3 Big Questions…
That lead to more questions.
Last Week’s (and earlier) Questions Answered
How did Tavo get the layout of HQ? HQ is supposed to be Cape Canaveral! I think we’re to assume the cat is long out of the bag on the facility’s layout.
Battleship destructive capability or origin? We stayed focused on HQ this week and not much more than that. No answers.
Danny coming home? Danny pulled relatively safe duty this week, making the plan to re-take HQ using only 2 guys.
Tavo’s beef with the US? REALLY looks a lot more like his beef is with Tom Chandler more than the US as a whole. He’s acting obsessive now. Is this more of the behind-the-scenes influence of his tarot card-reading wife? Or did Chandler somehow slight Tavo at Disneyworld?
This Week’s Questions
Who’s running the United States military now?
In the wake of the attack, we’ve lost both Kincaid, the general in charge of the army, and Meylan, the admiral in charge of the Navy. General DuFine, the marine general, came through the battle in heroic fashion, but with three stars on her collar, she also holds the lowest rank of all the various leaders. The president, despite Chandler’s attempt to spin the story for the press, still cried for his life on Tavo’s pirated TV broadcast. Since crying on TV doesn’t breach anything in the constitutional definition of the presidency, he’s still in charge. I’d imagine his actual ability to command the military has weakened dramatically though.
That leaves Chandler and Slattery. Chandler’s made it clear he and the James will save the world one more time, acting alone if necessary. Does that leave Slattery as the highest ranking person left to run the actual war itself? I think it does.
Can the crew of the James win this thing alone in two more episodes?
Why not? This season has shown us some pretty unbelievable stuff so far, so why the heck -won’t- the James be able to both beat the battleship and smoke Tavo all in episodes 9 and 10? I mean, just last night, Admiral Chandler should have been blown up or sucked underwater or just killed generally thanks to his too-close delivery of a torpedo, so why can’t the James go it alone again?
Does that mean I think it’s realistic or even good TV? Not really, no. Slattery has been all but sidelined this season, so I’d like to see him in the fight with another ship at his command. The Cubans Chandler helped out a couple episodes ago owe us a favor and should be part of the ground attack – which would give Danny a chance to do what he does best. And then there’s the battleship. From what I’ve read, if the James come to the fight all loaded up, with working computers, it should be able to kill the battleship from like 100 miles away with the 90+ missiles she can carry. Since that would suck as far as action TV goes, I’m sure they’re going to have to fight from within the range of the bigger ship’s guns. That would cast some real doubt on the James’ survival and be exciting, if somewhat unreal.
I hope they turn the next couple episodes into an all-or-nothing fight that gives all of the characters we’ve known over the 5 seasons a chance to shine. Shine with extreme prejudice.
How do I feel about way this season has turned out so far?
This is a big question. I’ve liked the show since its premiere. I liked the “one ship versus the end of the world” premise and I liked the realistic-enough portrayal of the Navy. Seasons 1 and 2 fit together so well, with cliffhangers, action in which you were never sure who was safe, and a big, bad plague to battle. Season 3 started and without a plague to fight anymore, the importance of the “ship” aspect of The Last Ship diminished quite a bit. That season, it felt like the writers had to go out of their way to find ways to make the crew of the James important to the story. Most fans of the show I’ve encountered love TLS because they love the Navy or the post-apocalyptic setting. None of us tuned in to see how the politics of rebuilding a world would work. Season 4 gave us a lesser form of the plague mixed in with Chandler’s departure from the Navy. The 4th season marked an improvement from Season 3, as it once again featured the James duking it out with Greek naval vessels and a race against time to solve the mystery of the “red-rust”. So, if you’re keeping score my favorites listed from most to least going into season 5 were 1, 2, 4, and then 3.
Now we have season 5. They’ve given us another plague. Kind of. It kills computers. Kind of. They all seem to be functioning again everywhere, last I checked. Since Tavo’s forward-thinking helper thought killing the original hacker was a solid choice, I doubt he can crank up another cyber virus in the next two episodes. That’s a long way to say that, yes, we had a virus this season AND it WAS devastating. But, we sorted it out in almost no time. As a Youtuber I like to watch says when addressing plot-holes, “Super easy, barely an inconvenience.” So, not as much season-spanning tension as the plague that killed almost everyone.
Who Sunk My Battleship?
If you’ve read this series of articles before, you know I’ve put a lot of thought into the battleship. At first, I thought it was a cool way to get around the idea of needing to attack at sea in an analog world. Then they made sure I knew it was an Iowa class and made it sort of a ghost ship, able to slip in and out of radar and perception at will. I’ve done some looking. This whole prospect, while exciting for casual viewers, is preposterous. So many holes.
The characters have never given a name to the ship. There are only four Iowas. If one was missing, they’d know. The number of people left alive following the plague capable of restarting and stealing a battleship, all in the name of a South American faux-government would have to be zero, right? The number of people capable of doing that now would be minuscule, so it’s not very credible for it to take place following the plague.
Does it have to be an Iowa? Well, kind of yes. The radar said it was. Also, only the last two Iowas to be decommissioned, the Wisconsin and the Iowa have been kept in the kind of condition that -might- be modernized and used in an emergency. The Iowa sits off the coast of Los Angeles, making her kind of tough to get to the Gulf of Mexico. The other ship, the Wisconsin, is in Norfolk! Any one of our heroes would know if she was missing. (I’ve stated some of this before, but I’m trying to make a point for first-time readers as well.) Wrap up all of that and you squeeze out a -really- unbelievable plot element for this season.
Our Cast of Heroes
Then there’s what’s been done to the characters. Chandler may have PTSD, but not in any way that appears to impact his performance. Slattery has been largely kept off the board. Sasha has become Wonder Woman. Danny and Kara have probably split up. Meylan, Granderson, Garnett, and Doc Rios have all been killed this season. Tex is still dead. Miller had his feet blown off. I understand the idea of raising the stakes for the characters that remain, but it feels like too much. More over-the-top than the rest of the show has been to this point. I totally get that we’re supposed to be watching a war play out, and in war people get hurt and killed. These deaths, especially Granderson, Garnett, and Rios, all felt more like tricks TV writers use to say, “we’re really serious you guys,” rather than natural plot developments.
Maybe I’m just being picky.
I guess to answer my own burning question, I AM entertained, but I have had to turn my brain off a little more than previous seasons. And it bugs me.
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