Last night's episode of Last Resort was a pretty terrific example of the "everybody's on drugs" category of television episodes. And we got some more hints about the Navy SEALS that the Colorado picked up just before getting the order to nuke Pakistan — and we met a brand new baddie, who's connected to the big conspiracy in some way.
So in "Another Fine Navy Day," the crew of the Colorado gets dosed with an experimental drug called BZ or "Buzz," that causes hallucinations, paranoia, and unconsciousness for eight hours. I was apprehensive that this episode was going to be just a full hour of people having wacky hallucinations and processing their personal shit — which would have gotten old fast. Luckily, the hallucinations are mostly confined to the two lead characters, and they mostly have to do with shoring up a couple of key character arcs: Marcus is mourning his son who died in Afghanistan, so he hallucinates seeing his son as a young boy. And Sam Kendall has just found out that his wife Christine is hanging out with his old best friend, Paul, so he hallucinates her cheating on him and telling him that he'll never come home, yadda yadda.
Luckily, the storyline is a lot more about the suspense as to whether the Colorado's crew are going to die due to an engine fire, and the fact that Marcus has turned the oxygen supply off. And meanwhile, figuring out who's behind the whole business and what they want — the choppy "jumping around in time" style of storytelling is a bit unnecessary and confusing, but it does provide a few neat surprises, like finding out that Sam actually dosed himself with an epi-pen (counteracting the drug's effects) a few hours after the drug attack.
Oh, and Robert Patrick pretty much steals the episode with one scene where he describes being a test subject for BZ "back when music didn't suck."
The main thing that we get from this episode, though, is a deepening of the mystery around those Navy SEALs. We already knew they killed someone in Pakistan right before the order to nuke the whole country came through — and now it's made clearer that they were on a mission to extract that person from Pakistan, and then Hopper, their leader, received a last-minute order to kill the target instead. Also, the guys who drugged everyone on the island (in collaboration with Julian Serrat) are looking for something which they think Hopper has hidden somewhere — but Hopper claims he doesn't know where it is.
Oh, and somebody jabs Chaplin with an epi-pen, returning him to normal, and saves the sub from the fire and the oxygen starvation, and then vanishes. Someone (possibly the same person) also steals Chaplin's firing key, taking away all his leverage against the United States.
As usual, the geopolitical stuff is pushed off to the sidelines — last week, we learned that China is attacking Taiwan (without the U.S. to stand in the way, I guess) and there's a movement to resist the U.S.' slide towards dictatorship, which sees the Colorado's disobedience of orders as a sign of hope. I'm still hopeful that by the end of its first (and let's face it, at this point only) season, Last Resort will get to the crux of what would make the U.S. nuke a foreign country without provocation, and what sort of country this "five minutes into the future" America is becoming. That's why I'm still watching, anyway.
Next week: an episode written by novelists Nick Antosca and Ned Vizzini. This should be interesting.