A birth tears the crew apart — and then brings them back together.
Erica’s not the only one expecting: Turns out the resident cow has been pregnant for quite some time, as we find out when the crew goes outside to discover their beloved cow has just birthed a calf. Blue cigars for everyone!
Because of this, everyone deduces that a bull must be running around somewhere and therefore set off on a hunt to find said bull. Tandy is really the one who actually cares about this, though, and tries to talk everyone — through a pep talk that references Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Neil Armstrong’s first words on the moon — into joining him. They eventually agree to but only because Tandy claims he’ll shut up if they do.
Tandy lets Phil out of the stocks to help them out, but it soon becomes clear that Phil is not quite moved by Tandy’s words and ends up driving off alone instead of partaking in the bull hunt. It’s not exactly surprising, and it’s not exactly disappointing thanks to Phil’s persistent crabbiness throughout this season. Remember when he was the stud who showed up and knew how to fix everything? Weren’t those days great?
Although finding the bull is the main priority of this episode, there’s also some considerable romantic drama: Melissa and Todd break up (finally — they haven’t seemed to like each other for weeks now), and Todd and Gail kiss soon after she admits that she’s been pleasuring herself with the help of a medical dummy she pretends is Gordon. Their kiss could be seen as an act of desperation on both parts — he just broke up with Melissa and is heartbroken; she misses Gordon and is also heartbroken — or it could be the genuine start of something sincere and sweet. I mean, real humans are usually superior to fake ones, Gail, no matter what Lars and the Real Girl taught you.
While all of this is happening, Tandy’s struggling to accept that Phil actually took off. He acknowledges that he left because being alone felt better than being surrounded by a bunch of people who didn’t like him, a thought that leads him on a tangent that ends with everybody loudly fighting at the dinner table. Tandy ends up interrupting their bickering by throwing a rock through the window, an action that effectively scatters everyone.
The next time we see them, they’re sitting in the living room, looking solemn and angry, when the bull appears. The bull. In a moment of beautiful team bonding — the exact kind Tandy was hoping for! — they all aim their tranquilizer guns and shoot. Bull, acquired.
Right then, Phil walks up and reveals that he brought the bull back. As the rest of the crew later scarves down beef around the dinner table, he stops by to ask Tandy to put him back in the stocks. Carol says to just eat with them, though, and no one disagrees with her. So Phil sits down, and the group has what seems like a normal family dinner. Looks like Tandy’s often annoying and sometimes endearing rants do make a difference sometimes.
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Things are a bit more dire up in space, where we check in on Mike. It’s been some time since we’ve seen him, but he and Terry (you know, the last surviving worm up there) are still kicking. Mike’s trying to radio down to earth, and he actually hears something. He got through to someone! He’s going to be saved! It’s a moment of pure joy, helped by the fact that we know he has to come down eventually or else they wouldn’t have introduced him in the first place (right?), immediately followed by a moment of pure agony: The voices he was hearing were recordings of his own voice playing back.
We barely know this character at this point. Hell, we don’t know him at all. But the emotion Jason Sudeikis has instilled in his short, rare appearances so far have easily made him someone worth caring for — something that made watching the realization that he’s still completely alone wash over his face completely and terribly tragic.
The next time Mike shows up is at the end of the episode, when he’s floating through the station after breathing in some laughing gas. This would be funny if it seemed like he was taking it for the good times, but he’s probably using it for its intended purpose as a painkiller. As Tandy said down on Earth earlier, “Why would anyone choose to be alone when they could live in a world with people?” Mike definitely didn’t choose this, though the sentiment still applies: Being alone — and more specifically, being alone without an alternative — must be painful and difficult and depressing. In Tandy’s words, it friggin’ sucks — and his brother would likely agree.