The Last Ship (S04E03) "Bread and Circuses"

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Last week’s episodic narrative comes to an end in the latest episode of The Last Ship. Whilst the format begins half focused on the Nathan James crew and half on Tom Chandler, by the end of the episode, Chandler is reunited with the crew, to both his and their surprise after his 16-month absence. As soon as the episode picks up, the team is continuing to pursue its hunt for the seeds. The seeds, we’ve learnt, are crucial to restoring healthy crops, as a virus mutation has allowed staple food sources to become infected, leaving the world on the verge of falling into global starvation.

Once again the ground crew is undercover, seeking more information on Mahmoud with the hope this will lead in the direction of seeds, as well as Omar himself. Initially, Cooper, Kandie, Green, Wolf, Fletcher and Burk are received with hostility, and they struggle to extract any new information. They are more successful after showing the shop keeper images of Mahmoud’s murdered body and reminding him of the danger which Mahmoud’s family is in. We then see Omar himself in the area.

Meanwhile, Tom wakes up beside Lucia at Giorgio’s home, where Giorgio recruits him as part of his “team”, as a fighter, predominately. Tom, having stolen Lucia’s necklace, sneaks into Giorgio’s office to snoop. As an audience, we would be fools to believe his loyalties lie heavily with Georgio after witnessing their passive-aggressive conversation and subsequent prying.

Returning to the mission, Sasha soon realizes Omar is already there and takes leadership of the team, splitting the crew up in an attempt to surround the target. Omar has come to retrieve the seeds himself from Mahmoud’s grandmother who, we know as an audience, is in possession of the so-desired seeds. He becomes angry in search of them, and before Green can take a shot, Omar moves, compromising the crew’s ability to stop him. He is able to find the seeds and begins to leave. When the team continues to be unsuccessful in getting the shot at Omar–which is ultimately made impossible as he is surrounded by children–Sasha, exhibiting clearly once again the intense strength and bravery she has, decides to take a chance, and improvises. Presenting such girl power is so important in a show like this, as the Navy remains so heavily male-dominated. Women in the military and the groups that work alongside them, are too often overlooked. Sasha, amongst the other females, both present and past, serves as a reminder of the crucial need of women in these roles. Alongside this, the crew contains members of various marginalized groups, which asserts the importance of diversity in this particular dynamic, and society itself. (That being said, there is, without doubt, room on the show for an increase in the diversity represented!) Returning to the narrative, Sasha’s cover is not believed, and she is pushed in pain to the ground by Omar’s men. He leaves and the team is left with nothing.

Or so we think. We soon see that she has placed a tracker on Omar’s helicopter, showing herself, in my opinion, to be the real source of strength within the crew, particularly this episode. The crew prepares to follow Omar to Sardinia, where we are immediately able to read between the lines and figure that this is where the crew will cross paths with Tom, who is traveling in the same direction on Giorgio’s yacht. He later offers Omar 10 million for the seeds; they negotiate a deal.

At Giorgio’s fight, the crew are shocked to see the presence of “Hercules,” or as they know him, Chandler, who is equally as surprised when the man who offers to fight him is his very own former second-in-command, Slattery. They converse while fighting, and subsequently, Tom assists the crew in obtaining the seeds and getting away. But in doing this he exposes his cover to Lucia, who manages to escape, but not before she stabs Slattery. The episode cliffhanger lies in Tom reuniting with the crew on the coastline, with the absence of Slattery. We can only assume they will head back in to rescue him when next week’s episode begins.

All in all, I found the episode simpler than the earlier two. With Sasha undeniably having a strong lead for much of it, she is the standout character of the episode. Slattery also presented a somewhat different persona this week. Perhaps it was the changed dynamic of seeing him out on land as a part of Vulture Team. It was refreshing to witness him as an individual this week in the overall togetherness and teamwork of the crew. I’m genuinely very intrigued by this year’s storyline and interested to see what will follow, as a result of the crew and the enemies they now have on their back for those seeds!