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The Last Man on Earth - Stocko Syndome - Review

After a strong season premiere, The Last Man on Earth gave us a slightly weaker episode this week, but which had the merits of having something to say and focusing on a theme.

Written by Megan Ganz and Tim McAuliffe, "Stocko Syndome" split its run time between the adventures of the gang on the island, and Tandy's (Will Forte) quest to rejoin with them. As Carol (Kristen Schaal) worries about how her husband is ever going to find her, the group realize that the island they found is not as deserted as they thought. They meet Glenn (Chris Elliott), a man who has been away from civilization for a very long time. So long, actually, that he does not know about the virus that wiped out most of the Earth's population. The situation is both funny and sad, as he keeps mentioning people who are dead and the gang walks on eggshells to find a way to tell him the truth. None of them want to crush his spirits, but at the same time they can't just not tell him what happened.

Meanwhile, Pamela (Kristen Wiig) is still taking Tandy away on the yacht and has a plan to make him be okay with it: she counts on Stockholm Syndrome to kick in so that Tandy would fall in love with his captor and forget about Carol and the others. But she underestimated her adversary in this endeavor and Tandy turns out to be more resilient than she thought (also, Stockholm Syndrome doesn't happen in a day so there is that). Tandy tries to fake it but Pamela does not buy his tricks. She sees clearly into his game so Tandy has to find another way to escape...and he finds it in Jeremy, Pamela's dog. After a gross sharp toenail joke, Tandy gets rid of the ropes tying him to a pole, and attempts to take over the boat. The weirdest and yet funniest part of this episode is by far when Tandy grabs Jeremy and threatens to literally "eat his butt," as Will Forte holds the dog's behind in front of his mouth and chatters his teeth. It's strange and yet funny, it's goofy in all sorts of ways, it's classic Last Man on Earth humor. And as weird as it is, this stunt convinces Pamela to give Tandy her gun and as he gets ready to take the yacht's helm to go back to the island, he realizes that the land is not in sight anymore.

On the island, Carol is losing patience and has to find a way to guide Tandy back to her. When Glenn tells her he has a fire ready to light up in case he every spots potential rescuers, she insists they use it to
guide Tandy. It's interesting to note how much faith she puts in her goofball of a husband, as always, and how much of this episode revolved around the idea of hope. Glenn never lost hope he would get rescued, and Carol never loses hope in Tandy. The same way, Tandy never loses hope he will find her. Carol has to tell Glenn about the virus to convince him no one will ever come other than Tandy, and they light up a giant fire. Pamela spots it and does the right thing: she tells Tandy. Pamela hoped she could win over Tandy, but in the end she realizes that it's not how she is going to make the gang accept her. Once on the island, she even says she will stay there, understanding that kidnapping Tandy and abandoning the other was wrong and that she deserves punishment. While the others agree, Glenn points out that hope was the only thing that helped him survive on his own, and that as Pamela knows no one else will ever come to her rescue, being on the island forever is a dire fate for her. Again, hope is at the center of this episode, being the one motivation behind each characters' action. Carol agrees with Glenn and accepts to brings Pamela with them on the boat (with one condition: they actually put her in a lifeboat and drag her behind the yacht).

For once, The Last Man on Earth had something to say this week, which is not always the case. Often the show relies more on its awkwardness and "outside the box" concept over putting actual themes into its stories. So when it happens, when the show chooses to explore a theme and build a narrative around it, it adds a little something to the series that makes it stand out. It did it with the notion of isolation last season (when Gail was stuck in the elevator and Melissa locked up) and it would be nice if it keeps doing it more and more.

What about you, what did you think of "Stocko Syndome"?

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