Just when you thought “They can’t possibly force another season out of this,” they do. Case in point: The Last Ship. I’ve actually enjoyed the past three-seasons-worth of exploits from Tom Chandler and his crew, fighting antagonists in a virus-ridden world. The plot was well-written and very precisely planned to have all the different plotlines and stories fall together in the last few episodes. Great action, great acting… Just great overall. Season four: not as much.
Having defeated the virus in season 3, the crew of the USS Nathan James now faces a new threat. The virus has mutated and now attacks all plantlife. Crops succumb to the so-called Red Rust, and worldwide famine comes knocking. The intrepid seamen have to save the world once more, this time by saving a container of jurassic seeds, which should be immune to Red Rust. Problem is: they’re not the only ones after the seeds, and Captain Chandler is AWOL.
I eagerly popped in disc one of the three disc set, and was thrust in the action almost immediately. The crew is already in talks with a thief about getting the seeds, when they are ambushed. Various new crewmembers pop up and help save the day.
Seeds? What seeds? Why is Chandler in Greece? And why is he posing as a fisherman? I glanced over to mrs. NxG, and was relieved to see her looking almost as bewildered as me.
Clearly, we must have skipped over an episode!
Thus was not the case.
The season really starts off this confusing. To be fair, the first episode is called “In Medias Res”, but this seems a bit much. Seems more like shoddy writing, really. I can imagine the head writer going: “Prologue? Don’t feel like writing one. Just start off with the action, call it in medias res and be done with it. No, no need to explain where the newcomers are from either. And put Tom Chandler in Greece. With his kids, yeah. And a new girlfriend. Then have him leave them on a whim somewhere in episode 2.”
Honestly, it all feels a bit rushed.
Same goes for editing and pacing. I get you’d want some fast-paced editing for action sequences, but don’t overdo it. Action sequences are intercut with non-action sequences from Chandler’s superfluous subplot (He’s a gladiator now. Don’t ask.) It just feels messy.
I’m still watching, though. I’ve invested some sweet time in the first three seasons and things haven’t gotten to a point where I don’t care about these characters anymore.
Plus there’s guest star Peter Weller who makes everything enjoyable. So season 4 gets a pass, even though it’s not as good as the three previous seasons. Not even close.
Let’s just hope season 5 picks up again.
Because yes: they can force yet another season out of this.