The Last Ship Episode 6: Where Have All the Calm Men Gone?

As we fade in on “Lockdown,” Episode 6 of TNT’s The Last Ship, the music clues us in that things on the ship are tense as we scan past angry, tense faces. A comms officer mentions that people are frustrated that they can’t communicate with the outside world. The ship’s officers discuss over dinner the impact of keeping last week’s events in Nicaragua on the crew and decide that trust is necessary for them to continue on with enough time for Rachel to make the vaccine and safely deliver it.

The Captain makes a ship-wide announcement that we’re headed home to the U.S. and that Rachel hopes to have a vaccine ready by the time they make port. The crew is happy for the news, but skeptical about the captain’s promises.

Turns out, the crew is right to be a bunch of cynics. Rachel berates the captain for making promises she isn’t ready to keep and tells him patience is the key to the scientific process. Captain Chandler must have skipped that day in Biology class.

Chandler meets with his officers again, deeply regretting his earlier decision to be honest. Dr. Tophet (forgot about him, didn’t you?) is irate that he isn’t allowed to continue helping Dr. Scott with her experiments, considering the last time anyone gave him power, he immediately betrayed the entire ship and almost doomed what’s left of civilization. He quickly realizes that Dr. Scott could not possibly have a vaccine already and tells his guard so. Although the guard wants to believe in his captain, the strange, sudden silence from the officers makes him suspicious. That night, some low-ranking men on watch duty spot Dr. Scott throwing monkey bodies off the back of the boat and suspicions spread through the ship like wildfire.

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Tex and some men are playing cards in a rec room when Lt. Tall Blond and Rude (that would be Danny Green) passes out with a fever, throwing the ship into a panic. As Green was part of the Nicaragua away team, everyone fears he was infected and Dr. Scott’s tests failed when she checked them for the disease. Dr. Scott is confident that he is not infected, but she can’t convince the captain and head doctor in time to stop them from putting the ship on lockdown. The crew, cowering in fear around the ship, spread the rumor that Dr. Scott’s experiments are failing and a group comes together and asks to leave the ship. The group is mostly made up of lower ranked, enlisted men whose contracts ran out weeks ago making them technically no longer part of the Navy.

Dr. Tophet is called in to help test Green’s blood and listens as the men talk about seeing Dr. Scott disposing of the monkeys. His earlier suspicions are confirmed and he informs his guard of the great danger they are in by staying on a ship filled with crewmen who regularly enter hot zones every few days for no reason. Although this is a shockingly accurate statement, I’m failing to see how encouraging factions among the crew members helps Tophet get back into the lab in any way.

The ship’s doctor runs tests on Green’s blood to find out what caused his fever. Green’s secret girlfriend Lt. Foster rushes to the room where he’s been sealed and insists she be let in, claiming she thinks she’s also infected. His bloodwork comes back, showing he’s been infected with Dengue fever contracted from a mosquito bite. It’s easily treatable and non-infectious but the result of the panic will not be so simply taken care of.

Based on Green’s reaction to the news, Captain Chandler realizes their secret relationship and puts together what happened on their small boat as the ship escaped Gitmo. He also confronts Rachel about her secrecy and informs her that the crew and officers don’t trust her. Quietly upset by the crew’s lack of faith, Rachel retreats to her lab but Tex visits and boosts her spirits, because he is a very supportive girlfriend.

Captain Chandler realizes he has to make a difficult decision about the future of his ship. If he lets the dissenting crew members go, he’s setting a dangerous precedent, but they don’t have the resources to hold men there without their consent. He spends the night reading Dr. Scott’s file. Which he’s apparently had this entire time and just never bothered to check it… even though it probably would have told him way back at the beginning, what she was doing on his ship since it lists all of her work with viruses and vaccines and all her specializations). He calls a ship-wide meeting in the morning, finally revealing the Nathan James’ collective mission to the crew and opening the door to Rachel’s lab, without any warning to her.

Dr. Scott is finally able to explain her actions to the entire crew, gaining some of the crew’s trust after so many months spent among them. Chandler gives the dissenters permission to leave the ship if they desire and, later, lets Lt. Foster off the hook for her very illegal relationship with Green. The next morning, everyone decides to stay on the ship and Captain Chandler, learning about Tophet’s useless manipulations, cuts him off from outside contact. End scene.

The episode feels like it should be an important turning point in the show, except this is the first time we’ve seen the crew really doubt the officers. All the tension was built up in a single episode rather than over the course of the first half of the season, which pulls most of the relief out of the third act. Rachel would probably have an easier time explaining things to people if she realized that most of this crew (almost entirely officers, as far as we’ve seen) should have college degrees and at least a basic knowledge of the scientific process. But hopefully this ends the series reliance on Dr. Scott as the only person who knows what’s going on and we can move in to the exciting world of killing animals for science!

Final tallies:

Instances of Dissent: The entire episode
Rachel thinks everyone’s an American Idiot: At least 3 times
Is the Dog Dead Yet? Where the heck did he even go?