The Last Ship: “Trials”

But first, we’re in Virginia. An old man returns from a hunting trip with a prize buck. He wants to give half of it to his neighbour, but the neighbour (shouting from inside the hours) tells him not to come near. Jenny (presumably his wife) got the “red flu.” She stumbled over a dead body by accident. The old man leaves the buck for his friend, then spray paints a red X on his house.

He returns to his own cottage, where Chandler’s wife and kids are waiting. So this is the difficult father we’ve heard so much about! Darien wants to hike to a nearby town for supplies, but the father says he’s not going. Since Darien insists—this might be their only chance to reach Tom—the father tells her to bring a weapon.

As Chandler and Jeter get ready for Cossetti’s funeral, Tex helps Dr. Scott prepare the trial vaccine. Her plan is to test six individuals with varying blood and genetic markers. She’ll inject each of them with the vaccine prototype, then with the virus. Hopefully everything works out. But as Tex puts it, “I don’t know if people are going to be lining up for that.” No kidding.

Mason plays Bertrise a recording of one of her father’s transmissions from the fishing boat. When she begins to cry, Mason asks if she’s sure she wants to witness the vaccine trials. She says yes. It’s her blood in the vaccine: she has to see if it’s going to work.

After Cossetti’s funeral, Slattery, Jeter and Chandler debate the vaccine tests. Chandler wants to volunteer, but Slattery thinks that’s a bad idea—they just risked everything to save him from the Russians. Jeter, however, says Chandler is right. Someone in leadership needs to set the example. Which is why he already put his name in to Dr. Scott.

The tactic works: basically every sailor wants to sign up. Quincy’s out of the doghouse after helping Slattery take down Ruskov, meaning he can help Scott interview potential test subjects. Having almost died of dengue fever the previous week, Green doesn’t qualify. But Scott is pleased when Tex comes forward.

Foster also makes the cut. And it seems like her and Green are back on: as she packs her overnight bag, he reassures her that one day she’ll introduce him to her mother. She just thanks him for not trying to talk her out of going forward with the tests.

It’s injection time. The subjects are: Tex, Foster, Jeter, Miller, Gibson, and Chief Engineer Andrea Garnett. After giving her subjects the vaccine prototype, Dr. Scott warns explains that they will likely experience symptoms similar to the early signs of the virus. Headaches, fever, stuff like that. And with a shaky voice, she also tells them that they’re all remarkable people.

The mood is tense as the subjects enter the quarantine area and sit on their cots. Then Scott rolls in the virus samples and starts her jabs. Let’s hope this works.

Darien reaches the town, where there’s a definite zombie-movie vibe going on. She finds an electronics store, and begins searching for a radio part Chandler’s father requested. When she hears a ruckus outside, she ducks in a window and sees a man pointing a gun at a sick woman. “Please help,” the woman says, zombie-walking closer. The man has no choice but to shoot her dead. Afterwards, he and his cohort spray-paint a red X on the store and take off—without noticing Darien. But they’re not the only ones overlooking things: in her rush to get out, Darien failed to see a dead body that was lying only a few feet away.

Jeter puts on some reggae as the scientists do their rounds. First, Dr. Scott checks in on Tex, who tries to impress her with a truly terrible James Bond impression. Then, while having his blood pressure taken by Quincy, Miller asks Gibson—maybe a little flirtatiously—about her boyfriend. She says she’s an only child and her parents died in 9/11, so he’s the only person who might be missing her.

Next up is Garnett, who’s got a photo of her 11-year-old daughter pinned to the plastic above her bed. “If this all goes as it should,” says Scott, “You’ll be back with her in a week or so.” Jeter interjects, saying he has no doubt they’ll be back. And so far, it seems like he’s right.

In the dining room, the sailors are already talking mass production like the vaccine has been proven a success. But Green interrupts. “Let’s not jinx this,” he says.

And he’s right to worry—Foster already has a high fever. Doc Rios tells her it’s normal, but his words are little comfort. Miller’s throat is sore and Gibson is exhausted.

Tex keeps the mood jovial, flirting with Scott by serving up water like he’s a waiter at a fancy restaurant. But when he tries to joke with Foster about his courtship, she doesn’t respond. In fact, she passes out altogether. The scientists rush in, and Foster starts having a full-on seizure. All three doctors struggle to get things under control. It’s extremely scary, but they manage to stabilize her system. Scott insists it’s just a symptom of her fever.

