LAST RESORT 1.10 ‘Blue Water’

Episode Title: "Blue Water"

Writers: Eileen Myers & Julie Siege

Director: Billy Gierhart

Previously on "Last Resort":

Episode 1.09: "Cinderella Liberty"

If “Last Resort” had been the breakout hit that ABC had hoped for, it’s possible that "Blue Water" could have been a game changing episode as it set up at least three major changes to the status quo. And by the end of the episode, there was a new flag flying over the island that’s certain to cause problems in the remaining three episodes.

Full spoilers lie ahead for “Blue Water.” Don’t read this review if you’re not up to date with “Last Resort” or else Robert Mitchell will cockblock an attempt to sell classified information at Starbucks. 

After last week’s somewhat implausible debacle with the families of the Colorado being held hostage on the ill-fated ship to Sainte Marina, Christine Kendal (Jessy Schram) was kidnapped by U.S. forces just before she could reunite with her husband, Lt. Commander Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman). So while his wife is illegally detained, Kendal gets off the island with James King (Daniel Lissing) for a rescue mission in the Philippines. 

One of the more interesting aspects of “Last Resort’s” short life has been the budding partnership between Kendal and King. They’re almost like the network TV version of Scott and Stonebridge from Cinemax’s “Strike Back.” King is finally off of the island and he could have easily gone on the run during or before the mission to save Christine. Instead, King stays with Kendal all the way through the ultimately unsuccessful mission and he goes back to the island with Kendal at the end.

Surprisingly, Christine’s rescue from the U.S. forces was over pretty quickly halfway through the episode. And there were some good scenes between Speedman and Schram as they finally got to play off each other outside of hallucinations or flashbacks. Even if Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) hadn’t given Kendal his tacit permission not to return, Kendal still seemed set upon disappearing with wife.

However, Kendal learned that there’s a substantial bounty on his head and his presence in the Philippines had already attracted the attention of some very deadly mercenaries. When Kendal changed his mind about running away with Christine to protect her, it felt a little forced as a way to separate them yet again. But things got even more contrived with the “apparent” death of Christine, followed by the reveal that Christine survived the shootout and she is currently a prisoner of King’s old friend, Wes "Bullfrog" Porter (Jason Beghe).  

This latest development felt like it was designed to open up a romance between Kendal and Sophie Girard (Camille De Pazzis) once he gets back on the island. Even if there weren’t only three episodes left in the series, that doesn’t seem like enough time to get Kendal through the grieving process before moving on to another relationship. I realize that “Last Resort” is an ABC show, so some soap opera elements are to be expected. But this is the least believable part of a show about a rogue nuclear submarine and a possible coup in the United States.

Back on the island, Chaplin gets a visit from Mr. Zheng (Chin Han), a representative of the Chinese government who comes armed with an offer of aid and recognition from the world’s fastest growing superpower. You may remember Han from his turn as Mr. Lau in The Dark Knight. Zheng makes a compelling case to Chaplin to accept China’s offer and align with them even in name only.

The offer makes so much sense that Chaplin summons Lt. Grace Shepard (Daisy Betts) for her feedback and he appears to hope that she’ll talk him out of the deal. Although Grace is vocal about her opposition to accepting the proposed deal with China, she doesn’t articulate it in a way that will sway Chaplin. He seems to realize that she isn’t Kendal and she doesn’t have his ear the way that Kendal does. Left unsaid is that Chaplin probably still suspects Grace of being the traitor to the ship.

The inevitability of the China deal frightens the local despot, Julian Serrat (Sahr Ngaujah) into believing that he’ll be even less relevant and powerful than he is now. So, Serrat approaches Chaplin as a “friend” and makes an offer of his own. Serrat will do anything to seal the deal, including offering to break the blockade for supplies, general support and he even promises to start buttoning up his shirts. (I may have exaggerated that last part of the offer)

On another show, I get the impression that Chaplin would have heroically turned down the Chinese offer in favor of embracing his Patriotism and hanging onto his ideals. Even now, Chaplin gives a stirring speech to his men about what they are doing on the island and he forcibly points out that they are fighting for their survival and for their nation. This should go without saying, but Andre Braugher was fantastic in that scene and in the rest of the episode. It would be nice if Braugher can finally land a TV series that large audiences will embrace. But “Last Resort” is not that show.

Faced with low supplies and a crew near its breaking point, Chaplin takes the deal with China and he even allows Zheng to remain on the island and plant his flag in the soil. It’s a pretty big change that isn’t likely to go over well with the crew or the island’s inhabitants. Although Zheng appears to be reasonable enough, it would be surprising if China didn’t try to get more out of the deal than they originally agreed to. Chaplin strictly forbids Zheng from coming on board the Colorado… but who wants to bet that we won’t see that happen sometime in the next three episodes?

After two weeks off of the show, Robert Patrick is finally back as Joseph Prosser aka The COB.  And while Patrick’s return to the series is very welcome, the COB tries to sidestep the fact that he was kidnapped and tortured by Serrat before being forcibly re-addicted to heroin. It’s probably an issue of pride for the COB even though it’s the 17th or more final straw that should have ended Serrat’s life on this island. That’s what was so ludicrous about the earlier scene in which Serrat tried again to form an alliance with Chaplin. There’s simply been too much blood spilled by Serrat since the crew of the Colorado arrived on the island. He’s a threat that needs to be dealt with.

Back to the COB, only Grace gets an indication that he’s not himself when he collapses in a sweaty heap. The COB feels compelled to share some of what happened to him to Grace despite clearly not liking her.

The COB also gets a chance to externalize his desire to punish himself when Petty Officer Kevin Hawkes (Michael King) comes out of the wild to mourn his sister, who was one of the three hostages killed on the boat last week. The personal reaction of the crew beyond horror was a moment missing from last week’s episode. But it’s addressed well here and Chaplin shares his condolences with Hawkes before throwing him in the island’s prison for deserting Grace during a firefight.

An overcrowded prison and an attack on the Chinese diplomats finally causes Chaplin to lose his patience and release his prisoners from the makeshift brig to put them back to work. However, Hawkes and Petty Officer Josh Brannan (Will Rothaar) are both lashed as punishment for their shortcomings and the COB volunteers to do the lashing himself. Noticeably absent from the scene is the confessed rapist, Anders (Michael Mosley); who was last seen running into the jungle to escape justice from the crew and the island’s natives. With the brig emptied, Anders is now the only living member of the Colorado’s crew who is unaccounted for.

Back in Washington, Kylie Sinclair (Autumn Reeser) is approached by King’s Seal buddy, Barry Hopper (David Rees Snell) about selling the video that implicates himself and the Secretary of Defense, William Curry (Jay Karnes) for planting nuclear evidence in Pakistan to justify the nuclear strike. However, Kylie’s reaction to Hopper’s initial break-in was a little over-the-top and almost comical for what should have been a tense scene.

Having Hopper teamed up with Kylie may temper some of the weaknesses of her story. It’s also impressive that Hopper seems to legitimately want to share the money from Kylie with King instead of taking it all from himself. Inexplicably, Kylie and Hopper meet in a coffee shop to make the exchange before Kylie’s weasel-like ex-boyfriend, Robert Mitchell (Darri Ingolfsson) shows up to warn them that they’ve been monitored by forces that are planning to execute a coup in America. While most of Kylie’s dialogue tends to fall flat, it was amusing that she kept telling Hopper to kill Robert; which Hopper almost took seriously. 

Despite some occasional shortcomings and creative lapses, “Blue Water” was still a really entertaining episode. I’m going to miss “Last Resort” when it’s gone for good.