Y: The Last Man Season 1 Episode 2: Would the World Be Kind Recap

Y The Last Man S1Ep2 Jennifer

Episode 2 picks up immediately after the death of the men, then makes a couple of time jumps, settling a couple of months into the apocalypse. The country is in chaos and riots are breaking out. Jennifer Brown becomes president and holes up in the Pentagon with other surviving high ranking government and military officials and their families. Agent 355 reveals her identity to Jennifer. Yorick searches for his girlfriend, Beth. Hero watches Mike’s wife and tries to figure out what to say to her. She also makes plans to leave NYC with Sam and his friends.

The characters refer to the mass death of every mammal with a Y chromosome as The Event. I’m going to refer to it as either that or the man plague.

Recap

The episode picks up on Day 1, immediately following the death of the men, as General Peggy Reed and the secret Service herd surviving government officials toward safety in the bunkers under the Pentagon. Their conversations make clear that no one has a clue what just happened, this was a global event, Ted Campbell’s administration was almost exclusively male, and many women also died, due to accidents caused by dying men. Regina Oliver, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was in Israel and can’t be located. If she’s alive, she’s next in line for the presidency.

For the record, 355 is our POV character for this background conversation between Lisa, Peggy and Jennifer. Jennifer is the one who says Regina is the next president. Jennifer, showing the skills of a natural leader, is already organizing and analyzing the situation, but she isn’t exerting more control than Peggy. Lisa is on the verge of panicking.

355 stumbles into a bathroom to have an anxiety attack and check her Culper Ring remote. It’s still flashing red, which as far as I can tell means her mission isn’t complete and she should continue on as she has been. She had it sewn into her blazer lining to keep it super secret. Once she’s regained her composure, she slips the remote back into its hiding place and returns to work.

When 1033 assigned her to this post, he told her there was a credible threat to the President. That was certainly true. But was this the threat he meant? Was Ted Campbell the president he meant? Or was 355 put in place to protect the president who would replace Campbell at a time when the Secret Service would be in disarray?

How much did the Culper Ring know about the “credible threat”? Did they instigate or facilitate the threat? In Oklahoma, 355 built a bomb for white supremacists that was then used against them. The man plague could have been a biological weapon used in a similar scheme that went very wrong.

Jump to Day 8- Let me say now that I hate counting hashtags. I can appreciate the artistry of using a method prisoners and children use to count days served and points scored, without enjoying reading them myself.

355 makes her way through the snow to a mailbox store, which is a front for her Culper Ring handlers’ hideout. The power is still on and so are the computer monitors. 1033 died at his desk. 355 holds her remote up to another that’s flashing red and they both turn green.

Mission accomplished.

The base’s surveillance cameras are still online, but the system doesn’t accept her log in information. She attempts to contact Culper Ring bases in NY, LA, Atlanta and Omaha by radio, but no one answers.

That could be because no one’s there or it could be because they want her to go dark for the next part of her mission. Her password and user name were deactivated for a reason. They’d still work if the Culper Ring shut down because they’re in chaos due to the man plague, so my guess is there’s someone minding the store somewhere. They’re continuing operations, whether the plague took the organization by surprise or not.

355 searches shelves of storage boxes until she finds the one meant for her. Inside are a ball of white yarn with knitting needles, which 355 puts in her bag; a flower seed head encased in glass (probably a dandelion?); papers, which she tosses aside without reading; a pendant necklace (could be a locket) with a small blue gem in the center, which 355 puts on; and a small envelope with a Massachusetts address and a note that says “Not yet!”.

Y The Last Man S1Ep2 355 Opens BoxY The Last Man S1Ep2 Flower in GlassY The Last Man S1Ep2 355's NecklaceY The Last Man S1Ep2 Not Yet!Y The Last Man S1Ep2 Mass Address


What Did the Culper Ring Know?

The box as a whole and that “Not yet!” are very interesting. It’s not clear whether instruction via cryptic items in a box is a standard method or 355 is a really good guesser. My guess is that it’s a little of both. The presence of the box suggests someone knew it was possible there would be no one available to communicate with her or brief her on her new orders.

