NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Last Man on Earth”, including a major character death, are present in this review
After the midseason premiere of last week upheld tradition by taking us to the perspective of a separate personality entirely, we finally got to reunite with the main ensemble in this week’s episode of The Last Man on Earth. “The Spirit of St. Lewis” also finally answered the agonizing cliffhanger over Gail’s fate from the midseason finale of last December… Sort of… A little bit. Actually, it didn’t focus too much on that, instead changing up the lead ensemble in a big way once again, though not with the foreshadowed coming of Kristen Wiig’s Pamela, after she was introduced in the previous episode.
The episode’s events proper kick off as the group checks in on the imprisoned Melissa, who creepily stares at the other end of a two-way mirror, seemingly aware of everyone’s presence on the other side. The opening gag of everyone trying to take turns to talk to Melissa, only to be told the most cutting words that immediately drive them to walk out of the room in every instance, was really funny, even if it did lead into the more serious question of what the group is supposed to do with absolutely no doctors among their ranks. This was already made apparent enough with the tragic death of the other Phil last season, but Todd drives the point home even further when he brings up the chilling possibility of Carol and Erica needing C-sections when their babies come!
In the end though, Melissa is pretty much purely gag fodder this week, beyond that ominous warning by Todd. Instead, it’s Lewis that takes the focal point of this week’s storyline, as Phil starts encouraging him to take flight in an actual aircraft. Lewis has logged more than enough hours in the flight simulator by now, meaning that Phil thinks he’s more than ready to take on an actual flight. Lewis is resistant, but Phil’s surprisingly endearing efforts to inspire him ring true, and soon after, he finally agrees to fly a plane that Phil finds for him.
This created a nicely inspiring moment that contrasted well with the former tragedy of having to shut Melissa away, and that’s before the missing Gail not being properly noticed yet either. Everyone toasts Lewis getting ready to fly, and eventually taking off in the plane successfully!… Only to almost immediately crash and explode soon after. This was completely out of left field, and was beautifully shocking, especially when the show cleverly exploited audiences’ fears over Gail by instead killing off Lewis, something that virtually no one would have expected here!
The subsequent funeral for Lewis also upholds another hilarious tradition of The Last Man on Earth very well, as the survivors must once again fumble their way through an uncomfortable last rites for a fallen companion. Phil flying a drone with Lewis’ presumed ashes and having it hit a tree and crash into the water was especially funny, as was Melissa commenting that it’s a great funeral. In all honesty, Lewis’ character arc was probably done here anyway, especially since Phil isn’t wrong when he bluntly points out that Lewis’ partner, Mark is almost certainly dead, and Erica obviously wasn’t bound to make it back to Australia, as Lewis promised her shortly before dying.
Phil is hit hardest by Lewis’ death, as he was the one who tried to inspire him to fly on the plane. Seeing Phil actually wander into a church and ask God for help, complete with his dinosaur suit, was an effectively humbling moment of self-examination for Phil, even if it did inspire him to try and honour Lewis with a slightly ill-advised rainbow light-up for the adjacent building. This obviously doesn’t excite the other survivors, but it does have the inadvertent side effect of powering the building again, the building that Gail happens to be stuck in! As the elevator doors finally open on the following floor, we see Gail’s crumpled body slumped onto the ground amidst the shell of the final bullet she fired. At first, it looks like Gail is indeed dead, though a slight twitch of her finger ends the episode, seemingly confirming that she’s alive.
There’s still a slight chance that this is some kind of ‘death twitch’, but considering that the characters still have no reason to search that building’s interior, the odds nonetheless favour Gail being alive. The episode still not answering the question completely will no doubt annoy viewers, but it looks like it truly won’t be stalling any longer in next week’s episode. Regardless, “The Spirit of St. Lewis” was another excellent episode of The Last Man on Earth, and one that yet again deftly balanced comedy and tragedy in equally effective measure. The shocking death of Lewis was a great twist, as was Phil inadvertently paving the way to discovering Gail by powering up her building again. It does feel like the show needs to just answer the question of what happened with Gail, now that we’re two episodes into Season Three’s back half, but I guess we only have one more week to wait. Hopefully.
- Plenty of funny jokes with Melissa's incarceration
- Lewis' unexpected and shocking death
- Phil's emotional roller coaster, and it inadvertently leading to Gail
- Some will be annoyed at the show STILL not completely clarifying Gail's fate