In another part of the ship, Green can’t sleep. He tells Burk that if anything happens to Foster, he doesn’t know what he’ll do.

Meanwhile, in quarantine, things only get worse. Garnett loses feeling in her fingers and Tex has developed a crazy rash. Out of earshot from the patients, Quincy tells Scott they need to consider the possibility that the vaccine isn’t working. Scott says she’s never seen the virus behave the way it’s behaving on the test subjects. But Quincy reminds her it’s been a very long time since they were in the field. The symptoms could have changed.

Oh dear, Garnett has started hallucinating. Actually, everyone is delirious. As Scott makes her way through the room, she notices Tex’s locket on the floor—open. Inside, there’s a photograph of a young girl. When Scott places the necklace in Tex’s hand, he squeezes hers. “You make me want to love again,” he says. Is that the virus talking or him?

Now Jeter starts having an episode—he’d been doing okay, but suddenly sits bolt upright and starts yelling. Again, it takes all three doctors to subdue him.

But that’s not the worst of it. When Miller turns to Gibson to ask if she saw what just happened, she doesn’t respond. While the doctors were distracted, she quietly died.

Back at the cabin, Darien and Chandler’s father listen to a late-night radio advertisement for Olympia, a treatment centre where you can supposedly get cured. Chandler’s dad says it’s all bologna, but Darien insists that someone must be making progress somewhere.

As they zip up Gibson’s body bag, Miller says her boyfriend isn’t the only person who will miss her—he will too. Panic mode has set in. Quincy thinks the virus killed Gibson, but Scott insists there’s another explanation—they just haven’t found it yet. Quincy also thinks they should inject plasma from Bertrise’s blood directly into the patients to give them her antibodies. It’s not a horrible idea, but the amount of blood they’d have to take could kill her. Scott is not willing to risk Bertrise’s life—but Bertrise says she can’t just sit there and watch them all die. Since Bertrise is willing, Chandler says they have to take the chance.

It turns out there was something up with Foster that could have caused the seizure: she’s pregnant. Chandler tells Green the news, and allows him to pay her a visit. He enters the quarantine area—in a protective suit—and takes her hand. “Don’t you dare leave me,” he says. She nods—and starts bleeding from her nose.

Quincy finds Rachel crying in an empty room. He says she was right—Bertrise will be okay, but the test subjects’ symptoms aren’t getting any better. Scott feels awful, but Quincy tells her she’s the best there is. “We’ll find another way,” he says, then walks off. Scott looks at her one living monkey and asks, “Why did it work on you?”

The sailors are now permitted to visit their friends. Miller manages a fist bump with Burk through the plastic, while Chung tells Garnett she’s gotta pull through—he can’t handle the role of chief engineer. Chandler suits up and walks from bed to bed. “When they tell the story about the great plague of the twenty-first century,” he says, “they’ll talk about you. The six.”

Suddenly, Scott bursts into the room. She’s had a deus ex machina! I mean, a brainwave. What proceeds is a lot of science talk, but it boils down to this: the symptoms are the patients’ own bodies attacking themselves. Their immune systems are reacting to the presence of a human gene on the virus—the Norwegian’s gene—by launching an attack on every cell in their body. That’s why the monkey didn’t react—because it doesn’t have any human genes. Scott thinks she can solve the problem if they can find a way to hide the Norwegians’ gene. Quincy says there’s no technique to do that—but she thinks she can use the primordial strain as a Trojan horse. Are you following?

In a jiff, Scott has a new injection ready. They administer it to the patients, who at this point are borderline comatose.

A while later, Bertrise wakes up with Mason by her side. She assumes the tests failed, but he tells her to take a look. Through the plastic, all the patients have recovered! Tex is even flirting with Scott (who’s on the verge of tears). And Green’s baby? It will be born immune to the virus. Green enters the quarantine area, and tells Foster about the pregnancy. Overwhelmed, she breaks into tears.

In another room, Chandler approaches Scott. He wants to know: do they have the vaccine? She says they don’t just have the vaccine. They have the cure. Meaning they can help people who are already sick.

Which is good news, because over at Chandler’s father’s cabin, Darien isn’t looking so healthy.

Stats of the Week
Number of Nathan James crew members who have died so far: 3
Number of pep talks this episode: 0! (unless you count Quincy’s half-assed attempt to comfort Dr. Scott)
Number of needles given this episode: so many, yuck
Number of times Tex outwardly hits on Dr. Scott: 3
Number of sick people Darien encounters in the town: 2