TV Review: Last Resort

TV Review: Last Resort

 Rating: MDistributor: The Seven NetworkRelease Date: March 28Last Resort is a good example of how the Internet has affected the international television market. There was a time when Australian networks could hold back and see how a show faired overseas before plonking their money down. Now, because America’s airwaves are only a few clicks away, they have to […]

By Mark HadleyWednesday 27 Mar 2013TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

 

Rating: M
Distributor: The Seven Network
Release Date: March 28

Last Resort is a good example of how the Internet has affected the international television market. There was a time when Australian networks could hold back and see how a show faired overseas before plonking their money down. Now, because America’s airwaves are only a few clicks away, they have to take chances on programs like Last Resort and hope it doesn’t end up reflecting its title. 

Last Resort is a big budget Sony production centering on the nuclear submarine the USS Colorado. Its captain, Marcus Chaplin, receives orders to fire his missiles at Pakistan through a non-standard channel, and choose to question the command. His crew is instantly divided between those who see obedience as the only response and those who support the captain’s conscience. But when the Colorado fails to fire it suddenly finds itself the target of an American warship. Chaplin dives deep and decides to set up base at the fictional island of Sainte Marina, somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Branded as a rogue captain and surrounded by a ring of hostile ships, Marcus and his officers have to work out who is trying to set them up before either SEAL teams without or mutineers within take matters into their own hands.

Anyone who has watched more than one episode of Lost will feel a strange sense of déjà vu coming on as the crew of the Colorado roam around their new Indian Ocean home. Both series were filmed in Hawaii and it’s not long before some familiar hillsides begin to appear. But their location isn’t the most improbable thing about the storyline. I couldn’t shake the feeling that the scriptwriters had seriously under-estimated the power of the Internet. If a misunderstood captain had access even to a normal telephone line, let alone the resources of one of the US’s most advanced warships, why not plead his innocence online rather than hole up in an island paradise? Chaplin releases one video warning governments not to approach Sainte Marina, but then pulls the plug. If those conspiring against his crew are relying on secrecy, then surely the Internet is the ultimate spotlight?

Still, there is a very believable side to Last Resort and that’s the suggestion that politicians might go to any extent to retain power. In this case members of the President’s administration are behind plans to start a self-serving war with Pakistan. We can give credence to this sort of story not simply because of the testimony of history but because we’re well aware of what anyone might do, given enough muscle. Great power might provide the opportunity for great evil, but we agree with Jesus that it isn’t the cause: 

“It is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come – sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”  

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There’s lots about Last Resort that is incredibly unlikely – Russian commandos parachuting from a passing jet liner on the off chance of snatching the sub for one – and that might explain the poor performance in the States, Sony passing on a second season and Seven’s decision to get to the end quickly by airing double episodes. But there’s one thing I find very believable. Episode after episode, every attempt to resolve this situation fails or makes matters worse, until finally someone dies to save the crew. It’s the same with the problem of personal evil. What we cannot do for ourselves, someone has to do for us.