The Last Man on Earth Season 4 Episode 17 Review ’Barbara Ann’

***Major Spoilers Ahead***

Barbara Ann

Photo: Will Forte, Jason Sudeikis. Credit: Jesse Giddings/FOX

For the most part, the fourth season of The Last Man on Earth has definitely seen a decline in quality compared to seasons past. The series has rarely exhibited any of its favorable traits. Instead of zooming in on post-apocalyptic troubles, the show's main focus has been on character relationships and childbirth. There doesn't seem to be a clear direction and the plot points don't feel strategically placed. Furthermore, writing off characters like Glenn, Pamela, and Karl after a handful of episodes felt like a questionable decision. Despite being great additions to the show, yanking them off after two to four appearances apiece led to them serving no real purpose in the big picture of Last Man. While I'm not fully convinced that the series has stopped drifting aimlessly, 'Barbara Ann' does help to refute my initial claim by establishing two major threats that could potentially jeopardize the lives of the survivors. These details function as a nice reward after a season full of outings that did not advance the story in any way.

In the A-plot, Mike and Tandy continue their quest to discover if the blob is a sign of life. As it turns out, Mike doesn't find anyone and is left dejected and depressed. Mike's words painfully resonated when he exclaimed that no one cared for him back home. Jason Sudeikis does a wonderful job of channeling his feelings of despair and agony. Moreover, the writers effortlessly balanced elements of humor with those of drama in this story. The goofy penis jokes and Tandy's outlandish remarks about goat sex offset the gravity of Mike's situation about not finding new survivors and feeling lonely. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean Mike's somber moments don't pack a punch. As the Miller brother sits and looks out into the distance, one can feel the misery radiating off of him. At the same time, his optimistic outlook drifts away. In the past, The Last Man on Earth has crafted similar scenes involving Mike's distress and somber seclusion. Although this theme has run rampant throughout the series, it never fails to act as a heartbreaking, emotional blow. The writers have mastered the craft of creating a gloomy and depressing scenario. Additionally, Tandy's explanation of his close encounter with suicide is impactful in the way that he comforts and supports his brother. After countless squabbles, it's touching to see them being there for each other in a dangerous, post-virus world. In all, this story reproduces familiar subjects while still managing to keep things fresh. The strong bond between the Miller brothers and the sorrow of not finding life are patterns that are always welcome in this series.

The B-plot centers on Todd discovering guns, drugs, and grenades throughout the mansion. This story's biggest asset is that it takes away attention from the tedious arguments between Todd and Erica over the baby. Instead of dwelling on uneventful matters, this plotline turns the chapter by examining life-threatening issues. The reason this shift is so stimulating is that it opens the door for more threats as opposed to stories that would feel at home on a normal sitcom. If that wasn't enough, the final moments set the stage for an explosive finale. The decision to have the gang move out of the mansion was extremely reassuring and admirable. Last Man always functions better when it's not stuck in one setting. My one criticism of this story is the reliance on cheap jokes and bathroom humor. Carol's remark about her fear of being scared and Todd's drawn-out farting excuse both fell flat. Neither fit the dire tone that encompassed both storylines.

'Barbara Ann' closes with a shot of a group of bunker people walking in the area that Mike abandoned. It's legitimately terrifying seeing over ninety people with threatening masks walk in a line to an unknown destination. This revelation is a huge moment for a series that usually introduces and removes one cast member in a short time span. Bringing in a huge group of people means the writers can explore many new possibilities. Ending scene aside, 'Barbara Ann' is a fairly strong episode of the Will Forte-led dramedy. It serves as a satisfying preface to a closing episode that has a ton of explaining to do in several departments. Whether the writers tie together loose threads or not, it should still be an exciting adventure.

  • It seems like the gang is moving and leaving Jasper behind.
  • For a minute, I expected Pamela and Glenn to appear instead of the bunker people.
  • It looks like Pat was right about the bunker people. I guess the lesson here is to always trust the crazy person.
  • Mike can't stay on this show forever. I wonder how they're going to write him off.
  • I hope the new survivors act as a threat to spice things up.

Grade: A

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