Kristen Schaal (left), Cleopatra Coleman, January Jones and Mel Rodirguez
Photo: Kevin Estrada (FOX)

“Señor Clean” doesn’t waste any time getting The Last Man On Earth back on track. Fred Armisen’s Karl was a wonderful, if short-lived, addition to the cast. Still, it’s great that the writers decided to literally bury what was left of his story this episode and focus on the relationships at the core of the show. Every season of The Last Man On Earth hits some point where the gang thinks they’re safe and we get detours like Ken learning how to fly or Melissa’s struggle with mental illness. But, inevitably, some larger catastrophe or stranger enters the picture and the gang is forced to act. With the tension of a cannibal and a bomb-laden Rubik’s Cube removed, “Señor Clean” let’s us settle back into The Last Man On Earth we knew before nuclear threats led the group to Mexico.

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The results are mixed. Will Forte shines when he’s recounting how he killed Karl and when he gives the eulogy at the funeral. But while it’s great to see Tandy be Tandy, parts of this episode feel too familiar. We’ve seen Tandy grapple with his need for attention. We’ve seen Melissa and Todd fight over having children before. We’ve seen Todd try to connect with Jasper before. That’s not to say we don’t also see some progress in “Señor Clean.” There’s great character development here, even if it doesn’t necessarily carry the season’s plot anywhere interesting.

Tandy seems to finally understand how he’s supposed to act towards others in this new world. Maybe if Tandy had actually killed Karl and had to deal with the weight of actually watching someone die, we would’ve seen a realistic embrace of maturity. But, he didn’t actually have to kill Karl, so instead he’s motivated to change in order to win Gail’s approval (which is, of course, classic Tandy). Gail is right when she says Tandy has come a long way since Tucson, but that doesn’t stop him from confusing her affection for something more sinister. As far as Tandy has come, he still isn’t above public declarations decrying threesomes with his wife and “mother-in-law.” The great takeaway from the episode is that Tandy doesn’t need to change anymore to get these people to like him. He’s earned their respect and they’ve learned to accept Tandy for who he is.

Mary Steenburgen (left), Cleopatra Coleman and Kristen Schaal
Photo: Kevin Estrada (FOX)

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The episode’s main twist is Melissa finally agreeing to let Todd have a baby. I phrase it that way because Melissa has decided she will not be the one to carry the baby and she wants nothing to do with it. When Todd started pushing the baby issue again, I found it annoying. Melissa has a right to choose and Todd should stop making her feel guilty. We’ve heard both of their arguments over and over again, but Melissa’s suggestion is a fair compromise. Todd can absolutely just be a guy she dates who happens to have a kid. So, I’m glad Melissa isn’t being forced to give up this boundary, but I’m not happy that another pregnancy could be in show’s future.

Every pregnancy on The Last Man On Earth is 10x more stressful than on any other show. We know all too well that characters are not safe from medical mishaps. Even though Gail has done pretty well as the group doctor, the show made the most out of the “dangerous pregnancy” joke when it had Carol deliver her children with ease. Forcing Erica through another pregnancy, just because Todd wants a baby, seems silly and impractical; but that’s never stopped The Last Man On Earth before.

Cleopatra Coleman
Photo: Kevin Estrada (FOX)

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Even though I can’t see how the next episode doesn’t just start with Erica laughing in Todd and Melissa’s faces, the group has been lulled into a sense of safety in their Mexico mansion. Like Gail said, they’re happy. It almost feels like they’ve forgotten what it was like before everyone died. Karl was a threat to that happiness and with him gone and no other danger in sight, a pregnancy may not seem so crazy. Still, I’d rather see the show bring Jasper back into the fold and feed him something more than Pop-Tarts before doing the whole baby thing again. Not that it matters, with the end of the season coming up, there’s definitely another twist on the way that will rock the group out of complacency.

Stray Observations

  • “Gail, this is not the time for a hurtful, sexual joke.” I’m glad Tandy and Carol are working on that though.
  • I absolutely loved Forte’s delivery when he did the “4-blah blah blah-six” during his countdown.
  • Tandy’s entire eulogy for Karl was amazing. “Bill Cosby’s gallbladder”and “human bric-a-brac” were my favorite lines.
  • Seriously, I need to see Jasper eat a vegetable or protein or something.
  • I did wonder how the gang was dealing with all the waste that comes from babies, so I’m glad we got to see Tandy’s balloon waste removal system.

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