But if they knew beforehand, why not reassign a woman as her handler? Are there too few women in the Culper Ring? And does this mean the leadership of the Culper Ring was complicit in The Event or was there a faction within the organization? Or did the organization learn about plot but couldn’t stop it in time?

By the time 355 was pulled from Oklahoma, there were dead deer all along the roadside, so whatever happened, it appears to have worked its way up the food chain over the course of 24 hours or more. And it also seems to have affected humans in Israel before it affected men in the US, which could mean that it originated in the Middle East.

Once that course was set in motion, it was probably unstoppable. Or maybe they weren’t sure if it would jump from animals to humans and didn’t want to create a panic. Either way, all the Culper Ring could do was put its best female agents in places that would help society survive. The fact that they knew enough to pack a box with some very specific items suggests that they had some very specific foreknowledge about what was happening, but it doesn’t tell us if they created it.

And there’s the question of the US government to consider- what did Ted Campbell know before he died? Did he leave notes for the next president in the White House, which will be lost because she abandons the building? Or does Jennifer know more than she’s letting on? Secrecy is in her nature at this point.


In the Pentagon War Room, where Jennifer is now president, the remnants of the federal government watch a live feed of rioters outside the White House (which the government abandoned as they closed ranks). Various officials state that within 10 days they’ll run out of coal, then power plants will shut down. Soon after that, food and clean water will become scarce. Showing that she hasn’t internalized the enormity of the disaster yet, Jennifer asks which cities they’re referring to. They tell her, “All of them.”

355 interrupts and asks to speak privately with the President.

355: “I’m not Secret Service. I’m a member of a covert task force. Code name Culper Ring. We only answer to the President. There’s no red tape.”

And apparently no documentation.

Jennifer: “Well, I was chair of the House Intel Committee; I would have to approve the budget.”

355: “You did. Our budget’s redacted. One of my superiors should have read you in. I’m not authorized. Or I wasn’t, but I don’t- I don’t know who’s left to do it. I was embedded with the Secret Service 8 days ago. Before that, I was in Oklahoma on another assignment. They pulled me out with an hour’s notice, sent me here. They wanted me with the president. There was a credible threat.”

Jennifer: “Which was?”

355: “I don’t know ma’am. I hadn’t been briefed yet.”

Jennifer: “So we don’t know if it was a nutjob with a grudge or, say, a weapon designed to do whatever the f**k happened 8 days ago?”

355: “I answer to you, ma’am. I”m here for whatever you need.”

Jennifer asks if Sarah Burgin is her real name. 355 says no, but Jennifer can call her that or (with more confidence) 355.

The rioters break through the barricades holding them back from the White House. Jennifer orders General Peggy to pull her soldiers back and let the rioters in, reasoning that it’s just a building- it can be replaced. It’s clear that many of the women in the room are shocked by this decision, including Peggy and Christine.

Jennifer asks for quiet in the room so she can speak. She tries for inspirational, but mainly settles on a message of pessimistic unity, acknowledging that life is probably going to get much worse before it gets better and the rioters are understandably expressing their outrage over the harsh futility of the situation. The government needs to help them as much as possible, but it will involve hard choices and everyone working together.

355 watches Jennifer in rapt attention. Maybe it was an inspirational speech after all.

By Day 63, Yorick has blisters on his feet from all the miles he’s walked searching for Beth. His apartment is his command center, with a wall map of NYC covered in notes to keep his search organized. Despite being hungry, Amp does what he’s told when Yorick says to, “Crate up.” Yorick dons his apocalypse PPE and they head out to spray paint a few more messages for the love of his life.

Yorick has found a way to recharge his phone so that he can rewatch videos of Beth to keep his spirits up. I’m going to guess someone gave him an emergency hand crank phone charger for his birthday one year and it’s finally come in handy. Put one of these on your Holiday list if you don’t already have your emergency bunker stocked.

Officials brief Jennifer on a newly formed sinkhole on 21st Street in NYC that’s exposed broken sewer pipes. The CDC warns this increases the risk of waterborne illnesses in the city. Engineers warn that the buildings surrounding the sinkhole are at risk for collapse. In addition, there’s “stagnant water in the subways, bodies in the water supply.”

