Season 2, Episode 1: “Is There Anybody Out There?”
Air date: September 27, 2015
In the first season of The Last Man on Earth, our hero Phil Miller very quickly discovered that he was not, in fact, the last man on earth. As more and more survivors make their way to Tucson, Phil’s abrupt reintroduction into society and personal relationships proved a little too much to handle. This week’s season premiere finds Phil and Carol in search of a new home and a new life after leaving behind a mess of burned bridges in Tucson.
Phil’s banishment from Tucson was a necessary narrative reset for the series–Will Forte’s particular brand of aggressively uncomfortable comedy made it difficult for anyone to have much sympathy for his character. However, his woefully misguided and selfish actions couldn’t disguise the fact that he was a good, kind person at heart. Carol decided to stick by Phil even after he was left in the desert to die because ultimately, Phil wasn’t the sort of person who could leave someone else to die in the desert (though not for the lack of trying).
“Is There Anybody Out There?” finds the two wandering the country trying to find a suitable location to start their new life. Despite visiting a number of locations (including Graceland and The White House), Carol insists that no place feels quite like home. Having not encountered another living person since Tucson, she secretly misses those they left behind. The episode provides some backstory for Carol and a glimpse into the world before the virus when they pay a visit to Carol’s old apartment in Delaware. The Last Man on Earth never dwelled too much on the apocalyptic viral outbreak that wiped out most of humanity, but we see some of the show’s darkest humor yet as Carol shows Phil around. Her old roommate Glen’s room is filled with medical supplies and quarantine equipment (“He was trying not to get the virus… he got it…”), while Carol’s room is filled with handcrafted tributes to all her dead friends and family (Phil’s very polite response: “This looks absolutely chock full of sanity!”).
At the end of the day, Phil once again becomes his own worst enemy, but the premiere also teases the return of his astronaut brother (played by Jason Sudeikis) and introduces a surprising mystery surrounding their old home of Tucson. The cliffhanger makes great use of the show’s surprisingly high stakes; the premise of the show is so often an excuse for Phil’s nihilistic hijinks and played for laughs that it’s easy to forget how alone they really are. The Last Man on Earth distilled the modern sitcom down to its barest elements–a protagonist struggling to get over his own selfish desires and navigate the complicated world of society and relationships. With a second chance and a fresh start that strips most of that away again, it remains to be seen whether Phil has learned anything at all.
- “… We should go back and get that bomb.”
- Phil and Carol enjoy a margharita pool in the Oval Office.
- “My position on Tuscon remains the same: Tuscon can suck it, and you can suck it for asking.”
- “Are you filibustering?”
- “Phil, I’m setting my gems! Just give me 27 more bananas!”