By now, we’re all well aware that Tandy has some jerky tendencies — we might even be too aware. But there’s a new villain in town: Phil.
Last week, Phil succeeded in turning himself into the resident jerk by declaring his love for Carol (in front of Tandy and everyone else) and asking her to run away with him…right before Erica revealed that she is pregnant with Phil’s baby. “That did not go well for you,” Tandy tells Phil in the truest statement he’s ever spoken. It certainly did not, and things are going to continue not going well for Phil.
That’s partly because Gail has assumed the role of Erica’s overprotective friend and bluntly told Phil that he’s not the father of this baby; the whole group is. She repeatedly voices her disgust with Phil and even says he’s “almost worse than Tandy” at one point — someone’s “almost worse than Tandy”: just the compliment Tandy’s been looking for.
Even though Tandy’s already starting to look like an angel sent from heaven compared to Phil, he’s still trying to make himself look even better by using Carol’s advice and acting like a wounded animal. People love wounded animals, she correctly tells him (right before comparing his face to “crippled little puppy legs” in reference to photos of disabled dogs).
So he goes with it. He moans and groans at the dining-room table, pressing a pack of ice on his wounded eye (that Phil gave him, no less). It’s all very exaggerated and fairly annoying, but somehow, it works. Phil later asks Gail if she needs any supplies, and she rejects his offer. Immediately after, though, she allows Tandy to go grab her tortilla chips that she’s jonesing for “in the worst way.” Another point for Tandy.
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While Tandy’s repairing his relationship with Gail, Todd and Melissa are drifting apart. Tandy tells Todd that he and Melissa were going to try to procreate when they first met, but now Melissa says she doesn’t want kids — a decision that hurts Todd’s feelings and causes him to confront her about this change of heart. She claims she simply changed her mind; he tells her he’s upset because it feels like a dig on him, that he thinks she should have told him about this.
Melissa’s probably being honest: As she said last week, she doesn’t want to bring a child into a world like this. Before, when she said she wanted to have a baby with Tandy, it was likely a gut reaction to finding another person and thinking they could, together, build society back up. Now, she’s surrounded by people — albeit not many — and has since gotten over the initial excitement of finding someone after thinking she was the only human left on Earth for so long.
Their argument doesn’t end with any resolution, and the two end up sleeping separately that evening. Also sleeping alone? Phil, who Tandy finds passed out on the beach after discovering a room of empty alcohol bottles.
Phil was not enjoying Tandy’s redemption tour and is so adamant about his dislike for Tandy that he claims — to Tandy’s face — his biggest regret is saving him from the billboard. “Everyone’s life got worse the day they met you,” Phil says. Despite these harsh words, Tandy wants to help Phil, especially when he finds him unconscious as waves crash over his limp body.
Or does he? Tandy eventually joins Carol in bed and tells her he’s been helping Phil, an activity that elicits a pleased response. But when we see Phil next, he’s hanging out in Tandy’s old stomping grounds: the pillory. This might not be a great place to hang, but at least it’s better than drowning on the beach thanks to a drunken stupor. Plus, as Tandy would say, Phil did the crime, now he’s gotta do the time.
Last thoughts on The Last Man on Earth: