The Last Ship open thread: Another tour of duty for Nathan James crew

The big news for TNT’s The Last Ship took place between episodes this week. TNT has decided to pick up Season 3 of the series, which means the USS Nathan James will keep sailing for another summer. It also means that we’ll have yet another off-season with all sorts of cliffhangers, including whether the cure will find its way to the rest of the non-Immunes still alive. In a world gone mad, though, it takes more than a couple of seasons to explore all of the ways in which those left can restore sanity.

That brings us to last week’s episode, in which Dr. Scott momentarily forgot the first rule of the Hippocratic oath: First, do no harm. She got enough intel out of “Patient Zero” Niels to advance her research for nebulizing the cure, and then … killed Niels, much to his short-lived surprise. Niels had been his usual creepy self after waking up from his induced coma at the beginning of the episode, including a little interlude where he took Dr. Scott on a trip down a decidedly murky Memory Lane. Instead of digging his rap, Dr. Scott conducted a one-time experiment on Niels, who won’t be missed — but that may not help Dr. Scott when Chandler discovers what happened.

While all of this was going on, Chandler and the away team tried looking for fresh-water mussels, and along the way found a group of teenage summer-camp refugees that fancied themselves a commando unit. They agreed to set up the Immunes’ bounty hunters, but only if the leader (a sophomore named Ray) could enlist in the Navy to help fight. Chandler appeared to accept that bargain — right up until Ray fired off a flare to force Chandler to let him fight. He made up for it later by saving Chandler from getting captured (by a character hilariously listed as “Immune Prick” — seriously), but lost some interest in fighting when his friend Cody got killed.

Chandler tells Ray that leadership is about weathering the storm and says, “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” True story: I had that quote about leadership in a framed poster on my office wall during my last job as a call-center director. I literally saw it every day of my employment there, and this is really the first time I’ve missed it since leaving that firm. (I believe I left it for my successor.)

Meanwhile, President Michener is still adjusting to the realities of post-Red Flu life. He seemed to settle in toward the end of the episode, but when the Ramseys’ siren song reappears, will Michener be immune — so to speak? We’ll find out soon enough at 9 ET in “Friendly Fire,” but the trailer for this week’s episode makes it clear that the Ramseys will be back. So is the sub, and it looks like we’ll have to go to battle stations at some point as well. Chandler has his hands full, but he’s going to make some time to punish Dr. Scott for her breakthrough in the late Niels’ lungs. Will he find more recruits like Ray among the survivors? One has to think that an “Uncle Sam Wants You” pitch would be particularly effective at this point, but even a “Three Hots and a Cot” poster would do, considering the alternatives.

Be sure to break out your scorecards tonight, and … if you need an IV, better ask Doc Rios.

Note: Due to travel schedules, Adam “Slattery” Baldwin couldn’t get together with me for an interview to post in this week’s open thread, but we hope to have one in next week’s post.