That pesky virus just won't die.
You would think saving the world from a deadly virus would earn the crew of the Nathan James some rest. But on The Last Ship Season 4 Episode 1, about 18 months later, they're back hunting for a solution to the virus's latest mutation.
Now it's in the food supply, picking off crops one by one.
I don't know which would be worse: dying from a virus for which there is no cure or dying from starvation.
This season is going to be a hunt for the Holy Grail, which in this case is a small canister of ancient African palm seeds, hidden in a camel's pack somewhere in the Algerian desert. Yeah, that's not much to go on.
Appropriate in these times, the villain is Omar, a so-far faceless Arab terrorist. But the question is who is the power behind him, supplying him with the weapons he needs to retrieve the seeds that Mahmoud stole from Omar and hid?
The Last Ship Season 4 trailer showed a garden-variety mad scientist, so I'm guessing he's the one who is going to be working with the seeds, I'm assuming for the other side.
Now the Nathan James doesn't even have the backing of the U.S. military, which is contracting and closing bases because there's not enough food, or personnel, to go around.
The Nathan James has become even more multi-national this season. In addition to Aussie Wolf, there's a hunky new British intelligence officer as a beau for Sasha and an intriguing new Kenyan sailor, about whom Carlton Burk says, "This is going to be fun."
In one scene, Wolf was hitting on Kenyan Azima. Then she turned around and hit on Alisha. That's certainly one way to spice up a deadly mission.
Another is internal tension. Carlton Burk holds Miller responsible for the injuries suffered by his older brother, Cameron Burk, during Omar's attack on the Rota base. I don't see what Miller did wrong, other than being closest to Cameron when the suicide bombing happened.
Cameron's injury serves a couple of other purposes as well. It frees up LaMonica Garrett' for his role as Mike Ritter on Designated Survivor. Having characters get injured adds a degree of realism, and opens up screen time for other, smaller characters new and old.
Finally, it allowed Danny and Kara Foster Green to serve together again on the Nathan James, after spending much of The Last Ship Season 3 separated. They certainly work well together. (I guess any non-fraternization rules went out the window in a post-apocalyptical setting.)
Since Burk and Miller serve on the same Cobra attack squad, there's no room for any tension there, so hopefully, this gets resolved sooner rather than later.
Now let's quickly check in with the star character of this show, Tom Chandler. Tom and his children had settled into a peaceful existence in a small Greek village, which of course wasn't going to last.
Giorgio, a punk crime lord from, of all places, Iowa was demanding tribute with the villagers, including Tom's friend, Alex. He and Alex rebelled, which got Alex killed. In some vague way, Giorgio is tied into this global food catastrophe.
That's why Tom throws in his lot with Giorgio on The Last Ship Season 4 Episode 2
Tom quickly beat down Giorgio's lead thug, the inventively named Moose, which induced Giorgio to recruit Tom, despite the fact that Tom has already displayed a backbone, unlike the rest of his crew.
Giorgio took his crew, including Tom, to his headquarters. (I'm not sure who's watching his children now. I guess it takes a Greek village.)
Tom set about seducing Giorgio's sister Lucia, largely to get ahold of her beetle necklace, which he's hoping will open Giorgio's secret room. Then maybe he can figure out who Giorgio's boss is, and what they're up to.
In the meantime, he waltzed around with Ares, the Greek Navy's slab of meat, before finally beating the crap out of him, which apparently turned on Lucia.
Meanwhile, the crew of the Nathan James was busy being creative without sufficient spare parts. T
hey discovered terrorists can set up IEDs at sea, which left them a sitting duck for Omar's big gun hidden inside the Rock of Gibraltar. I guess in a world in chaos it's easy to locate discarded big weapons and move them into abandoned tunnels.
Still, this was a chance for obscure characters, such as No. 2 Joe, wanna-be chopper girl and young engineering guy, to shine, as they jury-rigged solutions under fire.
The upshot of all this activity: time lost in the race to Algeria. But one big Bondo patch later, the Nathan James was underway again.
So Tom and the Nathan James crews are on separate paths, but I suspect the same destination. It's just a matter of how many episodes before they meet up again.
To catch up on the convoluted history of the virus, watch The Last Ship online.
What did you think of Tom's path? How do you like Slattery in charge? Which other crew members stood out? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.