Sunday, September 16, 2018

REVIEW: TNT's 'The Last Ship' - 'Casus Belli' & 'Fog of War'

TNT's The Last Ship - September 2018 Reviews

5.01 "Casus Belli"
5.02 "Fog of War"

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. As such, this post will offer some paragraph reviews of each individual episode that a show airs in a given month. It may not get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my reviews of the episodes that aired in September 2018 for TNT's The Last Ship.

501. "Casus Belli"
Written by Steven Kane and directed by Paul Holahan

The fourth season of The Last Ship really didn't work for me. It felt like a return to basics even though the show had already outgrown that version of itself. It was once again returning to the roots of the plague potentially wiping out the global population. It was no longer a show exploring what it means to come back from near extinction like was set up in Season 3. Well now, the fifth season begins with a major time jump and the idea that civilization is finally rebuilding itself. As such, it's a very engaging and nuanced start for the final year. There is already the sense that there is going to be a strong feeling of finality throughout the story as well. There are already two major deaths in this premiere. It all starts with Chandler retired and teaching during a time of peace. He is educating the next class of Navy graduates. That shows that the world is once again moving on with Chandler maintaining a leadership position. Of course, he also feels like a relic in this world because no one revers him as much as they once did. The Nathan James has essentially been turned into a museum as well. That all changes over the course of this premiere. Fleet Week in Florida is under attack by the Colombians. The governments of South and Central America are experiencing a ton of civil unrest. Some in the population believe they need to stand united in order to step up on the global stage. That's a huge change of pace because they haven't been the countries of importance over the course of the series so far. And now, new leaders have risen that aim to be taken seriously. This new government wants to be on the forefront of the geopolitical landscape. The new president just decides to go about it by being incredible destructive. He is able to stage it all so perfectly as well. The United States government is completely susceptible to an all-systems electronic hack. That means they are defenseless when the fighter jets start dropping bombs. It's such a brutal landscape to open the new season. It means that no matter how many things change the Nathan James is still the pinnacle of the fleet. It is the only ship left standing and operational after the destruction. And yet, it's also interesting that Slattery and Kara are going off in command while Chandler is staying behind to assess the situation. That's in addition to Sasha, Wolf, Danny and Azima forging ahead to Colombia in order to gather more intelligence after their covers are blown in Panama. It sets the stakes high for the final season. And the show once again has me very intrigued. B+

502. "Fog of War"
Written by Jill Blankenship and directed by Jann Turner

This hour isn't as intense or plot driven as the premiere was. As such, it feels a little bit more lackluster even though there is still a ton of action that happens. Right now, the show is still divided into three main locations. The naval command is the least interesting because if follows the same formula of people underestimating the Nathan James. Over the course of the series, the show has always said that the Nathan James is indestructible and can defeat any foe. Even though it's only one ship, it somehow always prevails. These fears are genuine to have amongst the fellow officers. And yet, there is never any real concern that Chandler will have to think of a strategy that doesn't include his ship somehow. Of course, it's also just a lot more fun actually seeing Slattery and Kara onboard making the decisions of how to survive in treacherous waters. They have to be very smart and crafty in order to trick the world around them that they are more capable than they actually are. The systems are still down. The United States has still been destroyed by this cyber attack. And yet, the ship is still able to emerge victorious in battle. Plus, Moby Dick is now becoming a significant plot point with Slattery using it as the key to deliver his message. And finally, there are the four soldiers wandering around the South American jungle. They found refuge with some fellow resistance fighters. However, the show is already becoming a little too murky in saying that every leader in this region is prone to violence in order to get his followers in line. As such, it's a little more difficult to feel the stakes of the place because both sides are willing to embrace the same tactics. Of course, the story should also be making the audience worried about Danny. His friend, Pedro, was an easy one-off character to kill right now. That shows how dangerous the situation is. But more importantly, it hints that things will be even more dangerous for Danny and Kara this season because they are already pushing their luck with the kinds of missions they embark on. It may signal their deaths. Or it may just lead to the heartwarming moment where they reunite and celebrate that they have both survived this horrifying ordeal. B-