Monday, September 13, 2021

REVIEW: 'Y: The Last Man' - The Apocalypse Wipes Out Nearly Everyone with the Y Chromosome in 'The Day Before'

FX on Hulu's Y: The Last Man - Episode 1.01 "The Day Before"

On the eve of the worst crisis in human history, Congresswoman Jennifer Brown clashes with the President. Her children Yorick and Hero reach an emotional crossroads. None of them know their lives are about to change forever.

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the series premiere of FX on Hulu's Y: The Last Man.

"The Day Before" was written by Eliza Clark and directed by Louise Friedberg

The apocalypse looms over this premiere. It's the first depiction of this world. The initial moments sees Yorick and his pet monkey scavenging the desolate streets covered in destruction three weeks after the apocalyptic event. It's an incredibly perilous world. One where Yorick dives to save the monkey from a falling helicopter. The majority of this premiere is building up to this moment though. The pending dread is a constant reminder through onscreen texts of "the day before" and "the morning of." However, this premiere also sees the necessity of setting up what this world was for these characters. It all changes in the final moment. The season will depict the aftermath of this apocalypse. As such, this episode will stand out as unique in the grand scheme of things. It's set in the before times. It's meaningful because it showcases the humanity of these people before the apocalypse forces them to each become something new. Yorick is ready to propose to his girlfriend, Beth. He is certain about their relationship even though he's aimless elsewhere. She fears the resentment that could grow if they aren't certain in their ambitions in life before taking this next step. It's messy. They don't really communicate well. He's still searching for her afterwards though. He is driven in that key desire. He's unique because he appears to be the only man who survives this apocalypse. Of course, the truth is much more complicated than that. The true commonality amongst the dead is having the Y chromosome. That specific part of the gene isn't truly indicative of gender. It's a much more nuanced concept. One where the show has promised to delve into deeply. Right now though, it just wants the searing image of all the most powerful men in the world dying at the same time. That's illustrated through the political landscape. The President of the United States is referred to as the most powerful person in the world. It's historically a male-dominated profession. Serious female candidates have ran for the office. Many of them have high-ranking positions in the government. The glass ceiling has yet to be broken in the top job though. A sexist barrier still exists around that position. Congresswoman Jennifer Brown even calls the President a misogynist on television. That's how her comments are received. It's not what she actually said. She was more sensitive with the insinuation while still provoking the conversation in that direction. She slyly navigates this world despite the personal turmoil in her life. She stands firm and resolute in public. In private, her husband wants a divorce and her children can't get their lives together. They need her to bail them out. The country may need her to do the same. She remains strong even in the face of this crisis. It's still traumatizing for everyone involved. She offers some guidance. It surely won't be enough. Answers may not be forthcoming to explain why this happened either. Society still has to exist for those who survive though. They are still alive. Yorick is as well. That makes him special and unique. He suddenly has purpose. Once more, it's based entirely on his genetic makeup for some reason. He isn't special in some other way. He can't explain it either. He doesn't even know this is all happening until he wakes up to a transformed world. The warning signs were present. The audience can pick up on them. Various animals start dying off first. The ecosystem is reacting in strange and alarming ways. It's unnerving. It doesn't reveal the true scope of what's coming to those who see these animal deaths. No one could prepare or address this threat before it happened. Now, everyone will be required to respond. It means Hero can move forward in life not being seen as a killer. She accidentally kills her paramedic partner she is having an affair with. She is in shock for a long time as a result of her actions. She won't have to deal with any of the consequences though because of this global loss of life. That moment still reveals who she is. It carries personal trauma into what life has next for her. The world before this apocalypse can't be forgotten. Plenty of people have secrets that motive their actions - like the agent who was brought to the President for a mission that may now be gone completely. Plenty of people survive who lived through what societal expectations are suppose to be. They can offer change. That won't inform the immediate aftermath. It's just trying to survive now. That will be driven by trying to take back what was lost. A new world still awaits them all. It won't be the same. That will be for better and worse for all of them no matter what.