Sam is a little peeved about getting shot at"Voluntold" opens with the Colorado crew responding to an attack on the sub. …Wait, it's only a drill. The sub's still under attack, though, in ways both literal and figurative.
The literal attacks are chilling: the Secretary of Defense has sent orders to select members of the crew to take control of the sub from Captain Marcus and Sam — using lethal force if necessary. One of these crewmembers is subdued after winging a few shots at Sam, but Marcus spends the rest of the episode defying Sam and Lt. Grace's wishes that he lay low until they find the rest of the mutineers, which does have the short-term benefit of earning him the COB's respect.
Plus, the body of Redman — the hostage killed last week — has washed up on shore. Fellow hostage Brannan is starting to lose it from guilt over choosing Redman as the one who would get shot, then breaks down, entering the con with a live grenade and announcing that he's taking over the sub so that Marcus and Sam can surrender. Brannan blames Marcus entirely for putting him in the position of selling out a crewmember: "You disobeyed a direct order; you stole a nuclear submarine and fired on our country!" "I guess it sounds pretty bad when you put it like that," Marcus agrees. Yeahhhh, it does. Great line, though. But the line that resonates is from the SecDef, who orders Brannan to detonate the grenade, ending the stalemate by killing everyone on board: "Blow it, sink the boat." That's cold, sir. Fortunately, Marcus's speech-fu allows him to pry the grenade from Brannan's trembling hand.
To go or not to go
It bails him and Sam partway out of a figurative attack, too; the crew, already restless, has started to ask to go home, noting (rightly) that this isn't what they signed up for. Marcus decides to let the crew decide, using a Stay/Go list. (Folks choosing "Go" can't go right away, of course; they have to stay and serve until it's safe to leave.) After Marcus makes various speeches about serving the Constitution etc., a slight majority decides to stay — but Chief Engineer Anders, the first crewman to ask out, correctly predicts that, even if he elects to go, they'll move his name to the Stay list because he's too important to lose. Anders is played by Michael Mosley ("Kidnapped"), who tends to play sleepers/double agents, so when he's tight-lipped in his acquiescence, you know it's not the end of it.
Back home, Marcus and Sam's Article 32 hearing for treason and terrorism is set, and while the COB, still determined to get them to a trial if he has to row them himself, has grudgingly accorded Marcus some respect, Sam's wife Christine is getting no such courtesy. The Navy has cut off his pay, she's running out of food, and once the hearing news breaks, the news vans set up camp on her lawn. She has no one else, she rants to her sketchy lawyer friend Paul (who is no doubt insinuating himself with her for that very reason), then loses it and dashes out into the front yard, swinging a bat and screaming that she is a U.S. citizen and she "will not be silenced!"
Kylie is already neutralized by Papa Kylie when he ordered her boytoy to steal the specs for Perseus (which her father admits, saying that the president told him to do it, and anyway Kylie's out of her league with this situation). But she has her interest piqued by Christine's Peter-Finch-in-"Network" moment, and she's going to use certain Perseus features to help Admiral Shepard prove that the ship's crew acted properly. So she's not under attack — yet — but James King has to fight off fellow SEALs who want to bolt the island and take his friend's body with them; Sophie is facing off against Julian over some sort of testing her boyfriend had agreed to do (and Julian had agreed to fund) before bolting the island; and everyone on Ste. Marina could be facing a threat they haven't identified, as Lt. Grace points out when she notes that the Colorado was fired on just half an hour after picking up the SEALs.
"Last Resort" has found its footing, but it's facing one of the problems that bedeviled "Lost" — that the "why" of the situation isn't as interesting as the situation itself. The day-to-day conflicts that face the rogue sub and her crew are more compelling than the overarching mystery of how the Colorado got into this pickle. The acting in the sub scenes is so strong, too, that stateside scenes, or interludes with Tani and King, feel flat by comparison. King's burial of his dead friend, and speech about the view from the gravesite, is nice work, but when it comes to monologues, Daniel Lissing is not Andre Braugher, and the romance between King and Tani feels obligatory (and yes, it's underway, as Tani tends to his fight wounds, then kisses him after he passes out).
Can they move the mystery plot along as fast as the romantic one looks like it's moving next week? We'll find out.
Do you think Anders is a long-term problem? Will Kylie and Christine work together? Watch "Voluntold" right here.