‘The Last Ship’ Season 1 Finale Review

Published 8 months ago by

the last ship arena finale The Last Ship Season 1 Finale Review

[This is a review of The Last Ship season 1, episode 10. There will be SPOILERS.]

With the The Last Ship‘s second season on the horizon and Doctor Scott finally completing her mission and discovering the vaccine/cure for “The Red Flu”, we’ve naturally been curious about how this show about the crew of a Navy destroyer and their mission to save the world would carryover into the second season, but now we know that it won’t. At least not in any way that we’ve come accustomed to and that may be a good thing for TNT’s successful but sometimes hollow action drama.

Beginning once again with a check-in on US Nathan James’ Captain Tom Chandler’s family, the clock starts ticking right out the gate as we see that Chandler’s wife did, indeed, pass on the virus to her entire family. Desperate to seek help, Chandler’s father puts everyone into the family truckster for a road trip to Baltimore and the supposed salvation of a basketball arena where the splintered pieces of the Government are supposedly treating people.

On the ship, Chandler (Eric Dane) is unaware of these developments as he and the rest of the crew receive the first doses of the vaccine/cure. Their latest mission is to get Doctor Scott (Rhona Mitra) and her formula to an appropriate lab where she can mass-produce the injections needed to save the world, but as has often been the case, the path is far from clear.

Thanks to a satellite, Chandler and his crew see that the targeted lab has been, well, targeted and also destroyed. One would imagine that this might cause a bit of consternation, but in short order, an automated call comes over the radio that is addressed to the US Nathan James, informing them that they are aware of their classified mission and able to accommodate their needs in Baltimore. If you’re hearing Admiral Ackbar yelling, “It’s a trap!” in your head, then you are a prescient individual and I dig that about you.

the last ship port finale The Last Ship Season 1 Finale Review

Unfortunately, nobody in a command position on the Nathan James shares those gifts, so off the ship goes to Baltimore where they meet up with a few remnants of the Maryland State Police and Amy Granderson (Alfre Woodard), the defacto leader of the Government and a women with a target on her head among the group of Warlords who watch her exchange with Chandler while trying to fire a shot off. Surprisingly, the leader of the rebel group (played by Titus Welliver as a former Baltimore cop) shows restraint when it comes to collateral damage.

On dry land and away from the ship, Doctor Scott says goodbye to Tex (who kisses her on his way out the door) and begins to settle into her role supervising a team of scientists and Chandler looks into locating his family after observing the somewhat comfortable life that Granderson (who is the mother of Nathan James crew member Lt. Alisha Granderson, though that really seems like a needless wrinkle) has carved out for herself and her people in a coal powered building.

In short order, Chandler is able to hear his father on the radio, assembling a team of his men and Granderson’s troopers to go find them and heal them with the cure. Once they arrive at the gas station where his father said he would be, though, Chandler finds out that he has instead gone off to the arena. Used to being in charge, Chandler orders everyone back into the trucks to go find his family but the troopers resist. Big time. This is where the episode gets both lost and found as a firefight ensues, wounding Master Chief Jeter (Charles Parnell) and killing the troopers. Flustered but still determined, Chandler orders Lt. Danny Green to go to the ship and tell everyone what’s going on as he and Lt. Burk (Jocko Sims) head to the arena on foot. Like viewers, Lt. Green isn’t quite sure what it is that is actually going on, but he follows along and so do we.

The arena is dire, filled with the sick and the dying and surrounded by authorities in gas masks. The vision of a little girl with both a gas mask and a princess crown will stick with you, as will the hurt on display when Tom finds his father, his two kids and the news that his wife didn’t make it. Would it have been more affecting had Tom discovered his wife a moment before she passed? Yes, without question. But we need “Man of action” Tom Chandler, because it becomes pretty clear that the arena is more like a roach motel than a care ward and Tom needs to get his family out of there and back to the Nathan James. A good idea in theory, but not possible after Granderson’s State Troopers seize the ship after shooting a crew member and Quincy (who was trying to redeem himself with a heroic act) on the bridge.

the last ship doctor scott finale The Last Ship Season 1 Finale Review

Though the un-masking of Woodard’s Amy Granderson isn’t exactly sudden, it is effective and it does give this show its first well-rounded and slightly grounded villain whose motives are both despicable and clear. Granderson isn’t merely power mad, she thinks she’s doing the right thing and those are always the most frightening villains. “The virus doesn’t discriminate, that unfortunate task falls to me”, she says after explaining that she is trying to avoid a “Dark age” by, essentially, making an achievement ark and putting down the poor and the sick – using their bodies to feed the coal plant and keep the power running.

Though the episode and this first season end on such a grim note, there is reason to have hope as we head to season 2. In Woodard and Welliver (who doesn’t appear to be as evil as we first thought), the show’s supporting cast is filling in actors whose skill levels demand deeper characters. If we can follow their story (specifically Welliver’s character’s story) and learn a little bit about how things went off the rails and how these warring factions came to be, it will go a long way toward making this a better and fuller show than if Chandler and his crew take back the ship and head out onto the water an episode or two into next season.

This is a show that needs to avoid sameness and embrace a changing landscape. ‘No Place Like Home’ is a great first step and the show makes a few tough choices that won’t be easy or palatable to come back from, but it had to be done. Here’s hoping that this is the new normal.

The Last Ship returns for its second season in 2015.


Follow Jason Tabrys on Twitter @jtabrys
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  1. this show caught me off guard with how good it was and how it was never dull or boring. Great time of year for a show like this since there is really nothing else to watch at all. Last ship and the Strain make for a great back to back sunday night. cant wait til season 2

  2. I saw the first episode on TNT’s website, but the site won’t let me access the rest of the episodes unless I subscribe to their station through my cable package, so I have switched it onto my Netflix list. Looks good though, so I will finish watching it there when available.

    • I’m just wondering, why was it necessary to inform us of how you access the program?

  3. Great show enjoyed it very much, storyline now for next season is going to go in new direction, but hopefully this is not the end of the Virus remember the guy that escaped the Russian ship, you know its not the last we have seen of him. maybe a new Virus will be introduced at the end of season 2???

  4. I really have enjoyed this show quite a bit though I find a lot of it completely absurd in the way they explain their technology\situations.

    For example, in a preceding episode Dr. Scott forces ice water down the throat of the young girl they rescued off the vessel they came across. This was done in the attempt to cool the child’s raging fever. I have never seen or heard of this medical technique before as the usual remedy in such situations is the cover the person in ice or very cold water. If this is some new medical technique it would have been beneficial to have it explained instead of letting the audience wonder what Scott was doing.

    In the last episode we have another absurdity where the Exec of the Nathan James allows civilian police officers aboard the ship. This wouldn’t normally be allowed in peace time without an escort or some form of validation that such persons were affiliated with the US Navy. However, in the show we are led to believe that the police officers were granted boarding permissions casually and allowed to roam the ship as they please.

    Given the dire circumstances the crew has continuously found themselves in as a captain of such a ship I wouldn’t allow anyone aboard without an armed escort; especially a troop of armed police officers. This was complete idiocy detailing the complete lack of common-sense that the show’s creators have imbued the ship’s senior staff with…

    • I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show! I really didn’t think I would get so attached to it but I sure did! It quickly became my favorite show of the season…well, besides Ray Donovan! Now I cannot WAIT until next summer…it’s gonna drag!

    • It is a television show, not a documentary.

    • i also enjoyed the first season, even some scientific explanaitions were extremely absurd.
      my favourite (and even better than “soylent green – body for fuel” or “ice down the throat” thing) was the episode when they cooled the research work in the ocean.
      come on – if they have power for a few hours to run an entire ship – a relative small recharged battery could power a refrigerator for many days!

  5. Decent first season… but the last episode reminds me of Revolution and I hope it doesn’t end up like that.

    I do like how you think Titus is the bad guy… but find out that he’s not a “bad” guy (Wreck-It Ralph!).

    I do think that trusting the “troopers” was a bit uncharacteristic and one guy with a gun could have been taken down (as soon as Quincy rushed him, others should have jumped in).

    We’ll see what next season brings.

    • Yeah, I didn’t really like the whole “Revolution” ending feel to it. I would have liked it more if they stayed on the ship, found out that the cure/vaccine worked but only for a short period of time and then they went back to having a lesser red fever version. I didn’t really like the whole “the plague wiped out the these people while keeping these” plot. Hopefully they improve on that plot next season but overall it’s not bad for a Bay product.

