NOTE: Full spoilers for this episode of, “Y: The Last Man”, including a major character death, are present in this review

 

 

The walls are rapidly closing in on Jennifer, as the secret of Yorick’s survival simply refuses to stay buried. The improving political narrative of Y: The Last Man may be too little, too late for the most part, but the idea of Jennifer’s well-intentioned secret surrounding her surviving son threatening to explode still amps up the stakes of the Presidency storyline much higher than they ever were during this show’s earlier episodes. It’s not like the Yorick mission itself is going that smoothly either, particularly after Agent 355’s continued defiance surrounding her mysterious ailment ultimately gets herself, Yorick and Dr. Mann into a pretty bad jam.

Y: The Last Man is definitely on an uptick now, and the show’s pacing has improved immensely because of it. It’s still a little on the slow side, as many post-apocalyptic survival dramas tend to be these days, but at least the series no longer feels like an awkward, semi-preachy waste of time. The writing is continuing to find new ways to explore the post-Y-chromosome world, and another interesting obstacle happens to come up in this episode; 355 passes out and crashes an RV that she was attempting to use to get Yorick and Dr. Mann to San Francisco, an incident that results in the trio being captured by a nearby settlement of female prison inmates.

It’s not immediately made apparent who is staffing the settlement, and sometimes, that works to this episode’s detriment, admittedly. There’s a lot of buildup surrounding the apparent menace of this civilization, as well as a misunderstanding involving Yorick being mistaken for a captive, due to his being tied up to display an escape trick to Dr. Mann at the time of the RV crash, and none of it really goes anywhere. Instead, the inmates turn out to be perfectly nice people, Yorick is embraced, despite the secret of his cisgender male status being known to the inmates (possibly due to some questionable consent on the part of one such inmate), and 355 even gets the medical care she needs. Really? That’s it?

Perhaps there will eventually be more exciting material behind this women’s’ prison settlement plot, but fortunately, that wasn’t wanting at the Pentagon, for a change. After the agents that went after 355 are recovered and interrogated by Jennifer and Regina, Jennifer is forced to work extra hard at deflecting one of the soldiers’ first-hand accounts of a surviving man. Fortunately, Yorick isn’t positively identified, at least not yet, but this doesn’t stop Kimberly from wanting to dig deeper and deeper. Marla, however, just seems to want to let sleeping dogs lie, even if the soldier’s testimony getting back to Marla eventually unlocks the truth for herself and Kimberly; Yorick has survived the Y-chromosome apocalypse, and Jennifer is covering it up.

This puts the show’s conservative presence on a great track to creating a serious obstacle for Jennifer. Surprisingly, Regina didn’t participate much in this brewing conflict either, which was instead primarily shared between Kimberly and Marla in this case. Fortunately, these Kimberly/Marla scenes all proved to be great, as the two women debate whether they should pursue the matter further, eventually culminating in Kimberly accidentally revealing to Marla that her hometown was lost due to a ruptured dam. This revelation finally sends Marla over the edge, and she commits suicide later that night, with Kimberly ultimately being too late to stop her.

This tragic final bow for Marla was both unexpected and very emotional, and it builds well off of Kimberly being the one fairly likable and relatable conservative presence in what’s otherwise a rather left-leaning show. Conservatives aren’t the only issues about to face Jennifer however, after Beth unexpectedly shows up at the Pentagon, to tell Jennifer that she loves and misses Yorick. Jennifer doesn’t tell Beth that Yorick survived, but it’s probably better that she didn’t anyway, because Beth is later revealed to be a spy, one secretly working for the army of dissidents waiting just outside the Pentagon’s gates!… Wait, huh? Yeah, this seems pretty random. I get that Beth is a major focus of Yorick, and that had to pay off somehow, but surely, Beth’s relationship with Jennifer wasn’t so disagreeable that Beth would tear apart the entire U.S. political structure for it?

As much as Beth currently feels shoehorned into the plotting however, Y: The Last Man is nonetheless cooking up some really promising tension between its major factions, even if Hero and the Amazons once again sat out this episode, despite the major cliffhanger that unfolded with them previously. “My Mother Saw a Monkey” may have still delivered some uneven material from Yorick’s perspective, but the show’s political drama is finally starting to truly sizzle, promising to reach new heights now that Kimberly is on to the real truth about Yorick, and Marla has decided to take her own life. Perhaps Beth’s sudden re-appearance will make more sense over the season’s few remaining episodes, but either way, the writing seems to be holding relatively steady at this point. Its plotting is still a bit shaky, but Y: The Last Man is finally starting to scratch at its true potential, while still maintaining its gender-focused hook that will ideally separate it from the oversaturation of competing post-apocalyptic drama shows.

Y: The Last Man 1.7 - "My Mother Saw a Monkey" Review
Y: The Last Man continues to improve its political stakes in, "My Mother Saw a Monkey", while Yorick's party find themselves in the company of an interesting new settlement.
THE GOOD STUFF
  • Intriguing female prison settlement
  • Kimberly discovering the truth about Yorick
  • Marla's shocking suicide
THE NOT-SO-GOOD STUFF
  • Female prison dread quickly goes nowhere
  • Beth's re-appearance in the narrative feels awkward
78%Overall Score
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