Sunday, November 18, 2012

Last Resort

Last Resort
Episode 7: Nuke it Out
By: Carlos Uribe

Last Resort is a show about a nuclear submarine that defies the United States governments after elements of the military decided to destroy Pakistan.

Spoilers Ahoy!

Nuke it Out is an episode where the plot really thickens. The previous episode was largely a character piece that revealed nothing new about Sam or Marcus despite concentrating on them. This episode is less about character and more about moving the plot forward at a surprising speed. This created a busy episode that was a bit overstuffed. The good news is that the scenes of the one boring plot were over quickly and the show managed to move to the much more interesting stories. This epiosde was an exhilirating ride that, while it didn't have the same kind of tension as previous, managed to keep me engaged from beginning to end. That this episode had so much happening in one episode without it all completely falling apart is a sign that this show could have headed somewhere great. It won't because of circumstances outside it's control. Nuke it Out was an episode that also did take some moments to breathe and those moments were pretty fantastic. Let's begin with the worst story of them all, the one that bored me from the beginning simply because it didn't really seem to have enough stakes until the very end.

That story is the COB's story. The episode has Marcus and Sam searching the belongings of the crew to try and find the missing key. The COB manages to find some drugs that one of his men tried to hide. This leads the COB on a journey to try and stop the drug dealers from selling to the navy. It's very difficult to care about this story until the very end. That's because the stakes of the story are relatively low. On a high-stakes show like Last Resort, the action of each plot must feel to be just as significant as any other action. Stopping the crew from getting high on their off-time might be an important job for the COB but it doesn't feel significant in the overall narrative. It does create some more conflict with Serrat but the main plot already did that enough that this sub-plot wasn't needed for it. That was until the ending when Serrat kidnaps the COB. Serrat deduces that the reason that the COB was trying to shut down the drug trade was because the COB is a recovered addict. The Seratt finds the drug of the COB's choice. It's a pain-killer. Serrat proceeds to burn the soles of the COB's feet before giving him the pain medication and leaving him alone. That scene by itself was pretty intense and suddenly it made the journey in retrospect feel more significant. That doesn't excuse that during the journey, it felt like the series was just wasting time. The destination was worth getting through it but it looks like the series will now have an arc where the COB battles his addiction. There's nothing wrong with this but it feels like a plot that other shows could easily tackle.

There is also another story that I didn't like but for a different reason. This story didn't really have a journey. Shepard and King have spent the few scenes they've been in gaining the respect of the other. This episode was largely not any different: King goes to Shephard to find out the truth only to discover that she's being lied to. He tells her as much that there's a fifth man after she had been told there were only four by the captain himself. Shepard and King haven't really spent enough time together for me to even think that the show was pushing them together as a couple. The scenes they have shared are too short and have led me to believe that the series was simply heading towards making friends. So it's quite a surprise when the two sleep together at the beach. This got me completely off guard. It's usually pretty obvious when a show wants two characters to sleep together because it wants the audience to want it to happen or not happen. The two of them having sex was simply so sudden that it's surprising for a show that has manage to balance so many balls to completely drop one when it came to this plot. I don't regard this as a dull plot because I didn't even realize there was one until they slept together. There is now a love triangle surrrounding King. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be there for a while or if this is the episode that firmly established it.

Nuke it Out handled everything else pretty well. Chaplin's investigation of the key is forming tension amongst the crew but Sam is able to keep them happy with a football game and beer. There's nothing like watching your team crush it's rivals to lift spirits. The football game is ruined when one of their own shows up with a bomb strapped across her chest. The bomb was forced on her by one of Serrat's men. King and Grace able to difuse the bomb. Chaplin isn't happy that Serrat not only helped someone drug them but this bomb situation really does frustrate him. He shoots the person that Serrat claims strapped the bomb on the girl and Chaplin gives him another warning. Serrat decides that the best way to ensure peace is to kidnap the COB and brand him with fire. That's basically his declaration of war on Marcus. The whole executing the bomb guy might be what creates a rift between Sam and Marcus. That is compounded when the guy they captured that had drugged him reveals that he's part of the CIA and he wants to put Sam in charge. The CIA actually thinks that the resistance is good because the current President is crazy. They simply don't think that Marcus is a good leader because they think he's crazy as well. He's hoping to convince Sam to go against Marcus. Of course, the CIA guy is more than likely lying to try and secure his freedom. He does tell Sam that the mole they have probably has a secret com station to communicate with the agency. If they find the com station, they'll presumably find the mole. Whose the mole? The one person the episode kept trying to convince the viewers that she was loyal. That person is Cortez.

Nuke it Out is a pretty busy epsiode. It's so busy that there's more that happened that's not in this review that is just as significant as what was happening on the island. This did mean we got a fast-paced episode that was pretty great to watch even as it stumbled in some points. This just makes it a bigger pity that the show is cancelled. Last Resort will apparently be given the opportunity to air it's remaining six episodes and I'll review each one that actually does make it. This is definably a show that deserved a timeslot it could actually compete in. Nothing the network has put on that timeslot since Ugly Betty (2008) has worked. It should come as no surprise then that Last Resort didn't break that trend even if it was the first to truly deserve to.

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