“The Last Ship” presents “Resistance”, the penultimate episode of season 3. Tom Chandler is on his way back to the United States along with the crew of the USS Nathan James. After vanquishing Peng on a mission that was not sanctioned by his government, he’s become public enemy #1. UPDATE/RECAP posted below.
“Tom Chandler was a traitor. It’s a new day, son” says a four-star Army General to a young officer in the episode trailer posted below. That’s the story told by Chief of Staff to the President, Allison Shaw during her public address that ended last week’s episode of “The Last Ship”. It’s a cover story for the coup that disbanded the U.S. military and suspended the federal government, sent President Oliver into hiding and created independent regions that both govern and defend themselves.
Chandler and Slattery said goodbye to Takehaya and his family, after the former pirate ended the life of China’s president, knowing two things were true. The attempt at genocide is over, and without blood transfusions he and his wife will die. They chose to do so on their home soil, knowing that their baby will be cared for by grateful citizens of Japan.
Oliver was rescued from Shaw and her security team by Kara Green, Jacob Barnes, who gave his life in the effort, Tex and his badass teen daughter Kathleen. Oliver represents the only remaining link to the legitimate government of the United States, so we know that at some point, Chandler will pledge his allegiance. Kara Green and Tom Chandler have been out of communication and while she is unaware of what he and the James crew were able to accomplish in Asia, Chandler knows about the coup and the fact that he is now being hunted.
What does he hope to accomplish by coming home? Perhaps a better question is whether he has any other choice. With the revelation that Shaw and her compatriots were behind the alliance with Peng that attempted to kill Tom and the mission to bring the cure to Asia, where can he hide? His family is back home as are the good guys, represented by Kara, Tex and the people they convince to join them in resisting the new order of things. It’s going to be one bumpy ride.
Here’s a quick rundown of how the story shifted once again after a masterful bit of subterfuge on the part of the USS Nathan James allowed the crew to land in the U.S. and begin the reversal of the current political system.
Allison Shaw and the regional managers took control of the country’s weapons systems and locked in missiles to strike and destroy the James as it approached its landing point. While they hadn’t found Oliver and his small band of patriots who took him from St. Louis, the threat of Chandler was bigger and it had to end, no matter the cost in lives of those on the ship. It was the one thing the group agreed on.
The big public lie about how the regions were faring without the Michener rationing stood in stark contrast to the truth on the ground. People were being starved and relocated when necessary to keep their loyalty to the four regional managers. Hunger will do that to people who were put in train cars and shipped to where they would be fed.
The regional managers fought over territory that wasn’t being attended to and Allison Shaw made the decision about how it would be handled, at least for the time being. Threats of withholding oil and other resources were quelled by Shaw, who wanted to maintain her centralized power base. Castillo was given the right to additional land, and it was he that was in charge in the southwest, where the James was expected to be eliminated.
While there were no branches left of the U.S. military, those still in uniform mostly remained, taking orders from their regional managers, whether or not it seemed like the right thing to do. They, like many in the country, craved some kind of order and routine, and hoped that there was a way out of the mess that existed. It didn’t matter what brand of the service you belonged to, when someone was put in charge you saluted. That’s how four-star Army Gen’l Bradley came to be the man in charge in the southwest, appointed by Castillo. He fell in line about Shaw’s lies regarding Tom Chandler, because of threats against him and his family.
Tex, Kara, Pres. Oliver and Kathleen drove across country, through Las Vegas to get west enough to meet up with the James. Along the way they scavenged a/k/a stole supplies like gasoline and food to keep them going, but food was more difficult to find. Pres. Oliver surprised people by his mere presence and he began to convince them that they shouldn’t believe the lies told about him. Kara had not gotten any update about the James returning home since they she fled St. Louis, it was presumed the ship would arrive at some point. It’s where it was told to dock and meet General Bradley.
