My poor husband. I may watch TV for a living, but when it comes to anything even the slightest bit political, I tend to utter the same phrase over the course of the hour: "What's going on?" (Followed closely by "What just happened?" and "Who are they talking about?") Straight up, I'm annoying to watch a TV thinker with, particularly one that I plan to write about, and I have no idea what I did before there was the option to pause and rewind.
"Last Resort" is easily one of the fall's most exciting, engrossing new shows, and while I can't tear my eyes away from the screen, I have to admit, I'm confused a lot of the time. Some of it has to do with me wondering how the pilot will be transformed into a long-term series, but a lot also has to do with me trying to figure out where the heck the show is going (and, yes, what exactly is going on). What will happen to the crew of the Colorado now that the United States -- and other countries, apparently -- want to destroy them?
While that may be the show's main theme, that's just a drop in the bucket. There's the island the submarine and its crew take over, those who disagree with not carrying out the initial order, those who inhabit the island, the lone Navy SEAL (who seems to believe he caused the war to start), the NATO scientists, the designer of submarine-cloaking systems from the O.C. (who somehow knew about the attack on the Colorado before almost everyone else knew about it), the XO's wife ... so much going on.
But the large cast does its best to make it all come together and, really, who better to sell a story like "Last Resort" than the incomparable, resplendent Andre Braugher? The role of the sub's kick-ass commander, Captain Marcus Chaplin, was made for the unsinkable vet, but the biggest surprise of the season may be his chemistry with Scott Speedman, the homegrown, usually mumbly "Felicity" star, who plays his XO, Sam Kendal. And Daisy Betts, who annoyed me to no end on "Persons Unknown," is winning me over with her commanding turn as Lt. Grace Sheperd. It's clear Sam and Grace are loyal to Marcus; I just hope he's not playing them for fools.
The pacing of the pilot was excellent (with the exception of the first five to 10 minutes, when it was setting the scene, introducing us to the plethora of characters), but I am, admittedly, a little worried for what's to come. The second episode, titled "Blue on Blue," doesn't move as swimmingly as the pilot. Sure, there are some tense moments along with some mysterious ones, but it's not as edge-of-your-seat as the first hour. Because we still don't know what exactly is going on, the D.C. scenes cut into the momentum of the island part of the series. I know the scenes with Sam's wife (Jessy Schram) and the sub expert (Autumn Reaser) are meant to give us background and build-up but I still feel we've come away knowing nothing about either situation.
Yes, I'm only at episode two, but a few more breadcrumbs, please and thanks! All that being said, with a cast this talented and the brilliant Shawn Ryan ("The Shield," "The Chicago Code," "Terriers," "The Unit") at the helm, I think it's safe to say our questions will be answered soon. Even though I'm perplexed a lot of the time, I still can't tear my eyes away from the suspense-filled sub drama. But I do need to know more, if only to give hubby a break.
Catch "Last Resort" on Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC in the US and on Global in Canada.