Last Resort balances three storylines in its post-Thanksgiving episode, its first since it’s cancellation. Is it still worth a look?
Let’s bitch it out…
‘Big Chicken Dinner’ feels like the kind of episode designed to prove to naysayers that the show has a great deal of longevity since it can tell “island stories” as much as it can tout its DC political conspiracies and still find a way to throw in some flashbacks and an epic knock-down, murderous brawl. Still, there’s a tinge of sadness now because we know that some of these storylines are doomed to go unaddressed since there’s only five episodes remaining ever.
Regardless, ‘Big Chicken Dinner’ is a mostly satisfying episode. I’ll admit that putting a character actor (Michael Mosley) who primarily plays scum-bags on trial for rape doesn’t really entice a significant moral debate for me (I wonder how it was for those of you who didn’t watch Pan Am?). The fall-out is more interesting than anything: we learn that Grace (Daisy Betts) suffered her own sexual assault that she was advised not to report due to her ‘privileged’ status as an Admiral’s daughter, and that island criminal Julian Serrat (Sahr Ngaujah) isn’t simply a crappy lawyer, he’s a devious schemer determined to wrest control of the island (including its laws) back from Chaplin (Andre Braugher) and the crew of the Colorado.
The inherently female oriented nature of the episode is also intriguing. Between Grace’s reveal, the debate around the virtue of (potential island prostitute) Erita (Faye Kingslee) and the conspiracy busting duo of Christine (Jessy Schram) and Kylie (Autumn Reeser), this may have been the most female-centric episode yet. I was particularly taken with the gender politics identified by Cortez (Jessica Camacho) aboard the sub: basic human rights essentially go out the window if a woman wants to rise in the ranks without causing a stir.
In truth the island system, with its 100 lashes and branding, seems overly punitive, but there’s a certain satisfaction in the idea because there’s a less discernible political motivation. Whatever we may think of the conflicts between our “heroes” on the sub and the island counterparts, you can’t deny that the sub isn’t a hotbed of challenging moral, social and ethical debate. As a result, Last Resort is inherently more interesting than the initial “sub takes over island and becomes autonomous nation” premise we originally saw seven episodes ago.
- The romantic conflict between Kendall (Scott Speedman) and Sophie (Camille De Pazzis) is mostly keep off stage as neither of them interact. Instead Kendall has to make a difficult decision to kill prisoner Booth (Gideon Emery) after he reveals that the traitor who stole the launch key last episode is more valuable than Kendall’s life. What follows feels constructed primarily for an impatient male viewing audience who need an adrenaline boost, but at least now we know where we stand: Kendall will not betray Chaplin, no matter how much Booth compared the commander to a dictator
- The other romantic conflict between James (Daniel Lissing), Tani (a wasted Dichen Lachman) and Grace feels artificial. Grace doesn’t want James to act like anything has changed following their beach interlude, and I’m inclined to agree. As much as I love Lachman, she’s literally useless on this show – a narrative sinkhole that grinds things to a halt each time we’re asked to care about her relationship with James. Sooooo boring
- Kylie figures out that Paul’s (Jay Hernandez) achilles heel is saving the women he works with, which now includes Christine. I’m intrigued to see how this all plays out as Christine and Paul will both travel with the other Navy-wives to visit their disowned spouses. Obviously it’s not going to end well
- Finally, the children’s code used for the hidden communication between traitor Cortez and the US is uber creepy. There’s something so frightening about unnaturally happy children’s disembodied voices, especially when you consider the code being transmitted involves death and nuclear destruction!
- Grace (to Daniel): “You should just going back to being a jackass and I’ll go back to doing my job.”
- Chaplin (after Erita suggests Julian is not afraid of him): “Are you sure of that?”
- Grace (moments before it is revealed she’s a rape victim): “A word does not make a man guilty.”
And so we’re inching closer to the series finale. Are you still watching (and enjoying) Last Resort? Do you care that Anders is out in the jungle with Serrat chasing him? Do you think Cortez will be exposed as the traitor anytime soon? Do you care about any of the love triangles? Sound off below
Last Resort airs Thursdays at 8pm EST on ABC