NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “The Last Man on Earth” are present in this review
The Last Man on Earth seemed to set up some pretty harrowing circumstances for the survivors at the end of last week’s episode, but it doesn’t seem like there’s any hurry on those. The show made the interesting decision to jump forward six months in time in this week’s episode, “The Big Day”, which is certainly unexpected, especially since it quickly resolves several lingering issues just like that. Melissa is sane again. Jasper is speaking. Carol has a baby bump. Looks like everything worked out alright.
Hopefully, this isn’t a sign that The Last Man on Earth is in danger of being cancelled after this season, since a time jump that hastily sweeps away several ongoing story arcs isn’t exactly assuring for a show’s long-term prospects. Then again, it could simply be the fact that next week’s one-hour season finale event just didn’t work with so many ongoing problems in place. This does immediately deflate big questions like Carol’s pregnancy, Jasper’s mute state and Melissa’s mental issues, which undeniably hurts the show, but nonetheless, our latest episode still offered some great laughs, along with a solid central conflict between Phil and Gail.
The episode begins with Todd and Melissa getting married, complete with Todd going through the necessary steps to legally and spiritually reclaim his virginity, yet another thing that happened off-screen. Something of a subplot unfolds here, as Todd and Melissa move to consummate their marriage, while Melissa is now lucid enough to become annoyed at Phil all over again. Honestly though, both Todd and Melissa spent almost this entire episode firmly in the background, mostly serving as a joke enhancer, rather than having their own proper story arc.
Instead, almost the entire episode is built around Phil wanting to deliver Carol’s soon-arriving baby, and Gail thinking it’s a bad idea. This results in a huge argument between Phil and Gail, which does contain plenty of awesome comedic riffs between the two, with Will Forte and Mary Steenburgen both particularly excelling in this episode when it comes to laughs. Easily the highlight of the episode is when Phil prepares a series of increasingly idiotic ‘demonstrations’ of his baby-delivering potential as well, to the point of even interrupting Todd’s and Melissa’s wedding night to make them known!
The result, however, can be fairly easily predicted. Carol, after being dishonest with Phil about wanting Gail to deliver her baby, is eventually forced to come clean when Phil’s demonstrations naturally go awry. Surprisingly though, Phil’s reasons for wanting to deliver the baby aren’t limited to impressing his dead parents. They also effectively call back to the late other Phil Miller, who died on the operating table, while Phil was helpless to do anything. Granted, there’s nothing that Phil could have done in that situation, but at least Phil coming to realize this insecurity is enough to allow him and Gail to make up, and have Phil finally concede to allowing Gail to deliver his baby.
The episode then culminates in another fairly expected development, namely Erica’s water breaking. This leads into next week’s two-episode season finale, where Erica’s baby will no doubt be delivered, and a little new addition will hopefully be made to the survivors. Frankly though, this seemingly outed the whole reason for this episode existing, and that’s being a lead-in to next week’s season finale event. What we got here is still funny, but there’s also very little to say about the episode from a story standpoint, especially when it’s easy to predict that Phil is obviously going to lose the argument of wanting to deliver his baby.
Like I said, I hope that the time jump in the story isn’t evidence of The Last Man on Earth being on FOX’s cancellation chopping block, especially since the show still works well as a cult sitcom for FOX’s Sunday night lineup, despite its increasingly low live viewership. For now though, the humour was king in, “The Big Day”, a filler episode that only seemed to be in place to set the stage for the end of Season Three next week. Erica giving birth to her baby is an event well worthy of a season finale though, and here’s hoping that we get to see the survivor family continue to grow in a prospective Season Four. It’s too bad that the rest of the story elements in this episode felt so underdeveloped, but with the humour being especially strong, there was still plenty of entertainment value to enjoy.
- Especially standout humour all around
- Phil and Gail's hilarious shots at one another
- Phil's surprisingly sweet reasons for wanting to deliver his child
- The time jump negates many of the season's lingering conflicts
- Todd and Melissa storyline feels underdeveloped
- Phil conceding to Gail is very predictable