The Last Man on Earth Season 2 Episode 3 gave us Carol's return to the Tucson crew (without every member welcoming her back with open arms) and "Tandy's" desperate attempt to foist his surprisingly heartfelt apologies upon the group of survivors.
Carol's spur of the moment decision to lie and say that Phil died led to some hilarious moments and a really great payoff in the closing scenes.
The overwhelming issue with the Tucson crew in the first season was that none of them were given nearly enough screen time or enough of an introduction to really make the viewers care about them. To be honest, that's still the case: I simply don't care about any one member of the group or their relationships nearly as much as I care about Carol and Phil and that relationship.
Here's hoping that their reintroduction (which came a little soon for my liking) will deepen them and make them less of the stock characters that they are presently.
The tension between Carol and Erica over Phil 2's attentions, for one, seems promising. I'm looking forward to someone else acting like a tool besides Phil 1/Tandy, and Erica seems to be well on her way to tool-ish behavior right now (when it comes to Carol, at least).
Though Gail is none too pleased with Carol either. She clearly blames Carol for Gordon's death, though the rest of the group seems to be aware that Carol can't really be held responsible for Gordon's death by cardiac arrest. The small moments of Gail shooting Carol a dirty look or referencing that Carol "scared Gordon to death" were very funny.
The Carol/Phil relationship continues to shine. Carol immediately telling Phil about Phil 2 putting the moves on her (while she's in mourning garb, no less!!) was a really sweet moment. Equally cute was Carol reassuring Phil that if her plan to soften the group up to his "miraculous" resurrection didn't work, they would just head on back to Tucson and forget that the others ever existed.
And then, Tandy slipped. He rocketed out into the abyss. This is where the death stuff really kicks in, so viewer discretion is advised.Carol
Carol's illustrated reenactment of Phil's "demise" for Melissa and Todd was one of the funniest moments of the series to date. The melancholy background music paired with Carol's obviously rehearsed and melodramatic recitation of the "events" made for a fantastic scene. It was truly hilarious and Kristen Schaal performed it perfectly.
The juxtaposition of the group mourning terrible Gordon's death against their decidedly "meh, whatever" reaction to Phil's gruesome "demise" was also nicely done.
The escalation of Gail's complaints about Gordon (from morning crankiness to mean drunk is quite the leap) was darkly, morbidly humorous. He was a completely awful person!
That made the group's traumatized reaction to his death (particularly Gail and Todd, who both took Gordon's passing pretty hard) all the more absurd. The fact that he was played by notorious funny man Will Ferrell was just the icing on the whole silly cake.
Nobody knew Gordon the way I knew him. He was a friend, a companion, trusted advisor and a valued lover. Sure, he could be a real son of a bitch. He was so cranky in the mornings, and he cussed like a sailor. And he was a bad drunk. He was a mean drunk. Racially insensitive. Male chauvinist pig. Um, and there was the body odor, which was challenging for me, but now I look back and, you know, when somebody dies all that stuff just melts away and you're just left with the good memories. So, to Gordon. Easy come, easy go. [weeps]Gail
The closing scene, where Carol finally gets through to the group about giving Phil a second chance, just as Phil comes up with the tremendously awful plan to hold the Tucson crew at gunpoint to force them to listen to his apology was so perfectly Phil Miller. The best part was how heartfelt he was attempting to be with his apologies and desperate compliments... while simultaneously being legitimately threatening.
One of Phil's signature characteristics so far is his distinct tone-deafness when it comes to interacting with other human beings. Another Phil trait is his overwhelming desperation. All that time on his own, post-humanity's destruction, seems to have affected Phil in a much stronger way than any of his comrades.
Phil reacts wildly when he thinks he's about to be abandoned and can't deal with the idea of being on his own. Hence why he came up with those ball-friends to talk to. He can't bear being alone with himself, and when that option seems like a real inevitability, he reacts like an absolute nutcase.
It seems that Phil and Carol are sticking around Malibu for the foreseeable future. That's a bit strange, since I'm fairly certain I read before the The Last Man on Earth Season 2 began that we'd be seeing much less of the Tucson group this season, but whatever.
Melissa commenting on Phil's beard seemed to indicate that at least she was warming up to his return. And, hey, Phil 2 didn't flat out kill him, so that's progress! Curious to see how Carol will deal with Phil's imprisonment and how long said imprisonment will last.
What did you all think of "Dead Man Walking"? Are you excited to see Phil and Carol reunited with the Tucson crew (who we should maybe now start calling the Malibu crew)?
Sound off with your comments below and remember that you can watch The Last Man on Earth online here at TV Fanatic if you need to catch up on any Phil Miller craziness before The Last Man on Earth Season 2 Episode 4.
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.