'Last Resort' Breakdown: Shawn Ryan on a Key Death, Kidnapping and the SEALs' Real Story
In a weekly postmortem with THR, the executive producer said of Thursday's action-packed (and deadly) episode: "This was a big one that we had been aiming for for a while."
[Warning: Major spoilers ahead from Thursday's episode.]
Deaths. Kidnapping. Suspicion. The latest episode of Last Resort had all that and more.
Just when things were looking up for the USS Colorado crew and their family members, aboard a boat that gets taken over by militants, things turned sour fast when Marcus (Andre Braugher) failing to negotiate a deal to bring family to safety. One of those people aboard the ship, Sam's wife Christine (Jessy Schram), may have had the worst luck, prompting Sam (Scott Speedman) to make a drastic move and declare his intention to go off the island. The episode also uncovered the events of the Pakistan mission that went down prior to the the Colorado's rescue of the Navy SEALs, revealing just how far the U.S. government is willing to go to cover their tracks.
Ryan breaks down the biggest moments -- including Paul's death, Grace's new unofficial mission and Sam's desire to save his wife -- from Thursday's episode, "Cinderella Liberty," with THR in the seventh installment of weekly Last Resort postmortems conducted with fellow EP Karl Gajdusek.
The Hollywood Reporter: This is the highest the stakes have ever been on the show.
Shawn Ryan: This was a big one that we had been aiming for for a while and it was a big production too. We filmed on that big boat for three days and one day out at sea. It's certainly something you don't see very often on TV shows.
THR: The episode uncovered information about the Pakistan mission and James' (Daniel Lissing) guilty conscience got the better of him, when he informed Marcus and Sam. How does this change their perspective on the SEALs and their current situation?
Ryan: It makes them realize some things are screwed up in D.C.; they had a clue about that before but this is concrete, tangible proof that it's something they know is stacked against them. If the president and his administration would go to that length to silence these SEALs, what would they do to them on the Colorado? It's nice to have that knowledge but having that now only makes the situation scarier for them I think.
THR: Are they headed in even more dangerous territory?
Ryan: It's certainly dicier. By the end of the episode, you've got Sam saying that he's going to go after Christine (Jessy Schram) and that he can't stay on the island. That threatens the power structure there [with Marcus]. You've got a whole number of crew members who thought they were getting on a boat and going home who didn't get to go home, there are crew members who were counting on seeing their family members who didn't and a couple who saw them get killed. That's going to create a real crisis on the island in terms of morale with the crew members going forward. You've got things getting dicier with the American government.
THR: Will there be a mutiny or something close to it as a result of crew members witnessing the deaths of their loved ones? Should Marcus be worried about his standing amongst his crew?
Ryan: Yeah, that's something that in our next episode we're going to hit hard: the crew reaction after the events of this episode. Different people in the crew have different reactions. It's going to create a big problem for Marcus and Sam.
THR: Marcus grew suspicious of Grace (Daisy Betts) when she appeared conveniently with his launch key. We know she's not the mole, but now that he's tasked her with the unofficial mission to find the real culprit, how does she go about doing that?
Ryan: When she shows up with the key, it is a little suspicious. I don't want to overpromise on that storyline because that doesn't play in a huge way over the next couple of episodes but it does bring her onto the inside a little bit with Marcus whereas before it was Marcus and Sam. [Sam's impending departure] creates an opportunity for Grace to step up in responsibility and to assume some of Sam's responsibilities. That's where we'll head in the next episode.
THR: How close does Grace get to finding out that Cortez (Jessica Camacho) was the mole Marcus has been searching for?
Ryan: Not too close but it's something that we will address before the end of the season and thus, our series.
THR: So the triangle between Marcus-Sam-Grace is rotating in a significant way.
Ryan: One side of the triangle, Sam -- in the beginning of the next episode -- is in the submarine skirting past the blockade to get off the island to go look for Christine. His absence is felt very acutely on the island and that's something Grace has to deal with.
THR: Are there aspects to Grace that may actually prove to be more beneficial to Marcus than Sam?
Ryan: Good question. I'm not sure we hit that real hard. What we tend to hit is that even when it was contentious, Marcus had a very close relationship with Sam and had grown to respect Sam's opinions even when he disagreed with him. Bringing Grace in now, it's a new dynamic. It's not that he lacks respect [for her], he doesn't have the history or that comfort level of knowing how to calibrate her thoughts in the way he's used to calibrating Sam's thoughts. This next episode some really big decisions have to be made and he's getting Grace's advice and counsel at a time when he would usually get Sam's. He's doing his best to deal with that.
THR: During the hostage situation, we saw Paul (Jay Hernandez) sacrifice himself for Christine. But not before Sam witnesses Christine and Paul's kiss, which we know isn't all as it seems. How does that play into Sam's quest to save Christine (who is kidnapped by the end of the episode)?
Ryan: It's something if and when he ever encounters Christine, that will be on his mind. He only sees part of the story there. We, the audience, know what's going on and we know she hasn't abandoned Sam emotionally. We know the kiss wasn't indicative of some kind of secret romance. For Sam, who has been separated from her for a while, it's easy to let your imagination run wild and this is something he'll be battling and wondering.
THR: Why kill Paul off now and not reunite him with the son he's been searching for?
Ryan: That's another way the story could have gone. We liked telling the story of a man who over the course of time, we learned what his motives were, that he wasn't an evil guy, he was the guy trying to reunite with a family member himself the same way Christine is. Ultimately, he came to fall for her. That created a screwed-up dynamic where she went from being used to using him. To then see this man sacrifice for her, we thought was a great twist in the story and a great denouement for that character.
Last Resort airs 8 p.m. Thursdays on ABC.