Jennifer asks about pumping out the excess water. They remind her that the city’s backup generators have been down for 11 days, which means water has been rising for the same amount of time. The infrastructure on the lower half of the island is too old and layered to withstand this type of onslaught. It will become unlivable in 24 hours. Jennifer says that yesterday they told her NYC had a week before it needed to be evacuated. General Peggy admits that their estimate was wrong.

She graciously doesn’t mention that their calculations couldn’t account for a sinkhole that hadn’t formed yet.

Christine tries to reassure Jennifer that there’s still time for Hero to get out of the city. Everyone pauses and looks uncomfortable. Jennifer breaks the silence by asking how many still need to be evacuated- the answer is 80,000. They’re blanketing the city with instructional leaflets and making verbal announcements. Someone begins to list art museums that still need to be emptied, but Jennifer snaps that she doesn’t care about the art. She wants all available resources devoted to the people.

Once again, Jennifer is a capable leader, but has trouble reading the room. There’s no decision she could make that would keep everyone happy, but attempting to preserve the art, symbols of history and civilization, in the midst of a losing battle means something to people. Those symbols provide continuity and hope when people feel lost. This is shown on a personal level throughout the episode, as characters pass, keep and debate tokens and symbols, such as drivers licenses, photos, a baby’s pacifier, the sperm bank, testosterone, phones, chocolate, alcohol, etc.

She might not be able to save the White House or all of the art at the Guggenheim or the Whitney, but she could assign a few people save the most iconic pieces from each place. As it stands, when the chaos is over, people will remember her as the president who said, “F**k the art!” and left the Warhols, Picassos and van Goghs to the sewage and floodwaters.

The show is building a case for Jennifer as ice queen, a woman who copes with adversity by shutting down her own emotions and denying the seriousness of the situation for others. She has good intentions and works hard, but she’s built a protective shell around herself that doesn’t allow for weakness or emotional need.

We’ve been shown that the survivors the government is currently coaxing out of NY are the ones who refuse to leave, akin to those who won’t evacuate before hurricane warnings. Though she maintains a strong facade, Jennifer’s judgement is clouded by the thought that Hero could be trapped somewhere in the city. Privately, she assigns 355 to find her daughter. She hands 355 a list of places to look. When 355 suggests that they’ve all been checked and Hero has probably left the city already, Jennifer tells her to check again.

Hero hangs around a FEMA staging center, staring at a wall of male drivers licenses, which have become the most common method for IDing the dead. She’s basically stalking Mike’s wife, Ellie, who refuses to evacuate with her baby daughter without a positive ID on her husband’s body. Hero tells Ellie that she’s searching for her brother as they commiserate over the lack of help from the government. The FEMA workers beg Ellie to evacuate to one of the camps, where they have food and medical supplies, but she says everyone is sick there.

Y The Last Man S1Ep2 Jennifer Discusses the SinkholeY The Last Man S1Ep2 General ReedY The Last Man S1Ep2 Hero Stalks EllieY The Last Man S1Ep2 Ellie

Hero goes back to meet Sam in the dark corner where he’s hiding out with a grouchy gang of trans men. They’re super pissed that all of the good stuff was looted from everywhere before they got to it and are taking it out on each other. Their plan is to ride their bicycles to Vermont to stay with one of the men’s transphobic grandmother. Hero came up short on her looting mission as well, so they turn on her next. Then they argue about when they should leave.

Guess no one’s seen Jennifer’s leaflets yet, because they actually only have a few hours.

The rest of the trans men go to their own corner of the [abandoned theater? bar? it’s never clear], leaving Sam and Hero to argue alone. Neither of them particularly wants to go to Vermont. According to Sam, the only viable alternative is for Hero to turn herself in to the government so they both can get taken to her mom, the President. Jennifer drives Hero to drink, so, as an alcoholic, she’d rather starve than move back in with her mother under high stress conditions.

Sam sees Jennifer as his golden ticket to food, water and testosterone and he’s willing to sacrifice Hero’s sanity and sobriety for them. He figures Hero won’t stay sober for long anyway, so it’s not much of a sacrifice.