Along the way they met people who gave them the lay of the land. Food was being withheld as were other necessities of life, making unrest inevitable. When the gang landed on the San Diego shoreline they watched as what they thought was the USS Nathan James attacked and destroyed by missiles. Little did they know, or we for that matter, but Chandler used the last Chinese destroyer to stand in for it, remotely controlling it to appear on the horizon, without the James being detected. Shaw and her regional managers celebrated what they thought was Chandler’s demise. How the heck did Tom Chandler manage that?
He divided up the chores for a large group to land. The Tex-Kara team was reeling from what they thought they saw, but still managed to keep the resistance going and of course, the James landing party found them outside a large, gated area they thought was a food depot. Chandler quickly established the order of things about who he worked for when he spied Pres. Oliver. The others fell in line, of course, because as far as Tom Chandler was concerned, Oliver was the legit commander-in-chief and the successor to the now deceased Pres. Michener.
The reunions of Kara and Danny, as well as Tex and Tom were poignant and in character for them. The men spoke in that stilted way they consider affectionate, while the Greens engaged in a passionate embrace and kiss. Danny got comfort about the whereabouts of his son, but didn’t seem shocked that his wife was a leader of the resistance.
It was more surprising to everyone that Tex was back in the picture, and there was a terse exchange between him and Tom about how and when he left St. Louis. They also addressed the elephant in the room, and that was the death of Dr. Scott. Tex blamed himself as well as Chandler for it all, but added, “I forgave you”, meaning he still beat himself up about it. Tex was Tex, wise cracking even when he was badly beaten up, doing that thing he does, “Man, I missed you guys”, and checking out Sasha Cooper. He didn’t dare ask the open question about who the heck she was, but got to the point of making Chandler vouch for her ability to be part of the landing team. You know there’s more where that came from.
Together they decided to stop a train that they believed was hauling food out of the area to go elsewhere in the country. Oops, turns out it wasn’t food, but human cargo and that meant that the bomb booby trap they planted had to be disarmed before another human tragedy. It was a scene akin to a big budget summer movie, with a rescue timed to the second. Slattery drove a truck that got Tex, Chandler, Green and Wolf on the train cars where they met armed resistance, including from General Bradley.
Once they dispatched all that, with Tex’s face getting rearranged just a bit, the box cars were opened up and Chandler was shocked people didn’t fall on the ground at his feet to thank him for the rescue. They had been promised food at the end of the journey, and since they hadn’t eaten in days, they weren’t thrilled at what they saw as an interruption in their quest for food, rather than a heroic rescue. Gen’l Bradley ridiculed their naiveté, but when he realized he was beaten and saw Oliver with Chandler, he duly saluted.
Bradley clued them all in on who he took orders from and he became part of a ruse to get Castillo to the site, where he was captured. The regional manager didn’t immediately fall under the spell of Chandler, even when grilled upon returning to the Nathan James. Chandler had the pleasure of reminding the politician that he and his cohorts tried and failed twice to kill him, and that once St. Louis discovered he had lost control of his region, he’d be toast.
The return of the landing party and the Tex/Kara band of dissidents included the reunion of the crew with their former mates. Stirring music during the scene meant to give you chills continued as smiles broke out and hugs were given, while the square-jawed Chandler happily watched.
We got Chandler’s announcement that Oliver was the rightful occupant of the office of POTUS and they all saluted the commander-in-chief. Oliver followed that up by announcing that all the service men and women would have to retake their oath, to pledge allegiance to the United States, which for that one moment existed only in and around San Diego.
Shaw and the managers learned about the Nathan James using the Chinese destroyer as a stand-in and realized it meant that Castillo was in custody. Oops, what’s next? The season finale is next week and there’s more good vs. evil to come. In the long run, and by that we mean next season, will Chandler begin to prop up a regime headed up by Pres. Oliver or will the chaos in the country, when people learn of the duplicity of Shaw, engulf them all?
TNT airs the season finale 3 of “The Last Ship” Sunday night September 4 at 9 p.m. ET/PT Image/video credit: TNT, used with permission