Last thoughts on ‘Last Resort’

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“Last Resort,” the good series with an awful name that evoked images of a “Weekend with Bernie”-style 1980s comedy, started off strong. The amazing Andre Braugher led a very good cast in the story of the Colorado, a U.S. Navy nuclear sub that goes renegade after its captain, Marcus Chaplin (Braugher) refuses to nuke Pakistan. The U.S. government reacts badly, to say the least, and makes the Colorado a target and Chaplin is named public enemy number one.

It turns out that something is rotten in Washington, and Chaplin, executive officer Sam (Scott Speedman) and crew hole up on an Indian Ocean island. They’re quickly isolated by a U.S. blockade, set upon by mutineers led by the chief of boat (Robert Patrick, we love you) alternately battle and canoodle with islanders and dally with the Chinese, who offer aid to score points on the global stage.

But after a strong start, the show seemed to grow more and more complicated and shed viewers who probably couldn’t keep up. I watched every episode and I found myself lost at times among all the characters and double-crosses and triple-crosses.

The 13th and what turned out to be final episode, “Controlled Flight Into Terrain,” had been written before producer Shawn Ryan found out the show had been canceled. Ryan took the time to retool the episode, however, jamming in resolutions for the characters and the central plot of the series and bringing the plot to a close.

In a single hour, we saw the resolution of the mutiny, the return of an old enemy from the crew, the climax of the Washington intrigue that served as the backdrop for the show and a homecoming for some of the members of the crew of the Colorado.

“Last Resort” probably bit off more than it could chew, not unlike “Lost” before it. But I can’t fault Ryan and the show for being too ambitious. Viewers didn’t turn out, however. So the boat was permanently beached.

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