How much can the rank and file trust the captain with all that’s going on?
What They Say:
Lockdown – Panic spreads throughout the ship when Lt. Danny Green comes down with a mysterious illness. Chandler begins to lose faith in Rachel’s vaccine trials.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Last Ship gave us a little more time on land the last time around with a hunt for some monkeys for Rachel to work some trials on, but it ended up spending a good bit of time with a former drug lord that was building up his own little empire with some of the survivors in an area that hadn’t been infected much yet. There’s some decent aspects to it as it goes on and as we see the way the men did what they felt was right in the situation to help out those that were trapped, but it was done in a way that just felt a bit awkward and forced. While the bigger picture advanced with the monkeys, the main focus was showing how some were surviving, some weren’t and the moral side of the Navy men and how far they’d go to put things right.
As time wears on with the series, the lower level troops are starting to feel a bit more out of the loop as time goes on, especially as they know things are going badly out in the world but they’re not really hearing it. It’s an interesting balance that has to be found, especially in light of what they went through in Nicaragua, as the command level has to take the weight and burden of what’s going on and bear it for all of them while the crew needs hope. But what we’re seeing is that the little information that’s coming, and the slow to minimal progress that Rachel is making, is keeping them from feeling like they have much hope. Especially when most of your worry is over your families and loved ones that you’ve not heard from in months. That’s making it difficult for everyone all around and Chandler is finding that he has to start really taking it seriously and getting them something to hope and focus towards.
He does provide them hope with the vaccine she’s working on, and telling them that they’re heading back to their home port with the idea that the vaccine will be finished by then, but you can see the danger in his statements clearly since it’s black and white with no real grey. Amusingly, we do see that some of those on the ship can understand what it is that the captain is doing and kind of get it but also be a bit frustrated by it as well. They’re probably not as frustrated as Rachel though as her trials are working through a lot of monkeys quickly and not coming up with the right results. Some of the problem is that there’s a disconnect between military and science over meanings when it comes to where things stand as Rachel has hope, but understands there’s a lot of setbacks. Chandler just seems either it working ot not and took her meaning as it would work, hence providing the kind of hope he did.
So having things slow down a bit certainly offers up more questions for the crew to ask, especially as the monkeys keep dying – sometimes faster than expected. What makes things even worse is that while the ship is basically idling for awhile, Danny ends up coming down with something that has taken him down pretty hard. It’s not the virus since that’s a whole other thing in how it infects and attacks its host, but this still sets a fair panic among those that are realizing what’s going on. A mystery illness is bad enough in general, put it in the middle of an epidemic like this and the mind just takes it up several levels. To complicate things even more, we see that as discreet as Rachel has been in disposing of the monkeys, she’s still been seen and that’s starting to make its way around as well.
While all of that is resolved fairly easily, it’s part of the overall buildup of distrust towards leadership that is growing among the crew when it comes to the vaccine. It’s interesting to see it play out like it does since that distrust grows in different quarters, mutates and expands as it connects with other people that have their own issues. And Chandler has his distrust as well of Rachel considering what was hid from him and the crew the whole time they were in the arctic. It doesn’t help that some of all of this gets back to Quincy as well and he’s able to nudge things along his own path to trying to find a way to get out of his being held prisoner. All the tensions build well, though it doesn’t really feel like there’s a true threat going on here, but it’s the kind of slow build that’s going over the lack of being told what’s going on. What Chandler does is a bit risky in its own way, but I rather like that he finally made it clear what’s going on in the world and what it is that they’re really doing to try and find a cure. Shining a little light on things can help and while this may not be the standard procedure in the normal world, in a world like this it certainly makes sense. And it also nudges her relationship with Chandler a bit in a better direction, but it also ties the two of them closer together in terms of goals.
While there is a bit of material towards the end about a group that was looking to jump ship based on the lack of information they were getting, which is what prompted the whole sunshine moment, what we largely get with this episode is a story that focuses on putting Chandler in his place to really understand the differences in how a normal command works and how a command in this new world works. While most of the old rules will work and stick when it comes to discipline, hierarchy and the structure overall, there’s a different kind of communication – and respect – that has go to go both ways between command and crew in how they move forward. There’s a lot at stake here and trust is critical in achieving the mission. While tensions will certainly ramp up again, it’s easy to see that trust if more fully forged now.