Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and Karl Gajdusek (Dead Like Me) bring us ABC’s ambitious new thriller, Last Resort, which had its pilot episode premiere on Thursday night. While there are the usual plot holes and weak dialogue that seems to plague network television nowadays, the pilot delivered enough tension and drama to leave me thinking this could be one to keep an eye on this season.
Last Resort follows a crew of more than 150 naval members aboard the U.S.S. Colorado, a nuclear submarine led by Captain Marcus Chaplin (Andre Braugher) and his executive officer, Sam Kendall (Scott Speedman). After a heart-racing and vehement debate that results in the refusal to follow extremely suspicious orders to fire their nukes on Pakistan, the ship and its crew must turn rogue as the country they have sworn to protect now has its sights set on destroying them. In defiance, the members of the ship set up base on a remote (and fictional) island called Sainte Marina, home to a NATO outpost. The NATO station has state of the art capabilities that allow Chaplin to see all the movements of the world’s militaries, and the Colorado is still armed with 18 nuclear warheads, so the crew seems to have everything they need to set up a new nation of sorts while they try to figure out a way to clear their names of treason. Of course, there are some crew members that are against the Captain’s refusal to follow orders (this group will most likely be led by Chief of the Boat Joseph Prosser, played by Robert Patrick), while others are in support of their commander’s decision. To make matters worse for the crew, it appears they will have contend with the local crime boss of the island as well.
Braugher is fantastic, as always, and he and Speedman have great chemistry together. Patrick seems set up to be the guy you will love to hate, but I have big question marks around most, if not all, of the other characters and the actors playing them – most notably the two characters we will probably have to rely on to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy: defense contractor Kylie Sinclair (played unconvincingly by Autumn Reeser) and a Navy SEAL who seems to know more about the Pakistan strike orders than the rest of us (Daniel Lissing). There are many comparing this beginning to Crimson Tide meets Lost, but while the comparisons to the former are obvious, I just don’t see any connection to the latter other than the fact that both were shot in Hawaii and involve an island. While the pilot episode (cleverly titled “Captain” instead of “Pilot”, get it?) was full of tension and story building, I kept waiting for that “Live together, die alone” moment that helped establish Lost as one of the greatest shows of the past decade, and it just never seemed to arrive. If anything, I’d call Last Resort more of a Crimson Tide meets 24, which doesn’t sound too bad either, really. That being said, I think we have enough intense action and suspenseful political intrigue from the first episode to get excited about what happens next.