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Blue Water tried very hard to be as gripping as the episode that came before it, but it didn't quite manage to convey the same sense of urgency or to involve the viewer with a similar visceral intensity. Instead, the many developments and action sequences crammed within the hour-long episode seemed to lack the glue required to make them mesh well together.
Sam Kendal and James King knew (by experience maybe?) that the rendition or extradition of Christine Kendal would have to happen through Manila in the Philippines. Let's not fret over details such as why the operation that was initially conducted by some Special Ops team seemed now handled by civilians, or even simply why Christine Kendal was suddenly deemed more of a threat than what she was back in the U.S.. If we ignore all those questions, there is still the fact that most of the Manila operation was a collection of badly executed clichés and shortcuts towards reuniting the Kendals, and then getting James and Sam back to Sainte Marina with the wrong information on Christine's fate.
The clichés were everything involving James's friend Wes, including his fake death, and the most prominent shortcut was the rescue that seemed over even before we realized it had begun. On the positive side, the conversation about James's family and his stash of money in the unlikely event he became an inconvenience to his country was refreshing. Also, the short scene with the dumbstruck Sam (after the van exploded) worked even better than the explosion itself. At that point, the story had the viewer almost convinced a major character was gone. About Christine being gone, I might be reading too much into this, but Sophie's silent interaction with Sam when he returned seems to indicate that the storytellers might be tempted to push these two together now the wife is out of the way, but with so few episodes remaining, there might not be any sense in doing it.
While all the above was happening in Manila, on Sainte Marina, the People's Republic of China's envoy made the case for his "humanitarian" mission. Mr Zheng spoke well and most of the things he said made a lot of sense. In fact, everything that happened around the envoy was good TV except for two things, Zheng's line about what a nice island Chaplin had, and how the story went out of its way to try and outline cultural differences either through Grace or even directly with Zheng. I am glad the envoy has decided to stick around as the actor's portrayal was excellent. He gave to Zheng enough gravitas to get away with almost anything, including the bits I didn't particularly like.
Grace's efforts to be a good XO were at times funny and her confrontations with Chaplin made sense. The captain is not an easy man to deal with and he doesn't always agree with Sam either. The difference is that with Grace there is an underlying trust issue that the episode successfully brought out. In the same vein, Grace's scenes with the COB had a certain promise to them, even though the return of Prosser was in itself an unpleasant affair because it brought back Serrat, the one character that single-handedly ruins the show. The COB's drug issues are as much an unwelcome distraction as Serrat generally is, particularly now that there seems to be enough substantive things happening for the show to be able to afford to exclude some of the tiresome subplots.
About substantive events, Kylie Sinclair in D.C. had the very unexpected visit of Navy SEAL Hopper who only last week was rescuing Colorado crew family members and is certainly on the no-entry lists at U.S. airports. Whenever Kylie is in focus, Last Resort improves, and here it was the same pattern until the coup d'état was brought up. The way that piece of information seemed to come out of the blue perfectly embodies what was wrong with the episode.
Blue Water had many things happening on at least three locations on the planet, with isolated events sometimes having a very distinctive quality to them, but mostly, the episode felt rushed, with its parts not properly glued together to produce an attractive and consistent whole.