The Last Ship Season 1 Review “Dead Reckoning”

The Last Ship

After two straight episodes of near non-stop action, “The Last Ship” took a break for slightly more subtle waters in “Dead Reckoning.” Picking up where last week left off, the ship found themselves cornered by the Russians, who had most of the potential escape routes covered as their captain, Ruskov, demanded that they turn over Dr. Scott and the primordial sample or they would blow the ship out of the water.

Actually, though most of the crew onboard was Russian, later Ruskov admitted that he had no real affiliation with anyone anymore, having gone rogue from Russian command some time ago. We also discovered it was he who fired against the French, in part to keep our team right where he wanted them.

In other words, they had been following the ship for some time, and, as we know from the previous episode, they had a spy of sorts onboard the ship as well- albeit, more so of the coerced variety, as Rusko had kidnapped Doctor Tophet’s wife and daughter. It was also hinted at that Rusko and the wife might be having an affair of sorts, or at the very least, were engaging in some sort of cooperative scenario whereby the wife did right by him and he did right by her and, one imagines, her daughter.

Whatever the case, they were having drinks together, and she seems to have been the one that Chandler talked to when the ship thought they were British instead of Russian. Does that mean that the Doctor is lying about being coerced, or that the wife was in on it and he didn’t know? Hard to say, but maybe you readers caught something I missed to that end. Either way, we do know that Rusko has his own, slightly nuts scientist onboard. (Another question to my readers: why did he blow on the mouse at the end? Does he have some strain of the virus already? Inquiring minds want to know!)

The main set-piece of the episode was, of course, the big plan to sidestep the Russians and maintain keeping the sample and Dr. Scott onboard. Though I essentially saw it coming, it was still a tense, gripping moment when the decoy Dr. Scott, aka Lt. Foster, and Lt. Green rode towards the Russian ship and jumped off at the last minute to detonate a bomb into the side of their ship. I don’t know if you saw it, but there was a bird flying by that almost became flambéed when the explosion nearly took it out for reals. Michael Bay better watch out for the hate mail he’s gonna get from PETA!

The moment that the ship turned off all its radar and sonar and went through that shallow canal was also pretty intense and gave the episode its nifty title, “Dead Reckoning.” Not sure about that business with the tin foil, but I’ll take their word for that working, unless someone out there knows any different. (A friend who’s former military watching it with me said it was unlikely but barely plausible, for whatever’s that’s worth.)

Unfortunately, though the mission went through without a hitch, the Russians aren’t about to give up that easily, either, so we certainly haven’t seen the last of them, I should think. Besides, what else have they got to do? Might as well chase after the only potential cure out there, right? First one, first served, as they say.

This was another reasonably entertaining episode, with some riveting action moments that were much more low-key than previous episodes, but still fairly effective. Yes, the Russian captain is a bit overtly stereotypically evil, i.e. him killing his own man for effect; and yes, that business with Foster and Green was a bit melodramatic and cheesy- ditto the moment when the Captain questioned Dr. Tophet.

But say what you will about all that, “The Last Ship” is eminently watchable if you like this sort of thing, in a sort of check-your-brain-at-the-door sort of way. It’s kind of similar to the way people binge watch stuff like “CSI” or “Law & Order”- or more appropriately, “NCIS” or “Jag.” You might ask yourself: why did I just spend that time watching that? But it’s like slipping into a well-worn bathrobe or a pair of slippers you just can’t help but wear over & over again, even though you know you should be getting new ones. Old habits die hard, as it were.

What did you think about “The Last Ship” this week? Did you prefer the more low-key approach, or do you wish they’d stuck to the “Team America”-style of the first two episodes? Could you do without the lame romantic subplots? Or the cartoonish Putin knock-off, Rusko? Do you believe Dr. Tophet’s story about his family? Or is it his wife that’s lying to him and in cahoots with the Russians? Sound off below and I’ll see you next week!