The Last Ship (S04E07) "Feast"

Let’s just say I took for granted being able to write up my first 5/6 reviews with all the time in the world. This episode 7 review is coming to you post-my first 2 days of classes after three months off, so my sleep-deprived self will do my best to give you a good write up of the episode as well as attempting to thoroughly and coherently share my thoughts on it. I’m off my game seeing as I usually get my reviews up on Monday morning at the latest – so thanks for reading if it’s Tuesday and you’re here regardless of the delay!
The episode begins with a reminder of the Nathan James’ losses last week… not only the seeds, but the deeper loss they experienced when crew members were killed by Fletcher and Harry. One of those deaths was O’Connor, who’s been on the ship since season one. After witnessing a grieving Burk insisting no loss of the same nature should ever be allowed to occur again, and a predictable kiss between Kathleen and Ray, the episode cuts to the wardroom.
These wardroom conversations between Cooper, Slattery, Meylan, (Fletcher), and now Chandler seem to have become somewhat of a running-theme this season. Within the first five or so minutes of almost every episode we’ve witnessed them discussing recent events as well as somewhat laying out the plan for whatever challenge the crew believe they are embarking on next. This cleverly clarifies the situation to us as viewers. Whilst the theme of the season is clever, it can be confusing at times and this running theme of wardroom discussions is positive in periodically reminding us of the deeper storyline.
In their discussion this week we learn that the the team want to locate and storm Giorgio’s house with the intention of using it to find Vellek’s lab.. We then see Vellek with Giorgio, Lucia, Christos and Fletcher in the lab – fully aware that the NJ are onto Giorgio and very likely heading his way. The room is full of tension, with Vellek expressing once again a disappointment in Giorgio and favouring the mysterious Christos. The god connotations are heavy in this scene, with Vellek continuing to play all-powerful. These overtones are strengthened when Christos tosses Fletcher a medallion engraved with the symbol of Christ. Cleverly, ‘Christos’ means the son of God, and I’m intrigued as to whether we’ll see this medallion again and what it may mean in the bigger picture.
This next paragraph is getting a little overly-analytical perhaps, so skip over it if you have no interest in the literature connotations that I was personally intrigued by.
I failed to mention last week that Vellek’s playing-god further strengthened the links between Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and this season. The episode Tempest itself was rife with betrayal connotations tying it back to Shakespeare’s final play. We can very strongly link Vellek to the character of Prospero, seeking to be all-powerful and in control. Prospero uses his magic to control and manipulate those on the island while Vellek uses his science to do the same. Moreover, Vellek has three children, much like Prospero with his daughter and two servants who are often interpreted as two further offspring-type characters. Prospero cherises his daughter Miranda, much like Vellek and Christos. We can thus link Lucia to Ariel, cared about by Prospero but with a lightly tense relationship at times – Ariel is crucial in Prospero carrying out his plans. This leaves Giorgio as Caliban: the outcast, the unloved, and the one who never receives a shred of gratitude for anything he does for Prospero. This ties back into the recent episode as Giorgio multiple times leaves the room feeling under-appreciated and overlooked. Now if these Shakespeare connotations are at all intentional – will Giorgio get sick of Vellek’s power and turn against him like Caliban did? (I’m likely entirely reaching here, but this is just one of many ‘The Tempest’ links I personally drew from the episode!)
Returning to the summary, Chandler is able to locate Giorgio’s mansion and they set a plan to storm his home. Meanwhile Giorgio announces his plan to throw a huge party at the mansion – destined to complicated things for the crew.  We subsequently see the British cut off direct communications with Fletcher, praising him before leaving him high and dry. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to this.
After a tense scene between Vellek and the Greek admiral regarding Vellek’s deal with the British, we cut back to Vulture Team approaching the mansion and learning of Giorgio’s party… this complicates the crews ability to isolate him. That is until Azima steps in with a plan… proving she has badass ability in not only her combat skills. The woman knows how to use ALL her strengths to get what she wants. Stripping down to her bikini-like underwear, Azima flirts her way into Giorgio’s bedroom, where Sasha is able to step in and put a gun to his head.
Azima finally got the screentime we’ve been waiting to see this week, and she killed it. This multi-dimensional female-portrayal is the sort of thing that needs to be seen on TV. Female sexuality does not exist with the sole purpose of male gratification and a woman’s sexuality is a superpower of it’s own. Azima proves that sexuality and confidence can truly be used to her own gain as she manipulates the male gaze to her own (the teams) advantage. When it comes to sexuality, even female characters who are at all other times portrayed as headstrong and independent are too often reduced to nothing more than submissive and subject to the male gaze so this was hugely refreshing and a major burst of girl-power.
Sasha, Azima and Tom are able to hold Giorgio in his office while they access his documents. Tech-savvy Sasha uploads the data to the NJ while Tom discovers that as one of Giorgio’s fighters he was merely a guinea-pig in a greater experiment carried out by Vellek. We’ll later learn more about this wider experiment…
Things become complicated when a very-alive Omar (who was earlier shot /to death/ by Giorgio) storms the mansion with his men, likely seeking both payback for the shooting and the 20 million dollar debt he is owed. For us as viewers it was made relatively clear that we hadn’t seen the last of Omar a few weeks ago, but I can’t say I predicted his arrival whilst watching the episode on Sunday night. Shortly afterwards, the crew fight off Omar’s men and Burk leaves an explosive device behind (…likely the last of Omar for real this time) Burk mutters that the explosion is “a gift from the Burk brothers” – his own form of ironic payback for the injuries Cameron Burk sustained in Omar’s explosion at the start of the season. Giorgio is however able to escape the crew’s control.
It becomes clear from the files obtained at the mansion that Vellek was seeking aggressive men to test his Nostos on, to verify that it can pacify even the angriest of individuals. It is reinforced that Vellek is seeking to be all-powerful, cultivating the red rust weakened the world and the seeds give him ultimate power over the famine-struck global society. To ensure he can hold such power and control, Nostos will allow him to weaken all opponents. We shortly afterwards see that Vellek has drugged the Greek admiral to a point of complete complicity in all that he is instructed by Vellek to do.
Before the end of the episode the NJ are finally able to trace the location of Vellek’s lab to a ship, and we see the first crack in Vellek’s shell. He knows they will be on their way to him soon and perhaps for the first time feels truly threatened.
All in all I have little to fault this week. In some respects I found myself less drawn in by this episode, but essentially it was well-written and performed. A stand-out positive for me personally was that I found it much less cryptic than previous episodes and it was very easy to understand clearly what was going on without the need for any rewatching. I can’t finish this review without mentioning how much I loved the return of Sasha’s wit/sass and the “terrible taste in men” one-liner was brilliant. You only have to read a few of my reviews to know how great I think Sasha is, but the stand-out for me this week was undeniably Jodie Turner-Smith as Azima – proving girls can be badass in more ways than one. Ahead of episode 8 I’m very intrigued to learn why Christos is so important to Vellek and what part he plays in the larger scheme of things, but it’s only two weeks until the season finale so we’ll finally have all our answers soon.
If anyone’s made it this far I appreciate it massively! This was a tough one to write with such little spare time. I feel as though I shared less thoughts/personal opinions this week and I hope that didn’t have too negative of an effect overall, so thanks for reading and as always I’m always interested to hear others views or general feedback on mine!