The Last Man on Earth finale recap: 30 Years of Science Down the Tubes
It happened: Mike is dead.
Kidding! Mike’s not dead — well, not yet, at least. At the end of the last episode, Phil woke up to find Mike gone and a note from his missing brother. “So long, Phil,” it said. “Didn’t want you to have to say goodbye again.” But Phil doesn’t want to leave his brother to die — or suffer from a cold, if that’s what he’s still choosing to believe — alone, so he sets off on a journey to find him. And by “journey,” I mean he jumps in a DeLorean and heads to Tucson. If you’re gonna go find your dying brother, you might as well do it in style.
That illusion of coolness disappears as soon as Phil gets to Tucson, where a couple off pee-filled water bottles fall out when he opens the door. Dude can stop anywhere and pee without fear of public shaming and/or arrest, and he chooses to do so. Say hello to Peak Phil.
He is going through something pretty traumatic, though, so he gets a pass this time. And the situation worsens once he finds Mike lying still in a bed. The virus got him, Phil assumes. He was too late. Then, psych! A very alive Mike wakes up, scaring his poor brother. Once a prankster, always a prankster.
Back in Malibu, the fallen cow’s calf is mooing up a storm outside. Everyone gathers outside to check out what’s happening, and there they find the drone. This must be a satisfying moment for Gail, seeing that no one believed her when she told them about it a couple episodes ago. For everyone else? It’s terrifying.
Also terrifying: the jar of Phil’s fart that Mike finds in their family’s attic. See, Phil once farted into a jar because he wanted to see how long a fart could retain it’s smell. That fart has now been chilling in the glass jar for 30 years, so it’s time. Phil opens it up and… Mike ruins it by farting at the exact same time. Again: Once a prankster, always a prankster. “That’s 30 years of science down the tubes,” Phil laments. While he’s busy mourning his busted experiment, Mike passes out — and this time, it’s not a joke.
Later, though, he asks to call a truce on pranking after Phil pretends to have the virus himself. He’s too tired and too sick to handle it anymore, and he ends up asking his big brother to just be honest with him. So Phil is: “I don’t like what you did to my hair,” he admits in what might be this season’s most shocking confession. The two then return to the attic, where they light a bunch of candles as Mike evens out Phil’s haircut — as “Falling Slowly” plays in the background, of course. If they weren’t brothers, this would be beautifully romantic.
NEXT: This brotherly love doesn’t last long
But they are, and so the moment ends pretty quickly once Mike explodes at Phil for staying around. He calls him childish and selfish and tells him he’s messing with his death. Maybe he means it, or maybe he’s just being so nasty because that’s the only way he thinks he can get Phil to leave. All it does, though, is send Phil to their backyard, where Mike later finds him to apologize and praise him for restarting society. He also finds his mother and father’s graves and realizes that Phil had to bury them. There’s a stone there for him, too. “I thought you were gone,” Phil explains. “I didn’t know what to do.”
This is the final straw for Mike, who doesn’t want his brother to have to go through saying goodbye to him again. It’s his dying wish for Phil to go back, so that’s what Phil does. He packs up his DeLorean and says goodbye to his brother again. As a parting gift, Mike gives him a new bottle filled with his own fresh fart. You can open it in 30 years, he says. We’ll open it together, Phil responds, knowing full well that that’s extremely unlikely. But he’s not in complete denial: He hands Mike a duffel bag full of his balls to keep as company. No one should be alone on their death bed.
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With that, he’s gone and back to Malibu, where Melissa has shot and killed the drone. That doesn’t mean it’s over: In the final moments of the episode, Gail spots a boat with “some hairy guy” (a.k.a. the guy Mike first “befriended” when he landed back on earth)…and another guy…and another guy. They’re all wearing hazmat suits, carrying guns, and soon, they’re heading to shore in an inflatable boat. “Oh, farts,” Phil says. Oh, farts, indeed.
Last Man excels at these kind of darkly funny “Oh, farts” moments that remind us how dire these wacky characters’ situation really is, and this season ended on a couple of great ones. These potentially combative new people could start a war, or they could turn out to be the Tucson crew’s new best friends. Mike could die, or he could eventually return, better than ever. Network comedies tend to tidy things up, but this one does anything but — leaving tons of potentially heartbreaking, potentially heartwarming possibilities open for its next season.