Episode 9: Cinderalla Liberty
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.
Cinderalla Liberty is an episode that is two things: it is the first episode that truly advances the plot in a while and it's also one of the most tense hours this show has done. This makes it one of the best episodes that this series has had. It wasn't just exciting to see as the situation continually kept getting worse but that we were getting some answers and the plot was moving forward. What made this episode even stronger is that it dealt with the consequences of it's characters. The entire reason that there's a situation is because of the President's orders and the actions of the seal team. The only reason that the Pakistanis take the ship with the family is because of the speech given by Marcus Chaplin, that convinced some members of the Pakistani military that one man can make a difference. This is a situation that isn't generated for some random reason, as I first thought, but one that was an extension from the events of the pilot. This helped make the situation feel more natural rather than a cheap way to forestall the family visit for another episode. Cinderalla Liberty is simply an exciting and fun episode that worked really well.
This is an episode that revealed what the Seal team did in Pakistan. They were sent on a mission to get out a nuclear doctor from Pakistan. The doctor had findings that would prove that Pakistan's nuclear program isn't going to be used by terrorists or something. It's definite proof that Pakistan isn't intending to start a nuclear war with anyone. The mission changes about halfway through and Hooper plants evidence of finding a suitcase nuclear weapon and attacks the doctor. The administration wasn't happy that the doctor wasn't going to give them the casus belli they desired so they decided to create one of their own. The doctor had set out to create peace but he only ended up being a pawn to start a war. The flashback sequences that relayed this information basically confirmed what the series has been hinting at for the last eight episodes. This important background information may not have come as a big shock but at least it's nice to know the details of what actually happened. An important note is that the man who took the Americans hostage was a man who was present during this betrayal by the Americans. This was yet another consequence of the actions from the events of the pilot.
It's what was happening in the present day that really made this episode exciting. Having the Pakistanis take the ship hostage was one thing but having their demand be that the submarine uses it's nuclear weapon on India is another. This demand makes the situation that much more fragile because the second key has been missing for a few episodes. Even if Marcus wanted to fulfill it, he isn't capable. He tries his best to talk down the Pakistanis to stall them for the seal teams to take them out but this is a difficult task. That's largely because the person holding them hostage is crazy and he only cares about the mission objectives. So much so that he kills enough hostages to make the CIA spy put the key in Marcus' room when no-one is in there. Grace finds the key and she uses it on the bridge. This allows Marcus to play both the Pakistani and the United States. He tells the Pakistani that he'll use the nuclear weapon on his own hometown rather than India while he warns the United States that India better back down. India does back down from it's attack but the Pakistani is taken down by the seals before he can free the hostages. Hostages that included Christine, a random reporter, and Paul. Paul does end up dying, which is I believe the first significant death on Last Resort. Christine gets captured by the Seals which leads to Sam deciding he's going to leave the island to rescue her. This decision might not be completely logical but at least it makes sense. What doesn't make sense is that Marcus puts Grace in charge of the mole hunt while she's still a suspect. Especially when she's the one who found the key. The audience might know she's not the mole but Marcus doesn't know that. If she were the mole, it would be easy to predict that she would frame someone else.
Cinderalla Liberty does have some flaws in it's developments but it's largely a solid hour of television that is definite proof that American viewers should be watching this show. It's tense, it has a great cast, the plot is intelligent, and it's one of the stronger new shows of the season. That it struggled with viewers from the very beginning isn't a surprise as it had a weak timeslot it simply couldn't overcome. Cinderalla Liberty might not have been watched by a majority of Americans but it definably should have.