The Last Man on Earth 2×07 ‘Baby Steps’: The blame game

Erica and Gail

On a regular TV show, a character having a baby is an important event. It changes the show and characters forever. But on a show like The Last Man on Earth, where having a baby means carrying on the human race, childbirth is an even more terrifying, momentous event.

Erica is completely terrified, and rightfully so. The father of her baby is in love with someone else and just beat a man; there’s no functional hospitals to go to, no team of doctors and nurses to help her if she has a problem. She’s the first one in the group to get pregnant, a fact that Carol can’t help secretly resenting. Despite Gail and the rest of the crew trying to help her, Erica is very, very alone.

Phil 2 isn’t doing much better, drinking and crafting baby furniture and toys as an apology that Erica refuses. She doesn’t want Phil’s apologies at the moment, she just wants to deal with the disappointment of having her baby’s father be a man who doesn’t love her. She needs time to deal with all her frustration and hurt, something that Phil doesn’t understand. This episode shows just how multidimensional Phil’s character is. On one hand he makes elaborately beautiful baby toys, on the other he tells Tandy he wishes he had left him to die.

Photo Source: Fox

Photo Source: Fox

Phil’s biggest mistake is that he blames Tandy for all this problems, when it isn’t all Tandy’s fault. Phil 2 doesn’t understand that his actions isolated Erica from him, not Tandy’s. Nobody forced Phil to punch Tandy and nobody forced Phil to confess his love for Carol. These were Phil’s actions, and Phil’s alone. Much like Tandy had to learn to be less self-involved in season 1, Phil has to learn how to be more humble in season 2. Phil has to learn to accept the blame for his actions, as it’s the only way anyone will forgive him. Tandy, not surprisingly, is the only one to understand this.

Tandy is great in this episode, torn between his new role as a member of the group and attempting to empathize with Phil. He knows how desperate and sad Phil is, because he’s lived it all before. He’s the only one who could provide sympathy and guidance for Phil, if he’d be willing to listen. Even when Phil turns him down in the harshest way possible, Tandy still wants to aid him. This episode is the biggest support we’ve seen all season that Tandy really has changed. He saves the life of a man who hates him to the point of wishing him dead, still trying to help him.

However, the end of this episode makes me nervous. Phil hasn’t really learned a thing by the end, screaming out Tandy’s name from the stocks. He doesn’t understand that Tandy (however misguided) was attempting to help him, instead of humiliating him. He’s just as furious with Tandy as before, and it looks like things will only get worse for them from here.

Notes and Observations

  • I’m not going to lie to you guys, I went “aww…” several times when it was revealed Phil was making a baby crib and toys. He might be a jerk to Tandy, but he really does care about his future child.
  • I loved that Gail was the one to primarily support Erica and ignore Phil 2, as Gail seems closest to Erica.
  • I loved Kirstin Scaahl’s delivery for “Um, Phil, I’m going to have to pass on your offer to run away with you…”
  • Phil attempting to get the tequila pool out of the larger pool is a great bit of physical comedy.
  • Melissa didn’t get much to do in this episode, but every minute she had was great: skeet shooting iPhones and her face at “I got a surfboard today”.
  • Gail’s exercise for the day: “I gotta go take my wine glass for a walk.”
  • Hey, Phil’s sports ball friends came back! I missed those guys.

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