Fall 2012: ABC’s Last Resort

If it has Shawn Ryan’s name on it, you are at least guaranteed a fresh perspective and a fresh story right out of the gate. And Last Resort is definitely fresh; with its nuclear missile-equipped submarine, surprising premise, and cast of familiar faces, the show offers a truly unique viewing experience.

It starts with a wounded group of Marines in a lifeboat; cue their rescuers surfacing on top of the lifeboat with a submarine, the Colorado. The crew of the Colorado isn’t getting much info from these guys, and we get a few scenes of the crew interacting with each other so as to establish their characters. There’s Captain Chaplin, Andre Braugher, who’s great. The crew seems to, for the most part, respect Chaplin and his decisions. There’s the XO Kendal, Scott Speedman, also surprisingly good. I don’t want to knock him, but Scott Speedman does not scream military to me and therefore wouldn’t be a first choice sight unseen, but it works. We get a sort-of side story with the women on the crew and potential harassment, but that is sidelined compared to Lt. Shepard’s story, who happens to have an influential Admiral for a father (Bruce Davison).  Suddenly, Chaplin gets an order to fire missiles at Pakistan, although it comes from an Antarctica station designed to send out orders if D.C. command is wiped out. It appears that the US is fine and Chaplin questions the orders. Then the show really ups the ante: The US fires on the Colorado, blames it on Pakistan, and an actual strike is started on Pakistan. In an attempt to clear their name and prove the government coverup, the crew takes over a nearby island. Now they have to deal with their country, the local thugs, and mutinous crew members like Robert Patrick’s Master Chief character, Prosser. Oh, and they also fired at missile toward D.C. to avert their own destruction. The missile was designed to miss land, but just barely.

The best word to describe Last Resort is ambitious. By the end of the episode I found myself thinking, I have no idea what an entire season (or multiple seasons) of this show would look like in execution. And this can be a good or bad thing. This show could be unlike anything we have seen on television. Or just like other shows that leave you questioning their long-term viability, it may run its course far too soon and leave us with a rehash of Shonda Rhimes’ failed Off the Map series.

Final Thoughts

  • The names on their uniforms really help. It seems like a lot of names are thrown around a long with the new characters so being able to see the names helped me keep some people straight from the first few minutes.
  • I found it surprising that Chaplin and Kendal questioned their orders to the extent they did. It is impossible to know how you would react if the day ever came that you had to “press the button,” so to speak, but the training that you go through must leave you with little doubt that when you are asked, you do not hesitate.
  • I also found it interesting that unlike most fictional stories where a country is made-up, Pakistan is used and the US fires nuclear missiles to incapacitate the country.
  • I did not need to see a missile coming toward Washington D.C. Between this and Homeland, I am going to develop a complex about going into the city.
  • Among the cast we have Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse, Being Human), Omid Abtahi (from Homeland, among many other credits), and Jessy Schram, who will forever be known as the annoying girl who dated Logan on Veronica Mars.

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About Staciellyn Chapman

Grad student at the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. This blog is an attempt to condense the craziness that is my TV viewing habits (with the occasional aside into film, music, and general life).

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