Throughout much of the first season of The Last Man on Earth, astronaut Mike Miller, played by Jason Sudeikis, was little more than a sidebar, a curious attendant character in a show with no shortage of strange personalities. It seemed unlikely that his travails in space would build into a proper story. But the show’s mid-season finale and return have made his homecoming a feature event (with cinematic aplomb). After years in orbit around a desolate planet, with only his worms to keep him company (what happened to his worms?), Astronaut Mike has finally made his way to Tandy. The last episode ended with the brothers galloping toward each other on a beach in Malibu, moments away from embracing for the first time in years.
The new episode opens with Tandy sucker punching his little brother (only moments later). Far from overjoyed to be the only person in the world with a living family member, Tandy is instead pissed at his brother for sleeping with a girl he liked years before. (It turns out that Tandy merely called “dibs” on a woman named Christine.) After wrestling and crying a bit, the brothers calm down and hug it out. Things will never be the same.
Things are more or less exactly the same. Astronaut Mike, during his first dinner with the group, gently ribs Tandy about his “boner” for an arena football player in Tucson. Tandy responds by telling the story of how Astronaut Mike “fully boned” his “girlfriend” before going “cowardly” into space. As usual, no one cares about Tandy. They want to hear more about Astronaut Mike’s space days. The scene ends with a revelation: Mike tells the group that Tandy’s old nickname was “skidmark.”
Tandy isn’t the only one with new problems. At the end of the last episode, Todd, having gone crazy from too much sex with Gail and Melissa (separately), and having kissed Erica, chose to resolve his problems by offering them a kind of ongoing four way — in this episode, they all decline. There is, after all, a new colonist in town.
Nor is the arrival of Tandy’s brother his only problem. Last episode, Tandy (or Skid — it seems everyone will now call him that) found out that he’s infertile, which means that he won’t be having a child with Carol. When they finally talk about it, she isn’t fazed at all; she’s rather happy that they’ll have a family with Skid’s brother (even though she imagined that they would be brought together by a little baby and not “an adult male”). And she admonishes him about fighting with Mike.
They fight anyway. Tandy mocks Mike for talking about space (all of the time). Mike suggests that Tandy can’t hear properly because his poop has overflowed his underwear and is now clogging his ears. Tandy responds by taking off his boxers and showing them to everyone. For most of the season, Tandy has been a sweetheart, but now that he’s “Skid,” the gloves are coming off.
While hauling an entire barrel of wine to the beach, where Mike has planned a bonfire, Gail runs into Melissa — they haven’t spoken since they found out that Todd was “fully boning” both of them. After a tender scene where they reveal their mutual love for “the beanbag,” the women seemed to have hatched a plan. Will Todd’s “big love” gambit pay off?
At the bonfire, Mike lights a torch with a flaming arrow (something that Tandy could never do), and generally charms everyone. And then he plays an apropos rendition of “Space Oddity.” Everyone cries. Tandy yawns. Never to be outdone, he announces his own party, which he describes as “BYOAR” — “bring your own ass replacement.” Why? Because it’s about to be blown off.
The “party” is just Tandy playing various instruments poorly and singing his obnoxious (and hilarious) cover versions of songs with alternate lyrics. (“We Didn’t Start the Fire” becomes “We Didn’t Start the Virus.”) But where there is Tandy, a meltdown isn’t far behind — the concert devolves into a Tandy-tantrum. He reveals that Mike has faults, too. Namely, he had a nose job, he plagiarized a paper in college, and he missed their grandmother’s funeral. Mike vows revenge. The next morning, Tandy wakes up to find that his head and beard have been symmetrically half-shaved by Mike. Sibling rivalry is alive and well in the New World.