SEASON 4 PREMIERE REVIEW

Our favourite show is back and not a moment too soon! After a hellish, almost year long hiatus, we finally all got out hands on THE LAST SHIP Season 4 premiere. Here’s our review of episode #401 ‘In Medias Res’ and #402 ‘The Pillars Of Hercules’.

He who controls the cure, controls the world


THE LAST SHIP SEASON 4 PREMIERE REVIEW

WARNING! If you’ve not seen the season 4 premiere, then there be SPOILERS ahead! 

‘In Medias Res’ – Translated from latin as, ‘In the Middle [of] Things’

It’s 16 months since the events of season 3’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ took place. Capt. Tom Chandler (Eric Dane) walked away from his ship, the Navy, and all his friends, disappearing without so much as a postcard since, and it’s not the best time for the man who saved the world to be missing. The virus has mutated again, jumping back to where it reputedly came from, now attacking plant life. With crops infected and failing worldwide, the remnants of humanity face a slow ugly death from starvation, unless a new cure can be found. The key to that cure, it seems, is in the DNA of an ancient palm seed, but those seeds have been stolen from the Global Seed Vault by unknown rogue elements, and now it’s a race to find them.

Once again, the Nathan James and her crew have to step up to an almost impossible task, with food supplies dwindling, and tensions rising. Without the resources to sustain a fleet, the Nathan James is on her own, once more the last ship standing between humanity and extinction. Capt. Mike Slattery (Adam Baldwin) leads the crew, with new faces and old back on board, heading toward the Mediterranean Sea, hot on the trail of the seeds. They stop for a resupply at Naval Base Rota, Spain, where tragedy strikes when terrorists attack led by the mysterious and vicious Omar, an attack which critically injures Lt. Cmdr Cameron Burk (LaMonica Garrett), and kills other crew members. Their target is Mahmoud, an informant picked up by Vulture Team, whose information could have proved vital.

Meanwhile, somewhere in a small Greek coastal village, Chandler has made a home away from home, enjoying anonymity. He’s a fisherman now, eking out a simple living with his kids, but trouble isn’t far away. Despite insisting he’s done playing the hero, it’s at the core of who Chandler is, and Tom isn’t the kind of man to see injustice and do nothing. Giorgio (Jackson Rathbone), the local gangster type, lords it over the area, tithing locals for their daily catch and food supplies. When Tom’s friend Alex (guest star Anthony Skordi) defies Giorgio by stealing his supplies back, the gangster’s henchmen murder him. The unjust death awakens something in Chandler, leaving him determined to seek both justice and revenge.

GALLERY

Photo Credit: TNT / Ali Goldstein

Hot on the trail of the missing seeds, the Nathan James is heading into the Mediterranean through the narrow Strait of Gibraltar, passing the fabled ‘Pillars of Hercules’ between the Rock of Gibraltar and Morocco. It’s the only way into the Med from the Atlantic, something the Nathan James’ enemies counted on, as a trap lays in wait.

The crew are still reeling from the attack at the base, and the loss of close crewmates: Carlton Burk (Jocko Sims) in particular is hit hard by the close call for his older brother Cameron. Lt. Cmdr Kara Foster Green (Marissa Neitling) is now back on the ship in place of the injured Burk brother, taking up his duties. When the ship hits an I.E.D, it’s engines shut down, leaving it a sitting duck when a surprise missile attack barely misses it’s target. There are enemies embedded in caves in old strategic war time tunnels in the Rock of Gibraltar, looking to land a hit and sink the James. Vulture Team is dispatched to take them out, while the crew work feverishly together to restart the engines and restore power to weapons systems. It’s a race for survival, as more missiles rain down on the James, and Vulture Team faces fierce resistance, almost losing yet another beloved crew member.

Back in Greece, Chandler is propositioned by Giorgio to join his fighting ring in exchange for the chance to feed his family. The gangster is using an old Roman trick, ‘bread and circuses’, to keep the locals placated by offering them food, bloody entertainment, and encouraging the use of a drug made from infected wheat named ‘Nostos’. Chandler agrees, and is taken to another island on which sits Giorgio’s palatial mansion. There’s more than meets the eye going on here, as Chandler quickly realises. Giorgio answers to higher powers, and his gladiatorial entertainments seem to have more than one purpose. Tom is playing a deadly game, but he’s a man of courage and conviction, and is determined to discover the truth.

Aptly fitting its title, ‘In Medias Res’ jumps straight into the middle of things, moving at high speed. We’re barely a few minutes into the episode before gunfire erupts into an intense action sequence. There’s no lengthy introduction of the new storyline, location, or characters. We are literally dropped right into the thick of it with details unfolding throughout the first hour. That’s probably ‘In Medias Res’ greatest strength, skipping any lengthy and potentially slow set up in favour of what this show does best, intense, high stakes action.

We’ve got new faces on board the Nathan James, Jodie Turner-Smith’s ‘Azima’ and Jonathan Howard’s ‘Fletcher’, both slipping easily into their new roles with little fanfare. And there’s romance in the air with Fletcher already in a relationship with Sasha Cooper (Bridget Regan), who stayed with the James after Chandler chose to leave, despite the signs of old flames being reignited between the pair. Flirting, especially between Azima and Bren Foster’s Wolfman, means some seriously cheesy dialogue that will raise an eyebrow or maybe a cringe, but it’s all in good fun.

