Review: ‘Last Resort’ – ‘Skeleton Crew’

Senior Television Writer
10.25.12 34 Comments


A review of tonight’s “Last Resort” coming up just as soon as they have rodeos in France…

“Last Resort” continues to exist in a kind of ratings no man’s land. The numbers certainly aren’t good, but nor are they terrible, and the show does better with men (a gender advertisers pay more for, because it’s harder to get them to watch scripted TV) than most of ABC’s lineup. The network just ordered a few more scripts, which will delay the need for a back-nine pickup, but if I had to bet, I’d say this at least gets a full season.

And “Skeleton Crew” felt like a good example of the show starting to figure itself out a little and settle in for the long (or medium) haul.

For starters, putting Kylie and Christine together automatically improves the mainland scenes, because we don’t have to follow the two of them individually. I appreciated that Christine sniffed out Paul’s scam almost immediately, and it’s much better to have the two of them actively looking into the conspiracy, rather than acting confused and frustrated about what’s being done to them.

For that matter, I appreciate that the show is starting to get more deeply into the geopolitical situation at home and abroad. The nuking of Pakistan is in the background as far as our heroes are concerned, but it’s a big problem out in the real world, as the U.S. is being condemned worldwide (while other countries like China are taking advantage of the chaos to invade Taiwan), and as the Joint Chiefs are pondering a coup of what seems like a very sketchy civilian government.

And that tension between different factions added a nice extra layer to the negotiation between Marcus and Secretary Curry, which finally gave us Jay Karnes in his full, smug, three-dimensional glory. (Pembleton vs. Dutch!) The show is still walking that interesting line between Marcus being right and Marcus being crazy, and you can read that threat to crush the jelly from Curry’s eyes either way: as genuine fury, or as a calculated gambit to get Sam and Grace the best deal possible. Admiral Shepherd killing the White House aide and wounding Curry also provides a good reason for this situation to be extended a while. Given how this negotiation ended, how soon will either side be willing to meet again on the beach?

I think the COB came around a little too far on Grace in this episode – perhaps better that he had given her a very grudging compliment about how she handled the situation with the fast attack subs – but I also understood the desire to give her a big win before she’s brought low with Marcus’s news about her father. (Also, not that the COB is aware of this now, but Grace – and the rest of the skeleton crew – literally did need to be saved by her daddy this time.) And I think Daisy Betts has gotten more comfortable in the part; I found her much more believable here than I did in the second episode.

And having James join the mission – even if we don’t really know enough about him yet to properly read any of his motivations – was a plus, as it made him feel like part of the actual show, rather than the odd mini-spin-off he’s often in with Tani.

A much more cohesive overall hour than much of what we’ve gotten so far, coupled with the usual excellent work from Andre Braugher.

What did everybody else think?

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