TV Review/Recap: Last Man on Earth Episode 201″Is There Anybody Out There”

Hmm. My opinion on this show was pretty mixed last season. It had some great moments. The pilot episode was phenomenal and the finale was awesome but I felt it floundered a bit in the middle. So, I really wasn’t sure where it would go this season. The answer is….everywhere….kind of literally.

We see the deserted streets of a city, Washington DC..I think. The barren landscape of the post apocalyptic world, one without zombies or even very many animals. A stealth bomber is being driven through the streets. It stops in the parking lot of a grocery store. Carol gets out, shoots the glass door, kicks it in and then walks inside.

I really can’t begin to describe this sequence properly. It’s an awesome opening sequence. I think it’s my favorite premier opener this season. The composite CGI of the plane in the streets isn’t great. The edges look a little off but it is still an amazing visual and the tone it sets is perfect for this show.

Phil is in the plane hitting buttons and flipping switches. He doesn’t seem to know what he is doing. Carol comes out of the store yelling, “Phil I got the tequila!” and gets back in the plane. She asks if she can drive but Phil tells her it’s very complicated aaaaand then drops a bomb from under the plane. It rolls to a parking block and then stops. They leave.

Driving down the road in the plane Carol expresses concern about the bomb and thinks maybe they should go back and get it. Phil doesn’t know how to put the bomb back in the little thingy (he actually calls it a little thingy). Carol thinks they can figure it out. Phil says okay they can go back but Carol says it’s okay. She just wanted him to offer. He then says he’ll go back tomorrow and put a caution cone in front of it. She thinks that’s sweet and wants a kiss. They knock down a street sign with the wing of the plane while they kiss.

I like Carol. I really like her but do they have to write her as ssooooooo cliche? The sterotypical I-don’t-really-want-the-thing-I-just-want-you-to-offer-to-do-the-thing thing is kind of misogynist at worst and just lazy at best. *sigh*

Phil licks salt off the side of a kiddie pool he is laying in and then drinks what I assume is tequila from the pool. The  pull back shows he is laying in a kiddie pool with Carol (she’s in a bathing suit and he is in shorts and a t shirt) in the middle of the oval office in the White House.

Eww. I would actually find that less gross if they were naked. You could at least think maybe they washed before getting in if they’re naked but you KNOW those clothes are filthy.

They’ve been staying there a bit it seems and we see them  goofing off all over the White House. Riding a four wheeler, breaking things with a hockey stick on inline skates, playing with the presidential busts, making fake speeches (to his sports balls with faces drawn on them), dressing up in the clothes that I guess are kept there. Then they have really weird and non-moving sex in one of the bedrooms (probably the Presidential suite…I mean where else would you stay if you’re staying in a deserted White House).

Post-coital  Carol sketches her and Phil in the plane driving down the DC street and Phil eats…something (melted ice cream? pudding? bean? I can’t tell) as they chat. Phil wants to settle down in the White House but Carol says it doesn’t feel right. Phil says they’ve been to Graceland, Dollywood, Oprah’s, Lebron’s and none of them have “felt right” to Carol. Phil says he is getting tired of driving around but Carol says this place isn’t home. Phil says okay they’ll keep searching. He puts down his food and rolls over to sleep. Carol flips through her sketch book. There are photos of her and Phil getting remarried and Phil at Old faithful. Carol smiles then looks upset as she looks at a photo of the “Tucson Crew” on the couches they had outside. She gives a “oh well” look.

I don’t miss the Tucson crew. I think the show works much better with less people.

On a satellite space station orbiting Earth, Phil’s brother talks to himself. He is trying to Earth. He isn’t getting an answer and comments on needing there to be at least ONE person alive on Earth. He then talks to what appear to be worms in little terrariums and then says he’s going to masturbate….well he is Phil’s brother so I suppose that makes sense.

Are there worms on satellite stations orbiting Earth? What is the purpose of that?

Phil and Carol leave the White House in a camper that is pulling two smaller luggage trailers and a metal trailer holding the four wheeler. Carol says goodbye to the white house and everything there as they pull away.

Carol is blindfolded as they drive and Phil tells her it’s a surprise where they are going. Once they arrive he takes off the blindfold and it turns out they’re in Delaware at her old apartment. She offers to give him the grand tour.

Inside she shows him a photo of her knitting group KWA (knitters with attitude) and a photo of her with her roommates and one of her with her parents. Next up she shows him her roommate Glenn’s room. It has lots of anti-germ precautions. He was trying to not get the virus. “He got it”, says Carol. Then her other roommate Bernice’s room. It looks pretty sparse and clean. Carol gestures to a skeleton and says “and that’s her skeleton” which upsets Phil but Carol assures him it isn’t HER skeleton. Just a skeleton that belonged to her. She studied anatomy. Last up is Carol’s room. It’s full of handmade dolls and blankets and other handmade items. Plus scattered yarn and fabric. Lots and lots of yarn. She says every item was hand crafted by her as a tribute to a friend or family member that died from the virus. Carol says she knows it looks like she went a little “coo-coo bananas” but Phil assures her it looks “chock-full-of-sanity”.

I mean…if everyone you know is dying around you from a plague that is wiping out the planet then I think it’s okay to go a bit crazy. Phil went a bit crazy, too. It happens. I also have a feeling neither of them were exactly chock full of sanity to begin with.

