Episode 12: The Pointy End of the Spear
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.
When this show was over, I couldn't help but ask myself one simple question: how are they going to possibly end this so I feel some sense of closure? The narrative momentum is currently off the charts, there are hundreds of pieces moving, and it simply feels like it's impossible to properly close this series out in one episode. It's true that next week's series finale wasn't meant to be one. If all had gone according to plan, the show would have been a big enough hit to get at least nine more episodes. The ratings weren't there and the network canceled the show. The creator of the show claims that he was given enough time to retool the finale so that it has a satisfactory finish but I have doubts. It's possible that the finale is going to be amazing and wrap the plot up beautifully. I have no idea what to expect but I do know this. It is a pity that this show must come to an end because it's the best new drama that premiered back in the fall. It might not have been perfect and it stumbled a bit at times but it was always a thrill ride with smart characters. This episode wasn't an exception as the loyalty of the characters were tested, everybody was lying, and nobody trusted anybody. The Pointy of the Spear is an episode that built up the narrative and then ended in a shocking cliff-hanger that complicates things further.
The show might be building up to the finale but it did wrap up some plots this week. The first has to do with the coup. The last episode had introduced that there were people in high places who were hoping to replace the current administration with the Speaker of the House. This was an exciting idea but it ended as quickly as it was set up. The coup fails as is evident when the Speaker commits suicide on live television after talking about conspiracies. Most of the people involved in the coup have been named, their reputation forever soiled as being traitors to the nation. The sole exception being Kylie as her father managed to keep her name out of the list. He appears to forgive her for being involved in the coup and offers her the chance to run his company. This is before he steps into Air Force One to meet with the President. The coup might have not been remotely successful but it at least helped to carry the momentum through the episode. The idea that it might be successful, but with always the risk that it will fail, helped to add to the tension created by the mutiny plot. I had no idea if the coup was going to succeed or not but it made sense why it failed. There would be no narrative left for the finale if the conflict between Marcus and the American government ended. What's even better writing is that when it clearly failed, it made the situation more complicated for Marcus and Sam. Sam knew that if the coup was a success then the mutiny could be ended as they were going for. The coup's failure was the last hope to prevent a struggle among the crew. With it's failure, the stage is now set for the mutiny. It can now happen. That's right: the show manages to increase the tension and excitement by merely closing a plot.
If only I could say the same for the Tani and King plot. Tani decides that she's going to leave the island because it's no longer safe for her brother. King is happy to go with her until he realizes that he's still needed by the crew. He decides that he'll break up with her by being a terrible human being. It makes sense but the scenes with Tani and King almost dragged the show to a halt. I could care less about the two of them as a couple and I'm not sure why they were paired up to the episode in the first place. I'm guessing it was a misguided attempt to win over females by forcing the romance between them. I'm hoping that Tani leaving the island this episode means she won't show up to the finale now that she literally doesn't offer anything to the show. Seriously, her entire role was practically defined by her relationship with King.
That might have been dull but at least it didn't almost put me to sleep than whenever Serrat was on the screen. All he basically does this episode is give Sophie a red dress and dance with her while bragging to Sam about how she's his. While I don't feel like Sophie and Sam are a boring couple like Tani and King, I'm not caring if they get together at this point. I want to see what happens with the mutiny, not Serrat lording over his hold over Sophie. It might be different if we weren't heading towards the end, but this plot simply felt completely unnecessary. This might be yet another plot that exists in the hope of reaching female viewers but I don't think it accomplished that goal. I'm not sure females would appreciate having the strong woman on this show be forced to essentially have to be with Serrat for survival. It honestly doesn't hit any of the right marks and was a major distraction when things were heating up. It's obvious the show is pushing Sam and Sophie together so that they could express their love right before finding out that Christine is alive but that doesn't make it any more entertaining. It's simply a predictable plot that kept the episode from being completely fantastic.
Don't get me wrong: this episode was pretty amazing. The episode built up the mutiny pretty well especially as each character's loyalties remained within question. It was the characters trying to determine which side they should pick and whether to trust them that allowed the show to really elevate the drama. While Grace firing the two flares at the end might have seemed predictable, the show did create the very real chance that she might have picked Sam's side. In fact, she truly might have since she was forced to shoot the second flare under gunpoint by the rapist engineer. It was the mutiny and the coup that had me wondering what's going to happen next and that built up to the next episode. If the writers had just those two items and left the personal drama behind then it would have been the most solid episode this show has done. Overall I'm left wondering what's going to happen next and if the writers are really going to be able to actually provide closure-or whether there's going to be too many plot threads and action to properly close the series at this point.