The Last Ship Episode 4 recap: “We’ll Get There”

Episode 4 of The Last Ship, “We’ll Get There,” opens with a happy flashback of Captain Tom’s happy family, reminding us that there was a world before the apocalypse. It’s a nice moment and very humanizing for our intrepid captain followed by a heartbreaking scene in which the XO reveals how much he’s struggling with the news of his son’s death. Rachel needs Quincy to do Super Important Science Stuff but he’s furious with her (recap: his family is probably dead because they wouldn’t turn Earth’s only hope over to a group of renegade Russians) and they have a huge fight. He accuses her of being high on her own drama, with “no skin in the game” of that saving the entire human race and she claims he has no idea what she’s lost. This scene would greatly benefit from some previous character building but since we know absolutely nothing about Rachel other than her status as Earth’s hero it’s hard to defend her as an audience member. In a final, tense moment, the ship’s engines give out and our characters are plunged into the dark. Cut to commercial.


Returning from the break, we learn the engine filters were broken in the escape from Gitmo and that the engines and all but one of the generators have overheated. They manage to keep Dr. Scott’s lab running to maintain the low temperature needed to preserve her samples, but just barely. After a heart to heart with Slattery, Tophet realizes how selfish he’s been and decides to help Dr. Scott at least until they complete their Science. The crew decides to head for Costa Rica, where Dr. Scott can get monkey specimens to test a vaccine and where the crew can get supplies and shelter while they repair the engine. The only problem is that they are six days from Costa Rica and already low on supplies. Apparently the writers are unsure how to create suspense on a boat unless it involves needing supplies, because that’s been a key aspect of every single episode so far.

The engineers attempt to bring the ship back on line with only one generator, but there isn’t enough power and they’re forced to shut down again. Things look pretty hopeless but one bright spot comes when Rachel reveals that her and Tophet’s efforts proved successful and they have a vaccine prototype. It becomes increasingly important that Rachel’s samples remain at a constant low, temperature, however, and the crew works together to solve the problem. They rig a system to hold her samples securely below water where they remain cool without having to divert extra power to the lab. That victory does not outweigh their engine problems, however, and things get worse when they realize that they are sitting in a dead pocket of air with no wind to help move them. Tom instructs the crew to throw up emergency sails but they really only operate on hope as the scene cuts to commercial.

We return to the ship a few days later. Many crew members have fallen to heat stroke and it’s clear they have long since run out of clean drinking water. They’re caught a breeze but have no control over the ship’s direction. A low ranking sailor sends out a hopeless radio message requesting assistance. It’s clear that the entire crew has given up. Squeezed in a corner in the ship’s shade, our quarrelling young lovers make googley eyes at each other it takes the Gitmo newcomer all of three seconds to realize they are having a secret affair. Just as the captain begins to apologize for leading them into this situation, a crewman sees seagulls on the horizon and they spot land. Slattery announces the good news and sends out a promise of R&R to the crew members. In a mix of slacks and civvies, the crew loads up on fresh fruit and water and celebrate the island. The lieutenant engineer who replaced the injured engineer from last episode, manages to get the engine partially running and is confident he can have it completely fixed in just a few days. Dan is offended to see that the girl he spurned cruelly and unnecessarily last episode has moved on and made new friends among the crew members. She clearly is sad it hurts him, but also you can hardly root for a guy who’s been nothing but a jerk for a season. The episode wraps with our crew feeling hopeful about the coming days, the captain and the doctor making friends for the first time, and everyone singing songs around a campfire together. It’s a bit over the top, but it’s a nice break from the usual high drama of the episodes and for the first time the audience can really connect to these characters as people.

If The Last Ship’s third episode would have made a good bottle episode, the fourth episode should have been a bottle episode. It had all the elements: sailors trapped on ship, low on food and water and unable to move to do much except talk to each other but it failed to follow through on what should have been an emotionally charged, character building episode. So far we know too little about any of the characters to really care about them and the show doesn’t seem to care to do anything about it and continues to rely on situational drama and tension to keep it going. Needless to say, the fact that the ship has to survive the end of every episode or the show will come to an abrupt end makes it hard to believe the tension. The show would greatly benefit from some serious character work before the season’s end but in the meantime we can always enjoy the intense looks and empty standoffs between sailors and doctors and captains.

Final Tallies:

On screen deaths: 0

Someone important leaves the ship: 0

Dissent: 0

Rachel doesn’t trust anyone: 100x

Is the dog dead yet? …still no dog this episode, so it’s really anyone’s guess.


Karen Ballard/TNT