In bed Carol thanks Phil for this surprise. She says it’s nice to visit your hometown. Phil says it doesn’t have to be a visit. Carol doesn’t want to stay in Delaware. When Phil asks why she says “there’s nobody here” and Phil reminds her there isn’t anyone anywhere anymore. That isn’t true, Carol points out. Which upsets Phil. Phil he can’t go back to Tucson since the other ran him out and basically threatened to kill him. Carol points out that it has been 6 months and they could be over it by now but Phil refuses to go back to Tucson. Carol leaves saying she will sleep in Bernice’s room. Phil reminds her to get her sleep apnea machine but she says she will use Bernice’s.

It’s kind of sweet that Phil reminds of her to get her sleep apnea machine….Also this is the first mention that 6 months have passed. So, it’s been…what about 2 years since the world ended? 3 years? I can’t remember how much time had passed since the virus out break before the first episode began.

In space the other Miller brother drinks something and tells his worms that he doesn’t know how to fly a ship. He’s a scientist, not a pilot. He also points out that if he does get back to Earth he would probably die of the virus and then there would be no one to take care of them (then being the worms that he is talking to). After all of this he notices that one of his worms, named Nancy, is dead.

Carol and Phil drive down a highway and see one of his old “Alive in Tucson” billboards. Carol announces that she is going to take a nap and Phil swerves to make her fall and then blames it on traffic. Carol is laying down and Phil is hand pumping gas. He doesn’t see her get out of the camper and go in to the store.

Inside the store, Carol is gluing gems onto an Oklahoma TV shirt. She yells out for Phil to hold on she is setting her gems. Phil doesn’t hear her and doesn’t even know she is inside the store. He gets in the camper and drives off. Carol shoots her gun but it blends into the music he is listening to. He drives off.

Later Phil is driving and singing On the Road Again. He seems signs for the World’s Largest Plate and although at first he refuses to tell Carol about it even though he knows she would want to go after another sign he feels bad and yells out to her but she doesn’t answer. He yells a couple more times and then stops and goes to look for her. She’s not there, of course. He freaks out and jumps back in the camper and is rushing back to get her. Only….he can’t remember where they last stopped. He then remembers it was a gas station in Oklahoma, a Speedy Pump with a red truck parked out front. He says he’ll just drive until he sees that gas station. “How many Speedy Pumps can there be?” he says.

Montage of lots of Speedy Pump signs passing by. It’s daylight now. Phil is visibly freaked out. “Dammit, there’s infinity speedy pumps!” He exclaims. He also states to one of his sports balls with faces that “now isn’t the time to ask if I’m certain it was a Speedy Pump.”.

2 Days Later. Phil is sullen. He is sure he has lost Carol forever.

Well…I like Carol but if she were gone forever it would be interesting to see Phil alone again. I loved the pilot when it was just him.

In space Phil’s brother sends his dead worm out into a space in a capsule.

I’m unsure where the story with his brother is going. I mean…how much story can pack into showing a guy in a tiny space station? It’s an interesting twist. I haven’t ever seen anyone show what would happen to any astronauts in space during an apocalyptic event.

Phil gets to a Speedy Pump he is sure is the right one. He yells for Carol. He climbs on top the camper and yells for her. He fires his gun into the air.

Phil talks to himself stating that it’s been 5 days. He seems to be in the camper outside the Speedy Pump. He looks through her sketch book and sees the drawing of all of them in Tucson. He is certain she has went to Tucson. He drives there and then is afraid of and dresses in a gilly suit, sneaking through the streets. He finds their couches in the street dirty and covered in leaves. His house is burned, pretty much destroyed. No one is around. Carol isn’t in Tucson and it seems the others also have moved on.

Hmm….Where could the others have gone? I mean, I didn’t really like the others. None of their characters seemed 3 dimensional but it is curious that they abandoned Tucson. It has been 6 months but that isn’t THAT long and where would they go?

At at Emco station in Oklahoma Carol sits in the parking lot, firing her gun into the air. She looks perplexed. Phil sits alone in his burned down house in Tucson. His brother sits alone in his space station.

Well….that’s depressing….

But it was a great premiere. I’m definitely curious where it goes from here. I still don’t love the misogynist tones and how cliche helpless-women-is-lost-without-a-man Carol is written but i’m trying to look past that. It IS a trait that the female in this show kind of needs to have or else she wouldn’t stay with Phil. And in all honestly it isn’t REALLY that she needs a man. She just needs people in general. She would have stayed in Tucson with the others but she didn’t like that they had cast Phil out and he was the first person she had found alive. So, she was kind of attached to him. So, she went with him. And now she is alone and Carol just doesn’t do well alone in general. So, that part is less misogynist and more super extroverted thinking. The show DOES have its misogynist moments but…well..it’s written by men and the protagonist is a man and it’s called Last Man On Earth. So, while I don’t love those parts of the show and those moments do strike a sour chord with me when they happen I can deal with them and they haven’t been bad enough yet for me to write the show off entirely.

Especially not when it has awesome things like a stealth bomber driving through the streets of DC. I have no idea what will happen next. I’m assuming Carol isn’t leaving the show since it showed her at the end but Phil isn’t looking for her in Oklahoma anymore. So….what does she do? Where does she go to look for people? I imagine first she would go to Tucson as well. If he leaves there, though….I don’t know. I don’t know where the show is going but I’m curious to find out.

I seem to be feeling that way about a lot of shows this season. Which is good….it isn’t unusual for me to lose interest in a show when the new season starts our badly but all the shows so far are having great premieres this year.

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