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The Last Man on Earth - Hamilton/Berg - Review

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After a hiatus that felt like a billion years, The Last Man on Earth came back strong last Sunday with an episode that paired the usual goofiness of the show with a touch of suspenseful tension that made "Hamilton/Berg" quite enjoyable.

It's been a rocky season for The Last Man on Earth. Hell, it's been a rocky ride for the show as a whole since it's beginnings. It has recurrent patterns of ups and downs that oddly manages to make the show's narrative uneven and yet keeps it endearing. Even if the story is not always top notch quality, the characters are good enough to make it work, and the show keeps viewers invested enough to make us come back week after week. Because even if it can be weak, it also is somewhat captivating. Bringing in a character like Karl (Fred Armisen) was a good idea on the writers' part. He is so out there, so much crazier than any of the other characters, that he really brought a breath of fresh air to the show. But, unfortunately, that didn't last long.

Yep, Karl died this week. After Tandy (Will Forte) and Todd (Mel Rodriguez) caught him eating a corpse in a cemetery and warned the others about Karl's cannibalistic tendencies, he confessed to the group and even admitted he might very well kill them all. That's a type of threat the group had not been confronted to before. Sure, there was Pat, who definitely wanted to kill them, but he was a clear threat, he chased them around with a riffle. Here, Karl is creepy but he has not done anything yet (aside from that brief scene in the previous episode where it seemed he was going to kill Gail (Mary Steenburgen)). To them, he is this nice dude they just met who happens to eat people, and now they have to decide how to deal with him, how to remove that threat.

Melissa (January Jones) knows what they have to do: they should kill him. But she is the only one capable of judging that threat pragmatically. She is right, he is too much of a threat and there is not much they can do to prevent him from hurting them, but Erica (Cleopatra Coleman) proposes an alternative. Cut to Tandy and Todd dropping Karl off at the prison where they found him and putting chains on the gates after they put him back in there. Of course, that's a terrible idea, and the writers make sure we know that. Closing the gates of the courtyard is not enough, and with Tandy saying "That closes that chapter," it is rather obvious that the show wants us to know this is definitely not over. So it's with little surprise that we subsequently find out, while Todd is searching for Jasper, that Karl escaped the prison and is back at the house, acting scarier than ever.

Once again, a solution has to be found and the group circles back to Melissa's suggestion. To decide who will do the deed, they draw strings, and Carol (Kristen Schaal) gets the shortest one. But of course Carol is not going to kill anyone, it's Carol! The last sweetest woman on Earth! Tandy decides to take matters into his own hands. He stages a Hamilton/Aaron Burr death scenario to help himself complete the task and Karl is rather cooperative, knowing that it's really the only thing the gang can do to eliminate the risk he represents. But as Tandy is getting ready to kill him, Karl plays with the Rubik's Cube that we, viewers, know to actually be a bomb... and of course he ends up blowing himself up. It was the perfect time to bring back this prop into the storyline and while it's a little of an easy way out, it gives the show a way to kill off Karl without having Tandy actually murder him.

There were really good parts in this episode. The scene where Karl admits he is a cannibal and offers they all sleep on that news and figure out what to do in the morning was very well crafted. Now the show can move on to something else while still having to deal with the "Jasper ran away and Melissa is helping him" storyline. Todd is mad at Melissa for hiding that from him so it will be nice to see in the following episodes how that plot line unfolds.

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