Hero says she’s going out to keep searching for a camping stove. Sam tells her they plan to leave for Vermont when it gets dark. As Hero walks out, there’s an announcement that residents have 6 hours to evacuate.

This conversation is Sam and Hero’s relationship in a nutshell. They care about each other, but they each have other issues they care about more. Hero comes from a dysfunctional family who left her ground down into a self-loathing, self-punishing addict. She chooses men who will hurt her because she doesn’t think she deserves anything better. She’s recently clawed her way back to sobriety and doesn’t want to lose that progress. She knows she won’t survive a lock in with Jennifer.

As a friend who loves her, Sam should respect that. He may think her family looks ideal from the outside and that the Pentagon is a magical place the apocalypse can’t touch, but his wishful thinking denies her experience and the reality of this crisis. Though it will be a challenge, Sam’s need for testosterone can be met without sacrificing her mental health. He’s going to be a man in a woman’s world no matter where they go, including the Pentagon, which is already developing rival factions and surrounded by rioters, so he might want to find a large hoodie and a mask, like Yorick has.

355 catches a ride to NY on a helicopter that’s carrying leaflets. The two military pilots question why their orders have changed at the last minute.

With all of the upheaval, military discipline isn’t what it used to be.

Kimberly dresses in full mourning regalia, including pearls and a headband to hide the dark roots showing in her blonde hair. She’s struggles with the zipper- no husband to help her out. Marla, the former First Lady, doesn’t bother to change out of her long nightgown. She’s done with keeping up appearances.

As Kim walks through the halls of the Pentagon, a group of giggling little girls run past. The former proud “Boy Mom” is startled and and happy to be near children again for a moment, then grief overwhelms her.

In the War Room, Jennifer is eating lunch as the staff call for General Reed. A group of highway workers from the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) has taken over the Arizona Statehouse and is holding hostages and making demands. Jennifer tells her staff to get the nearby Air Force base on the phone. She doesn’t ask about the state of the hostages.

Christine informs her that Kimberly has arrived for their appointment. First, Jennifer wants to know if 355 has checked in, but the answer is no. She reluctantly moves on to speaking with the former First Daughter. Kim is upset that they’re evacuating NY sooner than planned, which means the team won’t be able to go to the Manhattan sperm bank in a few days as planned. Jennifer tries to explain that they had no choice about abandoning NY early and are racing to get everyone out. Kim is obsessed with the “priceless genetic material” stored in the cryobank. Jennifer explains that they’ve already secured over a hundred other sperm banks.

Kim accuses her of sending soldiers specifically to look for her daughter, as if that would be so unforgivable during such a terrible time. If anything, it would make her more human and relatable. Jennifer replies that she sent soldiers to every neighborhood to help evacuate the city. Kim also says that President Campbell thought of his daughter as one of his advisors. And that there’s no future without men. Jennifer replies that she’s just trying to get through the present and ends the meeting.

Before the man plague, did Kim assume she’d stay on at the White House as an advisor to the next president? Jennifer could have assured her earlier in the interview that they’ve saved other sperm banks, but it sounds like there’s something at the NY sperm bank in particular Kim wants to save. And that she’s looking for reasons to criticize Jennifer.

Y The Last Man S1Ep2 KimY The Last Man S1Ep2 Beth & Yorick Photo StripY The Last Man S1Ep2 Yorick Looks at Photo Strip

With 5 hours to evacuate, Yorick is still busy leaving messages for Beth. He spray paints another on the wall of a dive bar they frequented. Does he think she’s going to stop by for a drink on her way to the evacuation when she hasn’t been to the neighborhood for the last 2 months?

When he’s done, he flips through photo strips hung outside a photo booth until he finds one of him and Beth. He takes it with him- maybe he doesn’t have many printed photos of the two of them.

Soldiers pass the bar, so he hides as they go by. Amp escapes out the window and runs down into a flooded subway stop. He disappears into the contaminated water. Yorick calls for Amp, pointing out the sign that says, “Dead people down here”. Amp doesn’t listen. Yorick proves he’s the most devoted pet dad ever and goes into the water to search for his baby.

Kudos to whoever created the subway water, because it looks exactly like slimy, putrid water filled with rotting carcasses. You can practically smell it.

