Surprise, surprise, this episode begins with Phil and Carol not getting along. Imagine that.
In the beginning, the Phil-Carol relationship was amusing because of how mismatched they were—she the rule followerer; he the rule breaker. And then the show kept reminding us over and over how incompatible they are. An odd couple’s oddness can only entertain for so long, and Phil and Carol’s hit that breaking point episodes ago.
Phil’s never been a fan of their relationship, but now he’s really, really tired of it. He ends up begging God for a do-over, and right as he finishes his plea, two women show up. Here’s that do-over he wanted.
The two women are named Gale (Mary Steenburgen) and Erica (Cleopatra Coleman), and they’re pumped to see another human—and even more pumped that it’s a man. They are giggly and very attractive, and Phil sees this as a chance to cut ties with his other self. So he lies and says he’s the only other person there. Because that’s not going to come back and bite him in the ass like, oh, every other lie he’s told.
Phil goes back to Gale and Erica’s place to celebrate with some champagne—”Oprah-quality,” as Gale comments—and there, his two new friends notice his wedding ring and ask about it. He lies, again, and says his wife is dead. Then he starts to feel a little guilt and runs away before he can say anything else—but not before Gale and Erica invite him to come back over dinner, an offer the constantly horny Phil can’t resist.
First though, he lies to Carol and tells her he’s going camping. Melissa thinks it’s weird when Carol explains where he is later while they’re eating dinner, but Carol thinks his absence is completely acceptable. He’s gotta find his smile, as Carol would say.
And finding his smile, he is: Gale and Erica are also pretty starved for sex, it seems. They moan when they eat; they are aggressively flirty. Everything’s going well at dinner until Phil reveals what he thought when he saw them get out of their car for the first time. “Talk about a bucket list,” he starts, “Hot older lady, black girl.” They immediately take offense, and Phil’s left trying to pick up the pieces—and his move is to tell even more lies.
“She passed away many moons ago,” he says of his late wife, Carol. “She died a long, protracted death. I nursed her through it.” Now they’re back on his side—because telling a sob story is all you have to do to make up for offending someone, apparently—and they all hop in the car to go skinny-dipping at the hot springs. Phil’s fantasies are coming true! Which really just means Phil’s life is about to come crashing down.
NEXT: Phil’s life comes crashing down.
While they’re on the way to the hot springs, Carol and co. start talking about Phil. Melissa’s annoyed by how much Todd likes him, but Todd doesn’t give up: He suggests they do something nice for Phil, like filling the entire house with balloons. Carol, as we know from their wedding, is all about balloons, so she’s game. Melissa is not, but she goes along for the ride to the party store anyway.
And that’s when they see another car. Both cars stop, everyone—but Phil—gets out, hugs, and expresses the now-familiar “Oh, wow, there are other humans!” shock. Phil though is hiding in the car until Erica and Gale out him. Finally, Phil has to face his lies. But, of course, he doesn’t.
“I had this awesome idea for a prank,” he explains. He doesn’t give up on that excuse even when it’s clear nobody believes him. He even pretends that there is another Carol he was married to and who died. Phil’s driving me crazy at this point, but hey, at least the guy’s got commitment.
Everyone’s mad at him, and he tries to win them back by acting like everything’s normal the next morning. They just give him the silent treatment though, and eventually, he dresses up as Mike Miller—his “long-lost brother”—to try to trick them into talking to him again. It’s a fairly good costume given the circumstances, but no one buys it.
Since no one likes him at the moment, he’s holing up with the balls at the bar. There, he talks to himself about how sad it is that everyone’s mad. Then he realizes what we all knew, oh, seven episodes ago: He’s a liar.
This epiphany motivates him to go admit to everyone all the lies he’s told, which he does. “I’d rather be an honest person with no friends than live one more day as a liar,” he tells his stone-faced crowd. “So smell you never.”
“Smell you never” turns out to be inaccurate though: He smells (okay, sees) Carol quite soon after his confession when she finds him at the bar and proposes a divorce. Finally. Finally! They sign the papers, they kiss, and they decide to be friends. Problem (at long last) solved.
- Carol moves all Phil’s dirty magazines and gives him a breast exam pamphlet to jack off to. He scoff, but let’s be real: He probably did.
- Phil tries to talk to Carol after the whole confrontation, and she agrees to—but then just does her best impression of a ghost, which isn’t very ghost-like but is hilarious nonetheless.
- Also hilarious: Carol’s frequent use of the word “hussies.”
- Sometimes it feels like the virus wiped out everyone when Phil was a preteen and that’s why he acts the way he does, because he never had a normal growing up period. For example, he tries to get everyone to listen to him by screaming—just screaming—for seconds straight. But, nope, Phil was a grown-ass man by the time everyone disappeared.
- Phil’s best lie came out during his confession: He told Todd he co-wrote “Fields of Gold.” You wish, Phil. You wish.