The Last Ship followed up a thrilling pilot episode with an even more action packed second episode on TNT last night. On the first episode viewers found out that a deadly virus had infected around 80 percent of the world and that Dr. Rachel Scott (Rhona Mitra) may have a way to create a cure if she is given time. The Commander of the United States Navy Battleship Nathan James is Officer Tom Chandler (Eric Dane). Commander Chandler gives an inspiration speech towards the end of the pilot episode telling his crew that they “will stay alive until we can find a cure.”
The second episode, Welcome to Gitmo, picks up right where the first one leaves off with Dr. Quincy Tophet speaking in Russian to someone on a satellite phone. One can already gather that he is a mole inside the operation, and trying to sabotage the mission so the cure can be secured for what is left of Russia. The Last Ship is on its way to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for refueling and an opportunity to find food for the crew. Since the entire show is set aboard a ship the creators of the show have a unique opportunity to use the naval vessel, and all of its positives as well as its liabilities in the storyline.
There is a brief training scene for the crew in preparation for a hostile situation once they reach the naval base and military prison on Cuba. Lieutenant Danny Green, played by Travis Van Winkle, most recently known for his role of Jonah Breeland in Heart of Dixie, begins to blossom as a character. Him and Lieutenant Kara Foster, played by Marissa Neitling, who has only been on one episode of Leverage back in 2011, have a romance going on. Green is dealing with the loss of his best friend, a fellow crewmember who became infected in the previous episode and took his life to not risk infecting anyone else or dying slowly from the virus. Foster and her care for Green are highlighted later in the episode.
Episode Two of The Last Ship on TNT begins to get exciting once they arrive at Gitmo Bay. They send out three teams from the Nathan James, one for food, a second for medical supplies for Dr. Scott who has been told to stay aboard ship because she is too vital to lose, and a third to refuel the ship. At first there appears to be no one there. The team’s all begin going their separate ways.
The medical team has to go inside the hospital that has many dead bodies inside so they must wear their masks that only have one hour of oxygen. Dr. Scott speaks pedantically to the officer using a microphone and video feed, giving him simple instructions and assuming he has no idea what a centrifuge is or what it looks like. The Russian, Dr. Tophet looks angry when he sees they have found a centrifuge, which could greatly accelerate the process of finding a cure. He had previously tried to sabotage the ship, but was caught and played dumb, claiming he was looking for the Air Condition when he was about to pull a lever that would flood the engines.
The team that is looking for food encounters a man running out of a building screaming “I am an American, get the hell out of there.” The Humvee they are standing near then explodes. The man turns out to be a former guard of the prison who let out some of the prisoners because there is no more government. So 14 Al-Qaeda are on the loose and have holed up inside the food warehouse.
Over at the refueling station the crew has begun pumping fuel into the ship, but is then fired upon by a RPG, injuring the head engineer. Coordinates are shouted out and the Nathan James uses its five-inch canon to blow up the building the Al-Qaeda are inside. The Last Ship’s only doctor is sent to patch up the injured. As the food team, led by Commander Chandler, is making its way to the warehouse, they catch sight of a guard who has been killed and strung up crucifixion style on a barbed wire fence. Tex, the prison guard is angry, but the commander throws out the cliché, “revenge is best served cold,” in which Tex responds “Let’s Eat.”
The medical team’s oxygen supply is running low and as they try and exit they find the doors are locked and members of Al-Qaeda begin laying down suppressive fire. Lt. Foster is constantly giving worried looks on screen as her love interest Lt. Green leads the team. Some members of the crew get atop the roof, and while Lt. Green explodes the door, they shoot down the terrorists. The crew gets out just in time for their oxygen to run out, and are safe from breathing in the deadly airborne virus. A member of the team gets shot though, as one of the Al-Qaeda is not dead. Since the other doctor is helping out the refueling team, Dr. Scott volunteers to go to triage on the beach even though the commander gave specific orders for her to stay aboard the ship. She saves the wounded man’s life in a dramatic scene where the soldier’s blood pressure is dropping rapidly as Dr. Scott tries to clamp his artery shut.
In the food warehouse there is a massive firefight filled with grenades, explosions and headshots. The enemy captures Tex and Commander Chandler uses his microphone to talk to XO Slattery, who is in charge aboard The Last Ship. Slattery smartly realizes the commander needs a diversion. Chandler uses another clichéd line saying although this may be a new world there is still something that remain the same, “we do not negotiate with terrorists.” The line is slightly ironic in the wake of the Bergdahl trade for a handful of Taliban terrorists. As Commander Chandler says those words, Slattery calls for the 5-inch guns to explode the southwest portion of the warehouse, causing a diversion and enabling the team to take out the Al-Qaeda. Tex, played by John Pyper-Ferguson, recently on Alphas, decides to joins the crew aboard the Nathan James.
The Russian makes an excuse to stay in port saying something got knocked over and he needs to secure and calibrate the medical machines before they leave, which gives time for what was thought to be an English battleship to come near. Once it is close enough, the crew realizes the ship is Russian and episode two of The Last Ship on TNT ends with the Nathan James in the sights of the Russian battleship and their commander saying he believes they have something he is looking for.
By B. Taylor Rash