Post Mortems
Last Ship Recap Tex Returns

The Last Ship: John Pyper-Ferguson Talks Tex's Return, Heroes' Impossible New Situation: 'We're In a Big Hole'

The following contains spoilers from this Sunday’s episode of TNT’s The Last Ship.

The heroes of The Last Ship this week called in for backup, in the form of a very familiar face: John Pyper-Ferguson’s “Tex” Nolan, the onetime private security contractor who allied with the Nathan James crew during the first two seasons.

Tex and his daughter helped Kara infiltrate the seized White House and whisk President Oliver away to safety (R.I.P., Jacob Barnes). But in the aftermath, corrupt chief of staff Allison Shaw counterpunched by telling America that the “agitators” — as well CNO Chandler, whose crew had just vanquished Peng and his minions — were treasonous usurpers. As such, she has suspended the centralized government and turned control over to the regional leaders… while, we see, Armed Forces generals are one by one murdered.

TVLine spoke with Pyper-Ferguson about re-boarding The Last Ship, how the heroes might escape the “hole” they’re now in and more.

TVLINE | You’re a hard actor to pin down. A few episodes of Burn Notice, two seasons of The Last Ship wrapped around an arc on Suits…. Is that just the nature of the roles that come your way?
I’m sure its a combination of a lot of things. I love variety, and I love being involved. And in the “new” media, in the new television era, you really get to be featured when you’re in for just a season or two. Because then you really get utilized. On a lot of shows with people who stick around a long time, you’re kinda like, “Wow, we never see much of them….”

TVLINE | Because they “take turns” with the cast.
Yeah, So, that’s awesome when that kind of stuff comes up, like Burn Notice, like Suits and Last Ship. I’m just like, “I’m in. This looks great.”

TVLINE | So when Season 2 ended, did you know that Tex would be MIA for a bit, simply because it was storyline-dictated?
I absolutely knew that. As you know with The Last Ship, the whole thing is about being on the Nathan James, it’s about Navy men and women in service, and they authentically want to portray that. And Tex isn’t that. He’s a bit of a misfit in that group, and there’s not a lot he can do on the ship, which we really discovered in the second season, because there are people already assigned to all those duties. I had a two-year deal [with the show], so I knew at the end of the second year that something was going to happen, that I would be disappearing and ideally reappearing, being featured when I showed up again.

TVLINE | And almost in a Han Solo kind of way. The team’s up against the wall, they need a hired hand and boom! There’s Tex, guns a-blazing.
Why not! That’s a pretty good guy to be following. You show up, out of nowhere.

Last Ship Recap Tex ReturnsTVLINE | That said, despite Tex’s considerable contributions to the cause, everything sort of cratered for the heroes this week. What is the mission moving forward, for Tex, Kara et al?
Well, we’ve got that really important “package”— we’ve got to take care of the president [Oliver]. He’s the main focus for Kara and Tex at the moment.

TVLINE | It’s like the most important Secret Service detail ever.
[Laughs] It certainly is! I really wanted Tex to give him a nickname, but we never came up with one that we felt could stick, in terms of the Secret Service thing.

TVLINE | The heroes’ situation almost seems irreversible. They’ve been painted as this treasonous cabal.
I can’t help you with what happens next, but… the Nathan James, the people on the side of good or right, we’re in a big hole. It’s going to take some brains and a lot of brawn to get out of this situation.

TVLINE | I love that Tex’s daughter [Kathleen, played by Jade Chynoweth] is scrappy. The way she was laying down cover fire….
Isn’t she awesome?? She’s taken after her old man, so we love that. Also, as an actress, she’s fantastic. And you should check her out on Twitter, because that girl can dance her ass off. She’s an amazing dancer.

TVLINE | No opportunity to feature that in on The Last Ship, though. Unless there’s an Endor-like celebration at the end of the series.
[Laughs] Or in bloopers, maybe you’ll see her busting a move.

TVLINE | Of course,the-last-ship-tex-rachel Dr. Rachel Scott (played by Rhona Mitra) has left us. Were you disappointed to not have the opportunity to further explore what was brewing between her and Tex?
Yeah, it’s definitley an unresolved relationship, but it’s kinda like life, isn’t it? I thought that [showrunner] Steve Kane and the writers really handled that well. There was a bit of foreshadowing in the last couple episodes of the second season, when you think Tex is talking about her and Chandler, but he’s actually talking about all of them — about how it’s the things that you didn’t say, and that’s really true. We all lose people, and the regrets you have generally aren’t about the things you did, but what you didn’t do.

TVLINE | So, she isn’t secretly alive and Tex is hiding her away in some barnyard bunker?
I think Steve Kane has been absolutely forthcoming about that and said no, she’s gone. So, as far as I know and Tex knows, it’s a done deal.

TVLINE | Before we go, give me one last tease about these last couple of episodes. Are you at liberty to say if Tex will reunite with the Nathan James crew?
You know, it’s absolutely inevitable. They have to come together in some way, we hope — whether that’s through absolute destruction or a little bit of luck and circumstance.

Want more scoop on The Last Ship, or for any other show? Email insideline@tvline.com and your question may be answered via Matt’s Inside Line.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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25 Comments
  1. Thank you Matt for waiting until the episode ended before you posted the interview.

    The circumstances are dire and I’m a worry wart (for good reason with this show) but is sure was good to see Tex again.
    I’m very bummed out over the loss of Jacob.

