A US nuclear submarine receives orders to launch its missiles at Pakistan. Suspicious of the order, Captain Marcus Chaplin (Homicide’s Andre Braugher) asks for confirmation, uncovering a plot aimed at starting a war…
This is an odd one: where it goes after the pilot will very much determine whether Last Resort is a show that fits the Sci Fi Bulletin brief or not. It could go either way…
As it stands, the refusal of an order to bomb Pakistan sees the crew of the USS Colorado go rogue. There are tensions among the crew about their duty to follow or question orders, and the small team of Navy SEALS they’ve recently taken on board may have their own agenda (and could be part of the larger back-story).
It certainly makes for tense television, with Bond director Martin Campbell (GoldenEye, Casino Royale) starting out fairly subtly (you could easily forget you are on a sub in some of the early scenes) before tossing in Dutch angels and crazy hand-held sequences when all Hell breaks loose. It’s a good approach that gives the show some momentum, but it is a technique that might be hard to maintain beyond the pilot (as will Campbell’s involvement, maybe).
The conspiracy plot clearly has a lot yet to reveal, but there’s enough in this episode to hook viewers, with Bruce Davison’s Rear-Admiral Shepard apparently out-of-the-loop on it and his daughter serving on the sub. That could have been a cliché, but they just about pull it off.
Perhaps more challenging will be the take-over of the island where the sub’s crew set up home at the episode’s end. There are plenty of stories here (clearly, the show shoots in Hawaii, replacing Lost for ABC, although it is set on another island called Sainte Marina), but with the Captain seemingly having declared war on the US (and anyone else for that matter), it might be unsustainable without much suspension of belief.
Among the cast, there are few instantly recognisable faces beyond Davison and Braugher. Dichen Lachman was on Dollhouse, while Autumn Reeser was a regular on Entourage. They all play well together and their relative unfamiliarity works well for the show.
Verdict: A promising opener (with almost 10 million viewers) for a different kind of series, but how much fantasy might be involved beyond the initial nuclear explosion set up remains to be seen…
Episode 1 ‘Captain’: 7/10
Brian J. Robb