  6. After some very lame episodes, the last three of this season have shown some promise for the future. With this closing episode, it has been the first time I have felt really engaged with what was happening on the screen. The screenwriters could check their facts, though. The discourse of the lady-in-charge at Baltimore is a complete nonsense. Even if it would have been really based on what happened at the great pandemic of 1347-1349, she would have known that first thing you do when trying to rebuild a society is: DON’T KILL YOUR WORKFORCE! Yeah, great, you save a genious scientist, but call me when he dies from dysenteria when his toilet goes nuts because there is no plumbers around to fix it when it brokes! And, please! Using human bodies to generate energy? Do the writers have the slightest idea of how silly that sounds?

    The show has potential, but as the say goes, the devil is in the details and regretfully the writers fell short off them.

  7. This series surprised me considering it’s a Bay product. Right when I heard Bay was attached to this I went into the series with low expectations but overall it’s a pretty good show.

  8. I thought the writing for the finale was bad and I wonder if Adam Baldwin’s character was angry because of the gun pointed in his face or the bad writing. It is not believable that after all the crew has dealt with that they would be lulled into being taken over by a few state troopers or that security would be that lax. Or that there would not be someone behind the state trooper to wrest the gun away from him or hit him on the head. Bad writing is at work here in order to have a cliff hanger. And what are the state troopers going to do with all of those prisoners from the ship? Kill them as the crew is cured and they do not have the resources to imprison them. Also, what does this say about the state troopers that they would go along with the villain so readily. Also, it does not make sense to kill people with toxic over doses that are already sick and going to die anyway. Just give them over doses of morphine. Is this killing done to inflate the villainy of the character? This is bad writing and an unbelievable villain. Pretty soon it appears that this show may veer into something like Revolution that grew lame. I wish the Russians would return and blow up Baltimore. That would make more sense.

  9. Are you kidding me? I have to wait a year before the next episode? Come on the best show on tv and its treated like this? This should be year around. I see this as the next NCIS or JAG, And to think i served five years in the army?? Go figure

  10. This is a good series keeps u on your toes. The only thing now that is bad have to wait a hole year to continue with the dialogue, left you hanging I hope to not forget in the year time.

    • You don’t have to wait a “hole” year but you will have to wait a whole year.

  11. Show will be canceled within a month or so of the second season. It was good for one season only. Too bad the writers got greedy for a second season.

  12. The tv snobs are out in force. Great summer show. Suspend some belief and stop knit picking. It’s a show about one ship saving the world…it’s not exactly believable. But it is thoroughly enjoyable. I thought it was excellent when the show went from the bodies being trucked to the plant to a close up of the lamp being flicked on. Very eerie/spooky. Good writing.

    Funny anecdote while talking about knit picking critics. My wife, the nurse, yells at the screen anytime they give a shot and swipe the skin first to sanitize. Apparently…that cleaning motion should be in a circle, not linear… LOL I just roll my eyes at her

    • It is not nit piking. I want to enjoy the show. I truly do. But the myriad of small errors is what is diminishing my enjoyment of it. You say that your wife yells at the screen when she sees how wrong are the medical procedures shown in the screen, and that you roll your eyes at that. Would it be so difficult for the showrunners to get them right? Wouldn’t be more enjoyable experience if at a subconscious level you would accept the story being told because the set and actions seem right to you? See “Contagion”, the movie by Soderbergh. The small details are right, although you don’t notice them at first, but they help the viewer to immerse himself in the story. Wrong details are distracting.

      • Antonio is correct: the expression that “the deivil is in the details” means that if one FAILS to dot those “i’s” and “cross those t’s”, the subsequent failure of the system is ensured. wiping in a circle or straight line in facr really matters little: it takes 20 minutes for rubbing alcohol to kill bacteria and such. so unless the skin is really contaminated, one may not even need to swipe or wipe. But back to the show. Given that they had no idea if they were employed next season, I think some corners are inevitably cut. but now that the second season is approved, there should be a big improvement in the show. the REAL fight was always AFTER the cure: who controls who gets it, where is the line, who remains in control as government????? then there are those “real” warlords who WOULD spring up. as an aficionado of the Post-apocalyptic genre, this series has a HUGE potential to screw the pooch horribly [like revolution did for me] or draw into the story a bigger audience. there are potentials here of draconian entities and really altruistic ones too. besides, Tex let it all hang out with Scott, so that needs resolution: I see him kicking butt again but now to save someone he is invested in. that will be an interesting arc if handled right – I know folks like him for reals [one of which weirdly could pass as Tex’s brother…]and I dare say that those on the wrong end of his barrel will not do well. we shall see, but GET THE DETAILS RIGHT!!!! SPEND A LITTLE TIME AND FIX IT. Fanboys offer free advice to make a good product better/best.

