The Last Ship Season Finale Recap: “No Place Like Home”

The Nathan James has the vaccine, so it’ll to be smooth sailing from here, right? Yeah, no.

Last episode ended on both high and low notes. The upside: Dr. Scott not only found a vaccine, but a cure. The downside: Chandler’s family got sick. And at the beginning of this week’s season finale, they’re not doing well. His kids are frantic, his wife dying, and his father is broadcasting an SOS, via makeshift radio, to anyone who can help.

The mood on the Nathan James, however, is triumphant. As the sailors get their shots, Dr. Scott gives Chandler a status report: the vaccine works, but they still need to find a way to mass-produce it. Chandler tells her to just enjoy the moment—then rolls up his sleeve for his shot. Are things getting sexually tense in here?

Speaking of sexually tense, Tex is in his room complaining to Admiral Halsey­—remember the dog?—about his feelings for Dr. Scott. He confessed his love, but has gotten zip in return.

Meanwhile, Jeter and Slattery update the crew. The Nathan James is now headed to Fort Detrick, where Dr. Scott says there’s a workable lab—though they haven’t been able to make contact.

And there’s a reason why. After hacking an Air Force spy satellite, the Nathan James gets an image of Fort Detrick. Dr. Scott says the lab is located at the centre of the base, but when they zoom in, all they see is rubble. The facility has been completely destroyed—and it looks like a targeted hit. Who would have done that?

One symptom of the virus seems to be chasing after healthy people in search of help. Chandler’s father drives up to a checkpoint and explains to the guard that they’re headed for Olympia, the treatment facility being advertised on the radio. “Olympia can’t help you,” the man says, before telling them to go home.

It seems like Chandler’s father is going to turn around, but after backing up a bit, he guns the engine through the barricade.

Finally, Mason gets a signal—from Baltimore. A woman’s voice speaks directly to the U.S.S. Nathan James, saying she (and whoever she’s with) is aware of the ship’s mission and have secured the appropriate facilities. Chandler tells Mason to get them on the line, but there’s no pick-up. For now.

And from the car, Chandler’s father hears the same broadcast from Baltimore. He tells Darien—who’s really looking brutal—that Tom is still out there.

You’d think Quincy’s problems would be resolved, but nope: Kelly can’t forgive him for the ordeal he put their family through. Dr. Scott suggests that once they’re on solid ground, he might be able to start over.

Meanwhile, Mason finally makes contact with Baltimore—and they’re in for an amazing surprise. It’s Amy Granderson on the line, i.e. Lt. Alisha Granderson’s mother, who turns out to be vice chair of the president’s defense policy board. She knew about their mission, and had Alisha transferred to the Nathan James before they set sail. She briefs Chandler on the status of the government: all the leaders went into the presidential bunker—where they all died. She has been trying to maintain safe zones ever since. Chandler says they can be in Baltimore in a few hours—but first she should say hello to her daughter.

Alisha enters the room, and breaks down at the sight of her mother’s face on the screen.

But Granderson isn’t the only one waiting for the Nathan James. The men from the checkpoint have also heard the radio signals, and their motives don’t seem good. After learning that Granderson is sending a party to greet the ship, the leader appears determined. “Well, if they’re having a party,” he says, “Then let’s party.”

The Nathan James reaches shore, and a small crew disembarks to secure the perimeter. Two black SUVs pull up, and a man gets out with his arms up. He’s says he’s Lt. Pete Norris of the Maryland State Police, and his colleagues are inside the cars. There’s a moment of hesitation as Green sizes them up—then he says it’s a pleasure to make their acquaintance.

Meanwhile, from a nearby building, the checkpoint men assess the situation, guns loaded. They watch as a second boat reaches land, carrying Chandler, Scott, Tex and Jeter. And when another SUV pulls up, the men really get a shock: Amy Granderson in the flesh! The leader immediately orders his henchman to take the shot. It’s tense as he struggles to get a clear line of sight—but eventually Granderson is whisked away. The leader says he wants to know what the sailors are doing here.

And we want to know what they’re doing here.

Though we soon find out. After driving the sailors to a nearby facility, Mrs. Granderson explains that lately, warlords have been causing more deaths than the virus. Fortunately, she’s preserved a pristine facility where order can be maintained. Kids are even going to school!

Back on the ship, Norris gives Slattery a bit more information on “Thorwald,” the self-proclaimed leader of the warlords. Former Balitmore P.D., real pain in their ass. (Also sounds like he should be a Lord of the Rings character?) Slattery’s more concerned with finding his own family—last he heard they were going somewhere called Deer Park. Norris says he can bring Slattery there once they’re back on land.

Granderson shows Dr. Scott the lab where several scientists have been trying to find a cure. And when they see Scott—and her CDC case—through the glass, they immediately break into applause.

