Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last Resort

Last Resort
Episode 10: Blue Water
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!

Blue Water picks up soon after Sam's decision to go and rescue Christine. He heads over to the Philippines because that's where he and King figure she's being held hostage. The plan to rescue her all hinges on Sam trusting King's old war buddy that now has a family. This war buddy is able to set up a meeting with a local that has information on where a mercenary group is hiding Christine. Once Sam is able to get the information, King and Sam are able to easily rescue Christine. The rescue is so pathetically easy that it felt anti-climatic. There was even a mention to the American holding her hostage that doesn't play by the rules but he's not even in the rescue sequence. It felt like there was probably more planned by the writers that had to be cut short for time. Once she's rescued, she's temporarily reunited with Sam. The two have to separate because there's a bounty on Sam's head and Christine going to the island is out of the question for some unexplained reason. Anywhere she goes in the world, she's liable at getting recognized and getting kidnapped by some government. The island is practically the only place she can go without having to really fear that the United States is going to try and rendition her. The idea of her joining Sam is never really brought up. She's to be driven to the airport but this plan fails when her van blows up. It would have been bold to actually kill her but this series kept her alive. She's secretly been captured by King's war buddy. In case you're wondering how he pulled this off in the middle of the gunfight, there are bigger logical holes than that. For instance: how did King and Sam get to the Philippines? How did they get back to the island?

The plot might have been riddled with holes but it was the first episode where Sam and Christine are actually together in person. The love that the two share has been so powerful as to completely control the agency of the characters. Sam wants to go back home to his wife and she wants the truth of the situation to come out so that he can. They are reunited this episode and we largely get a scene where Sam reveals his desire to have a baby and that he wants to disappear into the world with her. He wants to leave the island behind him and just be with her. The only obstacle to their epic romance is that there's a bounty on his head. That significant five million bounty is sure to put him in danger anywhere he goes. Once again, he never ponders about bringing Christine back with him to the island. He ends the episode believing that she is dead. This leaves the series the opportunity to explore that chemistry he has with Sophie but also for him to change his motivation. He can't go home back to his wife now because she's gone. The question becomes how this will change what he wants to accomplish in the first place. The entire rescue Christine plot was filled with too many logical leaps in order to properly work but the emotional core makes it worth it and the consequence of losing her open up promising opportunities on where to take Sam.

While Sam is rescuing his wife, Marcus has to deal with increasing pressure from internal and external forces. The United States is keeping it's blockade and it's causing the food and medical supplies to run low. At this time, he gets two different offers that will allow him to address this critical issue. One of the offers comes from Julian. He's agree to allow the pirates bypassing the blockade to provide Marcus with the supplies he needs. All he wants is to make money off the situation. This largely just leads to tense scenes that largely cover the same beats the two have been going through. The second offer is more significant. It's coming from China. They will not only legitimize the actions of Marcus by providing him with supplies but they plan to be an actual partner in their goals. The Chinese claim that there are no strings attached but that's hard to take at face value. Marcus has to think about it but he accepts aid based on one condition: the Chinese will not step a foot into his submarine. This is because he desperately needs food and medical supplies.

Not only to survive but because the shortage has caused a problem with his people. They are getting arrested and being thrown into a prison. Since these prisoners get free supplies without having to work, it's upsetting the crew that is following the rules and tempting them to join them. This is a major issue that is becoming critical as the prisons are overflowing. It is only resolved when Marcus decides that he's going to close down the prison. He decides to flog two of the prisoners. The message is clear: break the rules and you will get punished. The prison situation has caused him to take a radical approach that uses old-fashioned techniques to keep the troops in line. Seeing Marcus being forced into this decision was a smart one as it allowed the viewers to realize just how bad things have been breaking down. All of this because the supplies are running low and because morale has hit an all-time low ever since the family visit day was canceled. That some of the crewmembers actually lost family members doesn't help.

Blue Water is an episode that quickly advances through the plot but it does so at the cost of some logic and the tension that other episodes have. The logical flaws could have been addressed by the series if it had been able to take a little more time developing the story. The anti-climatic action scenes also felt rushed as if the series was feeling the pressure of having to cover so much ground in so little time. Many episodes before this one had allowed the action scenes to build up and to properly utilize this tension but not this week. Blue Water might be an episode with important plot developments but it simply wasn't as good as the episode that weren't in such a hurry. Don't take this to mean that it was a bad episode: it was still a pretty great episode. It simply could have been better if it was slightly longer or if it had been able to better pace out events between different episodes.

Other Notes:

Kylie meets Hooper in Washington D.C. There are talks of a coup and Hooper trying to sell Kylie the video that exposes the truth. This all takes place within a couple of scenes but it's an important plot point.

The COB comes back this episode but he keeps what really happened to him a secret.

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