Baby drama! Phil 2 in the stock! Phil as the hero! So much happened in "Baby Steps," and much of it was great. I'd go so far as to say that this is one of the best episodes of the season so far. Definitely the best since Carol and Phil rejoined the group in Malibu.
The Last Man on Earth Season 2 Episode 7 dealt directly with the fallout of Erica's shocking baby announcement. It led to some really fantastic character interplay and more than one emotionally raw moment. It was quite deep for such a typically-goofy show.
Phil 2 continued to be an aggressive jerk, though he was clearly suffering after Gail went all Mama Bear and banned him from coming near Erica or communicating with her.
I adored Gail this week. She occasionally gets on my nerves, but watching her snap into protective mode with Erica was really wonderful. It's easy to forget that those two were on the road with just one another for a decent chunk of time before they found Phil and the rest of the community. It was especially great because she did all of her protectiveness in that saccharine super Southern way.
Phil 2's suffering manifested in excessive drinking. Seriously, the guy drank his weight in beer over the course of that day – and he isn't exactly a lightweight!
Even though it was rather satisfying to see Phil 2 tumble from his pedestal as Phil rose from the ashes (so to speak), it was hard not to feel for the guy. He sat in that house, building tiny wooden baby furniture, clearly trying to make amends the only way he knew how – by being active and doing things.
Phil attempted to throw the guy a bone by approaching drunk Phil 2 and insisting that Phil 2 getting in the stocks was the only way to remedy the situation, the only way to have the group begin to forgive him.
Phil 2 resoundingly refused, saying that his biggest regret was saving Phil last season. He also told Phil that everyone's life got worse the day they met Phil. Seriously harsh and uncalled for, Phil 2.
Despite Phil 2's asshat behavior, Phil refused to believe that Phil 2 really meant what he was saying. He singlehandedly saved Phil 2's life, which I really hope is addressed by the others in the next episode. The entire scene, particularly Phil having a real heart-to-heart with unconscious Phil 2 as he dragged the other man back to shore on a surfboard, was amazing.
Phil: That friggin' dong.
Carol: Well, that's the dong that's going to get you back into this community. You should be kissing that dong.
Phil: Why should I be kissing that dong?! I should be friggin' punching that dong.
Obviously, Phil is getting used to doing good things for their own sake, as opposed to doing good things in a transactional way (in exchange for appreciation or forgiveness), so that sort of acknowledgment isn't really necessary for him. But I want him to have that acknowledgement!
Other wonderful moments from the Phil/Phil 2 plot: Phil completely botching the plot to "When A Man Loves A Woman" when he is trying to explain how Phil 2 is Meg Ryan to his ball crew, and Phil's speech to himself in the swimming pool, as he's attempting to talk himself out of feeling sorry for Phil 2.
Phil: Look at this guy. Friggin' dip. How does it feel to be yesterday's news, huh? And I'm the hot topic. "This just in: Phil's worse than Tandy. Now over to the weather. Grey skies for that dong. Clear skies in Tandyville. Back to you, Bob. Thanks, Tabitha. In local news, no one cares what's in your friggin' house, ya jagweed." What's that in your house, ya friggin' jagweed?
Meanwhile, there were a few additional subplots, each of varying interest.
Carol's struggle to accept Erica's pregnancy (and the official revelation of her own difficulties conceiving) was genuinely moving. The entire progression throughout "Baby Steps" really made you feel for Carol. First, she is bitter and tries to disguise her bitterness by foisting stacks of handmade baby clothing on Erica. Carol has clearly realized that something is wrong, given that she and Phil have actively been trying to conceive for months while Erica and Phil 2 conceived accidentally.
Elsewhere on the baby front, Phil accidentally pulled a Phil, opening his big mouth and revealing his baby-making almost-liaison with Melissa back in season 1 to an unsuspected Todd. This led Todd to confront Melissa about her keeping that secret from him, and her apparent sudden 180 on the kid issue.
Don't shoot!! Sorry, I thought you were... Never mind.Todd [to Melissa]
Melissa, in turn, threw the blame back at Todd, mentioning that he'd kept a secret (a friggin' bacon house secret) from her, too. They both came to the realization that they can't trust one another, and the episode ended with the two on a decidedly bad note: Todd sleeping on the couch and Melissa looking sadly at the empty space where Todd would normally be in bed. Sad! But I feel very sure this will resolve amicably, so I'm not into expending that much energy on it.
Can I just say, though? January Jones looked incredible in that all white outfit with the sunglasses, shooting the gun! Such a fashionista for the post-apocalyptic world.
Oh, and Gail is busy cuddling Dummy Gordon when she's not dispensing advice and mother-henning.
- It was a relatively small moment, but I loved the exchange of looks between Phil and Carol when they were both so excited to hear Gail say that Phil 2 was "almost worse than" him. They are adorable.
- Yorba Linda is such a Carol name for a baby. Oh, Carol.
- Phil repeatedly punching himself in the eye to maintain the sympathy from the group was so Phil. As far as he's come, he's still always ready to pull stunts like that.
- Are we just not going to talk about how Gail/Mary Steenburgen is clearly post-menopausal and cannot have children at all? Why does Carol keep pushing this on Gail?!
- The minor joke about Phil berating Todd for suggesting he get Gail scoop chips and then Gail later wanting the scoops (and calling them her favorite) was so small but really funny. The pained way that Phil said "Scoops, huh? Ya like scoops?" was friggin' perfect.
- Boris Kodjoe is... not very good at playing drunk.
Thoughts on "Baby Steps"? Do you agree that this episode was the best since we rejoined the Malibu-formerly-Tucson Crew? Sound off by commenting below and watch The Last Man on Earth online here at TV Fanatic!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.