“Death..it’s more forgiving”
Last Resort sailed in some choppy waters throughout its first season and things got even choppier in the series finale, as the writers scrambled to resolve the remaining character arcs and bring the story to as satisfying conclusion as possible.
In a situation like this, where a high-concept show with a continuing storyline gets cancelled and has to re-purpose an open-ended season finale into a conclusive ending, all within a limited time-frame, it’s going to lack some polish and result in a fair amount of contrivances.
Allowing for all of that, I think the writers did an excellent job in executing Marcus’ demise in the place he calls ‘home’. The resolution to his story was touching, at times even funny, and most importantly it made sense within the confines the writers were working with.
I believed the humor Marcus found in his final moments and the fact that he was able to see himself clearly even though others, including Kendal, couldn’t really place who he was.
A man tortured by the death of his son, betrayed by his country and abandoned by his best friend, it felt right that Marcus should have conviction in his own beliefs, without compromising the fact that he was, at the same time, hugely complex. Not everything about him made ‘sense’, but on some emotional level he made the most sense.
I think Marcus was kind of ‘crazy’, but by the end we could say the same of Kendal and Anders, to name just two. The difference, as I see it, is that Marcus knew who he was and what he was fighting for. Moreover, his home was the Colorado, whereas for everyone else (even Prosser) it was quite literally a vessel, and for others, “hell”.
I was grateful for this articulation on Marcus’ love for the sea and how sailing out into stormy weather soothed him, gave him peace. It supports what we know about him and it was fitting that he should not only avert the escalation of war by guiding the sub into the Island, but ultimately perish. Controlled flight into terrain, followed by a sea burial. RIP.
It was also pleasing to see Prosser and Grace team up once he realized that his mutiny had been out-mutinied, while the DC storyline managed to provide some emotion with Kylie sacrificing her lover to kill the nefarious president, taking down the web of conspiracy.
When you think how lacklustre some of these off-island scenes have been, a fair bit of redeeming went on, delivering a surprising amount of emotion, all things considered.
The only storyline that really didn’t work here was Tani and James. I would have been happier had they written Tani out as I’m not sure anyone was really hankering for more of her scene-sucking and arbitrary issues. But I guess it was diligence that the writers closed the character’s story even though it was essentially closed the week before, if not in the pilot.
Tani’s ‘drama’ disabled James’ ability to contribute to the episode in a positive way, which may have been a convenience as he might have been ‘too useful’ elsewhere. It was just a relationship that made little sense from beginning up until the bitter end — but it is what it is.
Ultimately though, the heart of the episode, and series, was Marcus and Kendal – and while the latter’s motivations have been all over the place lately, their final salute and show of friendship was touching. It was good to see him reunite with Christine while providing the narration for the conclusion to this tale, which resulted in most of the crew making it back ‘home’ and the conspirators seemingly brought to their knees.
A bittersweet ending to a show that at least gave us something a little different and provided some great moments of entertainment. Pretty much every major story thread was resolved, not all of them wrapped up convincingly, for reasons that I’ve mentioned, and a lot happened conveniently off screen. But I’m glad it got the necessary closure. Lesson to all networks – if you’re gonna to cancel a serialized show, have the decency to allow for a ‘proper ending’.
Last Resort was an ambitious show that suffered, in my view, from a lack of world building and spent a bit too much time treading water. The special effects also left something to be desired, while I would have scaled back on a few characters who just didn’t add much in the way of real value. But it was a highly serialized show that ultimately told a complete story and gave us Andre Braugher in an interesting role and a diverse array of characters.
We’ll never know what became of the magical Island soil or what the long-term blow-back was following the president’s assassination, but that last image of the Colorado’s fin hitting the bottom of the ocean says it all — curtain down. Fin.
So long Last Resort, may you traverse the Seriable Seas and be recommended to serial addicts looking for a splashy thriller in the ‘miniseries’ mold.
8/10 Seriable Stars