It was another step forward that proved to be a step back.
It was a hollow victory for the U.S. and its Cuban allies on The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 7.
All Tom and company had to show for the bloody battle for Camp X was an exact model of Southern Command. Now we have to wait until The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 8 to find out who is dead beside General Kinkaid (no great loss there).
It's hard to believe that one piece of Southern white trash continues to be Tavo's secret weapon.
One thing I've found offputting about this season is how events have been skipping ahead. I understand that advances during war happen incrementally, which is death in a fast-paced medium such as television (unless it's a glacially paced soap opera, with five times as many showings each week).
I also get there are only 10 episodes into which to cram a whole war.
Still, the last three episodes have been a little herky-jerky.
On The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 5, the Nathan James was getting repaired while its crew was attempting to reconnect with their families.
Next was seeking out new allies in the Cuban rebels on The Last Ship Season 5 Episode 6.
This time around, the U.S. military and the Cuban rebels were fighting Tavo's Cubans on three fronts, without the troops to do so.
That included the mysterious Camp X, which must be important because it was so heavily fortified in the middle of nowhere.
The way things have been going, there could have been a nuclear weapon stored there. After all, Tavo's military somehow got ahold of a functional Iowa-class battleship and the know-how to run it. So we really can't rule anything out, can we?
Like a tank, just when the allies were gaining an advantage. Of course.
When that tank showed up, you just knew some named character was going to get hit. Miller's had some good moments this season, so I guess his number was up, as he heroically tried to save his teammates.
Fortunately, Wolf was able to scale that gun tower using a conveniently placed metal pole, then mowed down Tavo's Cubans in front of him, including those on the tank.
Then Danny assaulted the tank and took over it, instinctively knowing how to use its guns to blast open the compound so that Tom could lead the charge.
See. All the eye-rolling suspension of disbelief shouldn't only go in Tavo's direction.
Yes, you can't think too hard about how Tavo's forces have managed to compile such a large stockpile of weaponry. I still wonder about his funding source. I'm skeptical that international bankers would pony up the money for his revolution unless he's got oil or drugs as collateral.
But the U.S.'s top Naval officer and the revered military hero is entrenched at the front. Sure, that's where the action is, so he's able to gather first-hand intelligence. But if Tom gets killed, that would put a severe dent in the war effort.
There's also Tom's psychic link with that ghost battleship. He knew that the missiles were incoming even before they destroyed Cuba Command.
Does anyone have an explanation for that? How about how such a big-ass ship seems to be invisible?
Here's another one for you: How did the skinny bitch Kelsi get inside SouthCom without having her personal effects removed? Like that ring?
Yes, Gitmo was unavailable. But wasn't there some less strategically important building in which she could be jailed? The Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, S.C., wouldn't be that far away by chopper.
Anywhere but where POTUS and America's military leaders are trying to conduct a war.
Instead, Kelsi was allowed to create a fake medical emergency and security got thrown out the window, allowing Tavo's hit squad inside to threaten said leaders.
A cyber attack is one thing. Let's face it. The bulk of the personnel in that building don't understand that anyway. Forgoing basic security is quite another.
Also, the model of SouthComm at Camp X was highly detailed, and I don't remember Kelsi ever getting past reception. So is there a second mole inside, or some cyber-spying?
That being said, it did set up a hell of a cliffhanger.
It was also an intriguing twist to have the Nathan James barely in this episode of a series named for it.
With only three episodes left, the American brain trust must soon find a way to gain an edge on an increasingly more unhinged dictator with a persecution complex.
To make sense of this season, watch The Last Ship online.
Will Miller survive? What's wrong with Tom? What were Slattery, Meylan, et al., thinking letting Kelsi into SouthCom?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.