Hero faces her nightmare and returns to the ambulance where Mike died. Unlike the bodies in the subway, Mike is politely desiccating, but it’s still not a pleasant sight or smell. Just as well that she spared his wife and daughter the experience. She pauses to think about the good times they had together, then puts his daughter’s pacifier on his chest. She takes his drivers license with her when she goes.

With 4-5 billion dead, that was probably more of a funeral than many got. I’m not sure what his wife expected for his body, since we saw legs sticking out of a garbage truck earlier in the episode. Is she hoping he’s still alive?

Clearly no one went looking for Yorick’s body. Jennifer isn’t broken up that his body hasn’t been found and doesn’t know about his notes. Hero or Beth would have seen his notes and understood what they meant. Which explains a lot about why Yorick is so desperate to hold onto love- no one was holding onto him very hard.

Yorick goes to a Chinese dry cleaner to find fresh clothes after his swim in the toxic subway water. He’s naked and blowing on his phone to dry it when one of the owners finds him. She only speaks Mandarin and is very surprised by his glaringly obvious anatomy. She calls for her daughters to come see what she’s found.

Yorick babbles his story out to the two younger women, who speak some English, but who are confused and want to know if he’s sick. When he moves to leave, one of them points a gun at him. They all yell at each other for a minute, then one woman says the other thinks they can trade Yorick.

She doesn’t say who’ll they’ll trade him to or for what.

Yorick keeps talking as he goes into an anxiety attack, still naked. He crouches on the floor, crying, saying he just wants to go home. The women feel sorry for him and hand him some clothes. As he goes out the door, he tells them they need to get out of the city before they get trapped. The one with the gun says, “This is our home.” Yorick leaves a fun size snickers bar behind in payment for the clothes.

Hero returns to the FEMA center and walks straight over to Ellie. She hands her Mike’s license and encourages her to evacuate while she still can. Ellie gives Hero a calculating look for a few moments, confirming that she was the one Mike was having an affair with. Mike’s wife thanks Hero for letting her know that she wasn’t crazy, despite Mike’s lies to her. As she gets up to make her exit, she says, “At least he wasn’t alone.”

That’s true. He wasn’t.

When Ellie realizes that Hero was having an affair with her husband, the lights start to go out behind Hero’s head. Mission f**king accomplished, for both women. They don’t owe Mike anything anymore. But then Hero is shown next to another light. She has an ongoing mission to get back to.

And Ellie still has a daughter, Esme, to raise. Mike might have have lied to both of them, but neither has been left alone.

Yorick sits on the subway steps and plays a video of Beth finding out he acquired Amp. She thought Amp was a cat at first and threatened to move out, which makes me think less of her. Just as present day Yorick gets all weepy watching his lost family, Amp comes back. He jumps onto his daddy’s shoulder and we all cry with relief.

Now that it’s evacuation time and he’s thinking about lost family, Yorick goes to Hero’s apartment. He’s definitely that guy who’s 20 minutes late for everything. Hero isn’t in her cosy apartment because she’s staying in a dark corner with trans men to show Sam she’s a good friend. Maybe a better friend would have invited all of the guys over to her place, but I get the sense they’re enjoying their drama to some degree.

Yorick sits down on the couch and admits to Amp that he’s out of ideas.

Hero returns to the guys’ lair and discovers it’s empty and even darker- until Sam dramatically turns on a lantern and tells her the others left an hour ago and took all of the bikes with them. But he’s just getting started. He goes on to guilt her for costing him the one chance he had to be himself, without having to constantly explain or defend who he is. She points out that she didn’t ask him to wait. She doesn’t say the obvious, that it’s only been an hour and they could easily find a way to catch up. Or they could just follow and meet up at Grandma’s house. Or that real friends would have waited for a few more minutes, since she could have been held up by circumstances beyond her control.

In fact, Sam’s good buddies also took all of the testosterone except one vial, only leaving him with enough for two weeks. Somehow this is also Hero’s fault and not because the other trans men are hoarding. When Hero blames the other men for leaving Sam behind without his share, he attacks her again.

But now she’s back in familiar territory, being treated unfairly by a man. She hugs him and comforts him.

