The Last Ship (S04E04) "Nostros"

This weeks Slattery-centric episode began immediately where we left off in episode 3. Last week we saw Slattery separated from the crew, and to make things worse — he has the heavily-in-demand seeds… not to mention his ability to both protect the seeds and return to the crew is massively limited by injury, a stab wound inflicted last week by Lucia after she found out Chandler’s real identity. Thus, the episode follows the Nathan James’ crew as they attempt to locate Slattery.
The usually rock-solid team effort is somewhat strained this week, as the normal team have a /new/ edition in the form of Tom Chandler. This creates immediate tension as Tom questions the ability of Fletcher, British Royal Navy commander, and MI6 agent working with the NJ… and latest beau of Chandler’s ex, Sasha Cooper.
“Who are you? Who is he [Fletch]?”
“Part of the team that’s been saving the world for the past year.”
That being said, despite being partial cause of the tension between Chandler and ‘Fletch’, Cooper is by no means merely a love interest and she ‘captains’ the team effort once again this week, absolutely refusing to take any nonsense from Tom. (Who isn’t here for the strong independent women on this show, honestly?)
In summary, the episode continues to show the crew fighting both Giorgio’s and Omar’s men for the seeds and Slattery himself. Giorgio shoots to kill his hired Omar towards the end of the episode, but we see shortly afterwards that he is still alive, and no doubt we’ll see what happens there soon. Meanwhile, we are given an insight into Slattery’s backstory as he sees his life and happiest memories flash before his eyes; we witness idyllic family moments between him and his wife & children. This character backstory is something we have been getting less and less of as we’ve moved through the 4 seasons so it was nice to see a touch of personal development amongst all the action.
To no surprise, the crew are successful and manage to return to the ship with Slattery able to get medical attention, and with the seeds in hand. We see Tom step aboard the ship for the first time in almost a year and a half, and his expression suggests he is seeing how insignificant his absence has been. The crew have continued to save the world without him. That being said, the scene was hugely nostalgic with the music accompaniment of Tom Wait’s ‘Shiver Me Timbers’, and the lack of dialogue. The title phrase of ‘Shiver Me Timbers’ is a (pirate) literary device attributed to text to express annoyance or shock – which makes it rather perfect for this scene. There appeared throughout the episode to be varying attitudes from the crew regarding Tom’s return. Sasha will not let him slide back into his former role after abandoning them. Nolan too at the end of the episode exhibits clearly her anger. While others, most clearly Master Chief, salute (both figuratively and literally) Tom’s return.
Tom is disheartened to see Sasha with Fletcher, but many TLS viewers I interact with feel exactly the same way as I do on this one: Sasha moved on, Tom let her down and she didn’t put her life on hold when he left. Sasha has, in recent episodes especially, represented female strength. She may be the woman in this developing love triangle, but she is, as aforementioned in this review and those that came before it, by no means merely a love interest. She absolutely makes her own decisions, and uses her abilities to save others, refusing to be suppressed because of her gender. She has undeniably led the crew so far this season.
Tom exhibits very little respect for women, which is difficult to watch as a female viewer of the show. I know how these things go, and I know that the central straight white man will get what he wants in the end and be heralded a huge hero no matter the path he takes to get it. That being said, he might not be my favourite character, but I do believe Tom cares about saving the world and I hope we’ll see him back in that mindset again soon. It is relatively inevitable that Tom & Sasha will reunite romantically, and I hope the way Sasha has been written (as this badass empowering female) won’t quiver when she is written back into a /relationship/ with Tom. With two lead female writers on this show and the way she has been written so far this season, I absolutely believe she will continue to take none of his cr*p, and will reunite with him on her own terms.
That calls into question Fletcher. Firstly, it is not a rarity for the British guy amongst Americans on US TV shows to turn out the bad guy, and we can deepen this theory on various levels. He’s new this season, and although he has so far been a nice addition to the crew, we do wonder what element of the plot he was brought in to advance. So far he’s not been of any crucial purpose so that’s an indication that something could be up? Furthermore, he’s in the way of the show’s central relationship, so we know somehow he’ll make his way out of the picture, and moreover, I have not seen actor Johnny Howard’s presence on the show’s set in any BTS pictures since filming season 4. Finally, at the end of the episode, Dr. Vellek can be seen in his lab, with Giorgio and Lucia, and whoever they are joined by (totally missed his identity if it was given to us) asserts “There may be another way to get our seeds”. We know from former comments that Lucia and Giorgio do not trust Fletcher, so if he’s an insider, that was carried out over their heads. (Spoiler!) A friend even pointed out to me that we saw Fletcher in an early TLS Promo in Vellek’s lab… So perhaps he really is working for the other side, but maybe I’m entirely wrong and I guess that all remains to be seen!
All in all, I liked the episode and I’m still very much enjoying the the plot this season. Slattery was clearly the standout, and there were many small cliffhangers such as Omar’s ‘not-death’ and Vellek’s associates plan for reclaiming the seeds, so we’ll see what happens there next week I’m sure!