Meanwhile, the warlord henchman informs Thorwald (not a wizard) that the Nathan James came back with a cure. The henchman thinks they should swarm the ship, but Thorwald knows better: they need to take Granderson’s lab.

Back at Granderson’s facility, Chandler tries to reach his family via radio. He broadcasts several calls, but all he gets is static.

And down at the lab, Tex finds a quiet moment with Dr. Scott—and tells her he’s leaving! He’s got things to take care of, among them trying to find the young girl whose picture he keeps in his locket. Rachel is clearly rattled, but keeps a professional veneer. She actually goes so far as to offer a handshake—which is cold. At first Tex accepts. But on his way out, he mutters “what the hell” and swoops back for a big, romantic kiss.

Chandler finally gets through! But the news isn’t good. His father sounds very sick over the radio. He tells Chandler he’s at a tire shop in Baltimore. (How convenient.) Granderson says her men can get Chandler there STAT.

But when they arrive at the shop, all they find is hobo hugging Chandler’s dad’s old radio. He says the man who sold it to him headed to Olympia—meaning Chandler needs to get there too. And that’s when the real chaos breaks out. Granderson’s men do not want to go to Olympia. And they’re willing to fight over it. Guns are pulled. Guns are shot. Jeter is wounded, but most of the sailors avoid bullets. Panicked, Green drives Jeter back to base while Chandler and Burk head to Olympia. What was that all about?

Okay, Granderson’s claws are coming out. First, she doesn’t inform Alisha about the shootout. Second, when Alisha says she wants to look for her girlfriend, her mom points out that her “friend” lived in an area beyond easy access. Third, she wants to know if Chandler has let the power go to his head. Alisha says she doesn’t understand. “I’m asking if he will still follow orders,” her mother says, with a look on her face that suggests the power has gone to her head.

And in the lab, Scott discovers something even more sinister. Dr. Hamada, Granderson’s lead scientist, is prescribing a treatment that would actually make the virus worse. Is he aware of this? His guilty eyes say yes.

Meanwhile, the masses descend on Olympia, which is actually a repurposed arena. Chandler and Burk are there, but they can’t locate Chandler’s family. They head to a higher level, where they see thousands of people being filtered through the grounds. Something seems off.

Next, they head to the main level, where Chandler starts a desperate search. Then he hears a voice shouting “Daddy.” It’s Ashley! Chandler runs to his kids, and starts frantically jabbing them with the vaccine while also having an emotional reunion. Only one question: where’s Darien? With tears in his eyes, Chandler’s father says she didn’t make it. Chandler breaks down, but pulls it together long enough to give his father a quick needle.

Remember Norris? He seemed so jovial! But he’s not. Back on the Nathan James, Slattery is preparing the next move when Norris arrives on deck, pulls out his gun, and shoots someone. Then he makes his demands. He wants the entire crew on the deck, and he wants the cure. There are troopers surrounding the whole ship, and if Slattery doesn’t do what he says, he’ll pick off the the sailors one by one.

And Norris is serious. When Quincy lunges for him, he immediately gets shot in the stomach.

And Granderson is getting weirder. In her office, Scott confronts her about the bogus treatment. Granderson explains that she’s unwilling to see the world go through the chaos that accompanied the plague back in the Middle Ages. The Black Death killed off all the artists, scientists and intellectuals, setting human progress back centuries—and Granderson doesn’t want that to happen again. So she’s enacted some kind of discriminatory selective survival policy. Meaning Thorwald is actually fighting for the not-messed-up side of things.

Back at Olympia, Chandler investigates the sickbeds and quickly figures out that the supposed “doctors” are killing their patients. Horrified, he makes a run for it with Burk and his family. They get outside just in time to see bodies being carted off in trucks. And then it clicks into place: the bodies are being burned to power the city. Not sure that’s scientifically possible, but in any case: yuck!

Back at the lab facility, guards cart Alisha into her mother’s office. She was trying to run away. Scott reminds Granderson that everything they need to replicate the vaccine is locked up on the ship—and the captain will never give it up. “You let me worry about the captain,” Granderson says.

But we should all be worried about the captain. When Chandler tries to reach the Nathan James via radio, no one responds. Because back on the ship, Norris is herding his crew like cattle.

Questions for next season

The Last Ship has already been renewed for a second season, meaning Granderson will—presumably—get her comeuppance. But before that happens, here are the questions we’re left with after this week’s finale

  • How will the Nathan James crew regain control of their ship? Will Thorwald swoop in to help?
  • Is there going to be a love triangle between Tex, Chandler and Dr. Scott?
  • What else is Granderson hiding?
  • Is Alisha’s girlfriend still alive, and will they manage to reunite?
  • Will Quincy be okay?!