Review: ‘Last Resort’ – ‘The Pointy End of the Spear’

Senior Television Writer
01.18.13 17 Comments

A quick review of last night’s “Last Resort” coming up just as soon as I give you my lucky $2 bill…

The two most recent “Last Resort” episodes have arguably been the show’s strongest since the pilot, but in a way that’s been a reminder of why this concept probably would have been better serviced as a miniseries.(*) Though the cancellation news came in time for the creative team to turn the finale(**) into a proper end to the series, this arc of episodes involving coups and mutinies was cooked up before the news broke, with the idea that the series would continue past it. And while I can imagine certain circumstances under which the show might continue after the COB’s mutiny, I think it might have required more contorting than I’d have been happy about. (On the other hand, Shawn Ryan had a pretty good track record of convincingly turning Vic Mackey’s enemies into his allies, but the stakes on that show never involved nuclear missiles and the future of the U.S. government.)

(*) At press tour, FOX and FX announced they’re going to collaborate on some “limited run series” (they’ve decided that “miniseries” now has a bad connotation) along the lines of what HBO has done with things like “The Pacific,” and Kevin Reilly said they’ve figured out a way to make money on it. Hopefully, if they succeed, it’ll lead to more concepts like this being told at the exact length they deserve, rather than trying to spin things out for years on end.

(**) For reasons passing understanding – Shawn Ryan joked that it was sadistic – the promo for next week’s episode referred to it as the “Season Finale.” Yeah, well. 

There were parts of “The Pointy End of the Spear” that didn’t quite work – I’d have rather Tani just stayed in the jungle, for instance, and they had to rush Ernie Hudson’s suicide – but all the material on the island involving alliances and counter-alliances being made, with each party well aware of what the other was doing and just hoping their coalition was stronger, really crackled. Marcus thinks he’s played his trump card with Grace, but then there’s Anders, back from his jungle exile and ready to wreak more havoc in the finale.

Ryan’s last network series, “The Chicago Code,” really found itself in its final episodes in a way that suggested it could have been very successful creatively going forward if FOX had renewed it. “Last Resort” is also surging here at the end, but ultimately, 13 episodes is probably what this particular story merited.

What did everybody else think?

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