Sunday, April 3, 2016

REVIEW: 'The Last Man on Earth' - Carol Wants a Baby and Phil Tries to Give Her One in 'Fish in the Dish'

FOX's The Last Man on Earth - Episode 2.13 "Fish in the Dish"

Carol is back on the campaign for repopulation with Phil. Todd's juggling act finally puts him over the edge.

Ever since Phil first met Carol, she has had repopulation of the Earth on her mind. She saw her survival of this horrifying disease as a purpose to refill the planet once more with civilization. That was a big reason why Phil and Carol got married in the first place. As the last two people on Earth, it was their job to have a baby. Of course, all of this was later complicated by the introduction of more people in this community. Carol started really valuing friendship and put pregnancy on the back burner a little bit. But it has always been on her mind. She and Phil are now happily married. They want to be with each other. They are constantly having sex. And yet, they still can't get pregnant. Everyone else is having fun with this new world. But Carol is struggling because she can't have the one thing she wants more than anything else.

It's frustrating to Carol because she really wants a baby. One is already coming to this community shortly via Erica. She wasn't even trying to have one. Phil 2's death has really shaken this group of survivors. All of them have been reminded of just how fragile life can really be. They've embraced the playfulness of this new existence. They no longer have to adhere to the rules that were so prominent in the former society. But Carol really wants a baby and a family. She still holds onto those traditional values. It's a very admirable quality actually. Her relationship with Phil has been really strong this season. Both of them have been making each other better people. Carol even cracks a couple of "boom" jokes in this episode. And yet, all of the joking and awkward situations doesn't hide the true darkness brewing under the surface between them.

Carol needs to know who's fault it is for why she's not pregnant already. So of course, she gets a dozen fertility tests for Phil. He's happy to do it for her too because it involves masturbating - a skill he frequently enjoys. Phil has always been characterized as a very sex-obsessed guy. Last season, it's all he wanted to do. It really hindered his character development for a long time because the show was so focused on thwarting his various attempts to have sex with attractive woman. And now, he has found love with Carol and is very happy. He still has plenty of wild antics. But now, they aren't deeply rooted in his desire to have sex. Because he has moved on from that characterization, it's so devastating when he and Carol learn that he has a low sperm count. It's a dark twist for sure. Phil is incapable of giving Carol what she really wants in this world. For a moment, it seems like he's going to lie to her about it too. Fortunately, that only lasts for a brief minute. Phil needs to take the responsibility for this matter. He does it too which is a rewarding moment even though it's very devastating for the couple.

Todd also has to come clean about his recent actions. He has been a little out of control lately by trying to fill the void that Phil 2 left behind. He wants to make sure that all of the women of this community are safe and happy. Sure, he started sleeping with Gail before Phil 2's death. But him dying only solidified Gail's need for Todd in her life. Todd is the reliable and sweet guy of the community. That's not hard to be when the only other option is Phil. But Todd still wants to be nice. So that makes his current predicament so frustrating. He continues to act on these impulses. He even adds to them. Not only has he been having sex with Gail and Melissa multiple times a day, he also kisses Erica when she tells him that she wants him to be the baby's father. Much like Phil, Todd has no idea what to do about this current situation. He doesn't want to stop being with these woman. But all of the lying and cheating is slowly tearing him up on the inside. It's amusing when he escapes to the ocean to get those frustrations out. But telling the truth is the only way for him to really handle this situation. Of course, even that is awkward. He's honest with the entire community but he doesn't want to change anything either. He doesn't want a Big Love situation - even though that's exactly what he wants.

Of course, Todd and Phil's admissions to the group are quickly overshadowed by the sudden appearance of a new human being running up the shore. It's Mike who has miraculously found his way to Malibu already. After working so hard to get back to Earth and his family, Mike has finally reunited with his brother. The season has been building up to this moment for so long. It happens in a very punchline driven way too. The two brothers are running towards each other. The emotion of the moment is then quickly undercut by Phil punching Mike in the groin. Despite all of his difficulties with sperm, Phil still feels confident treating his brother this way. It's a surprising moment that ensures that the sibling relationship really hasn't changed a whole lot since they were kids. But Mike's addition to the main group of survivors is very exciting for the future as well. It has been a long time since a new personality shook up the dynamics of the group. It became a very formulaic twist throughout the first season. But now, some new energy could be a very exciting thing. It should be fun to see how this group will handle the Miller brothers.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Fish in the Dish" was written by Liz Cackowski and directed by Jared Hess.
  • Todd proposes his Big Love solution to his current predicament but the rest of the group really isn't open to it. However, they don't really say anything about it either. It's just an awkward pause where Phil slips in with his news and then Mike shows up.
  • Also, that was a very quick journey across the country for Mike. It doesn't seem like a lot of time has passed in the show's continuity. Erica is still telling the other survivors what Phil 2 told her before he died. Plus, Mike would have had to go to Tucson, find the old cul-de-sac, find the clue pointing to Malibu, and then travel and find the group on the beach. It's great that Mike will have multiple episodes interacting with the rest of the main group. But it is a little rushed too.
  • Carol turns a room of the house into a masturbating room for Phil. It's filled with a number of great visuals. But the running gag about Carol's illustrations serving as better pornography because they feature empowered and strong woman was pretty fantastic. The show really used that to great effect. Hopefully, that room doesn't just go away now.
  • Carol's pronunciation of "groin" was perhaps an easy joke but it was still very amusing to hear. 
  • Phil's sperm count is so low that Todd can have sex multiple times in the day and still have a higher count than Phil. That reveal certainly gave a lot of purpose to Todd's current predicament with the ladies as well.
  • Phil: "Then don't come clean." Todd: "No, then I'd be the biggest bastard on Earth." Phil: "Todd, stop it. That title is reserved for Erica's baby."