    Even knowing he didn’t kill himself it was very difficult to see how President Michener was murdered. :-(

    I love not being able to figure out how the crew of the Nathan James & their allies are going to get out of this but think President Oliver might just be the key.

  2. Brad says:

    Thoes last 10 min dosent kara have a kid where is it

  3. A. D. says:

    Tex needs to stay!

  4. Kevin K says:

    Very happy to see Tex back and with only two episodes left this season, would Allison Shaw’s reign of terror end.

  5. Anne says:

    I keep checking these recaps hoping that Rachel will be back. Sad.

    • Zoe says:

      Me too. TNT might want to update their website and remove her from the main cast list.
      This season has had no character development at all so far. At least Jesse made it off ship alive . But they have no helo now? What did they do with the Chinese war ship they were on?

      • Anne says:

        I’ve stopped watching. I keep checking to see if they’ve brought her back and if they’ve have, I’ll go back and watch this season

      • Fjd says:

        Isnt it obvious -they kept it unanswered because its goong to get blown up next week but everyone will think it is the nathan james.

  6. Linney says:

    I thought Kara would’ve shot Shaw for sure…kinda disappointed that she didn’t.
    So happy to see Tex back!!!! Looking forward to see how the Nathan James crew is going to handle this situation. (Hopefully the ship does not get blown up as the preview for episode 12 indicates)
    Rip Takehaya & his wife and Jacob

    • Jim says:

      I can’t think of a single reason–not one!–that Kara wouldn’t have shot her dead. She’s Navy, not a civilian, and she’s killed people before so no hesitation at a first time kill. She had a silencer on her weapon, so no drawing undue attention with the noise. Leaving Shaw alive compromises her team’s exit with the president, I mean, the first thing Shaw did was grab a radio and give away their position. Shaw has committed treason. Shaw is a direct threat to her life, and that of her child, since she knows her personally. Shaw is smart and a major asset to the enemy and depriving them of her is major tactical asset. I could go on and on. So, obviously she didn’t shoot her because who else that the audience knows could have given that televised speech at the end? Plot armor much? Weak writing. Just never have Shaw stumble into that corridor and have a confrontation with Kara. Taking her out wasn’t the mission. Problem solved.

      • Linda D. says:

        Kara didn’t shoot Shaw because Shaw was unarmed. It’s that simple. Kara is not a cold-blooded murderer, and it wouldn’t be in her character to become one for the sake of a plot point. Kara served under Tom Chandler, who would have insisted on Shaw facing justice in a court of law. (Remember his anger at Rachel Scott for killing Sorensen?) She might have captured Shaw, which would have worked toward that end, but I suppose they did have their hands full with getting the President to safety.

        • Jim says:

          Well that’s a reason, at least. Not one I buy, but at least something I can tell myself even it’s too short on realism and highly contrived.

  7. James Rea says:

    Best show on TV…hope it gones on for a long time… NATHAN JAMES AND THE CREW WILL RISE UP AND BRING THE NATION BACK AS ONE….

  8. Jerri says:

    My favourite scene has to be where Slattery figures out and launches weapons off of a boat and the others look at him all shocked and he goes “what? it’s the same in every language” Reminds me of the scene in Chuck where Casey (also played by Adam Baldwin) sings and the reactions that got from Sarah and Chuck.

    • Katherine215 says:

      Oh my god, I had to pause the TV, I was laughing so hard at that scene. That was the best. Baldwin does comedy so well.

  9. Dhd says:

    So happy tex is back. He is my favorite because he is so different from the navy guys he really stands out as a character and of coursw the actor just makes him pop. Id like to see him and my second favorite misfit tagalong – the australian special forces dude – go on a mission together. The two of them would really crack some skulls.

  10. Jason says:

    I don’t recall any celebratory dances on Tatooine. I think you meant Endor, with the Ewoks et al.

  11. NQ says:

    Yay! Tex is back. That’s the best part of this clunky season. The whole “treason in the White House” thing took up way too much of the story line and the villainous behavior of Shaw and that (figuratively speaking) “mustache twirling” southern lady was just stupid. The writers wanted to hammer home the point that, yes, these are the bad guys, just in case you didn’t get the unsubtle hints the first million times. It bugs me that the sleazy reporter who bagged on President Michener suddenly grew a conscience, did an unbelievable about-face and decided to do the right thing and help Kara.
    I just fast forward over the majority of the faux-White-House-in-Missouri scenes and watch the better stuff on board the Nathan James with her crew. I liked it better when they were out trolling the seas and kicking arse with a multitude of baddies instead of this political intrigue stuff.
    Here’s hoping the season gets better. No offense, by the way, to anyone who happens love the stuff I ragged on. Just saying…..

  12. gee says:

    So glad tex is back!!!!!

  13. Dan says:

    I love the last ship. It’s a great show. Almost makes me want to pay for cable.

  14. Dusty says:

    After they killed off Dr. Scott I refused to watch that anymore. And the previews for the Captain being the great savior of the world just pissed me off. The character of Dr. Scott that actually saved the world. The constant killing off the great female characters is just to much.

    She shouldn’t have been killed off. Now the other female characters are becoming irrelevant. So not cool. This story line has been too much for me, it’s turned into a ridiculous show.

  15. Clay Thomas says:

    It was disappointing to see Tex killed off in season 3 finale of The Last Ship. I was also shocked to see Chandler leave the U.S.S. Nathan James. Tex was my main man with Chandler a close second. It’ll be interesting to see what the writers have in store for us in season 4.