‘The Last Ship’ Comic-Con Interview: Rhona Mitra Previews Rachel’s Emotional Breaking Point

Since Dr. Rachel Scott joined the crew of the U.S.S. Nathan James, she’s been battling the impossible and the stress of failing the human race as she sought to find a cure for the virus that was eating away at the world.

While season 1 posed its own challenges with finding a cure, which she inevitably did, season 2 poses a new challenge of dispersing the cure as the Nathan James thwarts off attacks from those who are against it.

“We come to land, and we’re thwarted by groups and individuals who don’t want to see, which is impossible to even imagine,” said Rhona Mitra. “That there are part of our species that wouldn’t want our brothers and sisters to live on. But power and ego are just rife amongst us as human beings.”

But Rachel’s biggest challenge is yet to come as Mitra gave us the lowdown about her character’s most emotional moment of the series in episode 2×08 (airing August 2) during a roundtable interview at Comic-Con on July 9.

“Something happens on land, which really cuts her off at the knees,” she told us. “She finds out that something from her is taken. There are very few things she had remaining – something was taken, and it flips a switch in her and sets her on a path where morally she becomes a little undone and becomes a little feral-minded and less scientifically-structured in her strategies and becomes a little unstuck.

“There’s a couple of moments that take place, and you’ll see around episode 8 – look out for episode 8, it’s quite shocking.”

Luckily we won’t have to wait long before that “shocking” episode, which bows Sunday, Aug. 2.

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Here’s the full interview with Mitra below:

Q: This year the series has gotten much darker. How will we see that tone change on the show with being more intense and dark?

Rhona Mitra: It’s just become more about the characters’ individual responses to the situation. I think as time goes on – you know for Rachel, actually, it’s not that it’s less dark, but I think the pressure was much more intense for her last year. Now she has something to share and so it’s – she’s always in a different – she has a different agenda on the show from everyone else. They’re there protecting that information and everything that she holds, and it’s almost like she’s about to give birth, in fact, at this point. The ship represents sort of the witness to this moment happening, and we’re now on the precipice of actually being able to give birth and share this thing. I actually feel it’s kind of an avenue through which we can see some light. But then we come to land, and we’re thwarted by groups and individuals who don’t want to see, which is impossible to even imagine; that there are part of our species that wouldn’t want our brothers and sisters to live on. But power and ego are just rife amongst us as human beings.

You’re no stranger to these strong female roles. Are these the kind of roles that appeal to you? 

You know, I wish I could say that I have the luxury of picking and choosing. They come to me, they do tend to come to me. This is an incredibly wonderful role to play, a character like this because I think that the conversation we’re all having, if any of us have any level of awareness, is our frugality as a species and how we’re moving in conjunction symbiotically with the planet and with each other. What and how many different ways are we killing ourselves? I think that this topic – the demise of our species – was a long-off, distant thing, but now we really are dealing with viruses, we’re really dealing with a myriad of things, neurotoxins. The ways in which we’re debilitated it’s incredible compared to say even 50 years ago. For me, the conversation is really about, I find her very inspiring on an intellectual level, but I also find her to be a representation of any one of us in this time where – I think she really feels there’s a wonderful maternal thing about actually going out and taking care of people. There’s that scientific mind or anything that any one of us does – I’m an actor and I do other things, I’m an environmentalist, and you do tall the myriad of things you do. But what ends up happening and what comes about at a time like this is you just want to help and fix, and it really does become an overriding compulsion, and you feel it when you play it. Everyone sort of gets caught up in who’s going to be romancing who and I’m like, ‘Really? I don’t – ’ I’m sort of baffled that anybody has any time to think about that, because there’s so much more at hand, and I get quite serious about that, and I get a bit annoyed when people are like, ‘Who is she going to end up with?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, really? You know she’s got to save the human race. Come on guys, it’s not the love boat.’ Although it could be.

This is such an emotional season for your character. What’s the most emotional moment this season coming up?

Something happens on land, which really cuts her off at the knees. She finds out that something from her is taken. There are very few things she had, remaining – something was taken, and it flips a switch in her and sets her on a path where morally she becomes a little undone and becomes a little feral-minded and less scientifically-structured in her strategies and becomes a little unstuck. I personally think, in a very justified way. But for the Navy – the Navy I’m always amazed always manages to keep this linear structured, which I always think it, ‘Wouldn’t everyone just go nuts?’ But they always manage to keep it together and keep all their rules. So they love telling me off, telling me when I’m naughty, telling me when I’m breaking all their rules. There’s a couple of moments that take place, and you’ll see around episode 8 – look out for episode 8, it’s quite shocking.

Can you talk about the relationship between Rachel and Tex? Do you think they’re in love? 

There’s a fondness because they’re similar, but how that could evolve I’ll leave that so you can see. You know when you find someone who you kind of grew up with, there’s that. But who knows, it could go somewhere.

The Last Ship airs Sundays at 9/8c on TNT.

 



 

Alyssa Barbieri

Co-Executive Editor

Teacher by day, writer by every other free moment | Obsessed with sports, TV, books, movies, and superheroes | Proud shipper and supporter of strong female characters | Co-executive Editor for Fangirlish | Contributor for Bears Wire at USA Today SMG | Producer/Co-Host of Buffone 55 for Bears Barroom Radio Network | Contact: alyssa@fangirlish.com.