Sunday, November 4, 2018

REVIEW: 'The Last Ship' - The Nathan James Heads to Its Final Battleground with Colombia in 'Courage'

TNT's The Last Ship - Episode 5.09 "Courage"

The crew of Nathan James begin preparations for what may be their most ambitious mission to date.

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.

"Courage" was written by Mark Malone & Katie Swain and directed by Peter Weller

The characters of The Last Ship have faced incredible odds over the course of its series run. As such, it was always expected that there would be a high casualty count in this final season. The show had to balance what would be emotionally devastating versus who deserved a happy ending. Tension was seemingly placed between Danny and Kara for the sole purpose of the audience wanting them to end up as a happy family unit once the war was over. Of course, there have been plenty red herrings about the characters likely to die as well. Danny proclaims this to be his last mission for the navy. After the invasion of Colombia is done, he is returning home for good. Him just saying that was a death sentence though. And yet, so was Burk recording a message to Miller saying that he expects him to still be in shape when he gets back home. That's now something that won't occur because Burk dies from the peace before the battle. This hour is primarily about the United States gathering information about the landing site they have chosen to mount this invasion. Their original plan is no longer viable. As such, it's more strategic to look at eliminating Tavo for good to put an end to this war. It's still insanely tense watching as the ships have to covertly sneak through the perimeter without being noticed. There are a couple of really close moments. A team then lands on the beach to determine if this is a location that the United States can easily mount this assault. It's basically what they expected in that it won't be easy but it's feasible. Burk just won't be along for the conclusion of the war because he is killed here. He was just noting how peaceful it was as well. That too is a predominate quality of this hour. It's the calm before the storm. There are some close-quarters fights but that's it when it comes to actual action in this hour. The rest of the time is spent on the idea that this could be the final battle of this war. After this, Chandler can go back to teaching and the world can continue to move forward and make progress following all of this chaos and destruction. Of course, that may not be something that Chandler even wants anymore. Sasha is just now starting to realize that he is struggling with PTSD. He is haunted by everything that has happened to him in order to save the world countless times. As such, it would be expected if all of this was building to Chandler's death as well. Even that seems foreshadowed here. Chandler is able to talk eloquently about the officer who gave the Nathan James its namesake. That continues the parallels between this war and World War II. Those comparisons are also proudly on display here. But Chandler delivers this speech with the understanding that heroes get great ships named after them. As such, he may be thinking that this is his last battle. The one that will lead to his permanent retirement. That's a dangerous headspace for him to be in because he potentially has his crew freaking out over nothing. Sure, there is a ship in the vicinity. But it's not a rebuilt destroyer that he took out in the previous episode. There is nothing to be heard out there. And so, he may be losing his mind just as much as Tavo is. A showdown between the two of them seems inevitable. Now, the show just has to follow through on all of these moments of action to ensure that the series finale gives a final sense of closure to this world. Plus, it really should throw in a couple of surprises as well.