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The Last Ship – Recap & Review – Achilles

photo: tnt
photo: tnt

The Last Ship

Original Air Date: Jul 12, 2015

Vincent Chia – Sr. Reviewer

Tonight’s episode resembled one of the typical submarine movies where there’s a cat-and-mouse search-and-destroy game. The previews had me worried that the U.S.S. Nathan James would be struck by a torpedo and be seriously damaged (though not sunk, since, where would the show be then?) and maybe a main character dies. Was anyone else worried that this might possibly happen? Does the ship get hit? Let’s find out!

We start off with Sorensen meeting the submarine “captain.” The now captain was a lower ranking enlisted crewmember a few months ago until almost all of the crew died from the virus. He now wears the uniform of a British Navy Lieutenant Commander, presumably that of the deceased former captain. Sorensen tells the submarine commander to be careful with Chandler. Chandler is “very resourceful” and has defeated Russian Admiral Ruskov. Twice. The Brit seems to be quite amused that Ruskov is dead.

On the Nathan James, Chandler’s crew is still hunting for the submarine.

Slattery interrogates the handcuffed Spaniard prisoner. Spaniard says he was “drafted” by the British “commander.” However, the Spaniard believes that the Brit is a maniac, along with his brother, who led the boarding team onto the hospitalship Solace. The Spaniard says he regrets his actions killing civilians. He asks for political asylum and says he would rather be with the Nathan James.

In the sonar room, Ensign Mason (pictured above) thinks he hears a faint signal. Because it is so quiet, he believes it is either the HMS Ajax or the HMS Achilles. Chandler points out that the Ajax is still under construction, so it must be the Achilles. (trivia tidbit: there is no British submarine named the Achilles. However, there are two planned British nuclear submarines named for Greek myth heroes, the Ajax and the Agamemnon, neither of which will be completed until 2022 at earliest).

On the submarine, the sonar operator hears a slow contact on the surface. It could be a freighter or a civilian ship, but the commander deduces that it is obviously a warship sailing slowly to reduce its noise profile and also to hunt for the submarine. The submarine crew prepares to fire a torpedo.

Chandler asks Mason for a “CPA” (Closest point of approach) and Mason replies that the two ships are approaching collision course “now.” Chandler calls Slattery on the bridge to adjust course 20 degrees to Starboard. Mason confirms that the contact he thought was the submarine has also turned in order to intercept.

The submarine commander chooses not to fire torpedo yet. He wants to first rescue Juan Carlos, the Spaniard held by Chandler. The commander’s brother disagrees, but the commander insists on rescuing Juan Carlos not necessarily out of loyalty, but because Juan Carlos is a “believer.”

On the Nathan James, it appears that Juan Carlos has betrayed the commander. Or… maybe… he is just pretending so that Slattery will uncuff the Spaniard and he will be able to escape somehow. In the sonar room, both Slattery and Lt. Foster recommend firing on the submarine.

Chandler orders his ship to go to condition “Quiet 2,” which means many of the ship’s systems are shut down and the crew basically freeze anything they are doing. The ship also slows down. As the noise profile of the Nathan James is dramatically reduced, it disappears off of the submarine’s sonar. The commander’s brother is irate, saying they should’ve fired when they had the chance, but the commander urges patience.

When the sub commander tells Sorensen that he plans on sinking the “yankee ship,” Sorensen seems concerned for some reason.

Slattery continues to interrogate Juan Carlos. Once the prisoner gets a gulp of water, he is somehow able to activate some type of beacon inside of him to alert “his people” of the ship’s location. (it was a bit unclear to me what happened. Did water help mix with some type of chemical?). Juan Carlos is coughing up blood and possibly dying. He gloats that “his people” have already taken all of Europe. Which I guess is bad news for the plane(s) that Chandler sent over to Europe back a few episodes ago. Didn’t Chandler get any reports from those pilots?

Slattery tells Dr. Scott that she is the most qualified to perform surgery on Juan Carlos. She hesitates to operate on a patient who is refusing treatment. However, when one of the officers suggests that they just throw the prisoner overboard, Dr. Scott reluctantly agrees. Though, I’m not entirely sure why they don’t in fact throw the prisoner overboard, especially if they thought there was a beacon inside of him.

Submarine commander decides to go active sonar in order to ping the location of the Nathan James. However, this also allows the Nathan James to locate the submarine. Both fire torpedoes at the other. The submarine gets off four torpedoes, but miraculously, all four miss. Though, they came pretty close with two torpedoes speeding past on either side of Nathan James. Don’t torpedoes usually have homing devices or other guidance systems?

At the same time, the Achilles dived to avoid the torpedoes that Nathan James fired. In your typical submarine movie, the submarine would also launch some type of decoy countermeasure that would mess with the torpedoes.

Back on the Nathan James, Ensign Mason reports that the submarine has disappeared. Chandler asks if it was hit, but Mason can’t tell.

Dr. Scott is able to remove a flash drive from the prisoner, but it’s not a beacon. Slattery hands the flash drive to Granderson. However, the files are corrupted and it will take time to fix that.

Sorensen discovers something important and immediately goes to report to the Brit commander.

Granderson decrypts the flash drive, which holds the coordinates to Salt Lake, Phoenix, and the other labs across the country.

Suddenly, sixteen, then eighteen ballistic missiles are detected flying toward the various labs. The submarine is too far out of range for Chandler to sink it. The Nathan James fires its own missiles to intercept, but they are only able to shoot down 2 of the 26. Virtually all of the ballistic missiles were out of range by the time Nathan James fired.

The Spaniard prisoner dies. Dr. Scott tests his blood and reports to Chandler that the reason the submarine bombed the labs is that the submarine crew is immune. Somewhere between 1 and 5% of the population is naturally immune to the virus.

On the submarine, the Brit commander no longer cares about the Nathan James. His goal is to take over all of America.

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