Y: The Last Man recap: On the road
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Two sets of travelers embark on perilous journeys in "Karen and Benji," an episode title that does not refer to new characters, but rather to Hero and Sam. They assume aliases as they head to Washington, D.C., for a reunion with Jennifer — a trip that, like Yorick and Agent 355's expedition to Boston, hits some unexpected snags along the way.
Y: The Last Man's fourth installment opens in fantastical fashion, with Agent 355 — decked out in a glamorous dress and a flower in her hair — performing a swanky nightclub rendition of "Taking a Chance on Love" like a 1940s cabaret star. This reverie slowly disintegrates, however, as Agent 335 gathers her wits about her; she's actually sleepwalking through a forest post-helicopter landing, and she wakes from her musical dream right before she steps off a cliff.
The next morning at their makeshift forest camp, Yorick talks about rescuing Ampersand from a scientific study. After clutching her necklace with a far-off gaze, Agent 355 orders Yorick to unscrew a generator they took from the helicopter. They argue about her name — she demands to be called Agent 355, to which he replies, "Call me Trapezoid" — and she refuses to divulge any more details about her past. She does admit that they ditched their airborne ride because it would have attracted attention and that when people go looking for the two missing helicopters, they'll blame the two pilots who stole them — tipping Yorick off to the fact that she probably blew them up.
Hero and Sam are wending their way through Pennsylvania. But Hero is clearly reluctant to see her mom and successfully begs him to stop and rest at an abandoned house. Sam is wary because he doesn't smell any dead bodies, suggesting that the place is occupied by the living. As they check out the residence's barn, Hero talks about her childhood horse-riding lessons, saying she always had more in common with the steeds than with her classmates. The two find a working car in the barn, which excites Sam because it'll get them to Washington, D.C., in a couple of hours.
That evening, they get high in front of a roaring fireplace. Hero tells Sam that she was with Mike during the Y-apocalypse, but she bites her tongue to stop herself from confessing that she accidentally killed him. Hero fears her mom's criticisms about Mike. Once Sam is asleep, Hero sneaks out to the barn and sabotages the car.
Early the next morning, Agent 355 returns from a run. Yorick is in his tent, watching iPhone videos of Beth. She demands he strip so she can wash his rank clothes in the river, and after petulantly objecting, he gives in and does as he's told. While doing their laundry, Agent 355 prepares to shoot a rabbit (for food) but hears a strange noise and races back to camp, where she discovers two women going through their stuff. They ask nosy questions about Agent 355's food supply, why she has two tents, and the purpose of Ampersand's carrier. Before things get harrier, Yorick emerges from the forest, wearing his gas mask and wielding a stick, screaming. He scares them away.
Back in Pennsylvania, Sam is heartbroken that the car won't start. He and Hero visit a nearby pharmacy, which has been cleaned out. They do, however, stumble upon an injured Mackenzie huddled on an aisle shelf. When they try to help, Nora appears and threatens them with an ax. Sam disarms her. When Nora expresses astonishment at the sight of a man, Hero retorts, "You figure it out." Hero has Sam get medical supplies, and she does her best to clean Mackenzie's infected wound. She invites them back to the house, which frustrates Sam, who wants to get moving to D.C.; he knows Hero is deliberately delaying their progress.
At a local street market, Agent 355 tries to purchase a bike by trading their generator. She gets the deal done by throwing in a hand grenade. Yorick thinks he spies Beth and gives chase, only to wind up in abandoned stables where he's accosted by four of the cops who rule the market with an iron fist. They take off his mask, but before the situation turns truly ugly, Agent 355 shows up and viciously beats up the quartet. Dodging gunfire, they race through the market and hop on a motorcycle, and escape. When they stop at a bridge, Yorick apologizes for his reckless behavior and bemoans the loss of his iPhone. Agent 355 rails against the fact that Yorick has lived his entire life as the beneficiary of self-absorbed male privilege, and now that he's actually the most important person in the world, he can't be bothered to care about anything.
Yorick responds by yelling about the two dead pilots. Though Agent 355 dares him to call her a murderer, he stops short of making that accusation.
That evening, Nora informs Hero and Sam that they're all staying at a domestic violence shelter. Hero says that Mackenzie's wounds are clean but that she needs antibiotics, and since all the pharmacies have been looted, their best bet for real drugs is the camps. This upsets Nora since the nearest camp is in D.C., which they just left. She lashes out at them and then apologizes. Nora also can't trade the Viagra and Oxycontin she's found in medicine cabinets for antibiotics because every time she tries to barter, she gets mugged. Hero introduces herself and Sam as "Karen" and "Benji."
In bed, Hero gets snuggly with Sam, and they begin making out. Sam halts this, however, and things turn awkward. Sam asks Hero what happened to the car, and she doesn't reply; instead, they go to sleep. Outside getting some fresh air, Nora hears a dog and then sees three horseback riders appear. Sam, Hero, and Mackenzie are roused from their sleep by the downstairs commotion and wind up being held at gunpoint by individuals claiming that this is their house. The marauders transphobically insult Sam and plan to execute everyone. Nora convinces them otherwise by informing them that Hero is a doctor — and thus valuable.
A short time later, Hero and company have their blindfolds removed; they've been transported to this group's makeshift warehouse base of operations. Hero is forced to tend to one of their comrades, who suffered a recent gunshot wound. Despite their initial objections, Sam helps.
At their campfire, Agent 355 persuades Yorick to show her a card trick. He pompously claims that he's really an escape artist and that card tricks are "basic and fraudulent and beneath my skill level," but he relents. Agent 355 is genuinely impressed by his talent and tells him that when they're done with the geneticist (they should be in Boston tomorrow), she'll help Yorick locate his girlfriend. Yorick is pleased and shows her another card trick.
Hero finishes treating the injured woman, who's still in bad shape. The group's stern leader Roxanne (Missi Pyle), returns. Roxanne has Mackenzie cover her ears and then shoots her wounded comrade dead, much to the dismay of her other acolyte Laura. Roxanne says the woman wasn't going to live, and Hero comes clean that she's just an EMT. Roxanne is grateful for the help and chides her followers for being so nasty to these strangers. This changes the kidnappers' tune, and on Roxanne's orders, they help everyone inside. Hero is stunned to see that they're in a fully stocked Costco-style retail store.
On their way in, Nora whispers to Hero that she shouldn't divulge who her mother is — a fact that Nora herself knows due to her tenure at the White House.
- Yorick and Agent 355's best bonding moment is their mutual disbelief (and disgust) at hearing one of the scavengers quote Anne Frank: "No one has ever become poor from giving."
- Hero's statement that, as a kid, she preferred horses to other girls subtly links her to Mackenzie, who previously opined that she couldn't stand listening to kids prattle on about horses.
- Agent 355 and Yorick are beginning to share some subtle sparks, which should certainly complicate things.
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