The Last Ship: conspiracy in Dr. Scott’s death?

The Last Ship was on my “must watch” list since the day it premiered, but I never had the time to catch up with it. Until this week. I devoured 23 episodes in 4 days, or maybe it’d be more accurate to say “nights” considering that my average time for watching has been between 10pm and 4am. I can’t recall being up so late for a tv show since the time of my Bachelor’s degree, 6 or 7 years ago.
Despite my believe that television’s best strength is that you can savor it week after week, for the first time in my life I, too, felt the compulsion to keep watching as many episodes as possible all at once and only the very late hours were able to put a halt to my marathon each night. I’ve never been so grateful to be able to watch Hulu.

I’ll admit I was a little doubtful after the first couple of episodes: I liked the premise, but the characters felt like the usual stereotypes ripped off from a screenwriting book, which usually annoys the hell out of me. But there was also something that I couldn’t quite put a finger on that kept pulling me in and, without even realizing it, here I am, 25 episodes later, already showing withdrawal symptoms after just 24 hours since the last new episode. Which brings me back to what I like to do best in my weekly tv hiatus: share my passion with other fans.

[Spoilers for episode 3×01 from now on]

Topic of the week, clearly, cannot be anything else than Dr. Rachel Scott’s death.
Maybe it’s just the fan (or the shipper) in me talking, but…honestly? I’m not buying it. Can’t.
So the showrunners are telling us that they killed off the second major character of the show just because they wanted to be able to “creatively go in another direction” with the series?


As a tv professional and longtime fan I can understand the necessity, it wouldn’t be the first show to do that (Homeland discovered it had a whole new life in itself -possibly even better than the first one- after it killed Brody) and it won’t be the last, but my “spider sense” is tingling, there’s something that is not adding up here and I just want to put my thoughts in writing to try to make a sense of them.

What makes me think Dr. Scott might not be dead?

  1. Her lifeless body was never shown
    I’ve read people think this is the main evidence that she might be still alive. I don’t think it’s that important, but I’m putting it on the list.
  2. Her death was barely addressed
    This is something that bothers me so much more than the lack of a dead body. No flashbacks, barely any explanation, we’re just assuming she is dead based on a couple of brief comments by some other characters. And her face on some stamps.

    The Last Ship season 3 - Dr. Rachel Scott ration stamps

    Dr. Rachel Scott ration stamps

    How can a series kill off such a main character without giving a sense or a purpose to that death? This is screenwriting 101, people! (The only reason I can think of is listed at #7, but doesn’t apply to this situation, so…)
    And, so far, absolutely nothing came out from Rachel’s death, so I refuse to believe that the writers did such a huge mistake. I prefer to think they are trying to be clever and are just planning a major twist for later episodes. Which would be very cool.

  3. No consequences for the shooter?
    You want me to believe that the Doctor who saved the world got shot in a hotel full of military people and they didn’t even look for the shooter?
    I’m not saying they should have had the whole season 3 focus on “catching the killer”, but not even a reference? That feels suspiciously weird.
  4. Her storyline was never really resolved
    In season 2 we did see flashbacks that explained why she choose her profession, yes, but pretty much nothing else other than that.
    Specifically, we never found out what happened to her boyfriend, the one whose picture occupied her desktop until the very end of last season. She barely talked about him, we only know he was a journalist and that at the time of the outbreak he was supposed to be…guess where??? In China! In the exact same place where the Nathan James is now, in season 3 (!!!) COME ON! Tell me that this is just a coincidence?!?
    Why bother mentioning the boyfriend at all if he had no purpose in the story? And why put him in China, of all places???
  5. Rachel & Tom unresolved relationship
    This is a point that must not be overlooked.
    For being an all-male action-packed series, The Last Ship spent an awful lot amount of time hinting at the possible relationship between Capt. Chandler and Dr. Scott.
    Sure, they never actually did something about it, not even a real kiss in their last dialogue together (which would have been the perfect opportunity), but then why having other characters continuously drop all those hints about the two of them? And why spend all those shots and frames lingering on their longing glances? And, believe me, there have been so plenty of them to fill out YouTube with fan-made videos.
    last-ship-rachel-tom-face-to-faceMy personal theory is that even the death of Tom’s wife was to pose the condition for him and Rachel to “have a shot” at having some kind of romantic relationship because a guy like Tom would have never cheated on his wife if there was even the slightest chance that she was still alive. That’s why the wife had to die in season 1 and that’s why Tom had to be there and see it with his own eyes to believe it.
    And now, after all this effort to bring the Rachel and Tom closer together, showrunners just decided to kill her off without as much as a last goodbye kiss? It doesn’t make sense.
  6. There is still a virus out there that needs to be cured
    Who, exactly, is going to find the cure for the new Asian mutation of the Red Flu considering that all the people capable to do that (Neil, Rachel’s first assistant, Rachel’s mentor, Rachel herself) are -apparently- dead? Chandler’s ex-Navy-now-politician old flame?!? Sorry, showrunners. Not buying it.
  7. Rhona Mitra does not have another project going on and is still promoting The Last Ship
    The only reason why a series might want to axe so quickly and definitively one of its main characters would be the need of the actor/actress to leave, whether for professional or personal reasons.
    According to IMDB, Rhona is not taking part in any other project AND she’s still tweeting and instagramming about the series! If she had left because there was bad blood with the production she wouldn’t keep promoting the show, would she?
    And is it just me or some of the pics she’s posting of herself as Rachel we haven’t seen before? Or that’s just my wishful thinking?
  8. Tom’s intuition in 3×01
    *I’m adding this to the list after reading some comments on Twitter that pointed me in this direction*
    Did anyone notice that, at the end of episode 3×01, Tom realized that Slattery’s crew wasn’t dead while looking at Dr. Scott’s ration stamps?
    “They didn’t say they were dead!”, he exclaimed to Val, closing the ration book.
    Interesting correlation between fearing that someone is dead and needing someone else’s confirmation to believe it. Very “meta” in this case, don’t you think?
    Why else Rachel’s image would evoke such a thought?
    Is this because we were only told Rachel is dead…and Tom actually knows the truth?

