In this past week’s print version of TV Guide (Oct 15-21, 2012) Matt Rouch discussed the merits of Last Resort. The print review reiterated much of what he said in his online “New Season Review” for Thursday nights, but this time he urged viewers to give the show a chance.
Since the pilot, I’d watched the second and third episodes in mostly fast-forward mode. In fact, “Eight Bells” (episode #3) was so extremely upsetting, I didn’t bother to watch “Voluntold” (#4) until very late Saturday (actually early Sunday).
I was pleasantly surprised. This episode gave Andre Braugher another chance to shine as Captain Chaplin reasoned with a grenade-wielding petty officer, explaining why he made the (seemingly mutinous) choices he did.
What I enjoy most about Last Resort is its depiction of leadership; not just Chaplin as commanding officer, but throughout the ranks. Chaplin decides to give crew members the opportunity to go home (since this isn’t what they signed up for). Executive officer (XO) Sam Kendal talks to the senior enlisted female on the boat, asking her to convince the other women to stay. When she suggests that he wants to use this ploy to get more men to stay as well, he doesn’t deny it, but instead gives her a sort of verbal wink.
A lot of viewers think that Lieutenant Grace Shepard, played by Daisy Betts, is useless, but she intrigues me. She shows great courage and loyalty, although she admits to her admiral father (the wonderful Bruce Davidson) that she’s scared. When someone points a gun at Chaplin, Grace not only first spots it, but moves to cover him as shots whiz overhead. How can you not admire that?
Even Kendal’s wife, one of my least favorite characters, impressed me this week. After her whine of the week, this time about having no money or savings because the Navy stopped her husband’s pay (at which point I hollered “Get a fuckin’ job!”), she angrily confronts the television crews outside, shouting that she was unlawfully detained (episode #2) and that the government is lying—all of which seems to surprise the reporters. She turns to the cameras and says “I want the truth, and so should you.” Like I said, impressive.
Elsewhere, Kylie Sinclair, the young defense contractor who had her prototype plans stolen by her boyfriend (at her father’s bequest!) seems confused and dejected. When the video of Catherine Kendal (the XO’s wife) airs, she perks up, realizing that something is not right and possibly finding an ally.
I’m actually looking forward to next week’s episode. I just hope the show follows through with some of the more interesting threads.