Last Resort reminded us of early Battlestar Galactica, in a good way. The good men and women of the U.S.S. Colorado are faced with an impossible choice, and they make a crazy decision. The whole thing is filled with insane tension and conflicts between duty and principle that feel real and unforced.
But the scene above is where the show really won us over — by proving that it was playing for keeps. Spoilers ahead...
It's hard to recap the pilot of Last Resort, because it's been available online for weeks and we've watched it a few times since last spring. You can see our spoiler-free thoughts about it here.
Suffice to say, though, that this is an apocalyptic show that actually seems like it might have legs — depending on how interesting the "hiding out on an island" part turns out to be. The fact that they actually went ahead and nuked Pakistan in the pilot, and then our heroes went and buzzed Washington D.C. with a nuclear missile, bodes well. If the show plays fair with the consequences of those actions, this is going to be a show where things get really bad, really fast. (If the show tries to pretend those things didn't happen, on the other hand, then you've just got an unholy mess.)
The apocalyptic stuff is one reason why we felt this was a show that io9 ought to be covering. Also, there's all the little hints that this takes place "five minutes into the future," in an era when some seriously bad shit has gone down and the U.S. president is being impeached — plus apparently the government has gotten so dysfunctional that even admirals don't know what some high-up people in the Department of Defense are cooking up. Add in the fact that the submarine in this show has, in essence, an experimental cloaking device, and you've got some interesting speculative stuff in the mix.
So, in a nutshell, here's what happens in the pilot: the U.S.S. Colorado receives orders to nuke Pakistan, through a back channel that's only supposed to be used in the event that Washington D.C. is toast. When Captain Marcus Chaplin (the always great Andre Braugher) questions the order, he's relieved of command. When his second in command (the adequate Scott Speedman) also questions, the Colorado is fired on by another Navy vessel. Meanwhile, there are some Navy Seals on board, who were extracted after a mysterious mission that no doubt connects up with all this somehow. In the end, the Colorado takes refuge on a tropical island with a NATO listening station, where the island's corrupt "mayor" is displeased to realize he's no longer the top dog.
I have to admit, the island stuff is the least interesting part of all that, including the local power struggle and whatever is going on with Dichen Lachman's staring-into-space character. The two people at the NATO listening station are actively annoying, with their "is chocolate really better than sex" banter, too. But every pilot has flaws and teething troubles, and there's more than enough greatness in this pilot to compensate — including all of the awesome military staredowns and razor-sharp dialogue.
My favorite moment might be Lt. Grace Shepard telling the T-1000, "You address me by my rank or ma'am." But EW has a whole list of great lines from the pilot, most of which are also among my favorites.
I'm aware this is a divisive show thus far — people either love it or hate it, with no middle ground. Personally, I mostly loved it. But what did you think?