The Last Ship open thread: What Cabinet Secretary would carry a thumb drive anyway?

Seriously. Former HUD Secretary Jeff Michener, now POTUS on The Last Ship, started off last week’s episode (“Safe Zone”) by whipping out a thumb drive and reviewing some enemy propaganda. That’s so hard to buy, though, because Cabinet Secretaries would never keep sensitive materials on unsecured thumb drives, right? Come on, man.

All right, so Chandler managed to get some intel out of Michener and then “deprogram” him from the Ramseys’ Chosen cult. The backstory on Michener makes him a bit less than sympathetic, having broken a quarantine for his son that may have cost the lives of 20,000 people — but also, of course, his own family, which is what made the Ramseys’ message so attractive. Chandler’s expert use of empathy and understanding nearly backfired with Michener’s suicide attempt, but it seems to have worked … for now, anyway. He’s got a replacement Oval Office and offered some key intel afterward on the Ramsey brothers’ submarine, which will be a bit difficult to move quietly for a while. Unfortunately, the Ramseys have begun their own propaganda campaign using radio alerts that will no doubt panic everyone who comes into contact with the Nathan James and its crew.

Now the ship heads for New Orleans, but don’t expect it to be Mardi Gras in the Big Easy. If they can get there first, they may be able to take advantage of the infrastructure described by Michener in last week’s episode. Will Michener’s conversion last, and will it convince New Orleans residents to get the cure? Or will the Ramsey network have a militia waiting to greet them? This week’s episode, “Uneasy Lies The Head,” will probably answer that in part. It might also give us a little insight into “Patient Zero,” Niels, who apparently survived his gunshot to the stomach two weeks ago. Last episode, Niels was in an induced coma, but he might be eligible for new quarters in this episode now. Unlike Michener, I don’t think they’ll paint anything on his cell except NO ADMITTANCE. If the submarine shows up, though, all bets are off on subplot developments — they’ll run silent and run deep for another week. Expect the action to pick up tonight in either case.

Anyway, enjoy tonight’s episode, and we’ll see if Michener’s thumb drive has any e-mails about Chelsea’s wedding. Next week, we’ll get Adam Baldwin to give us an advance look at the next episode, and hopefully draft him into my campaign to memeify “squeezed the bear.” The show starts at 9 pm ET on TNT and repeats at 11 pm ET, but check your listings elsewhere.