The third episode of TNT's “The Last Ship” pitted the U.S. Navy against the Russians. The Navy ultimately won that battle after outsmarting their enemies. The episode also revealed why scientist Quincy was helping the Russians. It seems his motives weren’t as nefarious as they first appeared.
Sam Spruell, the actor who plays Quincy, was a standout this week. As we saw Quincy hold up Rachel Scott at gunpoint and then threaten multiple Navy members with the virus, he looked panicked and frantic. His facial expressions showed a nervous, scared character who was facing a huge dilemma. Once we learned that he was doing all this because his family was being held hostage by the Russians, Spruell’s performance left me sympathetic to Quincy’s cause, even while he was putting a lot of people in danger. You could tell how much was at stake for the character. You could see that he didn’t want to hurt people but he had so much on the line that his behavior was unpredictable.
I expected the captain to be sympathetic, too, but instead he was mad. He responds to Quincy’s calm question by yelling at him, “No, you killed your family. You killed them and two of my best men the minute you took off with Ruscov.”
When Quincy yells back, “I had no choice,” you understand what he is saying. But the captain doesn’t let up.
“You always have a choice,” he responds angrily. Then Quincy asks him what he would’ve done in the same situation and Capt. Chandler gives no answer. Instead, he leaves the room and becomes distraught in the hallway. Though he doesn’t agree with his actions, he clearly understands Quincy’s motivations.
I also enjoyed the Navy ploy to fake out the Russians and move the destroyer without being seen. This was probably the most interesting part of the episode for me. It was fun to see them pull off a sneak attack. While Lts. Green and Foster were pretending to be Quincy and Dr. Scott in a small boat with explosives, the captain had decided to turn off all sonar and radar to avoid Russian detection as the destroyer secretly moved through a shallow area of water with reef. It was fun to see the ship firing torpedoes to blast through the coral and then barely squeezing through the narrow spot. (I loved the sound effects of scraping metal.)
As a whole, I still think the show could be much better. Parts of the episode bored me but other parts were exciting. Unfortunately this week I felt they lost the great team dynamic they had going in the last episode. And I still don’t love a lot of the writing and acting. There are some good moments but for the most part I feel the main characters are too one-dimensional. It is now the third episode into the season and I feel like we should be learning a lot more about them than we are. Granted, you are getting a feel for how they act under pressure so at least we’re seeing that. But I’d like more. For me, the show isn’t picking up as much steam as I’d like.
One of my favorite characters, Lt. Danny Green, also had a cheesy scene in “Dead Reckoning.” Though I liked the idea of him backing down on the mission out of fear for his girlfriend, the execution was a little shaky. The scene where he told Lt. Foster he loved her just didn’t work for me. I’ve never heard anyone say in the same breath, “I love you. Just stay away from me.” I understood the intention behind it but it was just too strange.
The end of “Dead Reckoning” introduced a new character, another scientist working in a lab on board the Russian ship. I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this odd man. His lab was a mess. His mice were running free. Even the Russian admiral looked at him like he was a wacko. As he looked closely at the mouse in his hand, the camera focused on his breath to end the episode. Had he just figured out something important? Did he plan to eat the mouse? Hopefully we will learn more in episode four.
What did you think of "Dead Reckoning?" Who are your favorite characters? Is the series improving each week? Let us know what you think in the comments below.