A quick review of tonight's "Last Resort" coming up just s soon as we're wearing matching gasmasks...

The last new "Last Resort" episode of 2012 (there are three to go in early 2013), "Blue Water" reminded us of the potential of the show's premise even as it was also reminding us of the many bumps the show has tried to navigate along the way.

On the plus side, China's arrival as a major player is very interesting, and suggests the kind of geo-political complications that could have fueled stories for quite some time to come. Marcus making an alliance with a small-time local drug dealer is goofy; Marcus making an alliance with a global super power is not. And as Grace notes, the deal proposed would have short-term benefit (supplies, protection) even as it would almost certainly create long-term problems for Marcus's hope to take the Colorado into a U.S. port to clear his name.

So that was intriguing, as was Marcus's response to the prison problem. His crew are still supposed to follow the rules of the U.S. Navy, but they're not really part of the Navy (or the U.S.) at the moment, and their circumstances require a host of new rules, up to and including more traditional naval punishments rather than simply locking people up and feeding them.

On the other hand, James and Sam's adventure in Manila was kind of a mess. Not only does the show gloss over how they're able to get from the Colorado to Manila and back — something that should be a big deal, given that the blockade is a huge plot point at the moment — but the whole thing felt like part of an entirely different show, and then as an excuse to put Christine in a new kind of jeopardy (why wouldn't she just come to the island with him?) while beefing up the love triangle with Sophie by convincing Sam his wife is dead.

In both the Marcus and Sam plots, the writers were trying to set up storylines that could play out over the longer lifespan that "Last Resort" isn't going to have. But the stuff on the island played to the show's strengths, while making Sam think his wife is dead so he'll have grief sex with the lovely Frenchwoman next door plays to the areas where the show has often been weakest.

What did everybody else think? And were you glad to have the COB back after a two-episode absence, or do you have a hard time believing he wouldn't have reported Serrat to Marcus?