500 feet beneath the ocean’s surface, the U.S. ballistic missile submarine Colorado receives their orders. Over a radio channel, designed only to be used if their homeland has been wiped out, they’re told to fire nuclear weapons at Pakistan.
Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) demands confirmation of the orders only to be unceremoniously relieved of duty by the White House. XO Sam Kendal (Scott Speedman) finds himself suddenly in charge of the submarine and facing the same difficult decision. When he also refuses to fire without confirmation of the orders, the Colorado is targeted, fired upon, and hit. The submarine and its crew find themselves crippled on the ocean floor, declared rogue enemies of their own country. Now, with nowhere left to turn, Chaplin and Kendal take the sub on the run and bring the men and women of the Colorado to an exotic island. Here they will find refuge, romance and a chance at a new life, even as they try to clear their names and get home.
We put Last Resort to the three episode test. I am a fan of Andre Braugher, and it looked interesting. I am always game for a good political drama. My initial assessment of the show came out fifty-fifty, questioning the staying power of tension in the series.
With any good thriller tension is the key and it is the challenge for the writer. Tension is a balancing act between keeping your audience’s attention, while also requiring them to come back for more. An example of a successful series able to master this high wire act was the fox series 24. Keifer Sutherland has become forever identified with his creation of the always-out-of-breath, intense Jack Bauer and was the key to keeping the tension high and tight every week.
We watched three episodes of Last Resort. The three episode test is meant to give every new show a fair shot. Like most books if you can’t grab me in three chapters (or episodes) I am moving on.
Last Resort has almost all of the elements for a thrilling hit. Set against the controversial political backdrop of a crumbling US, the submarine captain and his crew face the struggle between military ingrained blind faith and the basic human instinct to survive. The writers peel away to reveal the threat of mutiny from within, unprovoked nuclear warfare, an island ruled by a warlord, and dueling agendas from all sides of the fence.
After the first episode I was intrigued, and after the second unfortunately I was less impressed. Something wasn’t connecting, and then there was the third. This episode was the reminder of why it is called the three episode test.
The show stepped up and I took notice. The lack of intensity in the second episode was a let-down. There was tension, but obviously not enough if I was ready to throw in the towel.
The third episode kicked up the adrenaline and solidified the story. It showed the extent the show is willing to go for the sake of drama, and it changed my mind. I do have some concern in regards to the number of plot lines going consecutively. It may be too much to keep track of and become frustrating.
I will say, I am in for now. Fingers crossed the show keeps its momentum.
Last Resort is on ABC, check local listings for time and channel.