Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis in The Last Man On Earth
Image: Jesse Giddings (FOX)

After four seasons, multiple location changes, various cliffhangers, and numerous guest stars and cameos, The Last Man On Earth might be at the end of its run. Today, Will Forte and Kristen Schaal both hinted that it’s possible the show would not return in the fall. Though ratings have been on par with last season, and the series frequently places ahead of fellow on-the-bubble sitcoms like Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Mick, Fox could still give it the axe, especially considering that the network was reportedly hesitant to give the show a fourth season at all. No announcements have been made, and there’s still time for Fox executives to give LMOE the green light to return, so who knows? But there’s a decent chance that this might be the last we see of Tandy and the gang.

If “Cancun, Baby!” is indeed the series’ last episode, it will have gone out on a restrained high note. A low-key affair about the gang realizing it’s time to settle down and stop chasing some phantom perfect life, “Cancun, Baby!” is written like a series finale without adopting an overly sentimental tone. There are some nice callbacks to some of the series’ recurring jokes, like Todd and Melissa quoting The Shawshank Redemption at each other, and, most notably, the gang holds yet another funeral, but this time for their Zihuatanejo mansion, complete with Todd singing “Our House” to the tune of Gail’s accordion and Tandy offering one of his classic pun-filled eulogies. Yet, the episode doesn’t linger on the series’ history much at all. Instead, it looks ahead while coming to an appropriate conclusion.

The plot is simple: The gang boards a train car hooked to a semi-truck headed to Cancun where they’ll once again establish another homestead. After Tandy accidentally kills the two goats with explosives, they decide to make a pit stop in Tapachula to retrieve the rest of the herd. Unfortunately, the goats are nowhere to be found, so the gang decides to stay in the area for a little while longer in case they return, which isn’t so bad considering the area is full of fresh food and clean water. Nevertheless, everyone is itching to go to Cancun where they’ll presumably have some fun in the sun.

Except Tandy doesn’t want to leave. When he and Mike go searching for the goats, they stumble upon an abandoned house that reminds him of his grandmother’s old home. Later that night, he returns to the house with Clancy, his strange robot dog for whom he’s developed some fondness, in tow. While he’s there taking in the comfortable vibes, Clancy’s batteries die and Tandy solemnly begins to dig a grave for him. At that very moment, a real dog approaches Tandy, providing him with a feeling that he had completely forgotten about. But just as soon as it appeared, the dog runs off again into the night.

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The next day, just as they’re about to leave, Tandy spots the dog once again. He’s running by himself on a hill, happy and free, knowing that this is where he belongs. It suddenly dawns on Tandy: This is their home. He explains to the group that seeing a real dog made him realize that they’re constantly chasing after something that will only sort of resemble the real thing, whether that’s a real home or a normal life. But in Tapachula, they have fertile soil, natural irrigation, a bunch of goats, and open land. Cancun would just be another temporary location they would try to call a home before moving somewhere else in six months. “Look, there’s literally an expiration date on the way we’ve been living,” Tandy says. “And that date has passed.”

I can quibble with how Tandy connects the dots between “seeing a real dog” and “we should live in Tapachula,” but his speech to the group hits the right emotional note and allows Will Forte to play sensible for once. He’s right to suggest that they would be placing their children in danger if they keep chasing some elusive perfect life when they only have expired piecrusts and Mango chutney for food. He’s right that they can’t keep moving from place to place expecting that a new home in a fancy location will suddenly make everything fall into place. Eventually, they have to grow up, pick a place, and finally put some roots down.

That’s a proper move for the gang, who are all in committed relationships and have children, but it’s not one for Mike. Tandy realizes this and offers him the truck, giving him his blessing to take off and explore the world for himself. They share a genuinely touching goodbye: Tandy gifts him his rat-tail so Mike will have something to remember him by, and Mike gives him some armpit hairs in return. Both brothers are comfortable with the arrangement and know that their paths will cross again someday. But for right now, Tandy is finally ready to start a life in their new home with a makeshift family he’s grown to love.

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Of course, at that exact moment, Tandy and the group discover that they are surrounded by dozens of survivors who were previously living in an underground bunker. Oh farts, indeed.

So, LMOE offers a path forward if they’re renewed and a cliffhanger ending if they’re not. Overall, it’s a nice ending for a show that has had a strange evolution from dark existential character portrait to accessible ensemble comedy with a weird streak. I’ve been open about the fact that I much preferred the show in its original form, but at the end of the day, I’ve also mostly enjoyed the show that it turned into. It’s a fun, bizarre beast that successfully made a weekly sitcom from constant post-apocalyptic chaos. I hope it’s not the last we’ve seen of the show, but if it is, it had a lovely run. It may not be closure in the way Tandy sings about it, but it’s an ending nonetheless.

Stray observations

  • Fun fact: Kristen Schaal gave birth to her daughter Ruby on the very last day of filming and they apparently hired Daniella Mora-Balbo as a double for some of her scenes. I assumed that’s why there was the strange decision for her to wear a sleep apnea mask to help her “day apnea,” but apparently Schaal was sometimes wearing the mask, too. Could you spot the double?
  • Oh, Melissa left Jasper a self-driving car with coordinates to Cancun in case he wanted to join them. Unfortunately, none of them let Jasper know that they decided to stay in Tapachula, so…
  • Mike and Tandy sing “Freak Me” by Silk when they’re looking for the goats. It’s funny.
  • “And guns! All over the place! You’d swear we were still in America!”
  • “There’s just something peaceful about being in the place where you know you’re gonna…die.”
  • Thanks for reading and commenting the whole season! Hopefully, I’ll be back when the show returns, but if not, it’s been fun covering the show for the past three years!

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