The pace continues to accelerate as the finish line approaches, but the storytelling mechanics aren’t always as well-oiled as they could be. The grinding of the gears is audible at a few points during “Blue Water,” which is otherwise another solid, suspenseful hour of Last Resort.
Following Christine’s abduction last week, Sam and James depart the island for Manila, their best guess as to where she’s being held before being transported for rendition. This little jaunt is glossed over in one quick cut between Sam climbing up out of the sub and a shot of beautiful downtown Manila, leaving more than a few questions about how it was accomplished. (Presumably the sub slipped past the blockade, and then Sam and James… what? Swam to the Philippines? Rowed a raft? Hitched a ride with Jeff Probst on the way to the Survivor set?) Once there, they meet with Wes, an old buddy of King’s, who has ditched the military for life off the grid with his wife and son.
In another rapid-fire series of events, Wes directs Sam and James to a casino where some sort of local kingpin happens to know exactly where Christine is being held. (We can guess from the revelation at the end of the episode that this was all a setup on Wes’ part, but it’s still all too convenient.) Before the hour is even half-over, Sam and James are rolling gas canisters down a hallway and spiriting Christine away from her cell.
If the trip from the sub to Manila stretched credulity, how about Hopper’s sudden appearance at Kylie’s door in Washington, DC? All right, so Navy SEALs have special skills and can get in and out of hot spots and all of that, but that generally only works if they’ve still got the support of the US military. I’m telling myself Hopper had a dead-drop bag stuffed with cash and fake passports and such stashed away somewhere near the island (similar to what we later see with King), but again, why am I having to rationalize these things when one of the show’s main strengths is its attention to detail in the various covert missions undertaken by the Colorado crew? Think of that lengthy, nail-biting sequence with the sub attempting to make its way back to the beach undetected in “Eight Bells.” It would have lasted about eight seconds in tonight’s episode.
Still, I can’t complain too much about the show taking a few shortcuts when time is running out so quickly—and when “Blue Water” had so much to recommend it. For you romantic types, that would include the reunion of Sam and Christine (that is, unless you’re more of a Sam/Sophie shipper). I was glad there wasn’t much in the way of soap opera drama over Christine’s farewell kiss to Paul. She said there was nothing to it, and Sam believed her, and that was that. But I’m sure no one believed for a second they were going to run off to Bali and live happily ever. That decision was pretty much a written guarantee that she’d be blown up in a van five minutes later—or at least, appear to be blown up in a van.
The on-island action finds Andre Braugher playing to his strengths as The Negotiator. A Chinese envoy named Zheng offers food and supplies in exchange for permission to fly the Chinese flag. It’s a double-edged sword, as are so many of the decisions Marcus has faced over the course of the series. They need the food, and the Chinese presence ensures the U.S. can’t attack without starting a war with China. But it doesn’t serve Marcus’ position to be seen as a puppet for a foreign government. The only other real option is to accept the help of Serrat, but that’s even harder for Marcus to stomach. I have to admit, I figured Marcus would come up with a third resolution—some sort of unforeseen cop-out—but in the end, he accepted Zhang’s help and the Chinese flag now flies over Sainte Marina.
And finally, the COB made his return, six days later and looking quite a bit the worse for wear. He hasn’t spilled his guts yet, but after some more unlikely bonding with Grace, I’m guessing she’ll get the full story out of him sooner than later. Not too soon, though. It’s going to be a while before we get any resolution on tonight’s events, as Last Resort is now on winter hiatus until January 10th. Given that ABC cancelled it weeks ago, I guess we should be happy we’re getting the last three episodes at all.
- Not to the belabor the point, but Sam and James made their return to island even more easily than they made their escape. How did they get back in past the blockade without the sub?
- Of course, Christine made it out of the van before it blew up, but she’s out of the frying pan and into the fire now that Wes has her in captivity. I’m starting to have flashbacks to Kim Bauer on 24.
- “You took advantage of me. I understand.” Good to have the COB back.