Phil Miller is pretty much the most compliant prisoner ever! Or at least he's certain that if he appears that way for long enough, he'll wind up back in the good graces of the Tucson(/Malibu) crew.
Honestly, at this point, I'm not quite sure why Phil is bending over backwards for these people. They're all kind of terrible.
Regardless, The Last Man on Earth Season 2 Episode 4 is all about Phil's struggle to get back on the group's collective good side. It was a pretty good episode! Not the best, but definitely amusing.
After the extreme measures he took to force his apologies on the group in The Last Man on Earth Season 2 Episode 3, Phil subjects himself (or rather, actively volunteers for) punishment after punishment, hoping that by degrading himself and putting himself through extreme discomfort he would prove to the group that he was really, truly, sincerely sorry for his past actions.
Basically, he adopts the self-flagellation form of redemption.
Phil begins the episode still locked in that handy stockade that dearly departed Gordon just so happened to have on his premises (seriously, what a weirdo that Gordon was!)
While Phil is locked up there, Phil 2 proceeds to act like a total psychopath and threaten Phil with a gun. Is it weird that I find picture-perfect Phil 2 to be miles less likeable than original recipe Phil?
Carol, ever the doting and supportive spouse, refuses to abandon Phil's cause. Again, their relationship is fantastic and they have some great small moments in "C to the T" (notably, Phil taking Carol for a thirty second walk to the edge of his perimeter, and Carol describing Phil's reenactment of the fire incident). Phil still doesn't really deserve Carol (he's making progress, though!), but it's hard not to root for them.
When Phil 2 suggests a week in solitary, Phil ups the ante by volunteering to relinquish rights to his own name again and go by Tandy, and by requesting five weeks in solitary instead of one.
This leads to a really great character-building moment for Phil, where he confesses to Carol that he's ready to take responsibility for his actions and prove that he is willing to accept the consequences.
Carol: But they were gonna let you out in one week! Why are you making it harder on yourself?
Phil: I've always taken the easy way out and I don't want to do that anymore. I did the crime. Gonna do that time. Y'know, C to the T.
It's clear to see how proud Carol is of him when he says that.
Unfortunately, the lure of delicious cheese from the communal cow proves too much for poor Phil, and he busts out of solitary to literally inhale the cheese.
How can you even blame him? Watching Carol eat that cheese made it impossible not to immediately go out and find some cheese to eat. She was eating the cheese like she was in a cheese commercial!
Will Forte, as mentioned before, is a pro at physical comedy. The show really allows Forte to go all out with his stunts as Phil Miller. Phil inhaling that cheese while simultaneously trying to talk himself out of it was hilarious. Git back in your hole!!
What are you doing, Tandy? You care about these people. You're not gonna risk your relationship with them over some INSANELY delicious cheese! [inhales cheese; weeps] I'm not strong enough. No! You're better than this. Their friendship is worth way more than this cheese. Get back in your hole.Phil [to himself]
The Cheese Incident leads the group to set Phil up with a shock collar, relegating him to exist only within the perimeter that they allow the cow. He manages to (barely) deal with that, but his uncontrollable urge to talk leads to his self-inflicted citronella-spraying bark collar. Oh, Phil...
Luckily, all of these heaped-upon punishments set Phil up for a legitimately heroic (and surprising!) moment of redemption. When a small fire breaks out, Phil braves the shocks from his collar and the spritzes of citronella to put out the fire.
The expected outcome, after his hero moment, is naturally for Phil to announce his heroism to the whole group (particularly after his whole "why is nobody acknowledging my suffering" complaints to Carol earlier). So it was a pleasant surprise for him to not do that at all. That, especially paired with his prior self-sacrifices for Carol, is a clear indication that Phil has actually changed for the better.
Tandy saw the fire. Oh, and he called out. But everyone was asleep! What's he gonna do?? What's he gonna do?? Oh, he's gonna break out of the shed, oh he broke out of the shed and he ran through the shock zone-- OW! And then he got water from the pool and then he went back and forth and back and forth. And he got shocked again and again and again and again, until the fire was out. And then he collapsed on the hillside, depleted. Then after saving all our lives, he got back in his shed, like the good prisoner that he is. And I think I'm right in saying Tandy did his time.Carol
Meanwhile, a very minor subplot deals with Todd's increasingly strange behavior.
Throughout The Last Man on Earth Season 2, we've seen Todd develop quite a temper. He seems pretty emotionally unstable every time he's pissed off at "Tandy" (or when he was mourning Gordon). Melissa has repeatedly needed to rein Todd in, and most recently, she notes to Carol that Todd has been acting oddly – he's been cold and distant towards her.
Melissa's remark about Todd is followed by Todd sneaking out in the middle of the night and nearly starting a fire with the tiki torch on his way out. It's heavily implied (all but confirmed) that Todd started the fire that Phil put out. On top of that, "C to the T" ends with a shot of Todd sneaking out and going to another random house where he announces that "daddy's home."
First of all: ew. Second of all: what's Todd's deal? I have no idea what could be going on there, but I'm sure Phil will uncover it, by hook or by crook.
- Phil's voluminous and frequent "heartfelt comments" are so very over-the-top and cringe worthy. Perfectly Phil, basically. He's just trying so damn hard to win them over!
- Everything about the charades scene, when Phil is trying to convey that he wants to take the spray collar off, is just amazing. Melissa only guessing ugly-themed movies to insult Phil's looks, everyone repeatedly guessing The X-Factor for no discernible reason... the whole thing is just hilarious.
- So... is that it for Phil's astronaut brother Mike, then? I'm still convinced that he'll make his way back down to earth, but I guess we won't be seeing him again until that happens (probably the season finale?).
What were your thoughts on "C to the T"? Did Phil redeem himself in your eyes? Watch The Last Man on Earth online to catch up on anything you might've missed and remember to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.