Synopsis: After last season’s huge plot twist with Granderson’s insane administration of Baltimore and the Nathan James‘ being taken over by her troopers, things start out looking pretty grim. But the folks on board the Nathan James aren’t going to go out without a fight and over the course of two hours they not only manage to retake their ship but also end Granderson’s reign of terror. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

I love this show. I really, really do. The Last Ship is basically like watching a high budget action blockbuster every week during the summer without having to leave home. This episode in particular – coming in at two hours long – feels incredibly cinematic.

And at the end of it we still have ten more episodes to go!

But let’s focus on this episode for now.

“Unreal City” starts immediately after the last season finale. Tom has found his family but he is stranded on land while the Nathan James has been taken over by Amy Granderson’s troopers. The crew is rounded up and corralled down below decks while Mike and Kara desperately try to keep Quincy alive on the bridge. O’Connor manages to escape overboard and Doc Rios is able to hide the primordial strain of the virus before being captured. But those are the only successes – the Nathan James is fully under control of Granderson’s people. Several sailors are killed indiscriminately and it’s all Garentt can do to keep everyone calm so they can form a plan.

Tom’s making his own plans on land. After leaving his family in the care of the Master Chief he takes Danny and Burk to the power plant so they can shut down Olympia’s operations. After stealing a truck loaded with bodies they sneak their way in and pretty easily take control of the whole operation. They even come across a resistance member who offers to take them to the warlord Thorwald. They don’t turn off the power yet, though. They were waiting for the right moment to surprise Granderson and move in to rescue Elizabeth Scott and secure Granderson’s lab for mass production of the virus.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth isn’t having much luck talking Granderson down from her crazy. The best she can do is convince her to let her distribute the vaccine she has on hand to some of the people on the streets. It’s meant to be a goodwill gesture but really it just lets Elizabeth save a handful of people. She doesn’t have nearly enough vaccine for everyone but she at least learns from a doctor that accompanies her that not everyone shares in Granderson’s philosophy. There are some good people in Baltimore.

Unfortunately there aren’t enough of them in Granderson’s group to make a difference.

So the Nathan James is effectively on their own. Luckily O’Connor finds his way on board again and manages to sabotage the thermostats to make things uncomfortable for everyone on board. This gives Garnett an opportunity to get everyone moved into the mess hall and for a couple other guys to slip away to the armory.

Quincy, sadly, doesn’t make it. After his wife is brought to use as leverage against him he decides to reopen his bullet wounds and let himself bleed to death to protect everyone on board and to protect the primordial strain. Shortly after, Granderson’s people realize that Kara’s unborn child could hold the information they need so they take her to land and lock up Mike… who promptly escapes through a secret hatch.

Tex is back in the action, too. He mets a street kid who tells him what’s really going on in Baltimore. Instead of leaving, he finds his way back into Granderson’s complex and gets himself assigned as security which works out great because he’s able to get to Elizabeth. As they are leaving, though, they realize that Kara has been brought there and that she and her child are at risk so they go to try and rescue her. Granderson is distracted at the time by her daughter, Alisha, who refuses to give into her mother’s crazy. Her mother just shakes her head, confident she’ll eventually come around.

Alisha, your mom is so crazy. I am so sorry. [TNT]
Tom and the others meet with Thorwald, who has a plan for getting to Granderson. When the moment is right, they have Danny back at the power plant turn off the lights and they blow through the basement of Granderson’s compound. Alisha takes advantage of the opportunity to escape her mother but eventually gets shot by one of her mother’s own troopers. At least the black out gives Kara a chance to get free and she’s helped to escape by Burk and Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, on the Nathan James, Granderson’s people are spread thin and many are ordered to the power plant to take on Danny who is distracting them there. This gives the folks in the mess hall a chance to cut through their bonds and the boys in the armory to come in and free them all. Re-armed, the crew manages to retake the ship with the help of Mike, who has made his way to the comms room and is supporting their efforts from there by turning lights on and off and other little things. It’s so cute to see how proud he is of his people.

Unfortunately, things aren’t going so well for Tom’s family through all this. Sam has a bad reaction to the vaccine and the Master Chief has to go find a pharmacy with medication. Ashley is freaking out at the possibility of losing yet another family member. But the Master Chief comes through. Unfortunately he is seen by some kid who gives him away to Granderson’s people in exchange for food. Luckily these two experienced military men are able to fend them off. The Master Chief then goes to extract Danny from the power plant and join the fight at Granderson’s compound while Tom’s father takes the kids to safety.

In the end, they manage to take Granderson’s compound but the victory comes at a price.

At least main cast fatalities were minimal. [TNT]
Thorwald manages to make it to Granderson only to be gunned down by one of her troopers hiding in the shadows. With his dying words he manages to guide Tom to the roof where he gets her to order her people to surrender peacefully. But then she kills herself with the same drug cocktail they were using to kill people at Olympia.

But at least the lab is secured.

And the Nathan James is back under it’s rightful command.

It’s a hard fought victory, though. The fact that this is what has happened in America – at least here in Baltimore – weighs heavily on everyone. It took them all those months to get home and now this is what home has become. But Tom is dedicated to helping the people of Baltimore and then returning to Norfolk so everyone can start trying to track down their families.

It’s a good plan.

Of course, things won’t be that easy. The trailer for the upcoming season shows a lot of obstacles in their way: a crazy preacher hoping to create a master race of immune individuals, a British submarine commander looking to take the vaccine from them, and the return of Sorenson among other things. It’s going to be an undoubtedly crazy season.

I will say, though, that this two hour season premiere kind of wrapped up things in Baltimore a bit faster than I was expecting. I was kind of hoping to see that drag out and I was really hoping to see more of Thorwald (what can I say, I like Titus Welliver). But we’ll see what the next couple episodes give us. We may not have seen the end of Baltimore just yet.

Also, can we take a moment to appreciate just how bad ass Garnett was this episode? With Tom and Mike both out of commission she rises up in the command structure like a champ. She keeps her people alive, keeps them calm, and waits until the right moment to make her move. She’s diplomatic and decisive. That’s a woman I will follow into battle any day of the week.

Seriously, Garnett is my new favorite.

Over all, this was a great return to the world of The Last Ship. I can’ wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us!

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