Last Resort “Captain” Review

Last Resort (ABC) Captain Episode 1 (4)

Wow. I thought this show would be good, but I honestly wasn’t expecting the pilot to be that good!

One of the fall’s most buzzed about new series debuted tonight with Last Resort, and our pilot episode titled “Captain”. This has been the series that I’ve been most excited about for quite a while, and who wouldn’t be excited about this? You’ve got creator Shawn Ryan (The Shield, Terriers), director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, Goldeneye), and a great cast with Andre Braugher, Scott Speedman and Robert Patrick to name a few. How do you go wrong?

That isn’t to say our first episode was perfect, as there’s actually quite a few concerns to raise, the first of which being is that our first installment does feel a bit busy. Even though the episode does a great job introducing our main characters, and to a lesser extent the minor characters, there is a lot of people on this crew, not to mention everybody on the mainland. It’s tough not to feel a little too overwhelmed seeing all of these new faces so quickly. Basically all I got on episode one was that Andre Braugher is captain Marcus Chaplin and that he’s just as awesome as always, Scott Speedman plays his second in command Sam Kendal with a wife back home he wants to get back to, and Daisy Betts plays newly minted Lieutenant Grace Shepard with a big chip on her shoulder. Everybody else I will for now recognize as “Navy Seal guy”, “beatboxing guy”, “Guy from Arizona” or “Guy who played the gay guy on Glee“. I assume some of these are just red shirts that will die soon, or that we’ll learn more about them in the coming season, but it does feel a little too crowded.

My only other complaint of the episode is that the whole thing seemed to move a little too quickly. After only eight minutes into the hour, we were already seeing the crew receive their orders to fire nuclear bombs on Pakistan. I realize that this is mostly due to this being the pilot episode and needing to establish what type of show this will be, and I definitely think having a two hour pilot would have helped, but I still did feel a bit rushed. I hope this show does well enough for ABC that it gets picked up for the full 22 episodes!

Even though there wasn’t a lot of time to set it up, this show does ramp up its excitement pretty darn quick. When captain Chaplin refuses orders to fire on Pakistan, this causes another US vessel to fire their missiles at them! Obviously, the crew does not take too kindly to this, so they quickly set up shop as a nuclear power on an unnamed tropical island. While this may be simplifying things quite a bit, the whole episode is shot with such conviction and skill from veteran director Martin Campbell. Campbell directed one of the best recent James Bond movies with Casino Royale, so it’s obvious the man knows his stuff when it comes to action. Even though there’s no car chases or gun fights, even the dialogue was shot with excitement and had me on the edge of my seat. I know that Campbell won’t direct the rest of the episodes, but as long as they maintain this tone then this is going to be one fun show to watch.

There’s lots of other sub-plots set up here that I’m sure will be developed as the season goes on. There’s a war lord on the new island that’s none too pleased about a US submarine showing up, a few Navy Seals that seem to think that they’re responsible for the ship being fired on, and a government conspiracy in Washington that seems to have planned this whole thing. I’m really hoping this off-brand show does well on ABC, and that we get to at least see a full 22 episode season of this great series. Here’s to hoping that the ratings were good tonight, and if they weren’t, tell your friends to watch! This show is going to be something special, I just know it!

Random Thoughts:

– Why did Marcus and Sam speak into the headpiece when the whole room could hear the voice on speakerphone?

– I know that they film Last Resort on the same beach where they filmed LOST, and man did it bring back a lot of good memories. I still miss that show.

– I was impressed that Max Adler from Glee was going to be on such a different show, but I guess that’s no longer a concern. Bummer.