Last Resort S01E11 Recap: 'Damn The Torpedoes'

There are three episodes of Last Resort remaining as it inches closer to cancellation, and things are getting absolutely crazy. We've been anticipating it since ABC put the kibosh on the show, but even with few people interested and really no reason do anything differently until the final episode, Shawn Ryan is proving that he can still make some great television.

The last original episode nearly a month ago may have been the series' best in its short run. "Damn the Torpedoes" vehemently outshined it by giving us a near non-stop pace, endless sub-plots that covered just about everything in the show (save for Jessy Schram, who went MIA after she was abducted and presumed dead by Sam last week), and the best of what made the few of us that watched the show fall in love with it (the tense sub scene).

In the episode, a Chinese cargo ship is heading towards the island unprotected to delivered supplies to the embargoed inhabitants and the crew of the Colorado, but embargo means that they won't be able to get through. An American warship is right in its path, and Chaplin must go out to calm the situation. "Calm" is the last word that should be used to describe the situation though, as monsoon-levels of winds and rain is arriving to the island.

The captain of the opposing ship tells Chaplin that he's studied his career and doesn't think that he'd fire on other Americans, but of course the captain doesn't know what Chaplin has been through or what he's now capable of. But Chaplin obviously doesn't want to kill them, so James and Grace work on reducing the payload to one of their torpedoes, hoping to cripple the ship and not destroy it. It comes to the absolute final second and even against the original behest of Chaplin's orders, but they get it done and the ship leaves, allowing the cargo ship to continue to land. But Chaplin isn't happy that Grace disobeyed his orders, and he lets her know, but she responds that the rules have changed out on the island.

And they definitely have, as back in a road house on Santa Marina, some of the crew are convening to discuss a potential mutiny. They compare it to Bin Laden and even suggest killing Chaplin. The COB is listening, but Sam soon arrives (after yelling at Sophie and telling Chaplin he's quitting while morning what he thinks to be his wife's death), leaving them on a chase. He eventually gets into a fight with the COB, and they hole up in some house to ride out the storm, while COB airs his grievances, telling Sam that he needs to be back home if things are going down the way they're supposed to. Eventually things settle down, and Sam decides to go back to Chaplin, because as the COB put it, Chaplin is like a father to him and he respects Sam more than he might know. But things are definitely brewing, and Sam's likely playing both sides.

Back in Washington, the coup is going down, and the organizers have called upon the Speaker of the House (Ernie Hudson) to inform him of the plan, show him the proof, and tell him that since the president and VP will have to step down, he'll be the new head of state. It's crazy, and there are people against it, but it's going down. Even the secret service is on board with the condition that the military treat the POTUS with any remaining dignity they might be able to offer. There's a general who still protests, and he winds up dead when he tries to leave, at the hands of the secret service no less, because that's what it might have to take.

Finally, in a few other developments on the island, Sophie is forced to team up with Serrat with the whole rich minerals thing and Serrat goes to the Asian guy to see if he's interested, and Cortez reveals herself to Chaplin and her orders to kill him, but she decides not to.

While there was a lot to get through this week and little time to do it, the show still managed to present everything in a concise and clear manner, to the point where I was impressed, as one of my gripes with the show early on was that it often confused its own subplots and made things hard to follow. This wasn't the case here, as it got things done and got them done well.

I've said since the beginning that the best scenes are on the boat, when Chaplin has to diffuse a seemingly impossible situation. We got a lot of that with this week's "sub encounter of the week", and enough to continue the main plot elsewhere. Chaplin's descent into insanity continued on all fronts, as he was faced with the tough decision of firing on his own, of dealing with Sam and Grace as well as Cortez. But through it all he still manages to be an absolute boss.

In that vain the theme of the episode seemed to be change and how the characters were being changed by their time on the island. Even though we know that Christine isn't dead, Sam was changed by the death of his wife. Chaplin's being changed by every passing thing that happens to him. Kylie is definitely changing as she gets the blood of a dead general splattered on her arm and face. And with only a couple of episodes left, things are only going to continue to change.

Of course it may seem pointless with the show already cancelled, but in these situations I always say to think of these shows like miniseries. And with enough time, Shawn Ryan and his staff have definitely allowed Last Resort to give itself a good and proper ending with what's turned out to be consistent storytelling, even if that was a product of its own cancellation. I've never been more excited for two episodes of a cancelled show before, because I don't remember a show (other than maybe Awake last year), and I know that it will deliver. Last Resort has been thrilling and so entertaining. Damn the Torpedoes? More like damn the executives that cancelled this great action show.

"Damn the Torpedoes" gets 9 military coups out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • Sometimes I wonder how much of all this we would have gotten by now. It's clear that the show has been moving at a much faster, borderline furious pace since the announcement of its cancellation. I bet we'd barely still be at like episode 8's events. It's almost like a double-edged sword. The show wouldn't have gotten this good if it wasn't cancelled, but it couldn't have if it wasn't.
  • So the island has "rare earth metals", whatever that means, and the show is filmed on the same island as "Lost". Fill in the blanks.
  • Pretty good work on the visual effects during the fight scenes on sea, credit where credit is due to the post team at Last Resort.
  • "Damn the Torpedoes" is either a reference to a quote by an Admiral Farragut from the American Civil War, or a reference to a Tom Petty album. Either way, it's a great title.
  • I enjoyed the torpedo sequence with James motioning for 3 minutes, Grace telling Chaplin 2 and Chaplin giving them only 1.
  • "I’m just a bachelorette looking for Mr. Right Way Out Of This Suckhole." -- Is Robert Patrick the greatest person on TV or what?
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