I can save Last Resort.
My mildly-scathing take on why Last Resort won’t get a second season earned me a lot of criticism, particularly from fans who thought it was unfair to criticize the show for avoiding story lines when it ultimately had only one year to tell them. The reality is I wasn’t criticizing Last Resort for not resolving them, I was blasting the show for not pursuing them. We all understand a show is going to leave loose ends when it gets canceled in mid-season. Last Resort’s writers committed the mistake of not even creating loose ends.
This week’s penultimate episode rushed viewers to the mind-blowing end of the coup attempt in Washington that was supposed to clear the way for the Colorado’s friendly return to US shores. Shocking is the only word to describe the way the coup ended, and it shows that despite their storytelling failures the minds behind Last Resort know how to thrill an audience.
The big frustration I expressed in last week’s piece was the amount of dramatic material we weren’t seeing but had to be occurring in order to provide the plots we did see unfold. That frustration grew after Speaker Buell committed suicide on his rostrum. There’s no way the show can wrap up the Colorado’s fate and do justice to the story behind the man walking up to whisper in Buell’s ear. That’s too much for 42 minutes. I got to thinking how Last Resort really held two co-dependent dramas in one show. In one storyline, a United States submarine deals with the consequences of refusing a questionable order to launch a nuclear missile strike against Pakistan. In the other, a fight for control of the US government breaks out after the covert murder of a United Nations weapons inspector in Pakistan. Each plotline reacts to developments in the the other but can standing largel on its own. That’s when an idea hit me that could save the show.
“What if they brought Last Resort back, but the opposite?” What if, instead of episodes dominated by the Colorado, we get episodes – set concurrently with the season we already saw – focused entirely on what led to the mysterious fire order and the subsequent attempt to overthrow the president? Leading into the finale, we know that the US executed a weapons inspector in a plan to launch nuclear war on Pakistan, files on a cloaking technology are stolen to protect the knowledge of the Colorado’s location at the time of the order, a coup is planned and unravels at the last minute resulting in the confession and suicide of the man who would have been president. Most mysteriously, the suicide comes after a man in the appearance of a security agent interrupts the Speaker right before he declares himself the president.
See what I’m getting at here? Bring Last Resort back for a second season in which Marcus Chaplain and the Colorado are only relevant to the extent that their actions are necessary to explain what is happening in Washington. Make Last Resort into a political thriller (the likes of which ABC is already succeeding with in Scandal) about a corrupt president and the effort set out to depose him. Just like Chaplain and his crew had to decide between following orders and doing what they believed was right, Kylie Sinclair and Admiral Shepard can be shown in their crisis of conscience that leads them to go against their country’s government. The coup attempt obviously had a faction within it that doubted its course, just like the split that developed between Chaplain and the COB. Tell that story. There are enough similarities between the storylines to tell the second one in a completely different setting than season one but still maintain the core elements that let you know you’re watching Last Resort. And because it is happening at the same time as what we saw thus far, taking a season to tell the story won’t make us miss anything on the submarine. There may even be opportunities to add new material that boosts the Colorado’s story.
After the faux season plays out, the show would be ready to bring the two storylines back together in a third season. With a new audience and more practiced leadership, we could see the aftermath of whatever is set to happen in next week’s final episode.
Obviously, this is pure fantasy. Last Resort’s finale is in the can and set to air next Thursday. With all indications being that it will be a true ending, the show can’t be un-ended and re-launched. But maybe, juuuuuuust maybe, ABC will have a change of heart, pull the finale and give us a second Last Resort.