Tom landed back where he belongs: on the bridge of the Nathan James.
It just took way too much soul-searching for him to get there on The Last Ship Season 4 Episode 5.
Tom had legitimate reasons to leave the Nathan James at the end of The Last Ship Season 3 Episode 13. Both his wife and his father were dead, and he was the only one who could take care of his two children.
He was also haunted by all the deaths of those close to him.
You'd think his crew would be glad to have him back on board. But there was obviously resentment for his disappearance of 16 months. It was none too subtle with Sasha, Slattery, Jeter, and even MIller mentioning his failure to keep in touch.
In short, they felt abandoned.
Imagine how his kids feel now. Sure, they had him there for the last 16 months: until it was time to save the world again. Then he left them with his Greek waitress girlfriend as a babysitter. Ashley put up a brave front on the phone, but that wasn't really fair to them.
It's not easy having mankind's Messiah as a father.
I feel bad for Captain Joe. With Captain Slattery sidelined, Joe finally got the command he deserved, but he had to do it with a kibbitzing Greek god over his shoulder.
Tom knew he was overstepping, but he just couldn't help himself. It's his ship even if he just couldn't commit to being in charge again.
Joe was right in pointing out that Tom's presence was causing confusion among the crew and that he had to either re-up or get off at the next port. You know, shit or get off the pot.
Hopefully, Tom's re-enlistment will quell those mixed feelings among the crew, except for Kathleen. But she has good reasons, as she blames Tom for her father's death.
And poor Slattery. He lost his family again and also his command in a very short period of time. He'd proven himself during Tom's leave and deserved to be the commander. And now, after he gets detoxed, he'll be No. 2 again.
We also discovered that Burk suffers from PTSD after his brother Cameron's injury (an update would have been nice), and he's suspicious of anyone who isn't on the Nathan James.
The boarding of the trawler was mainly tense because of Burk's paranoia. He's been shitting on Miller since the suicide bombing in Rota. Now he nearly shot a mother with a baby. Danny needed to confront him.
He needs to get professional help, but I suspect that's lacking in this post-apocalyptic world. So rub some dirt on it, Carlton. Your crew-mates need you level headed. It's a cold world.
Still, the episode proves that, as Joseph Heller said, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.
One of the "refugees" on the trawler was a British spy sent to deliver a message to Fletcher from the Home Office.
It turns out the Brits have made a deal with Vellek to develop plants from the African flax seeds. Desperate times lead to desperate measures and all that. That must be the other solution that Vellek's smart son, Christos, suggested near the end of The Last Ship Season 4 Episode 4.
All that requires is that Fletcher steals the seeds from the people he has been serving with for the past 16 months.
One thing I'm fuzzy about: is Fletcher some kind of scientist himself? I seem to remember him hunched over a microscope, which is unusual spy behavior.
Will he do it? I don't think so. He's now part of the Nathan James, a floating United Nations that does the right thing for the world instead of the parochial concerns of individual countries.
Yeah, maybe that's a little strong since Captain Joe's main concern was getting the seeds back to scientists in the U.S. But, as with the cure, they've proven that they're willing to share. Vellek doesn't strike me as the sharing type, and whoever makes a deal with him is going to get screwed over.
We did learn more about Vellek. As previously hinted, he's your stereotypical mad scientist, the only one who is smart enough to make decisions for the rest of mankind.
Now that Tom's in charge, Vellek is the target of the Nathan James. They might as well take advantage of that big brain, as Tom suggested. He just requires the proper motivation and supervision.
Overall, this wasn't an episode that really moved the narrative forward. It was Tom's decision, and not a lot more happening. Hopefully, there are not many more distractions away from the primary storyline of finding a cure for the Red Rust.
To catch up with any plotlines you missed, watch The Last Ship online.
Were you at all surprised that Tom retook his command? Will there be any lasting aftermath? Who do you feel worse for: Tom's kids, Slattery or Joe? Comment below.
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.