The best part of last night’s Last Man on Earth episode wasn’t the humor. Truly, the humor has been on and off, and at first, it seemed like it was shaping up to be another episode that ever so slightly lags and suffers from a few but fatal groaners.
Up there with the cringe-worthy jabs: Tandy’s unfunny pseudo-song that started out the episode, the way the rest of the crew reacted to Carol’s excited display of a rehabbed and redecorated (but still pretty disgusting) old hospital (it seemed like the same shot three times of Gail looking down awkwardly), Tandy’s very obvious dumbness in putting on full body armor (where did he find it, exactly?) and standing under a magnet that triggered more sighs than laughs.
At the show’s conclusion, when Todd has collapsed from a near-heart attack due to strenuous sex with Melissa, it’s seeing the characters snap into action to revive him that returned good graces. It’s the first time this season that we’ve actually seen the characters in a state of genuine panic, together, and it’s also the first time we’ve seen them truly separate themselves.
The old adage of “don’t split up” that characters never heed in horror films was proven perfectly here. The makeshift family in the makeshift hospital helping to save a life of one of the last people on earth is a heavy enough concept, but the camera pulling back and hearing The Kink’s “Strangers” play, hitting home the absolute necessity of human community, stirred not just Todd’s heart, but ours.
If the show can continue to mix genuine humor, intrigue, and sentiment in an artful way, I won’t enter each viewing of each new episode with skepticism. Now that we have the crew on an island and convinced of each other’s significance, I’d like to see how they react when Carol’s baby is (actually, not fake) born, and when other scary things inevitably befall our players.
Season 4, Episodes 4 (S04E04)
The Last Man on Earth airs Sunday at 930 PM on Fox
Emily Nuncio Schick | Contributor