Review: 'Last Man on Earth' ends season 2 on a high, and sad, note
A review of the Last Man on Earth finale, and thoughts on the series as a whole at this point, coming up just as soon as I'm an analyst in NASA's Fartology and Toots division...
What an odd show this is: brilliant at the beginnings and ends of seasons, occasionally bordering on unwatchable in between. The second season got better at modulating Phil's behavior so it — and the group's reaction to it — wasn't quite so one-note, but the show is vastly more interesting and funny when we're away from the group (whether with Phil, Carol, or Mike) than when the bulk of the show consists of people being annoyed by the main character.
Fortunately, Phil spent the bulk of "30 Years of Science Down the Tubes" chasing after his brother (in the Back to the Future DeLorean, no less), which led to a fun and then tragic dynamic between the Miller siblings, as Mike realized what Phil went through during the virus outbreak, while Phil had no choice but to honor his brother's dying wish and leave him behind — albeit with all his ball friends from the days when he thought he literally was the last man on earth. Forte and Sudeikis were great throughout the episode, and the ballbag was a lovely touch, deftly turning one of the show's silliest early jokes into a powerful final gesture between the two brothers.
Sending Phil back to Tucson also gave the Malibu scenes more room to breathe. The show is never going to be as good at being a domestic comedy as it is at being a post-apocalyptic comedy, but the latter is likely too expensive and difficult to do every week, and having Melissa be the one to go crazy (a reminder that January Jones + guns = fun), and for Carol to be the sensible one to calm things down, was a nice change of pace. Carol's speech about the world she wants her baby to experience — "This world can't suck. I won't allow it." — was a nice moment both in isolation and as part of the show's evolution of Carol from being the worst thing to happen to Phil to the absolute best.
Forte's sensibilities, and the budgetary limitations on doing episodes like the premiere or the Mike spotlight episode, mean I'm probably always going to find Last Man an uneven show. But when it's on, as it was last night, it reminds me why I suffer through the ones that make me want to throw the TV through the window.
What did everybody else think, of both the finale and season 2 as a whole?