He never asks about her day, why she was late, if she’s okay- nada. The emotional labor goes in one direction. Though it’s cleverly disguised to look like Sam is taking care of Hero or like Hero is treating him badly, in fact he’s complaining, manipulating and undermining Hero until she gives him what he wants.

She tells him they’ll be okay, because they’ve got each other. It’s a sweet moment, until he begs her to find Jennifer. “Just suck it up. I don’t care what she did or did not do to you a hundred years ago when the world was different. Okay? And you owe me.”

Hero says, “Okay.”

I would have punched the whiny *ss in the face and taken my chances with the evacuation. She doesn’t owe him her sanity or her sobriety. And I doubt the Pentagon is flush with testosterone anyway. But Hero recently killed a man after calling him on his sh*t, so she gives Sam a pass.

Now she’s not only self-loathing, she’s afraid of her own power.

Nora, along with her daughter Mack, tries to talk her way inside the Pentagon as former White House staff who should be considered essential personnel, but they aren’t on the list. Jennifer watches the surveillance feed from her office as Nora grows desperate, then angry. Even when Nora confesses that they walked a day and a half to get there, Jennifer doesn’t budge. She sends Nora and her daughter back out into the cold, when honestly, she could use an image maker to help with messaging to the protesters across the country. Americans think Jennifer is ignoring them, when she’s doing as much as possible. Someone like Nora could suggest small but meaningful tweaks that would improve the administration’s image. Condemning Mack just adds to her ice queen image.

Jennifer’s gaze turns from the monitor to a photo on her desk of Hero when she was a child. (Before her daughter became a disappointment?) She’s startled out of her reverie by Marla banging on her office door. The former First Lady is still in her nightgown, but she has put on a robe. And she brought liquor, which she refers to as “reinforcements”, so she can share a drink with her old friend. Jennifer asks what Marla needs.

She wants to go home- to Lynchburg, not the White House. Jennifer says they don’t have any Secret Service agents to spare to accompany Marla. Maybe she can go in a few months. But she laughs at the idea that Marla’s a prisoner.

Marla sits down. She brings up Hero and the accelerated timeline in NY. Jennifer’s still hoping she got out, but everyone else thinks she’s dead. Marla agrees that Hero is a survivor. Jennifer thinks she must be hiding if she’s alive.

Marla says that when she was pregnant with Kim, a woman in a hair salon could tell she was pregnant with a girl because she looked tired and haggard. She told Marla, “Girls steal your beauty.” Marla became anxious and worried about it all night. “Would she be pretty? Would she be thin? Would the world be kind to her or would it make her feel small? Would she, would she tell me her secrets or would she see everything she hated about herself in me? Or worse, would I see would I see everything I hated about myself in her? With James, it was like, I just, I just hope his guts are on the inside.”

Marla is a very perceptive woman. Jennifer looks old and tired while she speaks. Marla used warmth and attention to overcome her fears, but Jennifer’s became central to her relationship with her children.

Jennifer confides that today she sent someone to find Hero and bring her to the Pentagon. Marla marvels that Jennifer only sent one person. Jennifer didn’t want to use more resources than she’s entitled to. Marla says she would have sent the entire army. On her way out, she says she’ll walk to Lynchburg if she has to and she doesn’t need a Secret Service detail. “I just want to go home.”

Both women are isolated, as are their daughters. Jennifer hides in her work; Marla hides in the past. Kim is wrapped up in motherhood. Hero hides in her guilt and self-loathing. They’re unable to comfort each other because they’re dealing with so much of their own pain.

Yorick and Amp are asleep on Hero’s couch when someone enters the apartment in the middle of the night. Yorick hits the intruder with an acoustic guitar, which hurts the guitar and anyone who cares about music much more than it hurts his target. It turns out to be 355, who throws him on the floor and asks who he is.

The next thing we know, Yorick is on the helicopter with 355 and landing in DC, where Jennifer waits to greet him. They have a joyful reunion while the two helicopter pilots watch. 355 takes one look at the pilots’ faces and orders them to come with her.

“Acting president’s son is the only man alive after mysterious man plague” isn’t going to play well with the starving masses. And those two pilots look like they’d love to spread this story.

