What is that? Is it a breath of fresh air? Yes, on the new one episode of Y: The last man, “My mother saw a monkey,” the series finally showed a silver lining for our characters. After weeks of pain, lies and death, it was a welcome change.
However, we shouldn’t be surprised. The episode was written by none other than Co-founder of io9 Charlie Jane Anders. And while that has nothing to do with the good things we’re about to say about today’s episode, it’s certainly a nice bonus, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention. not the potential bias.
What made this episode stand out was twofold. First off, Yorick (Ben Schnetzer), Agent 355 (Ashley Romans), and Dr. Mann (Diana Bang) find what could be kindness in a very unexpected place. The trio hijack a motorhome and continue their journey to San Francisco, the discomfort between them still seething. But 355 falls asleep at the wheel and crushes the camper van, the three being taken away by a group of women who are later revealed to be former inmates of a local prison. Since Yorick was demonstrating his escape artistry skills at the time of the accident, the women naturally suppose Mann and 355 captured him. They also have a few questions about that pesky Y chromosome.
The prisoners seem relatively cold, however, and although 355 and Mann were locked up at first – and 355 seriously injured – they all end up being asked to assimilate into the community. Yorick, in particular, supports it. He even attends a city-wide barbecue and flirts with Sonia (Kristen Gutoskie), who just undressed him while he was still unconscious. The story ends with the feeling that the women who run this place have some sort of ulterior motive, but it remains to be seen if these are misleading or just logical. And yet, the fact that they’re actually good, helpful people makes it seem like it’s coming from a completely different show in the best possible way.
Meanwhile, the soldiers who found 355, Mann, and Yorick in the last episode are back in Washington, and we see why Yorick’s call for a less lethal response to their appearance was a bad idea. One of them reports to President Brown (Diane Lane) and her advisers that 355 had two travelers with her: one was Dr. Mann and the other was what the soldier believed to be a man with a monkey . President Brown, of course, knows this is good news for her, but doesn’t want anyone else to take this claim seriously and dismiss it outright. Once the news gets back to Kimberly (Amber Tamblyn) and the former First Lady Marla Campbell (Paris Jefferson), however, it sends shock waves. The description matches what Marla seen at the Pentagon, but the president was posing as a troubled woman seeing things she wanted to see.
Kimberly, of course, sees this as confirmation that Yorick is alive, resulting in the second stand.time of episode. She wants the same as everyone else! Kimberly, the right-wing opposition to President Brown, wants to bring Yorick back and study him to understand why he survived. The problem is, she doesn’t know that’s the plan that’s already in place, so that’s going to be a problem. Plus, she thinks Yorick was chosen by God and is almost some sort of holy figure who, again, will be a problem. But nonetheless, realizing that Kimberly’s devious desires might actually match the unfolding plot was welcome.
Those two things alone really set this episode apart from the show from the rest. Even the faintest glimmer of hope shone in such a dark place. But this show still takes place in an apocalypse, which brings us to the other two major events of this episode. The first was the surprise return of Yorick’s girlfriend, Beth (Juliana Canfield). She shows up outside the doors of the Pentagon as the President attempts to deliver a soothing speech to the crowd and is brought in as soon as Jennifer spots her. Beth is lucky enough to catch up with her future mother-in-law, but in her own words, she just wanted to talk to someone who loved Yorrick. The president doesn’t intelligently tell her the big secret but invites her to stay, an offer Beth declines – she stays with friends, she says. It is certainly suspicious that she will not accept the offer of much better housing and security, and these suspicions hold true when she finds these friends. It’s actually a group trying to break into the Pentagon and Beth was gathering all the information she could while she was inside. It’s a very nice little twist.
Finally, there is former First Lady Marla Campbell. After being validated that she doesn’t see things, she makes a very public demonstration of yelling at the president. The president knows it is justified, but everyone sees it as a manifestation of serious mental health problems. Problems that only develop when her daughter – after Marla suggests she leave and go home – tells her that their house has been completely destroyed by the flooding. She was already angry that she was told she couldn’t leave the Pentagon, but knowing that there isn’t even a home to go to is apparently too much for her. Marla leaves Kimberly a note and commits suicide. Kimberly is left screaming in the hallway after not being able to find her mother. (It was nice to see the series posting information from the help hotline immediately afterwards.)
“My mother saw a monkey” was easily one of the best Y: the last man episodes again. There were some really good and interesting surprises, a hint that this post-apocalyptic world may not be completely awful, and then events that show the consequences of everyone’s actions. Well balanced and convincing stuff.
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