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The Last Man on Earth 'M.U.B.A.R.' [Season 4 Episode 1 Review]


***Spoilers Ahead***

M.U.B.A.R. 

Kristen Wiig (left), Will Forte (right).  photo: Kevin Estrada/FOX

The Last Man on Earth is no stranger to death. It's a concept that the show has been built around since day one. There's simply no way that the series can brush over it since it takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting. With that said, there are two dramatically different ways that the show can handle it. The first way is when Last Man kills off an established character in a tear-jerking and morbid fashion. The second way is when a celebrity is introduced only to be killed moments later. If you're familiar with Last Man, it's not difficult to guess which scenario the season 4 premiere used. But, the running gag of killing off big-name people just never gets old. Even though I knew what was coming, it was still absolutely hilarious when Pat shot Jack Black. Outside of the humorous opening minutes, 'M.U.B.A.R.' is a fairly normal premiere. But, by no means is that a bad thing. An average LMOE premiere includes a death or two, new characters, and a game-changing cliffhanger. So, by using normal, I meant that it was a strong return.

When she was first introduced, Pamela seemed like a pretty sensible person. Her standalone episode featured her going through the same struggles that many other characters went through on the show. 'M.U.B.A.R.' attempts to deconstruct her character into someone who's less sane and more insane. Ultimately, it works out particularly well. With the loss of Pat, this show needs a new antagonist-like figure and Pamela manages to fit the mold. Since she's basically a female version of Tandy, it was expected that she'd connect with him the most and fall in love with him. It was also very refreshing to see someone finally respect Tandy instead of putting him down or treating him like an idiot. Overall, I'm glad that the writers decided to isolate the two because their chemistry was the best part of this episode and it adds a type of conflict that this show hasn't tackled before. While the series has killed people off and trapped them in places devoid of human contact, LMOE has never had a situation where a character's been kidnapped. It's really great that 'M.U.B.A.R.' steers away from Last Man's comfort zone and dives into uncharted territory.

But, while the season opener focuses heavily on Pamela & Tandy, there isn't much emphasis on the rest of the group. Carol's obvious jealousy of Pamela is an overused trope, but Schaal's delivery saves it from being pointless or tedious. Melissa & Gail move the plot forward by getting the gang lost at sea, but there isn't any notable character development. Todd, Erica, and especially Jasper don't really get anything to do. While the former two still had some lines, I don't remember Jasper really saying anything. His introduction last season wasn't really well-received, so I hope that the writers expand his character and not let him become an underdeveloped cast member. Overall, the main purpose of the supporting players are to gang up against Pamela and hope to expel her when they reach land. It's expected that the group would not approve of a new survivor and I hope that it creates major conflict when they eventually meet up again.

In the end, 'M.U.B.A.R.' is a strong Last Man premiere. It puts the characters in danger and introductions a new threat. Plus, the final moments gave us a glimpse of a brand new survivor. And, since they're not cooped up in an office building, there are more opportunities for the characters to stumble upon more survivors or make other notable discoveries. Furthermore, I'm ecstatic that the series is back and am glad that there are a lot more possibilities with this new setting.

Stray Thoughts
  • I really want to see a flashback episode with Pamela, Pat, and Roy (Jack Black).
  • I laughed so hard when Tandy decapitated Pat off-screen.
  • RIP Pat. He had a good run.
  • Todd has sung a lot of songs at a lot of funerals.
  • LMOE always has the weirdest titles that only make sense after watching the episode.
  • Kudos to this show for changing the location every season. It keeps things fresh and exciting.

Grade: A-


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Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Catch an all-new episode next Sunday at 9:30/8:30c on FOX.