“The Last Ship” took a detour from the style of filming and storytelling we are used to during the episode “Nostos”. Season four has been different for many reasons, not the least of which is the absence of Tom Chandler from the U.S. Navy and his former ship the Nathan James.
In “Nostos” we got the culmination of his reunion with his former crew, and a drug trip on top of it. But first we had to endure the sarcasm and passive aggressive behavior of Sasha towards the man she loved. Sixteen months without any word had her twisted, despite her cozy relationship with a new colleague on the James. There were flashes of jealousy when she eyed Lucia, and resentment when Chandler went into Captain mode instead of deferring to her decisions and orders on the ground as head of Vulture team.
The drug trip was the device for us to learn more about Mike Slattery’s family who disappeared during the Red Flu outbreak. Thanks to a kind woman who nursed his stab wound and gave him some of that herb tea that Lucia wanted to give to Chandler before they spent the night making love, we went deep into Slattery’s unconscious mind and met the kids and wife he left behind.
The episode was spent looking for Slattery because he held on to the seeds despite his wounds. He was being hunted by Giorgio’s team, Omar’s men as well as the Vulture team on the ground and the Nathan James crew on the ship. During his drug trip back in time we experienced his first meeting with Chandler on the ship, and the sadness of having to tell his kids he was leaving on another months-long trip. This one was, as Chandler said, some simple trip to get a scientist to the other side of the globe for some testing. We know how that turned out
As he hallucinated Mike actually kept himself safe, moving out of danger at each turn and finding the ability to use part of a broken mirror to send Morse code signals to the James. Vulture team found him after street battles that left bodies in the team’s wake, but all got back to the ship alive, and more importantly, with the seeds.
Omar and Giorgio turned on each other, with Omar wounded but not dead. Lucia took control of a Hellenic war ship, Hydra class that attempted to shoot down the rescue helo and sent a rocket to sink the James. She’s quite talented that Lucia. It turns out that her father is a doctor, the one that wrapped Tom Chandler’s hands for the fight club.
He’s got another son, who looks and sounds quite different from Giorgio and Lucia. He’s working in a lab alongside his dad, but there’s more going on than just trying to get the seeds and stop the spread of the Red Rust. Is Il Doctore, as he told Tom he was called, this season’s Dr. Scott?
“The Last Ship” now takes the action back to sea, but Tom Chandler is also along for the ride. Some time was spent with the members of his team wondering what to call him, but that was after they recovered from the shock of seeing him. He told them he’d been in Greece, but not why or how he got there. He never mentioned his kids who he left behind when he went into the traveling fight club with Giorgio.
When word got back to the James that Chandler was found and fighting alongside the team on the ground, you could see the wonder in the eyes of the men and women he served with to save the world from the Red Flu. Now with the seeds that are the key to solving the Red Rust problem, they’d be back in the kind of action they know well.
The haunting Tom Waites song “Shiver Me Timbers”, used in the closing moments of the episode underscored the return of Chandler to the ship. His kids back in Greece, his time with Giorgio a success, all of a sudden the helo landed on the James and Chandler strutted back on to the Nathan James. It was Master Chief Jeter who stood at attention to salute, while new crew members stared. Chandler looked out of place in his civvies, long hair and beard, but he’s back home again.
In sneak peek scenes of next week’s episode, Jeter tells Chandler, “Without you we were broken,”, to which Tom replies, “I lost my way, Russ”. Yikes, unconscious mind trip with Slattery and now a dive into the psyche of Chandler….it’s a new season for sure.
“The Last Ship” airs Sundays on TNT, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT Image credit: Turner Broadcasting, used with permission