Wow. Just when I think The Last Man on Earth can’t get any better, it goes ahead and shows me I know nothing. In its Winter premiere, not a single series regular cast member appears. That’s right. It’s another solo episode but who are we following exactly? Well, last time, it was a man, and it was Phil’s brother. This time, it’s a woman, and a stranger.
Kristen Wiig holds her own in “Got Milk?”, as she plays Pamela Brinton, a super wealthy happily married woman who is insecure about herself and needs a charity named after her and fundraiser events to deliver lengthy monologues to the crowds for validation. If Act One of this episode isn’t enough to make you hold your stomach while you laugh, I don’t know what is. Kristen Wiig is comedic perfection and every word that comes out of her mouth, every inflection, every movement she makes will hit you where it matters.
Through Pamela, we get to experience the first moments of the outbreak! The episode starts out pre-virus, or more accurately, as one of the first people falls victim to the virus.We get to see the world, or well, California, when people were still alive! We get to see so many moving cars, people walking on the street – granted the people (and for comedic effect, the dogs being walked) are wearing masks. BUT STILL. It’s all very exciting, especially for longtime viewers. There is just so much activity. This was a long awaited episode for sure. It was genius to show us the before through a new character. Bravo, writers on giving us the expected in such an unexpected way. Pretty magnificent.
“But Benjamin, I’m making you that soup. In my heart.” – Pamela
“And I’m eating it, in mine.” – Benjamin
At what we can assume was Pamela’s last fundraising event, we meet a woman by the name of Catherine (Laura Dern, Big Little Lies) who shows Pamela up in the funny department. Pam’s speech is a bust, literally none of her jokes land, and Catherine knows just what to say to get the laughs from the crowd. Catherine is delight and seemingly everything Pamela wants to be, at least when it comes to the social life. It turns out, Catherine is the first person Pamela checks up on after Pamela’s husband catches the virus. Only Catherine is dead and the key to Catherine’s bunker inside the bunker binder is sitting on the vanity dresser. If you tell yourself that you wouldn’t take the key, you’re kidding yourself. Straight for the goods. She’s hopeful for a cure but she knows where to be hopeful, at least. The safer, the better.
So, with the key, Pamela makes her way to the bunker, her new home for what ends up becoming the next three years. I find it interesting that (it appears) she literally only left with her dog and whatever she could fit in her purse. With many Presidents six feet under and stores having been looted ten times over, with no one to share the roads with, she’s still hopeful. Because what else can you be when you’re used to the world being so kind to you, or at least kind enough to keep you alive? She was so convinced that the virus would blow over, that she didn’t even plan for a worst case scenario, didn’t even think to bring a box of books or something to pass the time, however long that could be. The level of entitlement and denial that she’s in, even as she tours the bunker is pretty bananas. She does have three years to get a reality check though.
“Refried beans? Why didn’t you fry them right the first time?” – Pamela
She outlives many. The show, which is set in the future but not far enough removed from the present, will make you do a double take at the immediate skip over of the 45th President (woo!) but the mention of President Pence. According to the show, he was the 46th President and died of the virus at age 61. The next President was Paul Ryan and the four after him, within a year’s time, were more of Drumpf’s people, including Betsy Devos (gag) who dies of the virus at the age of 61.
Anyway, after three years in the bunker, holidays and all, Pamela and her dog, Jeremy are down to eating cat food. Not surprisingly long after that, Pamela, living in solitary for so long with so little activity to stimulate her, becomes an alcoholic, has a breakdown and lets Jeremy outside. With Jeremy gone, she falls into a depression and is going through the motions of her daily routine when one day, she is surprised with what the bunker’s drone finds on one of its outings.
“Mi-lk. Mi-lk. Mi-lk. C’mon, you can say it. Milk. Alright, fine. That’s enough for today. But mark my words, you will talk.” – Pamela (to her dog)
Yep. You guessed it. She finds the gang. The drone that made its appearance in earlier episodes was indeed a friendly. More than that, it was Pamela. And now she’s on her way to the group… Too bad they aren’t there anymore. But with the news that Pamela is a recurring character, maybe it won’t be too long until she finds her way to them. I’m especially looking forward to seeing if and how her character has evolved over the years and what she is willing to share and make up about herself when she eventually comes across more people.
All in all, this is one of my absolute favorite episodes of The Last Man on Earth. The comedic timing, the stakes, the pacing, the tone, everything was perfect at every turn. The emotional journey we go on in this episode is truly magnificent. Kristen Wiig definitely deserves some award recognition for her performance here and the writers should definitely get recognition for their brilliant script. With “Got Milk?,” The Last Man on Earth lets viewers everywhere fall in love with the show all over again. The Last Man on Earth is outstanding and this episode is one you’ll want an encore of. There’s just so much to dissect, appreciate, and love here.
Watch The Last Man on Earth Sundays at 9:30/8:30c only on Fox.