Review: ‘Last Resort’ – ‘Big Chicken Dinner’

Senior Television Writer
11.29.12 32 Comments

A quick review of tonight’s “Last Resort” coming up just as soon as the backup singers transpose the lyric…

So, since we last discussed an episode of “Last Resort,” ABC announced that it would not be ordering additional episodes, meaning that the show will end after the 13th. Still, ABC should air all 13, and Shawn Ryan has said that the news came in time that they were able to get permission from Sony to make that last episode into a proper series finale. And given that one of the main concerns early on about this show was how it would be sustainable over a full season, let alone years on end, maybe wrapping things up neatly this soon would be better than watching “Last Resort” fumble along, sometimes getting things perfectly, and at others clearly struggling with how to extend the concept.

“Big Chicken Dinner” was yet another hour where parts worked quite well and others not at all. I worried in the early going, for instance, that we weren’t spending enough time on the Sam/Booth mind games for it to have a real impact, but the second half of the episode focused enough on it that I felt something in the moment when Booth asked Sam to say his real name out loud, knowing that one of them (and likely Booth himself) wouldn’t be walking away from the conversation.

The trial story, though, was largely a mess. The moment when Marcus figured out that Serrat had rigged the jury to foment anger against the sub crew was a nice one – if that Serrat had been the villain all along, cleverly working angles in a way that he couldn’t be touched by Marcus, as opposed to openly kidnapping, assaulting and killing crewmembers, participating in a chemical attack on his own people, etc., he’d have worked – but the show’s attempts to deal with the island’s culture have so far felt clumsy, and turning the series into a courtroom drama to do it didn’t really improve things.

Shawn Ryan’s last canceled show, “The Chicago Code,” also waxed and waned for me – its lows weren’t quite as low as some of the goofier “Last Resort” moments, but its highs also weren’t as high as Andre Braugher threatening Jay Karnes – and closed really strongly, and in a way that suggested what the show should have been all along. I’m hopeful that “Last Resort” will also end well, but it’s yet another show that makes me wait for the moment when someone will crack the business model for a 13-week network miniseries, so shows like this can tell the right amount of story and not worry about years and years.

What did everybody else think?

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