This season on The Last Ship, we’ve seen this apocalyptic world expand on a global scale as the mission moves from the U.S.S. Nathan James to the new United States and its conflict with China. There might be a cure that is being dispersed worldwide, but the threat is far from over.
Following the first few episodes of season three, we’ve seen the new threat of a potential virus mutation and the aftermath of the Takehaya storyline that will shape the upcoming episodes.
We had a chance to chat with cast members Adam Baldwin, Bridget Regan, and executive producer Steven Kane during roundtable interviews at San Diego Comic-Con on July 21 about what’s coming up.
Here’s what we learned from talking with The Last Ship stars and executive producer at Comic-Con:
A big part of Slattery’s journey this season has centered around his time as a Prisoner of War at the hands of Takehaya and how that has ultimately directly affected his crew. We saw the deaths of several members of the U.S.S. Nathan James crew both on land and at sea, and Baldwin said that Slattery can’t help but feel responsible for what ultimately led to that.
“He feels responsible,” Adam Baldwin said. “But the mission continues. Hopefully he doesn’t get bumped down in rank or lose his command. But it’s a heavy burden. You take responsibility going ashore and his spider senses were tingling as they were. Things weren’t quite right and then things did go wrong. So that’s on him.”
But will the crew blame him?
“There will be some answerings for that,” Baldwin teased. “But they respect him.”
Takehaya’s Continuing Storyline
As far as Takehaya is concerned, following his capture by the Nathan James crew it appears that we’ll be seeing more of him moving forward. But the extent to his true nature is something that Baldwin teased will be a mystery.
“You’ve seen from the previews that Takehaya is continuing forward in the storyline,” Baldwin said. “So there are some things that we begrudgingly allow. It’s a question as to whether he can become useful or traitorous, we don’t know.”
Maintaining a Society
When it comes to what The Last Ship is trying to accomplish – and doing so successfully – is maintaining a sense of humanity throughout the series where devastation reigns. It’s also something that Baldwin admires about the show.
“It’s trying to maintain a simple society under the Constitution under the ethos of honor, courage, and commitment,” he said. “What happens when you have an apocalyptic event? A lot of people die, chaos ensues. What rises from the ashes? Is it order or disorder? Or is it a combination of the two? I think that struggle for the crew and for the remaining civilians is really the battle; the battle for maintaining liberty or does it become tyranny?”
The New Face
One of the new faces this season has been Bridget Regan as Sasha Cooper, who has a military background and past with Chandler. Regan did a lot of research to prepare for the role considering Sasha is skilled in literally everything.
“I had a lot of catching up to do because the cast was miles ahead of me when I joined the show,” she told us during a roundtable interview at SDCC. “They had two seasons, they were so confident in their characters and the world. I had a lot learning to do.
Regan has also found that portraying a woman of Navy background on this show has opened her heart to the appreciation of everyone involved.
“But it’s been really great because my appreciation for the Navy has really grown and for their family members and spouses,” she said. “I feel very grateful to be on a show that cares about the work that they do and wants to do it well.”
One of the central elements of The Last Ship that people admire is the strong women that embody it. Regan admires the strong women in high rank on the show, including Sasha. But what she admires most is how the focus has never been about the fact that their characters are women.
“There’s never been an episode about them being a woman in this job,” Regan said. “That’s not what the show does. It just shows them being skilled and able and they do their work well.”
In terms of Sasha as an individual, Regan admires how Sasha is a woman who is quite confident in this masculine world in which her character exists. Sasha isn’t one to stand by and let things happen. She stands up for what she believes in and is always willing to help in any way she can.
“But that doesn’t mean she’s without her opinions because she is the expert in this region that they’re in right now,” Regan said. “This is where she hid out and survived the plague until she was able to get the cure. She’s an opinionated character and she lends her voice whenever she can. But it can cause some conflict.”
Chandler and Sasha’s Relationship
While The Last Ship thrives in the high stakes of an apocalyptic world some of the best moments are the ones that happen between characters. At the heart of any show is those real moments between characters. It’s what makes this show so relatable given the fictional concept.
