Last week on Solace the Nathan James rescued the hospital ship, shot up quite a few mercenaries and captured one Spanish sailor from the organization. This week in Achilles on The Last Ship Slattery begins questioning the Special Ops Spaniard who appears to be over emphasizing his injuries. The Nathan James begins a dangerous game of hide and seek hoping to gain the advantage over the Ajax class British submarine, the HMS Achilles. It is revealed that the man who commands the sub is another zealot, like the preacher in the park, “a believer,” as he puts it and despite Niels initially being in over his head he manages to plumb new depths as the villain we love to despise.
Within moments of being on board the submarine and meeting the commander, Niels causes dissent between the brothers running the show and his reveal that Chandler defeated the legendary Russian Admiral Ruskov is met with a combination of disbelief and cheers. Slattery learns a bit more about the mercenary crew and their commander from the captured member of their crew. The XO accuses the captive of lying about the extent of his injuries.
The crew of the Nathan James learns that the submarine is the Achilles; a nuclear vessel that is being helmed by a madman, according to the Spaniard, and Chandler begins a protracted battle of wits against the sub’s commander. Both go silent while trying to pinpoint their opposition’s location. The mercenary prisoner, Juan Carlos, begs to be brought topside as he does not want to die below decks, chained to a bunk. Slattery takes him up and continues to question him.
Mason proves that he is pretty good on sonar as he finds the Achilles. Sean Ramsey and his brother Ned continue to argue and disagree at every turn and the crew on the sub veer between enthusiastic certainty and bickering. After the two vessels go silent Slattery, who is topside with Juan Carlos, decides that the captive has a beacon inside him. The Spaniard, who starts coughing up lots of blood, tells the XO that everyone on board the Achilles is like him.
Slattery then orders that the beacon be removed from their prisoner. Dr. Scott reluctantly agrees to the surgery and the British sub uncloaks and fires a salvo of torpedoes at the Nathan James. The ship returns fire and takes evasive action. Despite several “fish” being deployed both the Achilles and the Nathan James miss and no damage is taken by either vessel.
The “beacon” turns out to be a USB flash drive with all the locations of the labs on it. This was what Sean was going back for not just fellow believer and member of “The Selected” Juan Carlos. Just as Lt. Granderson deciphers the drive, the British nuclear sub deploys 26 ballistic missiles, all aimed at the lab locations. Chandler orders intercept missiles fired from the the Nathan James and only two of the Achilles rockets are taken down.
Niels discovered the lab locations via a communication from Dr. Hunter that was retrieved from the Solace. After the missiles are launched from the sub, Patient Zero gloatingly inflates his importance to the British led group of mercenaries and Ned wants to sink the Nathan James. Sean informs the crew and his brother that they will take over the US instead.
This week’s episode had something for everyone. A standoff, chess-like maneuvers on the open seas and a brief, white knuckle, battle between the nuclear sub (“That never runs out of fuel,” says Chandler.) and the Nathan James, a suspenseful medical surgery, Niels being even more despicable, and further insight into the more than slightly mad mercenaries on the Achilles.
The writing this week was exceptional, as were the performances from the two actors portraying the Ramsey brothers; Nick Court as Ned and Irish actor Brían F. O’Byrne as Sean do a brilliant job as the two British troops who took over the nuclear sub and run the group of “selected” mercenaries. The dialogue from the Brit members of the crew was spot on and include many military, and prison officer, slang terms. Real kudos to the writers of this episode for getting it right.
The cast continue to crack on with some brilliant performances but this show belonged to O’Byrne, Eric Dane and Adam Baldwin. Dane has the knack of conveying great authority with an eye crinkle and O’Byrne manages to exude mad confidence in his characterization of the mercenary leader. Special kudos to Adam Baldwin who projected his thought process with little more than a minimal facial tic or glare. Masterful and pure Baldwin. Sadly, there was not much for Rhona Mitra to do in this episode but she did manage to handle that surgical microscope with authority as well as showing Dr. Scott’s dismay at having to perform the procedure.
In the show, things have been cranked right up in terms of suspense and Juan Carlos was correct in his summation of leader Sean, he is mad as a hatter. This idiot savant running the sub has already taken over Europe and now has his sights set on the USA and presumably world domination. This was a brilliant episode that left the viewer limp with relief and ready for next week’s episode. The Last Ship airs Sundays on TNT and is one of the best shows on television at the moment.