One of the main jokes in The Last Man on Earth is that absolutely no one in the Tucson Crew knows how to survive. Any jobs they had before aren’t relevant to their current circumstances, and any person who does have survival skills is killed off or made into an enemy. When it comes to life-threatening situations, their main survival plan is to run around screaming and try to find weapons. That’s why making Pat a long-term enemy for the group to unite against is such a perfect storyline.
The group has strength in numbers, while Pat is an expert on survival and is incredibly unstable. Honestly, it’s anyone’s guess if everyone will make it out alive of this season. As The Last Man on Earth has shown, it’s not afraid to kill people. (The three graves in the Malibu house’s backyard are an example of that.) It also doesn’t help that while Pat is convinced that his actions are right and has no hesitations, several members of the Tucson Crew are close to falling apart.
Todd’s guilt and grief are the center of the episode, as he tries to deal with the (incorrect) idea that he killed Pat. Past episodes have shown that Todd is the most gentle and good-hearted of the group, so the idea that he killed someone, even someone who wanted to kill the group, devastates him. Mel Rodriguez is great, making Todd’s misery seem so painful that it’s understandable that Phil would lie that Pat was alive.
Where Todd is grief-stricken at killing Pat, Melissa is emotionless about shooting Darrell in the previous episode. When she hears that Pat might still be alive, she immediately tries to find a gun so she can really kill Pat. Last season made it clear that Melissa has a fear of the unknown, especially now that she has something to lose. Despite how odd they are, the Tucson Crew are each other’s family, and Melissa sees her actions as a way of protecting that family. However, her actions are taking their toll on her. When Gail asks if Melissa okay, she responds that she can turn her emotions off “like a faucet”. That’s not healthy, and it’s going to backfire as those emotions are going to surface sooner or later.
Meanwhile, Lewis seems completely baffled by the entire group. He’s irritated with Phil’s leadership, and is baffled by the group’s decision to hug it out when Phil’s plan of lying about Pat is revealed. His newcomer status means that he doesn’t understand what the entire group has been through together. Their actions when Phil’s scheme is revealed are empathetic because they know how much Todd is suffering. They’ve been through so much together that they really have become a family.
The Tucson Crew have their problems, and with a killer on the loose it’s likely those problems will only get worse. But this episode makes it clear that at least they have each other, and that’s their greatest strength. Hopefully it’ll be enough to stop Pat.
Notes and Observations
- Whether it’s sharpshooting plates or destroying Cher’s vases, Melissa’s main hobby seems to be destroying things.
- I noticed that Phil didn’t check for a pulse when making sure Pat was dead, but that seems very in-character for Phil.
- The stick-on eyebrows seem to be a permanent look for Phil until his own can grow back.
- According to Lewis gasoline can go bad, which lowers my hopes for a Tucson Crew road trip. However it’s a great act of storytelling, as it means the group has to stay in Malibu and face Pat.
- I loved Gail’s reaction to Phil’s schemes: “Shhhhh, just let it play out. I like to see where these things go.” I guess in a world with no new TV, Phil has become the closet thing they have to entertainment.