Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


'The Last Man on Earth' premiere recap: 'Alive in Tucson' and 'The Elephant in the Room'

Phil Miller is the sole survivor after a virus wipes out civilization—or so he thinks.

Posted on


The Last Man on Earth

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Will Forte

Meet Phil Miller (Will Forte), the last man on earth. He has a scraggly beard and probably hasn’t showered in months, because he can. He squirts Cheez Wiz into his $10,000 glass of wine, because he can. He takes million-dollar pieces of art from museums, because he can. No one’s around to enforce rules—the rules that say stealing expensive art and combining fake cheese with fancy alcohol are no-nos—so why shouldn’t he do whatever the hell he wants?

“How does he know no one—no one—is around?” you might ask. Well, because he spent two years traveling the country on the hunt for humans and found nothing. Although we only see a tiny bit of this journey around the U.S., it’s obvious this wasn’t the kind of road trip romanticized in country songs and Crossroads: America is a wasteland, emptied out by an unspecified virus that apparently wiped out most of humankind. Except for Phil.

We meet him two years after the virus, a title card says. Before, he was a thirtysomething temp. Before, he had a brother and mother and father—something revealed when he hangs up a photograph of his family in the Tucson mansion he decides to squat in after giving up on his tiny apartment. And, perhaps most notably, before, he had standards to live up to. Standards like picking up trash and waiting until the evening to drink beer. Not anymore.

The first half-hour episode is a look into Phil’s current life, which mostly consists of one-sided talks with God and experiments involving tennis balls and fast cars and fire that you’d expect to see coming from a reckless teenage boy, not a grown man. In any other situation, his behavior would be worrisome. But in the context, it’s easy to get used to his day-to-day-life because it’s difficult to argue against it. So what if he turns his diving board into a toilet and poops into the pool? It’s not like anyone’s planning on swimming in it.

But then he finally finds another human, and it happens to be one who does have arguments against breaking all the rules—even seemingly made-up grammatical ones. He makes this life-changing—and in his case, life-saving—discovery right as he’s about to drive his car into a rock to end his life: Phil notices smoke in the distance as he’s nearing the rock and immediately slams on his brakes, ultimately landing his car mere inches away from the Death Rock. After finding his way to the smoke, we’re treated to a dream-like scene involving Phil singing the Ghostbusters theme to a glamorous woman (Alexandra Daddario) who cradles his head in her lap before kissing him. Then he wakes up and finds Carol giving him mouth to mouth.

NEXT: Phil meets the last woman on earth.