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The virus that wiped out humanity makes an appearance.

 

Season 2, Episode 17: Smart and Stupid

Two weeks ago when we last left the gang, Gail had come face to face with a drone. At the start of this episode, she interrupts Carol’s pregnancy celebration claiming she’s seen a flying skillet. She continues to try to explain what she saw, but because she’s drunk and a drunk, no one believes her. In fact, they ask her to stop drinking.

 

Meanwhile, Todd has quite suddenly become jealous of Mike and Phil’s relationship. He gets incredibly angry when Phil gives Mike the last of the bacon, even though Mike has never had any at all. Mike also gets to know Erica, who has a really interesting past. She was in jail in Australia before faking her way into the state department in the United States. Mike asks her why she’s never told anyone, and she says it’s because she’s never been asked. After two seasons of wondering why the hell she’s around, it was nice to see something from Erica. I actually might like her.

 

Mike develops a cough, and when Todd harasses Mike and Phil while they’re milking a cow, he sees Mike cough up blood. The group believes Mike has the virus and wants to banish him to help keep the pregnant women safe. They double down on this when they discover that the cow, which Mike had milked earlier, is dead. Phil refuses to lose his brother again, instead getting everyone hazmat suits and putting Mike in a bubble. That night, the group decides to sleep in another house, but Phil stays with Mike. They fall asleep next to each other, singing “Falling Slowly.” Mike is gone the next morning. He left Phil a note. He didn’t want to put him through another goodbye.

As repetitive as the show has been this season, it’s these moments when Phil’s obnoxious, grating personality shows up for a good cause that it really shines. He’s the worst, but he’s exactly the sort of person you want at the end of the world: relentless. Phil will survive simply because he’s been told not to, and he’ll make sure to drag the people he cares for with him, even if they’re kicking, screaming and coughing up blood. That selfish compassion, a love for individuals versus a compulsion to survive for humanity as a whole, is why we root for him. He’s a child, but since humanity has been plunged into a new infancy, he’s better suited for it than cynical Melissa or avoidant Gail or people-pleasing Todd.

 

I hope Mike isn’t dead. I hope the drone saves him or that somehow it’s all been a big misunderstanding. He and Erica had great chemistry, and someone finally forced her to play in a meaningful way. This episode teased so much of what I have wanted from the show this half season, and then it took it away. I found myself getting choked up, not just for the characters but for what this show can be when it tries. Here’s hoping next episode ends the season with a bang that will propel it into a stronger third season.

 

Directed By: Emily Spivey

Produced By: Andy Bobrow, Will Forte, Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Chris Plourde, Liz Cackowski, Erik Durbin, Tim McAuliff, John Solomon, Emily Spivey, Steve Burgess, Erica Rivinoja, Seth Cohen

Written By: Payman Benz

Starring: Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, January Jones, Cleopatra Coleman, Mel Rodriguez, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Sudeikis

Network: Fox

Release Date: May 8th, 2016

Runtime: 22 minutes

Rating: N/A

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