Things seem to be meaner, grittier and darker this year, as mankind once again faces annihilation, and the darker parts of human nature come to the fore. We’re finally getting to see the real dirty face of the virus’ impact, with famine hot on the plague’s heels. Resources are dwindling, survivors are fighting over what’s left, and powerful, ruthless men look to create their own kingdoms. Expect things to get darker as times get more desperate.

‘The Pillars of Hercules’ picks up the pace, and the action, with some great explosive moments, and what we as fans absolutely love about this show, seeing our heroes not only kick bad guy ass, but work together to solve problems. Emerson Brooks’ ‘Capt. Joe Meylan’ is now a permanent member of the Nathan James crew as the new XO, and he’s the perfect fit with his own special set of skills. Meylan leads the engineering efforts to restore the James’ engines, in a fantastic, tension ramping scene, hopping back and forth between the ship, Vulture Team’s fight to stop the missile attack, and Chandler’s bloody gladiatorial debut.

Photo Credit: TNT / Doug Hyun

And Eric Dane finally gets to flex some serious action hero muscle, sans shirt… and yes, it’s as sexy as it sounds! Chandler has shed his restrained naval captain skin, finally showing a spark of his old, happier self, and when trouble finds him, a darker, angrier, less restrained version. Tom’s learned some hard lessons in the months spent in self imposed exile, and there’s no doubt more ahead.

GALLERY

Photo Credit: TNT / Doug Hyun

What is Giorgio up to? When Chandler reaches the mansion, he’s asked to give blood, seemingly for a medical assessment pre-fight. When Lucia (Giorgio’s sister, played by Sibylla Deen) later complains she’s had enough of the fighting, Giorgio tells her it’s ‘all in the name of science’.

And just who, is Giorgio’s boss?

Another mysterious figure is Omar; why does he want the seeds? We know he is one bad dude, not afraid of using children as suicide bombers, but we don’t know who he is or what’s driving him. To sell to the highest bidder, or does he have more Admiral Ruskov leaning ‘world domination’ plans?

Sadly, informant Mahmoud suffered a rather grisly fate, interrogated then skinned by Omar during the attack on the base. Pretty extreme, but not without purpose. The crew managed to find and decipher one small tattoo, but the extensiveness of his injuries suggest the tattoo was far larger. What was in the tattoos that was so important, that Omar took the time to remove them?

DEFINITION: An Easter egg is an intentional inside joke, a hidden message, or a secret feature of an interactive work.

FISHING BOAT ID

If you paid close attention to the start of ‘In Medias Res’, when we first catch up with Chandler he’s working on a small fishing boat with Alex. On the side of the boat you’ll see its ID tag, ΛΣ 401, which are Greek letters, and those letters translate to LS 401. The episode is The Last Ship episode number 401, so in this case it’s a cool little inside gag from those movie magic wizards in the art department!

GLOBAL SEED VAULT

This isn’t an easter egg per se, as it’s revealed in the episode that the ancient palm seeds were stolen from the Global Seed Vault. However, if you’re a follower of Executive Producer Mr Steven Kane’s twitter, you’ll know that all the way back in May this year, he dropped an article linked to the seed vault.

So it seems Mr Kane has been dropping a little bread crumb or two here and there for season 4’s storyline. Time to go read up, check out Mr Kane’s twitter and see if you can spot more.

MONOGRAMMED TOWEL

If there’s one way to spot an easter egg (or a product placement), it’s the unusual emphasis on something seemingly inconsequential, using odd framing, or deliberate brandishing. In season 3 we got things like the cure bottle (which was crucial to the major revelation that the cure did not work), and the strange signal discovered by Val. This monogrammed towel, which was handed to Lucia by Chandler, definitely caught our eye during ‘The Pillars of Hercules’. Monograms usually relate to a name, or sometimes to a company or brand. We have a few theories as to what ‘V’ relates to, but what do you think it is? Tweet us at @LastShipTV and let us know!

SCARAB BEETLE NECKLACE

Another element in ‘The Pillars of Hercules’, that had deliberate camera time, several times in the episode. Both Giorgio and Lucia, who are brother and sister, wear them. We also know that Giorgio’s is a key to a secured room. So are they simply a familial seal, or more? Scarabs are famous as an Egyptian symbol of rebirth and regeneration. That’s definitely an interesting little breadcrumb to nibble on!

Kudos to Adam Baldwin for a really well played, subtly emotional scene. Slattery loses, ‘yet another dear friend’ and his raw reaction shows the scars of last season’s events are still healing. Gone is the axe wielding tough guy who shot first and asked questions later. In his place is a new, more mature leader, tempered by the fire of his experiences. Baldwin really nails the feels in this scene.

And an honourable mention goes to ‘In Medias Res’ guest star Anthony Skordi, whose rich, deep voice is the perfect device to tell Chandler, he ‘can not run from his destiny’. It lends a sense of the epic to the moment that’s goosebumps good and builds on this season’s mythological theme inspired by Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’.

COMING SOON!


  


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