it are pretty smart overall in looking at the big picture, but they’re all going to have to struggle with a lot of wariness and distrust.
Tex, who we learn his name is Ken, has a nice little subplot here as he gets off the ship for awhile to go after his daughter who is in the area. That has him heading to the first place to find them but has discovered that she’s moved on to try and connect up with the Nathan James from the broadcasts in Memphis. Unfortunately for him, he learns his ex didn’t survive and that gets him a bit more intent on heading after her. But what works in his favor is that as he makes his progress he ends up coming across a survivor of an attack that reveals what the Immunes are up to in trying to throw everything into chaos. With clues about what MacDowell is up to, he heads off there at the same time that we get Chandler and his team figuring it all out as well, which makes for a pretty good coming together of events – even if it is all kind of easy overall. Which is also what you can say about how easy Tex finds his daughter Kathleen as well. But again, the show has limited resources and time to do what it needs to so it ends up getting a kind of superficial layer to things.
Where things become interesting is when it all plays out in at Memphis college as MacDowell is there with his very simple way of bringing his plan to fruition by seeding distrust of the Navy. It works to some degree but with Tex and others having arrived there first and they manage to do some decent damage to the fringe elements of what MacDowell has put into play. Though the show can’t do the scale it wants, it does it as best as it can to make it an important moment. The important moment that grows out of this is seeing how after the events play out, we get Michener trying to get MacDowell to accept defeat in this and to tell his side to stand down. MacDowell is not someone you can trust in the slightest, though, no matter what, and you can see how even if he takes the deal that he’ll find a way to be a thorn in their side in the years to come. It’s through people like him that the real trouble comes over the life of a nation.
What we do give in the hope department comes from the St. Louis segment of the episode as the ship sails in and discovers a whole lot of people there, enough to bring it to critical mass. There are some good, small, character moments such as with the master chief and his family and with Tex and his daughter as they catch up to the ship. It’s definitely interesting to see him introduce his daughter to Rachel as that still feels like the better relationship for her if they go that angle. We also get the formal swearing in of Michener as the President, with what seems to be at least one Supreme Court justice in the area, though they don’t actually say that. The montage sequence of the cure being spread is pretty good to see as well, since it has some heartwarming moments and even a few silly moments that will make folks smile.
The look forward also comes here with some potentially interesting aspects as Michener is set to promote Chandler to the chief of naval operations. Bringing us some idea of what’s going on with the northeast dealing with warlords of different factions in cities and problems in the southwest with resources being claimed by others. A nod towards South America is also welcome as Michener makes it clear that they have a whole lot to deal with in the future. I like the prospect of world re-building that they can do here, giving us a break with the ship in drydock for a few months, but I’m wary of how well a show like this can do. We also get some fun in resolving the situation with Rachel and her murder charges, but being the savior of the species and with close connections to the President certainly helps. I really don’t care for the sexual tension that they try and force between her and Chandler though because it just doesn’t work for me in the slightest.
The Last Ship does end on a mostly positive note with a lot of things going on with the crew and the celebration that’s going on with a job well done while acknowledging all the work ahead of them. Of course, it has to give us a proper cliffhanger but unless that character isn’t coming back then you know it’s going to get fixed, much like Rachel’s pardon. The episode provides for a good finale for the season as it works a model of dealing with the closure needed to bring the chapter itself here to a good conclusion while allowing the cast of characters and some of their subplots to get dealt with to varying degrees while also potentially adding some new wrinkles to what’s to come. I’m definitely curious to see how they’re going to adapt to a spreading cure because even dealing with factional issues out there is going to be different from the race to save humanity overall. The property is one that works far better in the written form simply because of budgetary constraints but it largely manages to do a lot of things right with what it has. I’ll be on board for another season easily enough.