Y The Last Man S1Ep2 SamY The Last Man S1Ep2 Hero & SamY The Last Man Nora & Mack at the GateY The Last Man S1Ep2 MarlaY The Last Man S1Ep2 355 & YorickY The Last Man S1Ep2 Yorick & Jennifer Reunited


Commentary

This episode was directed by Louise Friedberg and written by Eliza Clark. Cinematography by Catherine Lutes. Sound editing by Lauren Stephens. Production design by Alexandra Schaller. Costume design by Olga Mill. Music by Herdís Stefánsdóttir.

Jennifer keeps Marla at the Pentagon, her only personal friend left from the before times, even though there’s no real reason Marla needs to stay. She’s purposeless and adrift, surrounded by reminders of what she’s lost. I suspect Jennifer wants the comfort of her friend’s presence but would never admit it. And she probably feels she owes it to Ted to keep his wife and daughter safe.

But she lets Nora and Mack walk away because “communications specialist” seems like an impractical position in the middle of a crisis and she doesn’t like Nora much anyway. While these are understandable, justifiable decisions, Jennifer makes them alone, without regard to how they’ll affect others, and that will come back to bite her. She doesn’t even offer Nora and Mack a hot meal or something to take with them before she sends them away.

Black is the main color theme this episode, with muddy brown and army green as secondary colors, as is appropriate for an episode about coming to terms with death on such a grand scale. Kim isn’t the only one wearing black, but she is the one who puts the most effort into it. Others wear drab colors or uniforms. It’s as if the vibrancy has drained from the world. Skies are cold, cloudy gray. Bodies are rotting in place, contaminating the water and soil, making the cities unlivable. Those who are left are leaving their familiar lives and spaces behind, to the point where I had to look up synonyms for the verb “leaving”.

The power is out, so fire makes more of an appearance than in the pilot, as a source of heat and as torches carried by rioters. And as the candles in Yorick’s apartment. Yorick is heart of this show. He keeps bright red in the mix with his spray paint, even as the bleeding that overwhelmed episode 1 stops. Sam, the other man in the main cast, wears red in this episode, a color which has so far meant blood/pain and love. His role revolves around his feelings for Hero, who cares about him but can be unreliable.

When Hero returned to the lair, he turned on a bright white lantern that was practically a spotlight meant for interrogation, rather than lighting candles, suggesting romance isn’t in the cards for them right now. Or it could signify that she’s his mission. It was close to the light of truth 355 put in Yorick’s eyes at the end, which was also the moment 355 met her mission. But Sam’s lantern is also reflected in a mirror, so whatever it means, it’s true for both him and Hero. Or maybe 355 and Yorick share a single mission, while Sam and Hero will ultimately be divided even further.

We get to know Beth a little better in this episode, through Yorick’s videos. She’s shown as being a little detached, devoted to her work, an anthropologist, smart, funny, patient and not into cats, but sorta okay with monkeys. She and Yorick had fun together and bantered through potential disagreements, until that one time that he pushed things too far and proposed.

Hero grudgingly feels that half a relationship is all she’s worth- an affair with a married man or a romantic friendship with a man who puts his needs before hers. She tries and fails to keep her mother’s cold distance- both women are intense, but Hero wears her heart on her sleeve.

Maybe Jennifer also sees herself as giving more than she gets. Introverts get misjudged and overwhelmed all the time. Both women are public servants, but Hero chose work that’s as hands on (and bloody) as possible, while Jennifer’s position on the House Intel Committee and the secrecy it required kept her distant from the public and increased the distance within her family.

Fun fact: In the show Designated Survivor, Kiefer Sutherland’s character, who inherits the presidency when the Capitol building is bombed into rubble during the State of the Union Address, was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development just like Regina Oliver, the MIA female member of Ted Campbell’s Cabinet. Apparently TV writers feel HUD is the Cabinet position least likely to be prepared to take over the presidency.

Was the NTSB using prisoners to do construction on the highways in Arizona? That hostage situation seems a little off.

Images courtesy of FX on Hulu.

2 thoughts on “Y: The Last Man Season 1 Episode 2: Would the World Be Kind Recap

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