There’s some nice parallel storytelling in this week’s Last Man On Earth: Mike and Tandy embark on a journey to examine the enormous blob on Mike’s thermal imaging system in the hopes of finding new life, while the rest of the gang discover numerous murdered corpses in the walls of their Zihuatanejo mansion. Though new life is hard to come by in a post-apocalyptic landscape, old lives (read: dead lives) are unfortunately a dime a dozen.
“Barbara Ann,” the penultimate episode of the season, logically follows the events of last week’s episode and also introduces a whole new thread that will likely dominate the season finale and the next season. Though the literal plot is fairly bare—Mike and Tandy find nothing in the desert while everyone else learns that their house is packed to the brim with cocaine, weapons, and severed heads—luckily the episode is funny enough to make the non-events compelling. Sometimes it takes sight gags of corpses in Weekend At Bernie’s poses to liven things up.
Remember the episode “La Abuela,” the one where it’s revealed that the group’s new mansion once harbored a violent drug gang? Well, it took 12 episodes, but now Todd, Carol, Melissa, Erica, and Gail have discovered that their home is not only booby trapped to hell but also filled with dangerous accoutrements. When they discover that the hand grenade paperweight is actually real, the gang decides to take inventory of everything in the house. When they find out that the grand piano contains explosives, they collectively decide it’s better to ship out than raise babies in a place that could theoretically explode at any moment.
Meanwhile, Tandy and Mike are hot on the trail for the heat signal. In between Tandy trying to get Mike to drink his urine by repeatedly offering him lemonade (in a root beer can with steam coming out of it), he tries to warn him that there might not be anyone there. In fact, it might just be the herd of goats they find wandering the barren land on their way to the site. Tandy refuses to leave the goats because they could provide food for the others, and for once he’s absolutely on point. The two gather a boy and girl goat in the back of their van, but not before Mike teases Tandy about his small penis (“I’ll have you know that it’s only slightly below below-average. My doctor even said that in some countries my size wouldn’t even be considered a medical issue…”).
Unfortunately, Mike faces extreme disappointment when he just finds empty space where the people were supposed to be. Sudeikis has excelled at playing up the more mature elements of his storyline, conveying deep-seated loneliness even though he’s next to his brother. He plays his insistence that he needs a minute to just sit in his failure very well, and Will Forte comfortably plays a reactive agent in these moments. Tandy eventually tells Mike about his suicide attempt and how he found Gail in his lowest moment, illustrating that hope arrives in strange places at unexpected times. He transitions into jokes about Mike having sex with the goats, but that coupled with a rendition of The Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann” brings Mike back to life. As soon as they arrive at the mansion, Mike vows to leave his van and reconnect with his new home. It’s at that moment they learn that they’re moving away.
But the episode ends on an ominous note. It turns out that the empty space was actually the location of an underground bunker filled with virus survivors. We see them leave the bunker one by one, donned with gas masks and body suits, as they march in a line towards Tandy, Mike, and the rest of the gang. Is this just a group of people who have found shelter, unaware that there is more just like them? Or is this an Others situation a la Lost? It’s unclear, but it definitely means that they are far from alone. Only time will tell if these people are friends or foes, but one thing’s for sure: LMOE just got a whole lot bigger.
- Todd places the corpses in comical positions to take the edge off of seeing them. He set one up playing horse shoes, two more in an arm wrestling session, and finally a severed head riding a rainbow. “Don’t think of them as dead bodies,” he says. “Think of them as people…the sequel.”
- Fun fact: Gail Klosterman and the 80s had a love-love relationship.
- The mansion inventory: 75 bags of cocaine, 23 sticks of dynamite, 16 grenades, 82 normal guns, 36 scary guns, and 5 severed heads.
- “It’s just one of those weird cases where you smelt it but I’m the one who dealt it. It’s a real axiom-buster.”
- “The promise of interspecies sex has brought my brother back to life.”