NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Y: The Last Man” are present in this review

 

 

Finally! Now we’re getting somewhere! Y: The Last Man is finally spotlighting its post-apocalyptic survivors to inspired effect in, “Weird Al is Dead”, an episode that also manages to make slightly better use of the show’s U.S. Presidency faction to boot. The writing is still ultimately hampered by the dogged pacing, plus the fact that this show’s eponymous character is a reckless idiot for the sake of the plot, but even so, Y: The Last Man seems to be slowly finding its groove with its sixth episode. The show properly spotlights its entire lead cast with comparably interesting story arcs this time, plus it builds up an actual survivor antagonist for at least one faction, and it continues to develop its interesting Agent 355 material, albeit not at the same pace as the previous episode.

A heavy amount of the storytelling in this episode is focused around Roxanne’s group, which has now taken in Hero, Sam, Nora and Mack. Roxanne herself is revealed to be a former police detective here too, one that seemingly lost a breast to cancer (or ritualistic self-mutilation? It’s left interestingly vague), something that Nora witnesses, after she becomes concerned about the group’s aggressively misandrist rhetoric influencing Mack. Though she’s predictably aggressive toward Roxanne and her hardline attitude to start however, particularly after Roxanne turns away a desperate group of survivors, it’s quite interesting to see Nora gradually get worn down by Roxanne’s sales pitch. After all, who could turn down all this safety and vital resources?

Sam and Hero meanwhile intriguingly find themselves pulled in opposite directions by Roxanne’s group. Despite being initially guarded herself, Hero eventually becomes taken in by Roxanne’s charisma, and the apparent support of Roxanne’s group, just like Nora. This eventually leads to Hero confessing directly to Roxanne that she accidentally killed her former lover, and got away with it. This honesty naturally impresses Roxanne, and seems to cement Hero’s own place in Roxanne’s faction. This would appear to form an interesting, morally grey united front between Nora and Hero, even though it’s made very apparent to the viewer that Roxanne is shady, something that definitely isn’t lost on Sam.

On that note, Sam quickly finds himself shut out from Roxanne’s group, which continues to highlight the interesting persistence of sexism towards trans men in this apocalypse scenario. Despite Sam being widely rejected by Roxanne’s survivors though, at least one of them, Kelsey, tries to get close to Sam, confessing that she loves men, “Maybe a little too much.” Sam seems unfazed by Kelsey, and wants to move on, but with Hero and Nora becoming ever more eager to stick around, that’s definitely not going to be easy. I imagine that tensions between Sam, Nora and Hero are about to reach a new high point during this show’s next episode as well (assuming this storyline is addressed in it), after this episode ends with Kelsey being savagely beaten for associating with Sam, only for Nora to witness it, and not intervene.

It’s great to see Y: The Last Man finally taking proper advantage of its post-apocalyptic hook, at least from one faction’s perspective. Outside of Roxanne’s base however, the storytelling remained a little bit mixed, albeit slightly more reliable than in the previous episodes. Again, it’s Yorick that’s primarily holding back the narrative here, even if he wasn’t the only jackass this week. For whatever reason, Dr. Mann convinces Yorick to abandon Agent 355 in this episode, despite the fact that both of them are virtually helpless, and that Dr. Mann doesn’t have much of a plan. This turn is not only stupid and forced, but doesn’t amount to anything anyway, because Yorick and Dr. Mann are caught in the crossfire after government agents close in on 355 regardless.

Wait, why is that happening? Didn’t Jennifer come up with this whole mission to have Yorick and 355 retrieve Dr. Mann in the first place? Well, this is a consequence to Regina’s growing involvement within the U.S. Presidency, something that Jennifer must now try and combat, while also trying to shift focus away from who 355 is with. The show’s political squabbling is still largely meaningless though, and continues to slow the pacing of an already plodding series. Still, at least Regina is contributing more worthwhile drama to the Presidential faction. The same is true of Kimberly, who makes the uncomfortable proposal to Christine that she raise Christine’s baby, if Christine doesn’t want it. Again, we’re likely not going to see a payoff to this baby storyline for a long time, but I still dig the eccentric maternal relationship that’s developing between Christine and Kimberly, something that keeps the gender of Christine’s baby a crucial question over the next several episodes.

It took a whole six episodes, but Y: The Last Man is slowly starting to genuinely succeed as a survival drama. Mind you, it’s still failing as a political drama, and its supposed main character still sucks for now, but we’re finally getting somewhere in terms of the core survival drama that viewers almost certainly came to see in the first place. “Weird Al is Dead” proves that Y: The Last Man can go somewhere interesting when it stops getting lost in impotent politics and unimportant details. The question then is whether the show can keep its priorities in the right place from here, now that we’re into the back half of its debut season. Most urgently though, Yorick needs to stop being a drag on the mission of a much better character, especially considering how supposedly important he is to the future of humankind in general.

Y: The Last Man 1.6 - "Weird Al is Dead" Review
Y: The Last Man achieves its best episode to date with, "Weird Al is Dead", thanks to a memorable focus on Roxanne's group, and Regina becoming a worthy obstacle to Jennifer.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Roxanne's memorable, morally ambiguous survivor group
  • Sam, Nora and Hero finding themselves on different sides
  • Presidency storytelling is starting to improve
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Yorick's and Dr. Mann's idiotic, pointless fleeing attempt
  • Unnecessary scenes still drag down the pacing
77%Overall Score
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