Last Resort’s Marcus Chaplin: what’s his endgame now?

Last Resort Scott Speedman Andre Braugher Skeleton Crew

‘Last Resort’s’ Marcus Chaplin has gone through a great deal of trouble to protect his crew, and the story he is trying to tell. But does he have any idea how his conflict might come to an end?


Marcus Chaplin is just a good man having a very, very bad week. If you’ve been following along on ABC’s new drama Last Resort, you know what I’m talking about. He didn’t wake up that fateful morning in the pilot, planning on launching a nuclear missile at the continental United States, but that’s how the day ended. The government is trying to paint Chaplin as a madman and a traitor, but the audience is privy to the whole story – or at least the Colorado’s side of things. But does anyone really know what Chaplin is up to?

Does anyone really know what Chaplin is up to?

Before getting to the captain of the Colorado, let’s take a look at the greater game of geo-political chess being played. There’s obviously something going on in the upper echelons of the United States Government. In the pilot, we learned that several senior military leaders were resigning, immediately before the Colorado was ordered to launch missiles into Pakistan. While Chaplin refused the order, the nukes were launched by another ship. Now, China has invaded Taiwan; whether or not that is based on whatever mystery conflict is at work, or just them taking advantage of the unrest remains an open question.

All that really means – at least as far as Chaplin is concerned – is that the world is a crazy place to lead a … revolution? Revolt? I’m not sure that what the Colorado is doing can rightly be called either. Recently promoted (which has to be connected to the turmoil in DC) Secretary of Defense William Curry might be closer with calling their actions treasonous – what with the nuclear missile launched in the general direction of the nation’s capital and all. But one of the first questions anyone is asked in a “hostage” negotiation is “what do you want?” Until “Skeleton Crew,” I don’t think Marcus had – at least publicly – answered that question.

Before the discussions completely broke down (members of one of the negotiation teams shooting each other will do that), it became clear that Chaplin was willing to give up the quest for the sake of saving his crew. It wasn’t obvious at first, but he manipulated the talks – and his Executive Officer – such that everyone else would be given amnesty. So, for one shining moment, Marcus Chaplin intentions were clear, and almost came to fruition. Unfortunately, the sub battle – or the murder of Amanda Straw – got in the way.

All of this leaves us quoting the immortal words of Joss Whedon: “Where do we go from here?” Frankly, I still think that sooner rather than later, some element of US Special Forces will be stopping by Chaplin picturesque island. A night HALO (high-altitude/low-oxygen) parachute drop, and 45 Delta Force soldiers or Navy SEALs could retake the boat in less time than it takes you to say “Osama bin Laden.” Unless the Colorado can launch her missiles while at anchor, Marcus needs to be much more prepared for this contingency than he currently is. There isn’t much he can do proactively, other than to protect his crew, the island and his boat. Fortunately, he has a couple of guardian angels he doesn’t yet know about.

Fortunately, [Chaplin] has a couple of guardian angels he doesn’t yet know about.

I’m not sure exactly what Kylie Sinclair and Christine Kendal plan to help Chaplin and the Colorado. Sinclair’s device holds the proof that the sub was not sunk by enemy forces, but I don’t think that changes the game significantly – at least not for the crew. Sure, it proves the President has lied to the American people about the disposition of the sub, but independent of a coup d’état during the original conflict, Chaplin was still in the wrong. He was ordered to fire, and did not. The circumstances surrounding the order — specifically the origination of the orders and the SEALs’ exfiltration from Pakistan — really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans against the weight of a direct order.

Eventually, that question will have to be given more focus. Why did the original orders come across a secondary network, and from an Assistant Secretary of State? What scenario would involve the President – as he or she is seemingly still in office – order an attack against another country that the senior military leadership would not follow? Something is rotten in the White House, and exactly what it is will have a bearing on whatever best-case scenario Marcus Chaplin will be able to achieve for his morals, and for his crew.

Photo Credit: ABC/Mario Perez

2 Comments on “Last Resort’s Marcus Chaplin: what’s his endgame now?

  1. I find it hard to get too emotionally involved in “The Last Resort” because I don’t see a long term story here. They would have been better served to have made this a 13 week series with a defined end date. That’s one of the reasons 24 was so well received out of the gate. After 24 episodes you were promised a conclusion.

    It’s tough to invest in a show that centers around a vast conspiracy unless you know there will be a payoff and not a cancellation at the end.

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