Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Just Finished Watching... The Last Ship Seasons 1 to 3

This show had been on my radar since it started three years ago -- most notably because it was starring Doctor McSteamy from Grey's Anatomy and Jayne from Firefly. But see, there are two things I cannot watch: apocalyptic movies/TV shows where people are dying en mass (because I can't help but think there's no way I would survive the apocalypse. I'd be like stunt extra number 3 who survives the initial attack only to be inadvertently beheaded by a random helicopter blade when the hero blows up a helicopter and I just happen to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time) and zombies. I draw the line at zombies. I tried watching Walking Dead. Really, I did, but when the zombies ate the horse in the first episode, I was done.

Anyhoo, I finally decided to ignore my worry over seeing people dying from a gruesome virus to watch The Last Ship, and woo-baby am I glad I did. And I'm also glad I waited this long so I was able to smash through all three seasons in a good (not-so) old fashioned binge-fest. Only problem now is, I'm like "June 2017 for season 4 is foooreeeeeever away!!! Can't even!!! *insert angry face emoji*"

Set predominately on the US Navy ship Nathan James (I think it was some kind of destroyer. Missile guided destroyer, does that sound right?!), you might assume it would limit the type and number of storylines the writers had to play with, but you would be wrong!

If I had to sum up the characters or show in a single term, it would be hardcore. No two ways about it, neither the characters or the story lines ever pull their punches, and there were times when my mouth literally dropped open, or I yelled "omg are you SERIOUS?" at my screen while I was watching.
From the same guy that produced the Transformers movies, Michael Bay, the action sequences, shit blowing up, gun fights, fist fights, and destruction on a mass scale was pretty much a given.

What really makes this show, is the fact that all this admittedly very cool action is balanced perfectly with some very, very well developed characters, played by actors who have great chemistry (and I don't mean romance chemistry, I mean all the actors clicked really well in different ways).

Despite the restraint and very military-reserved nature of Tom Chandler (played by Eric Dane aka McSteamy) and Mike Slattery (played by Adam Baldwin aka Jayne) they've earned a spot in my top favorite bromances of all time list. These are two guys who really are brothers in everything but blood and this is subtly proven over and over throughout the seasons, even though there's barely a man-hug to be seen.

Not to mention that Tom Chandler is a perfect example of hero material. He's put in this extreme situation where the whole world was dying, while him and his crew are sitting out in the Antarctic for months on end. Then, when the truth is revealed, though he has no clue if his wife or kids are alive, he has to step up to put duty and the fate of the world first, trusting in a woman, Doctor Rachel Scott, who betrayed him by lying about the true nature of their mission in the first place, believing that she can come up with a cure to save whoever is left when they eventually get home. Meanwhile, they've got other more hostile parties to fend off who will do anything to get their hands on the cure. Tom isn't perfect, he's flawed, he makes mistakes, he loses men, but he keeps going forward, keeps making the hard decisions.

Now, even though there's not much in the way of romance in this show (which doesn't detract from the overall makeup of the show at all), a lot of people were shipping Tom and the doctor, Rachel, very early on, even though Tom was still married.
I was never on board with it, because Tom was a very honorable man, and there was no way I could see him betraying his wife. However, I could see that gradually Tom and Rachel developed a respect for one another, which definitely had evovled into something more by the end of season 2. Unfortunately, they just weren't meant to be.

However, I do have to say, the one kiss they shared -- one that wasn't even a real kiss -- that was the moment when I was like "oh yeah, I am so on this ship!" I knew as soon as Rachel got her hands on him that something else was going on, and it turned out I was right -- Tom was being held captive and Rachel had to get him a VERY small note (on waterproof paper I assume???) with the details on how the crew planned on freeing him. But oh mamma, it was some kiss. Of course, I have to imagine that passing someone something by kissing would entail being very, shall we say, committed to the kiss. Never tried it myself, but I'm thinking a fair bit of tongue action... yep, just took this examination too far.

Into season three and Tom has a new love interest. I really like Sasha for Sasha. She's independent, smart, sassy, tough and can definitely hold her own. Everything you want in a heroine. But I feel like she's not quite right for Tom. I feel like their history is really the only reason they're interested in each other. They didn't work out once before for good reason, right? So I just think it's a little forced, or more love-interest-for-convenience-sake rather than something really solid that I could see going anywhere.

You know who I think Sacha should get together with? Mike. I have no idea why, they've barely said two words to each other for the entire season. But I just feel like THAT would be something interesting to see. Mike, I think, was separated from his wife (I could be wrong) plus while Tom (and most of the crew) eventually found out what happened to their families, Mike never did. He had initial contact to find his son had died, but his wife (ex-wife?) and daughter/s (can't remember if he had one or two) had gone to a safe zone. When he eventually got to that safe zone, it was deserted.

I'm actually hoping that in season 4, the writers remember they left this thread hanging and do something about it, even if it's to find that the rest of his family died as well (listen to me, I'm so sympathetic "I'll just kill this entire family because its convenient to the plot") In the meantime, if the writers of the Last Ship happen to read this GET MIKE AND SACHA TOGETHER. Man, it would be sooooo much more interesting.

The other personal element to the characters I loved was the relationship between Danny and Kara, two of Tom's crew on the Nathan James. From episode one, it was established that these two had a secret affair going on (which is a HUGE no-no. The old fraternization rule) but when it came out, Tom was very cool about it.

Yes, they had to be punished under Navy regs, but the way Tom went about it, there was no doubt he was giving his approval and accepting the relationship, even though he officially wasn't supposed to. Going through the seasons, it was almost like Tom became a kind of father-figure to the pair. He definitely had a soft spot for both of them, and looked out for their best interest when he could, as long as it didn't get in the way of duty or put the rest of the crew in danger.

And one last thing, this show has a plethora of interesting secondary characters. They're not just there to support the main heroes, but could stand all on their own. And they come with cool names like Tex and Wolf. But don't get too attached to anyone, because like most shows these days, the writers can and will kill off your favorite characters, leaving you reaching for the tissues.

So now that I've ripped my way through the 3 seasons of The Last Ship, I might go back and watch it again, because I'm sure there were things I missed the first time around, plus it's always interesting to re-watch something once you know where it's all headed, you see things a little differently. Or maybe that's just me.

I can't wait to see where the writers take season 4, since they pretty much destroyed Tom, and ended season 3 with him basically broken and quitting the Navy, the service, the country he'd dedicated his entire adult life to. Something will draw him back into the fight, and I'm dying to know exactly how they achieve that.
June 2017 can't come fast enough! 

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