The Last Ship (S04E06) “Tempest”

To label this episode as intense would be an understatement. After last week’s uneventful and slow moving storyline, Sunday nights ‘Tempest’ lived up to the chaotic connotations of its name.
Compared to last week this will prove a much more positive review, but I definitely found it more difficult to formulate my thoughts coherently. I’d love you to read on and give me some feedback/share your opinions with me! As you’d expect, the episode took place within a violent storm, and as aforementioned, the situation inside the ship was equally as turbulent as the tempest weathering outside.
Before everything erupts, the episode begins with Vellek and the Greek admiral engaged in a tense conversation regarding the importance of Vellek obtaining the seeds. Meanwhile, unknowing to the turbulence soon to occur, we see the NJ’s 3 captains and Sasha Cooper in the wardroom, discussing their solid-plan to get the ever-so-crucial seeds off of the James and back in the direction of the States on a plane, personally escorted by Cooper. For now, things seem to be going well… We can’t miss the irony in Slattery thanking Fletcher on behalf of the USA, exclaiming the debt in which he is owed for supporting the US Navy.
It becomes clear that Fletcher is not entirely willing to carry out the mission that he was set in last weeks episode – something we suspected even then. He has become somewhat loyal to the US crew and evidently just wants for the seeds to end up in the right hands. The right hands being whomever can successfully end the worldwide famine. In seeing his doubt, his associate Harry uses various methods to sway Fletcher on side, drawing on both his patriotism and loyalty to Britain, as well as threatening to harm or kill members of the crew (naming Sasha specifically). So it is perhaps this combination that drives Fletcher to betray the team he has spent close to a year and a half working with, as it is evident that he is not entirely committed to the actions he is taking. Having done my fair-share of studying Shakespeare throughout my school years, I can’t help but wonder if alongside the allusions throughout the entire season to “The Odyssey”, that this episode itself contains deliberate connotations to further literature, in the form of Shakespeare’s final play, “The Tempest” – with it’s heavy themes of betrayal.
Aside from the central storyline of Fletcher’s deception, we see some small character-on-character developments. Wolf and Azima’s relationship being one. I’m totally behind this pairing, they make a pretty kickass duo. We also witness a conversation between Sasha and Tom regarding Fletcher and raising the question of Tom’s jealousy. This is all foreboding their reunion, but you’ve heard me spill my thoughts on that relationship plenty over the past few weeks, so hit up my last review here if you’re at all interested in how I feel about those two. (Note: I do have some developments on last weeks discussion of Sasha reaching out to Tom first: Whilst I formerly labelled that as OOC, in retrospect I believe that my initial opinions could be debated and that her going to him first IS doing it on her terms. I’m still no major fan of Tom, and I won’t ever love that scene from last week, but I’m trying to see it in a light that I’m more happy with. Thus, maybe I shouldn’t regard that moment she knocks his door as out of character/merely diminishing her to love interest but rather asserting her own power and using her appeal to her own gain.)
Back to this week, a little before halfway through the episode the crew decide to head straight into the tempest in an attempt to lose the 3 Greek ships in their path. Luckily for them, as Tom well knows, Lucia will not fire at the NJ whilst the seeds are still onboard. However, once in the midst of the storm many of the ship’s system’s don’t run as smoothly – the internal comms malfunctioning being just one example. The lack of communication adds to the havoc already created by the lessened control of the ship amid the chaotic waves. Sasha heads down to assist Kandie, Miller, Burk and Green in balancing the ship with the refugees. This is when Harry fakes a heart attack in order to be taken to medical, where he has learnt the seeds are being kept.
As the storm takes it’s toll, injuring Kara and throwing many others to the floor, the Nathan James manages to lose the Greek. They also finally come to realise that Fletcher did not make a call to the London home office, but rather another ship, which they are able to identify as one of the Greek ships that they’ve encountered already – thus allowing them to recognise Fletcher’s betrayal. By this point Harry has already stolen the seeds and he and Fletcher continue to kill all those in their path.
In the end, after an intense, and rather dizzying (thanks to the spinning camera angles) scene, Fletcher makes away with the seeds, resorting to jumping into the ocean with the hope he’ll make it to Giorgio’s boat. Which we soon see that he does. The crew are left confused, but nothing gets past those brains (there’s a reason they keep saving the world after all.) Tom realises that the British must have cut a side deal with Vellek, and that Harry was planted amongst the refugees with the knowledge that the NJ would stop to rescue them. Sasha doesn’t miss a trick either, and knows there’s no way that Fletcher was playing her all along. Hopefully this knowledge will allow them to assemble a plan to repossess the seeds – which I’m sure in the end they will do. It’s merely a question of how many more bumps there will be along the road. As Miller said himself this week, the Odyssey follows Odysseus’ 10-year struggle to return home after the war, which we can relate to the seeds. The Nathan James crew fought for them, and they successfully obtained them, but now they find themselves amidst an intense struggle to return them home to America.
I found the hairs on my arms standing on end throughout much of the back half of this episode, and the constant intensity had me glued to the screen. Compared to the first 5 episodes of the season, I find myself with less opinions to discuss this week, because I truly enjoyed the episode and struggle to find much to critique. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed 1, 2, 3 & 4 and still managed to provide a meticulous review, so maybe I’m just too in shock after the intensity of that episode to better formulate all my thoughts.
Johnny Howard as Fletcher and Bridget Regan as Sasha undeniably stole the show, both exhibiting immense acting ability. Johnny successfully forces you to repeatedly question his character. I believe the writing here is intended to make us constantly unsure about where Fletch’s true loyalties lie, and right until the very last frame of the episode – I still can’t make up my mind. Did he betray them out of loyalty to Britain, or because he wanted to protect Sasha when Harry threatened to kill her? I mean, we know that Johnny is not expected to be in Season 5, so is this season the last we see of him because he’s really let the NJ go, or will he double cross the British/Greek and end up losing his life? There’s so many ways this can go and I’m excited to see what the last 4 episodes bring. Throughout this season Bridget has portrayed the tough-as-nails side of Sasha, presenting her as the strong, badass and intelligent female she is. In this episode she brought Sasha’s vulnerable side to the forefront – not that being vunerable makes anybody any less badass! – but it was majorly evocative to see Sasha break down in the way she did (Heroes are humans too, after all.) As someone who watches all of her work I may be a little biased, but the wide spectrum of her ability never fails to amaze me.
To conclude, I massively enjoyed the episode and have more faith for the rest of the season than I did a week ago. Major love/gratitude goes to the writers, cast and crew for this episode in particular. Without a shadow of a doubt my favourite this season if not ever. With the double episode finale (reflecting the the double premiere) there’s only three more weeks to go until season 4 is over, and I look forward to seeing where it’s headed.