These are the reasons that make me believe Rachel Scott might still be alive.
Can I be sure of that? Of course not, but it would make so much more sense than her dying for no apparent reason, with no apparent consequences. For what we know, they could be faking her death so that she can continue to do her job undisturbed until they catch the shooter, in order to protect her from any more danger. Maybe she’s already working on a cure for the new Asian strain of the virus, hoping to save her boyfriend…and of course she’ll arrive just a bit too late, exactly as Tom did with his wife…
Is this such a crazy theory? What do you think?

It’s entirely possible that maybe it’s just the shipper in me trying to see a conspiracy where there isn’t one, but as long as I won’t be proven wrong, I’ll keep believing that the writers are smarter than we are giving them credit for. You’ll see, they’ll surprise us with an awesome twist 😉

So my recommendation is: don’t stop watching the show “just because” Rachel is dead. This is tv. Never say never. Even The X-Files can return after 10 years and 2 movies 😉

PS: By the way, what happened to Tex?!? No sign or mention of him as well! Maybe he became Rachel’s bodyguard undercover! After all, he was very fond of her…


  1. LYoungs says:

    Despite several “Mulder is dead” season finales, producers never announced that David Duchovny was not returning to X-files until he ACTUALLY was not returning to the show. Call me when she returns from the dead.

  2. Joe says:

    Interesting. Lots of good theories.
    But sometimes people die and people (and stories) need to move on. Then again, 11 more episodes left. A lot can, and will, happen.

  3. Lyn Glaz says:

    Thank you Beatrice for this article since you have summed up perfectly why a large group of s think she is alive. My first hint was the epiphany Tom had at looking the ration stamps or the estatic Val heard on the radio. TLS is a wonderful show and we still expect a big surprise coming for the whole audience. And her return would be the biggest of all not only because of the virus but because how she affects everybody else. She humanizes the whole crew, Chandler in first place. He allows himself to be just a simple man when she is around. Not even a kiss between them yet but the exceptional chemistry they share when they are on screen is very rare and precious to find. So Bring back Rachel Scott and let’s enjoy S3!

  4. Allan Komakech says:

    I think your reasons make a lot of sense. I personally refuse to buy the story of her being dead (maybe am in denial). What I think is that Dr. Rachel Scott is alive and being protected by Tex. Additionally, just a few people may know of her current situation and for all I know, it could be classified.

  5. ADF says:

    Love all of this! I am praying for a twist as wellZ

  6. Logan Rollo says:

    Many of her recent instagram photos are from her movie Hard Target 2. Especially those where she is holding weapons or on a motorcycle.

  7. GF says:

    Very interesting and well thought theories. In fact, you have convinced me to keep watching the show despite my anger with Rachel’s supposed death. I also noticed the correlation between Chandler’s thought and Rachel’s stamps… Let’s hope you are right!

  8. Pat Rosenthal says:

    I totally agree with almost everything said here and am just as devastated with the loss of Rachel as many of us are. She is the heart of the show, and Tom is the soul. Now there is just a gaping whole where the heart should be. Only two things I don’t agree with: Rachel’s “boyfriend,” according to Quincy in Season 1 wasn’t really a serious boyfriend; I don’t think he’s still alive or she will find him. She is completely in love with Tom. Secondly, Tex left at the end of season 2 with his daughter to start a new life. He knows Rachel will never love him (“She’s not buying what I’m selling” in Season 1) and that she loves Tom; I miss him, but I don’t think he will be back.

    Great article; thanks so much for putting it all down!

    • bea says:

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      • Pat Rosenthal says:

        I was very optimistic until the third episode last night when Rachel didn’t return and she wasn’t even mentioned. Will still hope, but if she doesn’t return next week, I think she’s gone. Now the show is all about guns, fighting, blood-draining and killing….

  9. Pat Rosenthal says:

    Okay, I know I’m obsessive, but I can’t help it with this show. The TNT web site has FINALLY been updated with the first 3 videos of the 3rd season, but they have NOT updated the names and bios of the cast and crew. Rachel and Quincy are still there, and they have not added Sasha. If Rachel were really gone, wouldn’t they have updated the cast? Just askin’…..

    • Be@ says:

      Well… the fact that they haven’t yet added Sasha shows you that they haven’t really updated the cast section, so that might mean nothing (unfortunately).
      If they had added Sasha and not took out Rachel, that would have been a good sign

      • Pat Rosenthal says:

        I agree that they could just be slow with updating the cast and crew, but why? If Rachel is really gone, why wouldn’t they want the web site to be current? Just hoping….

  10. Silkyn says:

    Since episode 1 i’m sure she is alive, it makes sense that they would fake her death since she was targeted in the first place because she was the doctor who saved the world.
    In order for her to stay safe they have to pretend she is dead just in case another killer comes after her.
    Plus the most obvious reason is that she is literally the only one who can produce a new vaccine.
    And finally Tom is way too emotionally detached which is really weird.

    • Pat Rosenthal says:

      Agree that Rachel would have to be protected and that the rest of the world should think she is dead so that no one will try to kill or kidnap her. The information would have to be classified, so just a few people would know where she is–the President and Tom for sure; don’t know who else. I’m still hoping that the writers are just messin’ with us, but we need to find out something soon.

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