Cut my life into pieces, they canceled Last Resort
Saying goodbye to ABC’s smart thriller
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 00:01
A nuclear submarine, the USS Colorado, is ordered out of the blue to fire missiles on Pakistan. The captain, Marcus Chaplain (Andre Braugher) refuses to obliterate an entire country. Within minutes, the U.S. is firing on the Colorado, forcing the sub to flee to a remote French Polynesian island. But Chaplain is determined to have the upper hand. He fires a nuclear missile as a warning, and tapes a statement where his message is clear: a new and dangerous power has now emerged in the Pacific.
As told by Last Resort’s pilot, the setup was breathlessly thrilling. But uncomfortable questions were raised: How do you balance character development with all this nail-biting suspense? How do you keep the show from looking like a Lost clone when it’s filmed in Hawaii?
Not all these questions will ever be answered, gentle readers, because mean ‘ol ABC up and cancelled Last Resort last November, citing disappointing ratings.
When Last Resort was treading water, it was painful to behold—future cultural anthropologists revisiting the series would do well to skip the episode where everybody gets drugged—but when it was firing on all cylinders, nothing on network TV could compare. The show transcended the overheated nature of its many conflicts—a sailor holds the bridge hostage with a live grenade! The sub is running out of oxygen! — to deliver nail-chewing suspense with a side of acidic political commentary.
And then there’s Andre Braugher. For his performance as the complex and often vulnerable captain, he should get all the Emmys, even the technical ones. The Academy Awards should create a new category for ‘Actor in a leading role as badass sea captain.’ In a just world, Andre Braugher would host the Braughers, where Andre Braugher would finally get the recognition Andre Braugher so richly deserves.
Even though ABC gave show creators Shawn Ryan and Karl Gajdusek enough time to tweak Thursday’s series finale, the episode is more likely to leave more loose ends than relive the boiling hot tension heating throughout the series. It’s a shame, really. Last Resort could have been an intense three-season show that raised questions about the dark side of American exceptionalism. Instead, unloved and unwatched, it shuffles to an early grave.
If you want to catch up with the show, definitely watch the pilot and episode 5, “Skeleton Crew.” In fact, the last five episodes are available to watch on ABC.com. Once you get hooked, you might be interested in knowing some Last Resort fans are still trying to save the show.