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Y the last man recap utopia.png

'Y: The Last Man' Recap: This Is What Utopia Looks Like Now

By Tori Preston | TV | October 12, 2021 |

By Tori Preston | TV | October 12, 2021 |

Y the last man recap utopia.png

We’re seven episodes into the first season of Y: The Last Man, and so far it’s been fascinating to see which scenarios from the comics have been cherrypicked for adaptation considering the breadth of the overall story changes in this reimagining. Last week’s episode, titled “Weird Al Is Dead,” found a way to recreate the vigil for the extinct men that, in the comics, took place outside the Washington Monument for… well, phallic reasons, mostly. Despite Yorick and 355 having already left Washington, the show took pains to create its own version of the vigil as a pitstop on their journey, complete with a beautiful choral rendition of Radiohead’s “Karma Police.” It was a moment for the characters — and the show — to slow down and process what was lost at a cultural level, given the frantic focus on rebuilding we’d witnessed so far. Unfortunately, that slowing down allowed the military operatives who have been tracking 355 to catch up to them and witness Yorick in all his not-dead dudeness. But wait! I’ll come back to that!

This week’s episode, titled “My Mother Saw A Monkey,” introduces another even larger comic setting, the Marrisville arc, and I’m especially interested to see the show tackle it. For one thing, Marrisville offers a striking contrast from the desperation and destruction so much of the world, from what we’ve seen thus far, has fallen into. They have electricity! They have food! They are safe and content! It’s the closest thing to normal Yorick has witnessed, but here — just like in the comics — there’s a secret to their success. This town is comprised exclusively of people who escaped the nearby women’s penitentiary. Yup, in Y: The Last Man’s vision of the post-apocalypse, utopia was founded by felons.

It’s too early to tell if the show is going to continue its streak of social commentary by tackling prison reform, but maybe it doesn’t need to. Maybe it’s enough simply to show a group of convicts re-enter society before their court-decided punishment was up, and make it better. It helps that TV Yorick is proving to be less of a “sanctimonious brat” than his comic counterpart, as this episode demonstrated. He’s curious rather than judgmental when he learns where his newfound benefactors came from, instantly recognizing how good they have it — and how lucky he is that they’re willing to share it. Of course, the other reason I’m interested in seeing the show tackle Marrisville is because the comic arc comes to a violent conclusion… and right now the show has changed the nature of so many of the moving parts of this tale that I can’t see THAT particular ending playing out anymore. So unless we’re getting a shiny new happy ending to this chapter of Yorick’s journey, it means something different and bad is coming up on the horizon.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. 355 stole an RV for Yorick and their new companion, the geneticist Dr. Allison Mann (Diana Bang), to travel across country in — and then she fell asleep at the wheel and crashed it into a tree, because 355 is still on her “I don’t need any help” kick. One of the interesting things about the show taking so much agency away from Yorick and giving it to the women in his orbit is that, instead of Yorick making the mistakes that get them into trouble, competent people like 355 have started acting like boneheads to push the plot along. Anyway, the Marrisville townsfolk come to their rescue, only they misconstrue the fact that Yorick was tied up in the back of the RV as an abduction rather than what it was — a demonstration of his escape artist prowess, natch — and lock Allison and 355 in the empty prison while Yorick wakes up in a nice cozy bed. Naked. So, you know, his secrets out! Besides that exciting start, not much actually happens in Marrisville this week: Yorick convinces the townsfolk that 355 and Allison are his friends, not his captors, and the town votes to let the group stay and get help since 355 has a nasty concussion. It’s a narrow margin, though, as they’re quick to realize somebody will come looking for Yorick eventually — and attention is something these former inmates would like to avoid. There’s a quick hint of sexual tension between Allison and 355 before the agent shuts it down, so that may become a thing, and Yorick is also starting to hit it off with one of the locals.

The rest of the episode takes place in Washington, where Jennifer is stuck dealing with the fallout of that Yorick sighting. Kimberly has quickly joined forces with the newly returned crackpot and technically-should-be-President, Regina Oliver, to try and find some weakness — some hint of scandal — around Jennifer to exploit. The likeliest angle seems to be the ongoing investigation around the “Secret Service agent” who stole those two helicopters and seemingly killed two pilots, because it’s painfully obvious that Jennifer is hiding something. The problem is that they’re thinking too small. They assume Jennifer secretly misappropriated government resources to search for Hero, but when the operatives return from their dust-up with 355 and report seeing a man with a monkey, it doesn’t line up with the narrative. Instead it’s Marla, Kimberly’s mother and the former First Lady, who puts the pieces together and realizes she wasn’t crazy when she saw Yorick in the pentagon all those weeks ago. The good news is, Kimberly now knows exactly what secret Jennifer is hiding — the survival of her son, not the search for her daughter — but she’s also shrewd enough to know this is bigger than just toppling Jennifer out of the presidency. She wants to find Yorick, in order to bring back THE MEN — as if that isn’t exactly what Jennifer sent him across country to do in the first place.

The bad news is, all the gaslighting and grief finally reach critical mass for Marla, and not even the realization that a man did actually survive can bring her back from the brink. She steps off the roof and kills herself — and Kimberly, who just felt hope for the first time in months, loses her last family member.

Then there’s Beth, Yorick’s missing girlfriend, who suddenly turns up outside the Pentagon in the crowd of protesters and catches Jennifer’s eye. She claims she just wanted to talk to someone who loved Yorick, because she feels guilty she turned down his proposal just before the extinction event. Jennifer is clearly delighted to see Beth, but she still doesn’t reveal that Yorick is alive. While her secrecy is causing her problems with Kimberly and Regina, here it’s a boon because, frankly, Beth is acting sus AF. She said she couldn’t bear to see Yorick dead, and that’s why she never went back to the apartment they shared — but we KNOW he was out tagging his neighborhood with messages to her for weeks before he left New York. She’s very curious about everything happening inside the Pentagon but doesn’t want to stay — even though we KNOW how miserable it is outside. No, something isn’t adding up here, and when Beth finally climbs into a dark SUV to report to some mysterious cohorts that things are rocky at best inside the new capitol, that suspicion finally pays off. I’m not sure who she’s working for or with, but they’re up to no good — and now I’m curious if she was working with them before the collapse as well.

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Tori Preston is the managing editor of Pajiba. She tweets here. You can also listen to her weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: FX on Hulu (screenshot)