Here's a hypothetical for you all:
If you were one of a handful of survivors of a mystery virus that wiped out nearly all of humanity and you saw your long-lost brother running towards you down a beach after three years of thinking him dead would you (a) cry joyously, (b) cry and hug him, or (c) punch him directly in the balls?
If you're Phil Tandy Miller, you go with option (c), apparently.
The Last Man on Earth Season 2 Episode 14 gave us our first taste of the Phil-Mike brotherly dynamic, following Mike's miraculous return and finding the Malibu gang on the beach at the end of The Last Man on Earth Season 2 Episode 13.
It went about as well as one might expect from a chronically insecure and jealous character like Phil.
"Skidmark" (named after Phil's childhood nickname) was one of the best installments of the series since the show returned from its winter hiatus. There were so many funny moments stemming from Mike ribbing Phil mercilessly (SKIDMARK!) and Phil trying to one-up the immediately popular, charming, likable Mike in front of the group.
Phil: Oh come on! Don't play dumb with me, ya dong. She was my friggin' girlfriend!
Mike: Whoa! Hold on a second, are you talking about Christine? I come down from space after everyone in the whole world has died, and you're talking about CHRISTINE?!
This installment picked up right where "Fish in the Dish" left off, mid-ball-punching. The specific cause for the ball-punching was, apparently, Mike having slept with a woman that Phil was in love with, someone Phil insisted he'd called dibs on.
This betrayal, which Mike basically scoffed off as a non-thing, happened right before Mike went up to the space station. So, essentially, Phil's been stewing about this for years.
And knowing Phil, he totally was stewing about it all that time, despite thinking that his brother had probably died in space.
Mike's arrival and subsequent charming the pants off the whole group (not literally... yet, at least) mirrored Phil 2's arrival way back in season 1's "Moved to Tampa." In the same way that Phil 2 showed up and was a better version of Phil (literally, a better Phil Miller), Mike showed up and was a better version of Phil as well (figuratively, as their humor and mannerisms are similar in a typical brotherly way).
This jealousy and annoyance continued to build until finally, Phil uttered "friggin' Mike" at the bonfire – a parallel of basically every damn time Phil 2 did anything impressive during his first few appearances.
Whereas Phil's brand of humor irks the group (particularly the women who are not Carol), they can't get enough of Mike. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that Mike is tall and good-looking, more traditionally attractive than his older brother. Also, Jason Sudeikis singing and playing "Space Oddity" on the guitar – SWOON.
Even Carol couldn't help but get bashful when Mike enthused that it was a pleasure getting to know her, much to Phil's general nervousness.
Phil: Just to be clear... dibs.
Carol: Oh my gosh. I've been dibbed. I've never been dibbed!
This was a very adorable Carol-Phil moment.
Being Phil, he allowed his jealousy to cause him to spiral out of control rather quickly. Once Mike charmed the group by breaking down and weeping during his rendition of "Space Oddity" (again... SWOON), causing them all to embrace him, Phil had clearly had enough and decided to upstage Mike with his own music party.
Alas, Phil's party was less a party and more the entire group being forced to sit around and listen as he awkwardly played a version of "We Didn't Start the Fire" that he'd re-worded and personalized. Oh, and he accompanied the singing with a keytar.
All alone, oh my lord, then you saw my billboard, you came to Tucson 'cause of me, I was Phil now I'm Tandy, met Carol at a camp, Melissa next, oh what a gem, Todd, Gail, Erica, the new Phil, rest in peace.Phil [singing]
Phil's breakdown and railing at Mike (after Mike started distracting the others from Phil's performance by doing a silly little dance) was equal parts sympathetic and straight-up pathetic.
It was clear that a lifetime of being unfavorably compared to Mike had given Phil something of a complex – the organic, very natural rapport between Forte and Sudeikis playing brothers went a long way in contextualizing why Phil is the way he is. He's a brilliant caricature of a beta male, basically.
Of course, being Phil, he went way too far with his takedown of Mike, bringing up obvious sore spots like Mike being made to leave his college after getting busted for plagiarism and Mike leaving to go on a kayaking trip while their grandmother lay dying.
It made everyone feel uncomfortable and caused Phil's plan to win back the group's love from Mike to blow up in his face. You know, usual Phil stuff.
Carol laid into Phil in her lowkey, Carol way and talked some sense into him, convincing him that it was ridiculous to be angry at Mike when they were the only two people on Earth who had any family left alive. You tell him, Carol!
Unfortunately, Mike jumped the gun and shaved half of Phil in the middle of the night in retribution for Phil's way-too-far burn the night before. So... I don't see this sibling rivalry going away anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Gail, Erica, and Melissa each turned down Todd's offer of a four-way relationship – only for Gail and Melissa to each have a change of heart when they spoke to one another and realized they both actually cared about Todd a lot.
Go Todd! His harem of ladies is coming together nicely. His proposal may have seemed crass, but in a world where less than 10 people are still alive, polyamorous relationships do make some kind of sense.
Especially because, as we learned in the last installment, Todd is apparently 100% fertile. Guess the earth is going to repopulated solely with little Toddlets soon (assuming Melissa comes around to the kid issue).
That development also put the kibosh on either Gail or Melissa falling for Mike Miller, which makes me think that he won't be sticking around on the show for very long. Unless Erica falls for him, or he seduces Carol or something (oh gosh, I hope not).
- Carol chiming in with "tomahto" in response to Mike's "tomato/tomahto" HAD to have been a Kristen Schaal adlib.
- Will Forte's earnest performance of that ridiculous song was equal parts adorable and hilarious. As was Jason Sudeikis' dancing.
- I have a bad feeling that Mike's appearance just as Carol and Phil have discovered Phil's sterility is no mere coincidence. I can sort of see Carol convincing Phil that she should get impregnated by Mike (strictly business, no sexy stuff) because it would be as close as she could get to a Phil Miller baby?
- I desperately want to know how long Jason Sudeikis is sticking around but the show has been pretty airtight with casting news. I have no idea where they're going with this Mike Miller storyline. Now that he's here, I can't imagine a convincing storyline where he'd leave and just go off to live in solitude...? Is he going to die? That would be a lot of death in one season (Gordon, Phil 2, now Mike).
- Will Forte is great at visual and body comedy, so the fully half-shaved look was perfect. It takes guts to actually shave an eyebrow off. I loved that gag.
What did you think of "Skidmark"? Check out the latest episodes here at TV Fanatic, where you can watch The Last Man on Earth online anytime!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.