Kristen Wiig stars in the Fox comedy's midseason premiere, which also features a cameo from Laura Dern
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Credit: Kevin Estrada/FOX

The Last Man on Earth loves an A-list surprise cameo: Season 2 featured Will Ferrell popping up (and promptly dying), and the current third season opened with Jon Hamm showing up (and promptly dying). You can guess what happened when Laura Dern appeared as Catherine, a snotty society woman very similar to her Big Little Lies character, in the stellar, standalone midseason premiere that aired Sunday night.

But while Dern’s cameo was a highlight — especially because it included her stealthily scarfing down dried dog food in an abandoned grocery store — it was Kristen Wiig who made the half-hour.

The episode took us back to before the virus hit, when the biggest thing people (or at least the kind of people spotlighted here) had to worry about was raising money for dogs in wheelchairs. Wiig’s Pamela leads this charge, and at first, rolls her eyes at everyone’s fear of this mysterious virus — she’s all, “Just wash your hands, guys!” while Catherine and her husband already purchased a bunker to hide in until it either blows over or someone creates a vaccine. As we know, Pamela was wrong. Very wrong.

Soon enough, her husband’s coughing up blood, Catherine is dead, and Pamela’s nabbing the bunker for her and her beloved dog, Jeremy. There, she briefly enjoys the solitude, dancing around in a metallic puffy vest and guzzling wine. Then things get dark — highly amusing, but dark. Here are six highlights from the episode.

1. Forget Bette Davis and Joan Crawford: Catherine and Pamela have the real feud
During Pamela’s charity auction for dogs with hip dysplasia, she and Catherine get into a little tiff. The dog-loving Pamela calls out Catherine for loving felines, which causes her to defend herself with a playful, cringe-worthy anecdote: “My nickname is Cat, so I suppose my husband, Robert, is the real Cat lover!” she laughs. Pamela’s not having it. “I guess my name would be Dogala because I like dogs.” Kristen Wiig: A+ comedian. Pamela Brinton: the girl in your college improv class who just doesn’t get it.

2. When there’s a virus killing everyone, death becomes just another excuse
Pamela comes home and complains about how their house is a pigsty before asking where their maid is. “Oh, Christina texted,” Benjamin says nonchalantly without looking up from his iPad. “She died.”

3. The virus isn’t the only grim thing about this imagined future
Okay, so this is more of a lowlight: Although Donald Trump isn’t mentioned anywhere in the episode, the rest of his administration is — and turns out, they’ve all had their chance in the White House, too. One gag features the news announcing that Mike Pence, the 46th president of the United States, has succumbed to the virus… and so has President Paul Ryan… and President Rex Tillerson… and President Jeff Sessions… and so on.

4. Pamela’s not exactly cut out for bunker living — at first, anyway
“Refried beans? Why didn’t you fry them right the first time?” she says to a row of canned goods in her new, underground home. But fast-forward to year three, and she’s eating something much more questionable than mashed pinto beans: canned cat food.

5. But she tries to make the most of it
Even Dogala can get bored of wordless communication with her pet, so she attempts to teach him how to speak by repeating the word “milk” to his little, confused face. “Mark my words, you will talk,” she tells him their second year. Her confidence soon wavers, though. “Dammit, Jeremy, you’re not even trying. Do you even want this?!” she yells. No. You know what he probably does want? Milk.

6. Ah, so that’s who’s been piloting the drone
Remember when Gail saw a drone and thought it was “flying hairdryers”? Well, turns out those flying hairdryers belong to Pamela: Her bunker comes with a drone that she goes on virtual journeys with, and we end up seeing her first encounter with Gail through her own shocked eyes. After another trip to their Malibu home, Pamela opens the door to her safe haven and sets off to (hopefully) find them — and maybe even Jeremy (who understandably ran away when she opened the door one day), too.

The Last Man on Earth airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

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