The Last Ship Season 1 Review “El Toro”

The Last Ship Episode 5 El Toro

In the latest episode of “The Last Ship,” the ship stopped off by an island in Nicaragua for what was supposed to be a quick pick-up for the monkeys Dr. Scott needed to run her tests on her potential cure for the virus. Alas, nothing is ever easy for this particular crew, so the visit resulted in some decidedly unexpected ramifications, in “El Toro.”

Nope, it was not the “Island of the Apes”- we never even saw a monkey, much less Caesar and company- although the team did eventually secure some. What we did see was some infected islanders there was no helping, much to the team’s heartbreak; plus, a group of uninfected living under the brutal regime of the titular “El Toro” (Jóse Zúñiga, currently of “Taxi Brooklyn”), a former drug dealer-turned-ruthless dictator that made most of the people work as slaves, while terrorizing the underage-looking daughters of “Mayor” Delgado (Alex Fernandez, currently of “Devious Maids”). Ick.

I certainly don’t blame the team for wanting to help these people, even after managing to secure what they needed and being offered safe passage if they just left and went about their business. Thankfully, honor ruled the day and they went back and saved one of the daughters, just as “El Toro” was about to do God knows what to her. Fortunately, he never got the chance to do anything else, as Delgado stabbed him to death in retaliation for everything. Can’t say I blame him, given the circumstances.

I must say, I like the way the show has figured out unique ways to keep the action coming and in interesting, unpredictable ways. When I first signed on to review this, I had my qualms, mostly because of the Michael Bay connection (though I don’t mind the stuff he produces half as much as most of the stuff he directs), and the seemingly-limited premise. But the show has found diverse ways to keep the action coming, and isn’t above occasionally going subtle instead of over-the-top, despite a lot of typically fetish-ized explosions and longing glances at artillery and the like early on- a Bay trademark.

While I’m not sure how long they can sustain a seemingly-limited premise like this, I have to admit, I’ve never been bored by it, which is more than I can say for its companion show, “Falling Skies,” at least as of late. I like most of the cast, for the most part, and Tex (John Pyper-Ferguson) and Dr. Scott (Rhona Mitra) in particular have some amusingly prickly chemistry. And what self-respecting action fan doesn’t like Adam “Firefly” Baldwin?

Yes, the show sometimes strains creditability, at least according to those in the know, but I can overlook all that because the show is reasonably entertaining enough to do so. That’s kind of what you want in a solid summer show, right? Not too heavy, but not completely ridiculous, either. At least that’s what I go for, anyway.

This was a solid enough episode. I like the construction of the dictator’s village, and how he had made the best of limited means by making his home seem more palatial than it actually was to the best of his- or at least his slaves- abilities. The whole notion of an island divided also brought back some fond memories of “Lost,” which I still miss to this day. Granted, “The Last Ship” is no “Lost,” but neither is it trying to be. This show is pure escapism, plain and simple, and I have no problem with that whatsoever.

What did you think of “The Last Ship” this week? Did you enjoy the team gone native? What did you make of the island’s Incan-inspired caste system? Would you take a big pass on a dinner of monkey surprise? Do you have 2% body fat? (Rhona Mitra just might…damn!) Sound off below and I’ll see you at our next port of destination next week!