Hear those crickets? Sure, they’re a plot device, but they also represent the audience reaction to this week’s lackluster Last Man episode. In theory, following up a cheese-centric episode with a bacon-themed one should have made for a savory evening, but somehow, Phil’s foray into pork products left a bad taste in my mouth.
Last night’s episode opened with yet another proclamation from Phil that he can prove he cares about his friends without pointing a gun at their face. And when Carol hears crickets after her husband’s impassioned speech, she dons her crafty chef hat — it seems the Malibu bungalow has run out of viable sources of protein, and she’s quick to whip up a cricket casserole for her companions. (I’m pretty upset that we were deprived of a slapstick-y scene showing Carol hunting the buggers down.) Of course, this delicacy tastes about as good as it sounds, which is to say terrible. Seriously, raisinballs probably go down easier; at least they don’t run the risk of staying alive.
Meanwhile, Phil figures out what Todd has been hiding in that mystery basement: bacon. See, this underground fortress of solitude had some sort of solar-power hookup, which allowed a freezer to stay in service for, I guess, the past ten-odd years, and whatever doomsday prepper previously owned it had stocked the thing entirely with prepackaged bacon. Conveniently enough, the space has a working stove top, too, so Todd’s been sneaking down there for solo meals in weeks past. Secret bacon, it seems, is the reason he was acting strange and raising Melissa’s suspicions. Sure, bacon’s great — but would sweet Todd really alienate his friends for the sake of eating the stuff alone?
While Todd and Phil feast on their contraband in silence, the ladies of the household keep busy by double-checking expiration dates on canned goods. They’re so eager to avoid cricket casserole that they’d rather crack open cans two years past their prime. This seems like a safe enough plan — until Melissa cuts her finger open on one sharp edge. Yikes. When was her last tetanus shot?
For reasons not made even remotely clear, Gail the lush volunteers to stitch up Melissa’s bloody appendage. Melissa is concerned about her surgeon’s boozy breath at first, but takes some shots herself to forget, and Dr. Gail stitches up the digit with all the dexterity of a middle-school home-ec student. Elsewhere in Girl World, Carol tries to convince Erica that she should be mad at EvPhil, not her, for the dissolution of their relationship, and even goes as far as changing up her flashy clothing style in order to avoid attention from her ex. Come on, Carol — you of all people should know better than to change up your style for a man, even if it is an attempt to avoid him.
And over on the guys’ side, Phil decides to liberate Todd from his animal-by-product prison. He may have counted 42 packages of bacon at the top of the episode, but by the time Phil decides they should share the meat with the group, he’s down to three measly packages. Todd wants all the remaining bacon for himself, which is not at all a smart decision, and Phil double-crosses him, devising a nonsensical plan to make his friend look like some kind of hero. Phil wraps the breakfast meat in a bow and signs Todd’s name on the package in curly script. It’s not too clear to me why Phil feels the need to take the fall for this — even after Todd admits that he hid his vice from the woman he loves — but lying is simply Phil’s default mode. And just as his friends discover the remaining bacon, the empty packages he and Todd consumed wash up on shore. Seriously, who would ever think that the way to get rid of garbage was to load it onto a Jet Ski? Or was the evidence washing up all part of Phil’s bonkers plan?
Either way, Todd tries to confess that it’s exactly what it looks like, that the fat guy ate the bacon — but Phil tries to take the blame for his estranged friend. If this was some sick plan for Phil to bond with Todd, I suppose it worked, because this installment ends with both men locked in stocks side by side. Yep, that’s right: This season, we took two steps forward and two steps back, and we’re exactly where we were a couple weeks ago. I was excited about the prospect of our characters’ world expanding, but Phil and Carol’s road trip was short-lived, and it seems Jason Sudeikis will remain lost and forgotten in space a while longer. Five episodes into its sophomore season, you’d expect Last Man would have mined at least a little bit of new territory by now. Why bother bringing home the bacon when it’s time for a new home?