NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Last Man on Earth” are present in this review
With the surprise discovery of a lone child at the end of last week’s episode of The Last Man on Earth, the boy is brought back to the group in this week’s offering. “Point Person Knows Best” was all about integrating this boy into the dynamic of the show, particularly as Phil’s continued issues with imminent fatherhood bubble up in an even bigger way, as he starts becoming clingy and insufferable around the new guest.
For the most part, this was another rather good episode of The Last Man on Earth, especially in how everything came together towards the final moments. It did however represent a bit of stalled momentum compared to the stellar episodes that the show has constantly delivered since it resumed in 2017 however, with one largely uninteresting subplot, along with some more unrealistic Phil annoyances, sometimes getting in the way of otherwise strong humour and writing.
Most of the episode involves Phil trying way too hard to get into this boy’s good graces. The boy, who is mute, happens to have a Jansport backpack, with Phil eventually convincing everyone to call him, “Jasper”, since he can’t identify himself, and everyone rejects naming the boy after the backpack. This works well enough, though the boy being mute also means that he unfortunately can’t refuse Phil’s clingy demands to linger in a sundae-filled wading pool.
Despite being mute, Jasper, played by Keith L. Williams, drops a lot of clever hints about the place he may have come from. His attraction to alcohol and cigarettes vaguely suggests that he came from an abusive or neglectful home, and his refusal to bond with Phil likely means that he didn’t have much in the way of friends. It’s a clever way to provide a surrogate parent relationship for the group, with Carol’s and Erica’s babies still on the way. Granted, Phil actively trading cigarettes for love is another thing that probably strains the joke behind his idiocy a bit too far, much like his belief that Jasper could be a, “Benjamin Button.” Phil initially announcing that Jasper is, “Dead” to the group at dinner when he is referencing a metaphorical transformation (as the result of a cigarette bribe), is also a bit of a forced joke, even for Phil.
Despite Phil’s rather unreasonable and exaggerated behaviour though, he’s eventually forced to admit defeat when the group decides to let Jasper pick his own ‘point person’, the adult to act as a proper surrogate parent, and Jasper picks Erica. This is excellent news that I, and no doubt many others, was very happy about, since this finally gives Erica a crucial, distinct part in the group of leads, something that she hasn’t had since the other Phil Miller died last season. We don’t see what comes of the Erica/Jasper connection yet, but we do see Phil finally admit to Carol that he’s worried about his and Carol’s child-to-be not liking him. This was heavily implied in last week’s episode too, but having Phil finally come out and admit it was satisfying, just as it was equally satisfying to have Carol comfort him by trying to convince him of how cool he is. Carol’s probably not the best example of cool, but it was a sweet sentiment all the same.
This just leaves the subplot, which did feel a little tacked-on and uninteresting in contrast to the main Jasper storyline. It also felt a bit forced, frankly, especially after Carol has tried to grow up and not be so clingy with Gail since her ordeal in the elevator. The subplot results from Carol seeing Todd thank Gail for helping find Melissa’s medication (which has so far only succeeded in making her sweaty and listless), and put a hand on her shoulder, which has Carol thinking that Todd is trying to get back together with her. This simply served as a way to fill the rest of the episode that wasn’t dominated by the Jasper storyline in the end though, as well as Gail both admitting that Todd is her only option if she ever feels the need to be with a man again (at least for now, since Phil is married, and an idiot), and that Carol is lucky to have a husband who loves her. This did at least nicely lead into Carol comforting a disappointed Phil with Gail saying something nice about him, but it sucks that this week’s subplot felt mostly unnecessary.
“Point Person Knows Best” did a pretty good job of bringing Jasper into the group of leads, while also giving Erica a renewed purpose for the first time in what feels like ages. Some of Phil’s forced efforts to bond with Jasper were a bit much, but at least it was nice to have him finally admit that he’s worried about being a father, and wants to know that he won’t screw up his kid. Granted, he probably will screw up his kid, let’s be honest, but it was nonetheless good to see that Phil legitimately cares about bringing out the best in his child, whenever it arrives. The superfluous subplot was a bummer, especially with The Last Man on Earth taking two weeks off from here, to return towards the end of the month, but at least Phil got somewhere with Jasper, by at least getting him to accept his volleyball ‘friend’, Gary, even if he did cause Gary to be run over by a car first!
- Enjoyable, satisfying way to bring Jasper into the group
- Phil finally admitting his insecurities about being a father
- Erica being chosen as Jasper's surrogate parent
- Subplot with Carol, Todd and Gail is pretty pointless
- Some of Phil's behaviour with Jasper is too much