Sunday, October 7, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Last Ship' - Chandler and His Crew Contemplate What Peace Actually Means in 'Warriors'

TNT's The Last Ship - Episode 5.05 "Warriors"

After months of fighting, the crew of Nathan James must embark on a dangerous mission to secure important intel that could decide the fate of the 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. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of TNT's The Last Ship.

"Warriors" was written by Jill Blankenship & Onalee Huner Hughes and directed by Peter Weller

What does it mean to be in a time of peace for these characters? That is the central question on display throughout this hour. Sure, the world is at war right now. It's a conflict that has been fought for several months as well. The start of this hour features a time jump. It's strange because it means that there is no emotional reunion amongst the characters. This season has split its focus on several locations so far. With everyone coming together, there is no moment of Kara and Danny rejoicing that the other is still alive or Sasha being surprised to see Chandler back in action. Instead, it's just understood that those moments happened. The United States has recovered from the cyber attack now that they knew the virus came from Alisha's girlfriend. But they are still in this dragged out conflict with Tavo and South America. He still wishes to spread his influence throughout the world. He is coming across more and more as a dictator who is paranoid about any potential threat to his reign. That's why there are still resistance movements fighting against him in every country that he conquers. That's an effort that the United States understands and is trying to mobilize. But again, the moments of action are easy for the heroes in this story. This is the fifth season after all. The show has done these moments before and will inevitably do so again. It's a big moment of action when a small group of soldiers is trapped inside a makeshift shelter that only has a lot of rum in it. They have to fight their way out in order to get to the extraction point. This is an action sequence the show has done many times before. It's very slick and efficient. Everyone walks away and with the intel they came to retrieve even though the source is killed in action. But it's also clear that this season is choosing to reflect on what the conflict of the entire series means for the characters. Are they just forever at war? Does it ultimately matter who the enemy is? Or are they just always at conflict with themselves because they have been deemed special and need to always live up to that title? Years have gone by with these infamous legacies being attached to the characters. They have helped rebuild the world. It's special when they show up at a fundraising event. However, this episode articulates that it's stressful for veterans because the world around them so rarely understands what they went through in service of their country. They are still willing to do it. Every main character is still willing to suit up and protect the United States against its enemies. But that also carries a cost to it. It means that Chandler is always distant from his children. Sure, it's been a long time since Chandler's son and daughter were important characters. Grace bringing up her dead mother now shows just how lackluster they have been for a long time. The show just hasn't cared about them. But now, the show hints at inner turmoil within Chandler. He always goes running into the action because he always gets the job done. It could be signaling a tragic end for his character. But the same could also be said for Danny and Kara because they no longer seem on the same page with parenting. Danny would rather go off on another covert mission than care for his son. But he is still there in the end. That stands apart from Chandler as well. But it also shows the growing difficulties of being a parent over time as well. Danny's son is still young enough to look at him with only hope and heroism in his eyes. Chandler's kids know better than that.