Three sailors are kidnapped by the local island dictator, leading the Colorado on an errand of criminality.

By Darren Franich
October 12, 2012 at 01:00 AM EDT
Mario Perez/ABC
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Last week’s episode of Last Resort focused on the world around Sainte Marina Island, and the new geopolitical realities emerging from Captain Chaplin’s decision to turn Sainte Marina into a nuclear oligarchy — a “nuclearchy,” if you will. The third episode of Last Resort, conversely, developed the social stratosphere of the Island itself. Suffice it to say that, just a few days into the occupation, things are trending downwards. Sam raced down to the market to break up a fight between irate villagers and exhausted seaman. One sailor had stolen a single banana. The sailor shrugged: “It was a banana. I’m hungry.” Sam insisted that the sailor follow basic rules of law; the sailor angrily stripped down to his skivvies and declared himself a member of the opposition, and was immediately sent to the brig. The COB looked on from his luxurious outdoor prison cell, glowering.

Up at NATO HQ, Captain Chaplin received a call from White House Senior Advisor Straw, who kindly informed him that — so long as he stands in opposition to the United States — his son would not be granted a military funeral. She didn’t outright say that they were going to dress Chaplin’s dead son in sunglasses and re-enact Weekend at Bernie’s II, but the implication was there. Chaplin paid a visit to the COB and tried to explain that they both wanted the same thing: Chaplin facing a court-martial. “You can be the star witness for the prosecution,” Chaplin told the COB. The COB agreed, although Sam doesn’t trust him and Grace keeps waiting for him to hang himself from his shoelaces. There’s some repressed hostility, is what I’m trying to say.

Over at the local watering hole, James noticed one of his poker buddies wearing a watch that used to belong to one of the missing sailors. Those missing sailors, it turns out, have been the personal guests of Mayor Julian. Cortez (the badass chick) and Brannan (the white guy with some massive opinions about hip-hop) were joined at Julian’s table by Seaman Redman, a blank-looking fellow who looked nothing at all like the star of Method & Red, alas. Julian gave the captured sailors a fancy speech about a local 15-year-old boy who died during a skirmish brought about by the Navy infestation. Then he announced his intention to kill one of them. Cortez asked to talk to Julian personally. Later, we saw Cortez return to her fellow sailors. “What did you say?” said Redman. “It’s not what she said,” said Brannan. “It’s what she did.” I’m a bit torn between wondering if the implied sexual assault was handled delicately, or if it was soft-pedaled so completely as to be a bit offensive. Viewers: Your thoughts?

Chaplin paid a visit to Julian, with Sophie playing diplomat. Julian told Chaplin that — if he wanted to see his sailors again — he would need to retrieve something from a boat offshore. Problem: The Great Powers of the outside world are encircling the island in a blockade. Chaplin tried to play Big Stick Teddy Roosevelt and told him: “There’s no need to quarrel. Because if we do: You lose.” Julian responded without fear, explaining that facing off with him would result in “Death by a thousand cuts.” He gave Chaplin a time limit: Sunrise, tomorrow. In the span of a few days, Chaplin has gone from being a respected Navy officer to a rebel dictator to a bagman for a druglord.

Elsewhere on the island: Tani took James on a date to meet her father! They splashed water playfully on each other. Then Tani got in a fight with her father, because her little brother was following in dad’s footsteps and becoming an island warrior, or something. Tani ran off, James followed her, and then they jumped off a waterfall together and playfully splashed each other. It was just like Avatar, except without blue people, which means it was literally just like Fern Gully. I find it hard to not be intrigued by Tani and James, largely because they’re the two wild-card characters on the show — not really affiliated with any side of the island, and very far removed from the Evil Government Conspiracy back in America. Still, I’m not sure if “playful splashing” was the best way to develop their relationship.

