The Last Man on Earth 2×04 ‘C to the T’: Lord of the Flies…in Malibu

Tuscon Crew 2

Last week in my review, I said that I might have been watching The Last Man on Earth the wrong way. I wondered why Phil and Carol would want to go back to the Tucson crew, who hated Phil so much and had threatened to harm him. But when they are the only people left in the world, then it makes sense that Phil and Carol would feel the need for human interaction and go back to them. But even with that dire need for human interaction, it makes no sense why they would stick around for the level of abuse Phil receives in this episode.

Granted, Phil has made a lot of mistakes: trying to seduce Melissa despite her obvious disinterest, nearly leaving Todd out to die in the desert, telling Gail and Erica that the Tucson crew didn’t exist, holding the crew up with a gun, etc. The group had every right to be nervous about the idea of having him around again. Their idea of one week of solitary confinement in the exercise room is harsh, but understandable when you think of what mindset they’re in. Phil just held them up with a gun – yes it was to apologize, but still, he made them think they could’ve been shot. A week of solitary is a way to prove to them that he really does want to turn over a fresh leaf. And that’s when things get crazy.

Phil sneaks out of the exercise room to get cheese – he probably hasn’t eaten anything fresh in months, and it’s a small mishap. He controls himself and tries to go back into confinement…only for the group to catch him and then stick a shock collar on him.

Source: Fox/Hulu

Source: Fox

Throughout the whole episode, Phil tries to show what a good sport he’s become. He volunteers for five weeks of solitary confinement, he makes jokes about the shock collar, he tries to have friendly conversations with the Tucson crew. He talks for only a few minutes, trying to be complimentary, when Melissa decides he can’t talk for his punishment. Phil takes this so seriously that he has Carol find a collar that makes it impossible for him to talk without being in pain. Still, he gets no compassion from anyone but Carol. Once he can’t talk, everyone just ignores him. When they aren’t ignoring him, they’re playing cruel tricks on him. When he gets irritated and tosses a few planted pots on the ground in frustration, they act like he murdered someone. When he understandably complains that he hates the collar, they act like he’s being unreasonable and throw him in a shed. He didn’t even try to break off the collar or do anything wrong, he just asked for it off. This episode somehow turned into a Twilight Zone level example of what happens when society breaks down and people become insane without rules or structure. This would be a great episode if the show was a horror or drama, but as a show that’s supposed to make me laugh…it’s lacking.

Source: Fox/Hulu

Source: Fox

I wanted to see how Phil was going to make up his misdeeds to the rest of the Tucson crew. I was really looking forward to this episode, hoping that he would be able to regain their trust and actually start to form friendships with them. Instead, I’m wondering why he and Carol haven’t hit the road yet. He accepted the punishments, he saved their lives (while in severe pain), and the most they do is grudgingly put up with him. (There’s also the really disturbing question of how long they would have continued to “punish” him if he hadn’t saved their lives and guilted them into taking his collars off.) I don’t care if these people are Phil and Carol’s last chance of human connection, they’re too awful to think about putting up with.

Notes and Observations

  • I would like to know where they got a medieval stock. Did Gordon just have it lying around as an antique? Or, more disturbingly, did the Tucson crew make it with the idea of putting anyone they wanted to punish in there?
  • In spite of all this insanity, Phil and Carol continue to be a good couple (as well as the most morally centered people on the show). She’s the only one who realizes that the punishments are growing increasingly insane and twisted, and argues in Phil’s defense. She also offers to get supplies and visit him while in confinement and shock collar prison, making her the only one to care about Phil’s physical wellbeing.
  • I’m now wondering how the Tucson crew kept Phil in the shed with Carol around. She was horrified when she saw Phil going into the shed, and the only reason she put up with his pervious punishments was because Phil convinced her he was okay with them. Phil didn’t want to go in the shed, and Carol knew it. Did the crew manipulate her and tell that they’d let him out soon? Or did they simply tell her “There’s more of us then there are of you, we want him in the shed, so deal with it.”
  • Out of all the survivors, I want to know more about Gail and Erica. They seem to function almost as a unit, going wherever the other goes. I assume this is because of their backstory of travelling together before meeting the Tucson crew, but I’m really interested in knowing more.
  • Actually, I’d really like flashback episodes of what everyone was doing before they came to Tucson. They’d certainly be more likeable in those episodes then they are right now in Malibu.
  • The one part of the episode I did like with the group was when Phil was trying to say something, and they all thought he simply wanted to play charades. Maybe because it was less about tormenting Phil (although Melissa did make a lot of “ugly” jokes), and more about actually interacting with him.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.