Jason Sudeikis’ stint on The Last Man on Earth has been one of my favorite parts of the season, but it also puzzled me. How were they going to write Mike out? It’s easy enough to do in a regular show, but The Last Man on Earth is completely different. On this show, there’s nothing more important than finding companionship, which can only be found in Malibu. What would make Mike leave the only group of survivors? What could be desperate enough to make him leave Malibu?
Well, now we know, and the answer is heartbreaking.
The show lulled me into a false sense of security, as Mike and Tandy spent the last few weeks arguing and bonding. The show mostly operates on heightened sitcom hijinks, only to pull out the emotional cliffhangers for the season premieres or finales. It’s an effective tactic that gets me every time – after weeks of prank wars and talk of babies, it was a shock to see that Mike was coughing up blood.
It’s also interesting to see how the show has used the babies to heighten the tension. If the Tucson crew is worried about being around Mike, it’s nothing compared to their fear that the babies will be infected. It’s an an effective argument, making the group’s fear seem urgent and real. It’s also a good way to make even the most sympathetic members turn against Mike. Carol would do anything for Tandy and his family, but she’s not willing to risk her unborn child’s life.
Everyone else fleeing from Mike makes Tandy staying by his side all the more touching. Tandy turns deadly serious during the final minutes of the episode, something we rarely see from him. We’ve heard that Tandy is the big brother, but this is the first episode that we really realize it. He becomes a protective big brother, standing up for Mike and making sure that nobody will force him away. He’s so serious that the rest of the group has now left to find a new house, knowing that they won’t be able to sway Tandy to their side.
Just like when Phil 2 got appendicitis, it becomes clear that this is a no-win situation. Tandy doesn’t want to cast his little brother out to die alone, the group doesn’t want anyone else to be threatened by the virus, and Mike just doesn’t want to hurt anybody. Nobody’s the bad guy here – any harsh reactions are coming from fear, not malice. Once again, we see the family unit that is the Tucson crew start to tear apart when they’re confronted with a situation they can’t control.
The season finale is next week, and several plot lines are hanging in the air, waiting to be resolved. Did Mike really leave for good? How is Tandy going to deal with the fact that the Tucson crew played a huge role in Mike’s leaving? And just what is going on with that drone Gail saw?
Notes and Observations
- There’s not much progress on the “Gail saw a drone” subplot, except for the fact that nobody believes her, so she gives up drinking. It’s a fairly fun little subplot, even if it’s over before the end of the ep. I honestly would like to see Gail’s drinking covered more seriously, as I feel it’s her way of coping with all of the horrible things that have happened to her.
- I wonder how long Erica has been pregnant for. We never get to see how big her stomach is, mainly because she favors flowing tops and dresses.
- “I’ve been thinking about going out and burning down the Santa Monica pier.” You know, just part of your avenge, everyday post apoplectic entertainment.
- I loved the reveal of Erica’s criminal past, as well as her American accent. I seriously need a miniseries of everyone’s lives before the virus.
- Carol’s kind nature stills manages to come through while everyone else is panicking. Her little “Good night” to Mike after everyone else leaves to find a new house is so sad and sweet.
- I would like to say that I didn’t tear up at the reprise of “Falling Slowly” between Mike and Tandy at the end of the ep., but I would be lying.