Say, speaking of that Evil Government Conspiracy! Kylie was freaking out, anxiously waiting for a man in black with a coma-inducing gun around every corner. But Admiral Shepard told her she was in no danger. She’s the daughter of DC royalty. She’s one of DC’s most eligible bachelorettes. She’s also a parasite, and “This country has made you rich buying your family’s weapons.” So take a stand, Kylie! Kylie did just that. She stood up and asked her boyfriend to ask his Senator to look into the curious case of the Arctic Network. Later that night, a mysterious bald man paid Kylie’s boyfriend a visit. Fans of Shawn Ryan TV shows will note that the mysterious bald man was played by Michael Gaston, who played an utterly amoral lawyer on the great one-season series Terriers. (Aside: Fans of TV arcana might enjoy the fact that Gaston appeared way back on the Sopranos series premiere as a degenerate gambler who owed money to the mob; in Sopranos season 2, Last Resort costar Robert Patrick had a recurring role as a different degenerate gambler who owed money to the mob. End of Aside.) Kylie came home that night to discover that the plans for the top-secret Perseus device had been stolen. The mysterious bald man walked into her apartment…and Kylie said, “Oh, daddy, thank god it’s you!” TWIST, ka-kow!

NEXT: Redman dies at dawn!The Colorado managed to dodge the blockade and pick up a few mysterious briefcases — although along the way, the Perseus device occasionally shut down, before finally giving up the ghost within distance of a pair of destroyers. Exciting submarine action ensued, with the sub dropping down low in an attempt at silent running. “Hear that?” asked the COB, referring to some creaking in the sub’s structure. “She always moans a little at 1300 feet. That’s her G-Spot.” (Pause to imagine Robert Patrick and a nuclear submarine on a date in a nice cocktail restaurant, him drinking a well-poured scotch-and-soda.) After dodging some depth charges, the Colorado found itself in a long underwater canyon. It looked like they’d be lost. Fortunately, radar expert Sophie decided to stay on the island, missing her last chance to set off for the civilized world outside the blockade in the process. She spoke directly to Sam and guided the sub out of the canyon. The conversation between them was remarkably intimate: The camera cut back and forth between them, practically whispering to each other. We should have expected some chemistry between them — Sophie is French, after all, and Speedman is Speedman, after all — but I was surprised just how effective a team they made. (Hey, I prefer Sophie to Angelic Blonde Wife, who was thankfully offscreen this week.)

Unfortunately, the canyon antics kept the Colorado from meeting the dawn deadline. Back at Julian’s estate, he asked Cortez which of the men he should kill. Cortez sputtered. Julian asked Brannan. Brannan barely hesitated: “Take him,” he said, motioning at poor old Red. Julian took Red outside and shot him. This was such an unexpected turn — not just the fact that Julian actually killed one of the sailors, but the fact that both Cortez and Brannan were indicted in that murder — that it supercharged the whole episode. It also gave extra weight to the following scene, when Chaplin met Julian flanked by armed men on all sides. Cortez and Brannan waltzed out. “There’s one more,” said Chaplin. “No there’s not,” said Julian, “You are late.”

Back at NATO, Sam and Sophie were having a dangerous conversation — Sophie was talking about falling for the wrong men, Sam pointed out that his wife really doesn’t like the water — when the COB burst in and delivered the line reading of the episode. “Giddy Up,” he said, throwing a gun Sam’s way. The were planning to storm out and destroy Julian’s compound. Chaplin told them no. It was too dangerous — the equivalent of launching a campaign against a guerilla force. “We will respond to this affront at the time and place of my choosing,” said Chaplin. “Of my choosing.” Meanwhile, Cortez offered Chaplin a slightly revisionist history about the death of Red, claiming that the dead sailor had been giving Julian some funny looks. They drank scotch and watched as Julian led a funeral for the dead 15-year-old boy down the center of town.

Now, I liked this episode, and I liked the idea that — far from descending immediately into Lord of the Flies anarchy — the balance of power on the island has become extremely delicate, with Julian as a kind of populist hero who is too powerful to kill. Still, I have to ask: Do you buy the fact that a crew of heavily-armed, nuclear-equipped sailors didn’t just immediately set off to destroy the band of island criminals who killed one of their men? And for that matter, how does letting Julian walk around free help Chaplin in the long run? It almost seems like Chaplin is still attempting to run the island with some vague form of democracy — one wonders how long that will last.

Fellow viewers, what did you think of this episode? Fascinated by all the island politics? Wondering what all that stuff with Tani’s father was about? Curious to see if there is any woman on the face of the earth that Scott Speedman doesn’t have chemistry with?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich

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