When we last saw “The Last Man on Earth’s” last men and women on Earth way back in December, Tandy and Carol had gone on a honeymoon that ended up centered on a catfish, Lewis and Erica were working diligently in a flight simulator, Todd had literally talked Melissa off the side of a building, and Gail was still stranded inside an elevator in an adjacent building. As the episode closed, we heard a final gunshot come from the elevator, implying that Gail – who had already injured herself with a ricocheted bullet – may have taken her own life. Quite the cliffhanger for a Sunday night comedy.
In the spring premiere, “Got Milk?”, which aired tonight on Fox, however, we follow up on none of that. Instead, viewers are treated to the story of Pamela Brinton – played by guest star Kristen Wiig – a well-to-do, dog-loving, cat-hating, bad joke-telling woman (now that’s my kind of girl) who runs a foundation that has saved 4,000 canine lives (that’s 28,000 lives in dog years, Brinton exclaims to no one’s amusement).
The episode opens at an auction event for Brinton’s foundation, but is quickly interrupted when a guest collapses, then is helped to his feet and, theoretically, to further medical attention with blood dripping out of his mouth. This is, I’m told, not a good sign. It also hammers home the point that we’re now seeing the “Last Man” world in the moments before the deadly virus outbreak.
Wiig, who is her usual fantastic self and who I hope has an extended run on the series, manages to stay alive while everyone around her succumbs to the virus. This includes her husband, her chief rival, Kat (who is a cat lover, naturally), and United States Presidents 46-51 (identified as Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Rex Tillerson, Steven Mnuchin, Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos – this is truly the darkest timeline).
Pamela manages to escape to relative safety in an underground bunker that had been purchased by Kat. This allows us to revisit one of my favorite moments from the show’s run: the pilot episode when Will Forte is simply running around, destroying priceless artifacts and having a grand old time. I had always wished the creators stuck with Forte’s character truly being the only man on Earth for longer, and we get a small taste of that from Pamela’s perspective here.
Wiig, in a shimmering, silver puffy vest, dances around her new home, tries to teach her dog, Jeremy, the word “milk,” and generally descends into a pit of despair, which happened to be full of wine. (Did I spend five minutes staring my dog in the eyes, repeating “milk” to him after watching this episode? Yes, yes I did.) Much like Tandy in that first episode, though, Pamela finds a ray of hope when she is at her lowest moment.
(As an aside, if you ignore the crippling loneliness, I think I would really enjoy being the last man on Earth. Sure, this is like saying, “If you ignore the landing, sky-diving without a parachute sounds like a lot of fun,” but you understand the point.)
While Tandy found his lifeline in spotting Carol, Pamela manages to simultaneously find a new reason to live and answer one of the series’ unsolved mysteries. Her bunker is equipped with a drone surveillance system – savvy viewers probably put two and two together almost immediately, but I am not one of those people – which she learns to pilot with increasing efficiency. Eventually one of those flights stumbles upon the crew in Malibu. The drone was, of course, originally spotted by a wine-buzzed Gail in season 2.
Inspired, Pamela leaves the bunker. We assume she is in search of that cliffside Malibu home, which is, of course, no longer inhabited. Her journey is just beginning.