This week’s episode of The Last Man on Earth feels somewhat ephemeral. As good as several of the sight gags were, it was an inevitability that the gang was going to leave Malibu after discovering Pat was still alive.
At the same time, the episode didn’t feel like filler in the usual sense of the word. If they really wanted to go that direction in an episode like this, they could have just made it a clip show, which was happily avoided. There’s a sense of forward motion, even if the start of this episode could have just been tacked on to next week’s of the gang on the road.
Still, the episode only has a few highlights. Tandy attempts to attack-proof the house being the most obvious. Although Tandy’s jump-scares earlier in the episode show signs of his dickish self from season one, his Big Mouth Billy Bass alarm system is funny and it’s a great sight gag to see these character walk through a hallway plastic fish singing “Joy to the World”.
Additionally, the slow build-up to the show’s explosive end-piece is great. Melissa has installed mines on the beach to keep Pat away if he returns. Unfortunately, she didn’t factor in the tides when she set them up. When the tides cause the mines to go off, the explosions causes the car alarms to go off. Melissa, now apparently an insomniac, sprays the mansion with bullets because of the noise. This leads to the group discussion that they cannot live in fear and must leave Malibu.
The character’s fear of Pat is built up well in this episode, as two characters are nearly killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time because how they trip various alarm systems. Melissa meanwhile, has slowly developed into a character out of a zombie movie. Not only does she have a spiner’s nest in the backyard, she has has an “axe station” in the house — that is an axe embedded blade first into the wall.
The central unifying force of this episode is Lewis, a character introduced in the season premiere that we don’t really have a grasp on yet. He seems to be coming into his own here, but I still worry that he’s turning into a Frank Grimes “angry skeptical outsider” character, and those usually last long in ensemble comedies like this. Right now, he may be integrating into the cast, but his interactions with Tandy and Carol especially are incredibly awkward. Hopefully we get some time to know him better. I’m worried about his survival over the next few episodes seeing as Kenneth Choi is still credited as a guest star. If he doesn’t make it, I hope he’s more than just a slightly antagonistic speed-bump when he checks out.
Next week’s episode looks to be more rewarding and interesting than this one, as the group searches for a new place to settle down. We don’t need to see – nor is it statistically likely – that we’ll see Pat ever again on this show. Given The Last Man on Earth‘s unique plot and setting and a whole empty continent to play with, the change in scenery promised over the next few episodes is a welcome one and will lead to better episodes than “You’re All Going to Diet” was