Sunday, April 24, 2016

REVIEW: 'The Last Man on Earth' - Carol Makes a Significant Change in Her Pursuit for a Baby in 'Falling Slowly'

FOX's The Last Man on Earth - Episode 2.16 "Falling Slowly"

Todd has a lot to think about when Phil and Carol ask a major favor of him. Gail's wine consumption has become an issue.

It was only a few episodes ago when Phil and Carol learned that Phil was sterile and that's why they haven't been able to make a baby. It was a very devastating reveal. Phil has really grown a lot since his sexual antics of the first season. And yet, he still finds himself being punished for his past. Since that reveal happened though, the show has been very distracted by the reunion between Phil and Mike. Phil couldn't dwell on the sadness of his situation with Carol because his brother had returned and complicated his life. The animosity between the two siblings was a great change of energy. And yet, it wasn't sustainable for a prolonged period of time. It was fun watching the two duke it out in a prank war. But now, it's even more enjoyable to see the two acting like brothers who get along. That shift also returns the focus to Carol's desire to have a baby.

"Falling Slowly" is another episode filled with sexual antics and awkward tension between the characters as Carol searches for another sperm donor. Todd has really been stepping up his game lately. Like Phil says, he's on a roll with the ladies right now. He has been exuding confidence without compromising his sweet and nice nature. Everyone wants to be with him. Gail and Melissa are still exploring how this new arrangement works. But it's not awkward or complicated at all. He simply wants to be there for all of his friends in this community in whatever way he can. That's why Carol wants him to impregnate her. She sees that as the only way she can get pregnant. It's a messy situation because she asks Todd without consulting Phil first - though that only creates issues later on.

Phil wants to have a baby just as much as Carol does. Sure, he's not constantly dreaming and worrying about it. But he's still supportive of Carol in this regard because he truly does love her. It's weird that he has never actually said those words to her yet. That basically sets it up happening in the most inappropriate moment possible. But that's a plot point for later on in the episode. He goes back and forth on whether or not Carol should do this. He doesn't want to lose her and the love they have. That bond is truly genuine and has meant so much to him. She wasn't his ideal woman when she first came into his life. But now, she's the woman he truly deserves because she has helped make him a much better person. They've changed and evolved since that first meeting. They genuinely care about each other now. And yet, that bond can't produce a child. So the two have to look elsewhere to fulfill that requirement.

And Carol being Carol needs to get divorced from Phil and married to Todd before this exchange of fluids takes place. It's exactly the farcical thing Carol would want to do in this situation. She still holds so much respect and reverence for the institution of marriage - even though this is technically her third wedding. It's truly impressive. She goes over-the-top in a completely unnecessary way. But the emotions at the center of this wedding are still the main focus of the event. Phil is happy to serve as the minister. He has a whole routine planned out. But his feelings for Carol still come out. This is his wife that he is giving away to another man. It should be a conflicting time for him. He doesn't want to lose her. He knows that's a serious concern too because of how much better the rest of the men in this community are compared to him. In the end, he ultimately makes a decision that could upend the new family dynamics he has spent all season rebuilding.

Halfway through the wedding Phil decides to change plans and asks Mike to be the sperm donor. It's a moment that comes solely because the two are getting along so well right now. It's the polar opposite of what they were doing over the past two weeks. Frankly, it's freaking everyone else out a lot. Plus, it feels like Phil is neglecting his friendship with Todd in order to be with Mike. That hurts. Todd is disappointed that he can't do this selfless thing for Phil and Carol. He's just cast aside so easily. After everything he has done for them including shaving half of his face off, it feels like a slap in the face. Replacing Todd with Mike doesn't make the situation itself any better. Phil's jealous feelings still boil up to the point of him needing to control everything that happens between the two. It's an amusing set up for an episode. Everything about this experience is so awkward. But Mike and Carol form a connection rather easily and Phil needs to make sure that she doesn't decide to be with Mike instead of him.

Again, it is all building to the shocking moment where Phil blurts out to Carol that he's in love with her while Mike is trying to give her his sperm. Phil did his best to take away all the personal flourishes of sex in this arrangement. But he still got caught up in the moment and was really jealous. And in the end, he didn't need to be. Sure, him saying his true feelings ultimately destroys this moment. But it's still very sweet because Carol loves him as well. Plus, it sets up a fantastic final reveal that Carol is pregnant and it's Phil's baby. Yes, it could seem like a massive misdirect on the show's part to say Phil's sterile only to reveal otherwise here. But that does ruin that sense of wonder and celebration the reveal has at the end of this episode. It's such a happy occasion for Carol. She finally has what she has always wanted. She's pregnant and will soon start a family with Phil. It's also a confidence boost for Phil as he realizes he isn't shooting blanks like he previously thought. Sure, it takes Mike pointing out the logistics of the situation for Phil to get what's happened. But it's still a fantastic moment to end on. Phil didn't need anyone else to put a baby in Carol. He was able to do it by himself. Now, he just needs to find a way to fix his broken relationship with Todd in order to truly be as happy as he can possibly be.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Falling Slowly" was written by David Noel & John Solomon and directed by David Noel.
  • Phil and Mike's new brotherly love is annoying to the rest of the community because all they want to do is sing "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once over and over again. But it's still so amusing to watch them keep doing it.
  • Gail misses out on Carol's happy news because she's already enjoying her wine for the day. But that also comes with the surprising reveal of a drone hovering over the house. Gail sees it and isn't sure how to react. It seems the show may be setting up a new survivor twist for the end of the season. The group is still getting used to Mike being around but this change could be important too.
  • Even though Phil and Mike are friends again, Phil is still walking around with the hair cut that Mike gave him. It's likely to continue to show how much he loves this style and wanted to do it himself.
  • Todd was more than willing to shave half the hair off of his face to show his support for Phil. But now that the friendship is broken a little, he shaves the rest of it off to prove he is his own person.
  • Carol initially doesn't think she's pregnant. She believes she just took an ovulation test. That mess-up doesn't seem like something Carol would do. It just adds to the surprise of the moment.
  • Todd on marrying Carol: "And doing so in the presence of my two lovers makes it even more special."
  • Phil to Todd's dancing: "I'm sensing a little anger in your moves."
  • Phil: "You're on a picnic, Mike! It's like you've never had sex before!"
  • Erica: "So how was the picnic last night?" Mike: "Well, it was a very crowded park and we had a bit of a looky-loo situation."