The Last Ship was somewhat of a surprise last year, after all, it had just about everything going against it. It had Michael Bay involved, at least on paper, so explosions and shallow characters and minimal plot were to be expected, and most politically-driven shows have left a lot to be desired in my opinion, but it actually turned out to be one of the better shows last year and I was really happy when I heard that it was getting a second season. Did it continue the high standards that it achieved last year? Or did we find out that lightning can only strike once? Let’s see.
After they found the cure at the end of the first season, you’d think everything else would be gravy, but instead, they’re faced with a quasi-religious cult which believes that only the small percentage of naturally immune people ought to survive and to that end, goes to war against the Nathan James to ensure the cure never sees the light of day. This cult, led by Irish Sean Ramsey, has a stolen nuclear submarine which means to sink The Last Ship.
Unfortunately, it started out the season feeling like there was no more adventure. The cure had been found. There was no more danger from the virus. No, we don’t know where it came from but it’s not a threat and within the first couple of episodes, they were mass producing the stuff and shipping it off across the country on jets. So what’s left? Then we found out, there’s a crazy religious cult out there dedicated to only saving people who are naturally immune to the virus, wanting everyone else to die because they aren’t “blessed”.
Yeah… there are problems with that. Not only am I sick of quasi-religious crazies and weird cults, they fell into the same old tired routine that I am tremendously sick of, they made them essentially unbeatable. They’ve got a submarine that conveniently cannot be found whenever the plot calls for it. This cult is so incredibly huge that they have thousands of operatives in the U.S. that can swarm at a moment’s notice and wipe out all vaccine production everywhere! Plus, they ripped off Hunt for Red October all season long and while I love that movie, this didn’t do it anywhere near as well. Yet for such a massive operation, once the Ramseys were killed and their second in command was captured, they pretty much vanished, which makes no sense.
The other issue that I really had here, we’re supposed to sympathize that the Nathan James is the only naval vessel out there and it’s so hard for them to operate when everyone is against them, but there have to be hundreds of naval vessels out there, probably just lined up in the various shipyards along the east coast, why don’t they go get more of them? They ought to be recruiting as many people as they can, sticking them on ships, and using them as a mobile flotilla. They seem to run into a lot of former military people, it can’t be that hard! But of course, if they did that, which makes sense, then it couldn’t be a lone ship against the world. I hate stupid plot points.
Then we get to the season finale and it was nice. Really nice. Completely happy, everything goes right, the crew of the Nathan James are heroes, they’re going to start rebuilding the country, etc. I was pretty sure they knew they were getting cancelled and wanted a big happy wrap-up, even though I thought I had heard they got picked up again. That was right up until the last minute of the episode where Doctor Scott gets shot in a hotel hallway. I checked and yes, they were renewed for season three, but I really don’t know where they can go without completely changing the show. The plague is cured, the nation is rebuilding, most people are happy (Tex and Chandler might be the two exceptions once they find out Scott is shot), what more can they do? This is getting to be less of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi epic and more of a political thriller and that’s really not why I started watching it.
I hate to seem overly critical, but they spent way too much time this season dealing with the impossibly large cult, falling into all of the painfully obvious plot holes, things breaking down at exactly the right time, etc. By the time they finally blew up the sub, I was sick to death of the whole thing. Hopefully next season, they don’t fall into the same pattern. I’ll give it a chance, just to see how they handle things.