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Saturday, 25 of May of 2019

Last Resort – “Captain”

“We didn’t ignore anything. We questioned.”

Last Resort is probably the only new drama I’ve been looking forward to this fall. I mean, sure, I’m interested in Elementary, Arrow, and 666 Park Avenue, but if those shows never happened, I wouldn’t have been too disappointed. If Last Resort hadn’t happened, I would’ve been disappointed.

Thankfully, the pilot for Last Resort instills some confidence, even as the premise can seem a little short-lived. But then again, I think we all thought the same thing about Revenge last year, and that show managed to pivot nicely from a “revenge procedural” to a sudsy primetime drama in the vein of The Vampire Diaries in its narrative burn. I don’t mean to suggest that Last Resort will go that way, but I do think there’s likely more than a season in this show (though a well-executed, single season would be perfectly cool with me, too).

But since it’s the pilot, we should take everything with a grain of salt. Adjustments get made, shows find themselves, and given all the balls in the air (or is that missiles?), Last Resort may need some time to get everything properly fleshed out.

The challenge will be keeping those balls well-juggled. Last Resort is a military thriller, conspiracy thriller, Lord of the Flies (ABC is damn well going to use that island!), and interpersonal relationship dramas (no one seems to like poor Lt. Shepard). That’s a lot of stuff to do, let alone do well. It has a couple of things going for it though.

One, of course, is Andre Braugher as Captain Marcus Chaplin. Braugher is one of those actors who can pretty much excel in any role you give him (Struggling middle-aged man? Check. Silver-tongued detective? Check. Lord of Apokolips? Check.) and his very presence can help keep a show centered. The man simply commands your attention, and Last Resort will benefit immensely from that. The speech as lays out their new quasi-sovereignty, playing over the now ABC-required closing montage of events, is one of those moments that simply works because of Braugher, and anyone else might not have made it work (it is a tad cornball-y, after all).

The other thing going for it is Shawn Ryan. The man behind The ShieldTerriers, and The Chicago Code (poor Chicago Code and Terriers), Ryan gets television, and if anyone can make Last Resort‘s mish-mash of genres work, it’s him. I mean, sure, those last two shows I mentioned only made it for a season each, but they were really good seasons! If he, along with the other writers, can make Last Resort compelling and exciting each week, then we’re all good.

There are troubling things in the pilots, mainly Julian, the island governor/warlord/ruler (that NATO is perfectly okay with, by the way?). I kind of wished the mouthy SEAL had just shot everyone in their little confrontation because, really, two kidnapped sailors in a van that just doesn’t bode well, and may end up seeming like a forced conflict in an already pretty busy show. (This isn’t to suggest that Sahr Ngaujah isn’t good in the role, he is, but just that the character’s presence may not always work.)

If there are weak acting links in the show, it’s Scott Speedman (he’s kind of struggling to keep up with Braugher here) and Daisy Betts. I like the idea of Lt. Shepard, she’s clearly intended to be an audience surrogate, but Betts is a little soft here, and the script doesn’t help. Her “It’s ‘you little bitch, ma’am‘” to Robert Patrick’s Prosser just doesn’t fit, and the moment doesn’t completely work for me (Patrick’s reaction helps, though).

But, overall, I’m eager to see where things are going to go from here, and how the show intends to divide its time between the island, anything on the sub, and the intrigue in D.C. (the bits of background about impeachment and the Joint Chiefs (I think?) help sell this shadowy coup/cabal thing).

Other bits

  • I didn’t even mention Autumn Reeser’s Kylie. But, man, that senator’s aide was REALLY excited. Dude was breathing heavy.
  • “I’m sitting here watching Hannah Montana and I’m not going to annihilate 4.3 million Pakistanis…”
  • “I thought you SEAL boys were supposed to be smart. Bullets and submarines don’t get along too well.”
  • Nutella is not better than sex. Nutella is really only slightly better than a poke in an eye.

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