“Those are my favorite moments on the show; the moments of real humanity,” Regan said. “These people are doing rather superhuman things. These are characters that don’t run away from the gunfire, they run towards it. The weight of the world is on their shoulders. So I find it interesting when we see them in rally human moments that are relatable.”
One of those relationships that has newly arisen this season is between Chandler and Sasha, who have a past and are working together once again. They have an immediate and recognizable connection that leaves you wondering what happened and what could happen in the future.
“Their relationship is really interesting,” Regan said. “They’re both widowed and these crazy circumstances have brought them together again. They could rekindle the flame that was there. Is this the ideal situation for them? No. I’m sure they both would prefer to be with their spouses and be alive. But they’re here, and I think both Tom and Sasha know very well how fragile life is…I’d love to explore more of their relationship. And see the things that Sasha brings out in Tom that no other character has in that way.”
Regan said that Tom has given Sasha a purpose being on the Nathan James and doing some good. But he’s also given her some hope for the future.
“She really, really cares for Tom, and I do have to wonder: was he the one who got away?” Regan said. “I don’t think Sasha is the kind of character who lays in bed and thinks, ‘Ooh the universe is bringing us back together.’ She’s not that sort of woman. But I can’t help but feel that they’re together for a reason.”
Real World Implications
One of the great things about The Last Ship’s third season has been the way in which the world has been opened up. The first couple of seasons occurred on the U.S.S. Nathan James and these select locations the crew traveled, but season three has become very much about the implications of the virus and the cure on the world. But just because the cure is being dispersed doesn’t mean everything has been cured.
“In some ways the ship comes back with a cure at the end of season two and we think everything’s solved,” executive producer Steven Kane said. “But actually there’s a lot more healing to be done. Our country has to be put back together again. Nine-tenths of it has been wiped out population-wise. Who’s left? Where are they living? How are they organizing themselves? How do you get any sense of living in the 21st century again? Or are you going to go back to the 16th century, the 18th century? All of these questions arise: how you organize yourself and what democracy looks like.”
Kane pointed out that while the story is very much driven by the virus and its effects on this world and how they’re rebuilding it, the core of the shore rests with the apocalypse and how people deal with the circumstances.
“So the challenge we had was how those two stories speak to each other,” Kane said. “How what’s going on at home is related to what’s going on with Chandler in Asia. The whole show isn’t about a virus. It’s about an apocalypse and how people deal with it…It is a little bit like the Founding Fathers. They have this country now how are we going to organize it?”
Something that The Last Ship has been playing with from the beginning of season three was the idea of the virus mutating. Here we have Dr. Rachel Scott creating a cure and dispersing it to the world only for there to be a chance that the virus could be mutating into something else entirely.
“That becomes a very big focus of the next few episodes,” Kane said. “Now that Slattery is back on the ship and can explain to Chandler that these pirates think we poisoned them and that the virus doesn’t work. And Chandler says that, We think it’s a mutation. They’re trying to figure out whether there’s any validity to this story.”
This will be especially interesting given the fact that Dr. Scott, the woman who created the cure, has passed away and all they’re left with are her notebooks.
Rachel Scott’s Death
Following season two’s shocking finale cliffhanger where Dr. Rachel Scott was shot by a rebel, the world was left to wonder if she’d survived. And to be quite frank, we thought she would survive. Because how could they kill the woman that had saved the world?
But Kane confirmed that Rachel is in fact dead for good and not out there somewhere waiting to make her grandiose return. And there’s a good reason for that.
“It was painful for us to lose the character and the actress from the show,” Kane said. “It was a big loss for all of us. And that’s sort of the point. It’s a big loss for Chandler, it’s a big loss for the world. If the virus is mutating you don’t have the woman who saved the world to begin with there. That’s a huge deficit. As opposed to seeing her constantly, I’ve got it, no I don’t got it, I got it. This was, She’s gone. We have her notebooks. What can we do?”
But Kane also pointed out how Rachel’s death was not only a blow to the world but a blow to Chandler, who it seemed had some deeper feelings there.
“Also how does that affect Chandler with the fact that he had a moment with her at the end of last season where he could’ve invited her into his room, they could’ve had a connection,” Kane said. “And he let her go and she gets shot. He lives with that grief.”
The Last Ship airs Sundays at 9/8c on TNT.
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