Spoilers follow for Y: The Last Man’s sixth episode, “Weird Al is Dead,” which premiered Monday, Oct. 4 on FX on Hulu.
Y: The Last Man ticked up slightly this week with “Weird Al Is Dead,” a chapter with a bit more forward character momentum than usual, as Hero began to feel at home among Roxanne’s “Amazon” PriceMax crew and 355 had to contend with a trio of soldiers stalking her in New England.
Did Yorick do something dumb this week? Well, yes, a couple things, actually. That goes without saying. But at least this time he wasn’t the only bonehead in his brigade. Dr. Mann was a party to Yorick’s third-act attempt to escape, as she’s now almost usurped him as the more impulsive and reckless member of their gang. Prickly and anti-authoritarian, Mann’s not only a rabble-rouser, but she’s fickle about it, instantly doubting her choices at the first sign of trouble.
But, with regard to Yorick’s story this week, it at least led to some crucial confrontations with 355 about both her mental well-being and the secrets she’s keeping from him, all while introducing a possible puppy love aspect to the proceedings (which seems odd fitting for now). Plus, it actually wove the dangers of their trek into the story that’s going on back in D.C. with his mother and the cabal of conservative crazies that are slowly circling her (which made that storyline, briefly, a bit more palatable).
We’re still not exactly sure at this point why 355 took herself and her dopey duo offline and off-the-grid, but the series would do well to answer that sooner than later. Whether it feeds into the Culver Ring mystery or not, it’s not a good look for fans to be in the same dark as Yorick. Also, the sooner 355, Yorick, and Mann can all get on the same page and stop sabotaging each other’s efforts, the less frustrating a watch this will all become. Though, as faint praise, now that all three of them are making errors, and not just Yorick, things at least feel a bit more balanced.
The more Yorick can make soft mistakes, suffer soft failures, without it being a catastrophe, the better. This week he got swept up in a vigil (where, in a choice I’d like to know more about, the mourners sang Radiohead’s “Karma Police”) but it was a gentle affair. He blended in as a trans man, like in last week’s “Mann Hunt,” and for a short time our heroes could enjoy a touch of humanity.
Previously, it was a stretch to believe that Hero wouldn’t/couldn’t swallow her pride and seek help from her mother in D.C., and while that’s still a lingering head-scratcher, it’s easier for us to dig into her more recent trauma and the fact that she accidentally killed her lover right as the world fell into chaos. This very present haunting has now left her vulnerable to Roxanne’s “rebirth” gimmick, where her circle of previously abused women have now remolded themselves (via burial and bathing ceremony) into new apocalypse personas. It’s not the worst cult calling card, if we’re being honest, and the draw is understandable for someone in such constant torment, like Hero.
Also, with this arc, the series has worked a sly twist into the mix. Hero’s the one being slowly sold on the idea and Nora’s the more scared and skeptical one. Nora, whose past dealing with men of power may have left her more open to Roxanne’s harsh credo, is actually an exciting wild card right now since her fate is up in the air. We have no inclination as to where she’ll land, though it stands to reason she’ll somehow use Hero’s secret to protect herself and her daughter.
The treasonous whispers back in D.C. and the slow-burn menace of former cabinet secretary Regina Oliver (Jennifer Wigmore) are still the weakest elements here. Maybe it’s as simple as there just being an exhaustion point that’s been reached, since this isn’t any different from the political strife we’re all currently living through in real life. Y: The Last Man can be overflowing with grim tragedy and dismal fates, but somehow having to experience self-righteous hate-mongers in this form, in this type of dystopian escape, is too heavy a load to carry. At least for now.
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