The Last Man on Earth 2×11 ‘Pitch Black’: Okay, everybody needs to stop calling themselves “the last man on earth”

Mike and Pat

After three years away from home, Mike Miller has finally made it back to earth. Considering how dark the mid-season finale was, this opening (with Mike crashing into a deserted cruise ship) was a surprisingly joyful moment. Of course, this being The Last Man on Earth, it was immediately followed up by Mike nearly dying at sea and then running into a mentally unstable survivor.

The Last Man on Earth loves to combine the humorous with the macabre. This episode –  centered solely around Mike’s return to Earth – is no exception. A sign “Entering A Safe Haven” flaps outside an emergency medical center covered with bodies; Mike nearly dies trying to peddle an aquatic bike to land; and Pat’s mode of transportation into deserted cities is an ice cream truck.

Pat is the first survivor that Mike has the unfortunate luck to run into. It’s not the best start, as Pat gives Mike information we know is wrong: that there’s no immunity to the virus, and that there are no other survivors left. The loss of his loved ones and time in isolation has pushed Pat to instability. Despite the fact that he spent three years floating in space, Mike is far more sane than Pat is – partly because he didn’t have to see his loved ones die and because he’s experiencing the full scale destruction surrounding the virus for the first time.

Source: Fox

Source: Fox

This is what helps make the episode so great – we’ve been seeing the show’s world through Tandy’s eyes. Now we get to see it through Mike’s, who has a lot of the same questions as the audience. We finally get some answer to the “Where all the bodies?” question, and to experience the emotions of someone who has just realized the impact of the virus. Jason Sudeikis really sells all the pain, confusion, and joy of finally coming back to earth, only to realize it’s not the world he once knew. He makes Mike a compelling character, who still has the one thing that Pat doesn’t: hope.

Mike was willing to take a chance and take the pod back down to earth, despite all the risks it presented. Now he’s willing to take off his Hazmat suit and drive to Tucson, believing he might reunite with his family. Pat could have come too, but he’s let his paranoia and fear get to him. He’s stuck drinking alone and staying out to sea when he could be playing gold bar Jenga and blowing up yachts with Tandy’s group in Malibu.

It makes you realize that, for all their faults, the Tucson crew were lucky to meet up with one another. Sure, they use stocks as a form of punishment, and sometimes they’ll hoard bacon, but compare that to being alone, and suddenly they seem like a pretty good group.

Source: Fox

Source: Fox

The absence of the Tucson crew was one of the only down points of the episode. I understand that Mike’s story needed an episode of its own, and it was a lot of fun to see the show’s world from another character’s point of view. However, I’m also excited to find out what’s been happening to the crew. I’m hoping next week we go back to Malibu and find out what’s been going on in the show’s absence. 

Notes and Observations

  • Hey everybody! Welcome back to The Last Man on Earth’s reviews. I’m so excited for second half of this season.
  • The actor playing young Phil was Jacob Tremblay, who co-starred in the Academy-Award nominated Room.
  • I really want one of those aquatic bicycles now.
  • Everyone loves Phil the worm. Who wouldn’t?
  • “I hit you in the head with a wrench. You’re welcome…” Not going to lie, I’m kind of going to miss Pat.
  • Den of Geek did a walkthrough of the first half of the season with The Last Man on Earth’s writer and executive producer Andy Bobrow. There are some interesting backstory and behind-the-scenes stories, and it’s definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of the show. You can read the first of the five interviews here.

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