While most comedies on television stray away from darker moments, The Last Man on Earth is in no position to do so, because well it's a show taking place after an apocalypse. It would certainly be betraying its own set-up if it didn't insert some morbid moments here and there. With that said, Sunday's fall finale was much heavier on the drama than the comedy which is to be expected for all of Last Man's finales.
The main plot involving Tandy and Carol is easily the least dramatic featuring more of the duo's comedic chemistry. The decision to isolate the two from the group for this episode is a nice change of pace because Tandy and Carol just feel so natural as the last couple on earth and it's a nice sort of callback to early season 1 and more recently the season 2 premiere. The actual callback during the honeymoon makes you realize how much Tandy has grown as a person, finally being the bigger man and admitting that he did indeed wet his pants when they first met. Besides that, the discovery of Gail, the fish not the person, is a touching moment in an episode where all hope seems to be lost back at the office building, showing that there still may be more life out there. It's a shame that the gang doesn't stray away from the building much, though that may be due to budget constraints, because the change of scenery here really helped the storyline thrive, it also gave an excuse for us to hear Tandy's R&B version of "If You're Happy and You Know It" and who doesn't like a ridiculously hilarious Tandy-Carol sex scene.
There isn't much fun to be had in the other storylines as Todd continues to deal with the unstable Melissa. While it was interesting at first, this unstable Melissa shtick really needs to go somewhere because it's getting really tedious and at the same time it's sad to see Todd so broken up about her. When Todd finally locks her into a room, we see that Melissa might not be as crazy as she seems as she reverts to her normal way of speaking while banging on the door but we have yet to get any explanation on that since the storyline halts there.
Lewis and Erica also get in on the action for a bit as they help Todd find Melissa and get her off the roof but Erica continues to be dead weight, having done nothing interesting all season besides the occasional line here and there. Lewis also seems to be going the way of Erica, despite a great role in "The Open-Ended Nature of Unwitnessed Death" he's really only attempted to learn how to fly a plane and that's about it. I hope the two get some sort of role when the series returns in the spring because for now, their side plots remain tedious.
The final plot of the episode involving Gail's plight to get out of the elevator is easily the darkest of the three and possibly the most morbid that the show has ever been. There isn't much to it as it continues to resemble a less interesting version of last season's "Mike stuck in space" plot, though as the episode winds down with a song from The Kinks and Gail has ultimately lost hope, the show's decision to have her pull the trigger is admirable. While Steenburgen's character is not one I dislike, I do hope the show goes through with the suicide because it would be a complete waste of this side plot as it otherwise has gone nowhere.
"If You're Happy and You Know It" is not a perfect episode of The Last Man on Earth leaving a lot of open storylines, notably Pat's fate, but it's a gutsy episode featuring something that you wouldn't expect out of a half-hour comedy and involves a nice main plot with the last couple on earth, It's just enough to tide you over until this show finally returns in the spring.
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