The Last Man on Earth Recap: When a Phil Loves a Phil

Photo: Jennifer Clasen/FOX
The Last Man on Earth
Episode Title
Baby Steps
Editor’s Rating

Remember that cheesy ’90s Meg Ryan movie When a Man Loves a Woman? Neither does Phil. The plot summary he delivers to his ball buddies — which seemed heavily influenced by When Harry Met Sally —  serves as a tidy allegory for this week's inter-Phil conflict, even if it is a bit hard to follow.

Tonight's episode picked up right where last week's Last Man left off, with everyone reeling in the wake of Erica's surprise-pregnancy announcement and EvPhil's not-so-surprising declaration of love for Carol. Ever the faithful wife, she declines his advances, unable to mask her disgust. And Erica seems uninterested in co-parenting — with her baby daddy, anyway. “The whole group is going to be the father,” Gail tells him, speaking for her friend in distress. Finally, it seems, all of Malibu agrees with EvPhil's archenemy.

The first pregnancy of post-virus society is a huge deal, but Erica seems reluctant to lead the repopulation charge. Perhaps this is because she didn't plan her pregnancy; perhaps she doesn't have strong maternal instincts. Maybe it's because her character lacks motivation or any defining traits whatsoever. Who can say! We do know for sure, though, that Carol is eager to repopulate, and we're just as disappointed as she is that her baby won't be the first. In the meantime, she requests Erica save the names Yorbelinda and Bezequiel for her and Phil's progeny, and shows off the commemorative crafts she's prepared for the little one's (and his or her bowling-ball-size head's) arrival.

Ironically enough, EvPhil proves to be just as invested in babies as the onetime lover who scorned him. While EvPhil refuses to DTC DDT, he devises a repentance strategy of his own: admiring his beautifully carpentered bassinet and rocking horse. This guy sure doesn't waste any time, does he? After Phil spends an afternoon slurping from his margarita pool while inside a bigger pool, he drunkenly narrates his reaction to this depressing tableau. Will Forte's swift flipping of Phil's pitiful eye patch, coupled with forlorn bursts of music, really sells the scene.

Further underscoring that Malibu isn't big enough for both Phils, the Tandyman begins moving on up in the hierarchy. Gail, who is still boozing through breakfast and snuggling up to her Will Ferrell dummy, sends Phil out to buy her tortilla chips, which seems to be some sort of precious friendship proposal. And the errand run yields more great sight gags, like Todd and Phil driving their pickup truck through Price Cost's desolate aisles. The boys bond over their errand when Todd admits he doesn't understand why Melissa doesn't want kids, or why she's still mad about that whole bacon thing.

Speaking of sight gags, this leads us to tonight's finest: January Jones's Melissa tossing up smartphones and shooting them midair, a cheeky callback to Betty Draper with her BB gun. Her gunfire helps to escalate tension with Todd, who's just discovered that his semi-girlfriend once considered conception with his best friend. Yikes. 

And speaking of escalating tension, tonight's Phil-on-Phil action comes to a head after EvPhil drinks his feelings and tells Phil that his biggest regret is not letting him die up on that billboard last season. “Everybody's life got worse the day they met you,” he sneers, taking another swig and inexplicably attempting to shove his wooden bassinet in a trash can despite the fact that a depopulated Malibu has no standardized waste management to speak of.

For anyone else, EvPhil's cruel words would cut deep, but Phil remains determined to repair his relationship with this guy who was never his friend in the first place. So when EvPhil drinks himself deeper and washes up on the shore, unconscious, in the middle of the night, Phil is eager to rescue him. After some slapstick surfboard antics, Phil deposits this slightly softened baddie into the stocks. “Tandy!” EvPhil roars, and we can hear that his anger has done anything but dissipate.

The episode wraps with a “Next week …” teaser featuring a rankled, shackled Phil, a “surprise you cannot miss,” and — what's that? Did you blink? If so, you might have missed a half-second shot of Jason Sudeikis. We're STILL waiting for Phil's brother to rematerialize, but if we'd been holding our breath, we'd be deader than Nancy the Worm by now.