  13. So glad there will be a season 2. BEST series I’ve seen in a long time,in my opinion. Great cast, “edge of your seat” situations, great writing/storylines. My only problem is one-hour episodes are too SHORT! Disappointed by so much negativity in the comments above. I don’t understand why people even bother watching a show they apparently have no interest in,let alone taking time to post negative comments about. One would think they could manage to find something more enjoyable, but sad to say,some people just can’t be satisfied, no matter what! Compared to so many other lame series, this one ranks at the top of the list in my opinion! Really looking fwd to see what’s in store for next season. Thx to the network for bringing it back!

  14. It’s gloriously and unashamedly cheesy and gung-ho. I love it!

  15. I enjoyed the show, despite some flaws. Like the characters and the plot driven stories. I did not read the book, but wonder if this stateside situation is original with the author, or added on to extend the series. The scope of the series had to shrink somewhat with the potential cure arriving, just hope it doesn’t stay land based exclusively. The shipboard angle makes the show unique.

  16. This show has strayed SO far from the book, it’s a wonder that the author (William Brinkley) would want to be affiliated in any way with it. And, yes, I get that the $$$ is likely the reason why.

  17. This episode, as nearly all the others in the series, was throughly predictable after the first 10 minutes. The ship leadership have acted incompetant throughout the series. Captains do not accompany away missions. It appears to be a matchup of old star trek plotlines. Next season the mercenary will hook up with the “good” warlords and take on the “evil” warlord. I envision it looking a lot like first generation V.

    • I hope they don’t go the Revolution route next season in which the crew lines up with the warlords to take on the “new government” because that would just seem too cliché. I would find this series a lot more interesting if they would have gone in TWD route. For instance, they continue their work on finding a cure but each time they get close to finding a cure the virus evolves into something else. They could have gone to different locations to find possible remedies and along the way they encounter life within this apocalypse. Maybe certain animals start to become infected in which even hunting becomes a bigger challenge.


  19. On the whole, I liked the show. Saw every episode and parts twice.
    Only problem was big story vs. small story. In the first few episodes, the world is in a bad way, and the ship can change that.
    Cuba is the first small story, now the fight is against a few locals, which is realistic of world disorder, so okay.
    Fight with Russians, okay, has to be a Lex Luther.
    The monkey business was small story, forgotten big story. With a world dying, going back to take care of a petty dictator is silly. Bad risk with small reward.
    There is a captain Kirk vs. Piccard problem. Star Trek solved it, too bad the last ship didn’t see them. Does the captain have to leave the ship for every petty operation?
    The last episode is who shot JR? The ship docks and hands over the cure to an apparent good government facility, and again with lots of folks left behind the captain seeks his family. What will happen to the ship? the cure? all those naval folks?

  20. Getting frustrated with the ridiculous stuff in this show.
    This is supposed to be the real US Navy, not Star Trek, and the captain of the ship would not be leading all of the off ship ‘missions’.
    In the last epi the notion of one pistol toting cop taking over the bridge of the ship and all the Navy personnel just standing there letting him do it just isn’t believable.

  21. My husband and I love the show. The season finale was quite a twist. The part that upset us both so much, is that we have to wait for almost a year for season two. That is so very wrong!!!

  22. I loved all of the episodes until the finale, I’m sorry but it was just not believable. I have to say that if this is indeed the direction that they as writers are going to take, that the Navy could be taken over by a few cops, well than I’m done watching. For those of you who want to continue watching, I’m glad you enjoy it. I will watch the peremier of season 2, but if it sticks with the whole, the Navy can’t protect itself nonsense, than you have lost a loyal watcher Last Ship, sorry.

  23. I get caught up in the details. Why did they take the slowest possible medium of transport to the arctic in the beginning. Had they take a plane/helicopter they could have been there in a few days and literally saved billyuns. Actually had they done that they would not have run into the lady who is immune. anyway.
    My other complaint in general about these types of shows is how all the organized groups encountered always have nefarious power hungry motives. In Walking dead there is the governor, the cannibals, the police lady at the hospital. In this show we have the Russians, drug lord, war lords, utopian society lady. Seriously, why are the only ‘moral’ ones the main characters in these shows?