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Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Sunday, June 04, 2017

The Last Ship



One of the tv shows I especially like is The Last Ship ...

an American action-drama television series, based on the 1988 novel of the same name by William Brinkley .... After a global viral pandemic wipes out over 80% of the world's population, the crew (consisting of 218 people) of a lone unaffected U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the fictional USS Nathan James (DDG-151), must try to find a cure, stop the virus, and save humanity.

The executive producer of the show is Michael Bay, the director of a couple of my favorite movies - The Rock and The Island - but he's also the director of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi ... he's a political conservative who makes films with lots of military and lots of explosions, so political liberal and semi-pacifist me feels sort of conflicted about liking his work.

I really like the post-apocalyptic nature of the story ... a virus destroys most of the world's population and the doctor who's working on a cure is aboard one of the last US navy ships, in the Arctic. They do eventually tame the virus but by then the government has collapsed and the social structure that's held society together is unraveling. What stops things from complete disintegration is that ship, its crew, and most of all, its captain (Eric Dane as Captain Tom Chandler) who's the story's moral compass.

I've just watched the last episode of the third season, and it ends with the captain leaving the navy after having turned his back on his own principles by murdering someone in revenge. He doesn't know who he is anymore and we faithful viewers are left wondering how he can ever come back from this. I guess this is mostly why I like the show ... yes, I do like the tech stuff, the action stuff, the sci fi stuff, but even more I like that the characters are very morally distinct ... people are good or they are bad, but very rarely ethically neutral or "complicated". So this last twist in the story, the captain losing his way, is both disturbing and compelling. If you guys haven't seen the show, you might like it.

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