Episode 10, the season, and potentially the series, finale, brings us the Battle of Marrisville vs the Amazons. Beth and Jennifer escape the Pentagon and hide out in Jennifer’s house, while Kim and Christine sleep in a barn. The Culper Ring lets 355 know that they’re still watching her.
As of this writing, Y: The Last Man is a one season show. We love this show and are really hoping someone picks it up. Season 1 can be watched as a complete story, but the ending sets up what are sure to be fascinating season 2 storylines. Y: The Last Man explores human nature in a unique way, far beyond the fact that most of the cast are women. The writing, acting, production design and technical values work together to build a world with a depth that’s rarely seen on television, let alone built in 10 episodes. Showrunner Eliza Clark and her team deserve the chance to show us more of that world.
The episode opens on the entire Brown family at dinner at a nice restaurant a few months before the Event, probably the last time they were all together. Hero smokes a cigarette outside before joining them. Jennifer subtly criticizes her by saying she thought Hero quit. Hero asks why she thought that.
Yorick describes his escape artist act to the table, but he can’t get more than a few words out at a time without being interrupted by his parents. Beth’s comments are usually supportive, though sometimes slightly condescending. His parents, particularly his father, Dean, are competitive, one-upping him or putting him down at every opportunity. Hero is mostly silent, but she’s saving herself for the right moment, after the others have prepared him for the kill.
Which makes it especially ironic that Jennifer insults Hero’s intelligence and work ethic. Hero is the most accomplished in the family business of tearing each other apart. She and Yorick gave up early on the other family sport of trampling each other while climbing to the top of the heap since there was no way for them to match their parents’ toxic ambition. Hero barely survived her childhood and can’t stop fighting or figure out how to create a healthy relationship that doesn’t end in betrayal or even murder. Rather than fighting back, Yorick made escaping his way of life. Before the Event, he was ready to move to the opposite side of the Earth.
Yorick’s escape artist act begins with a description of Elvis Presley and his stillborn twin brother’s birth. He wants to examine the twists of fate that make one man the King of Rock’n Roll, while his brother doesn’t even get a chance at life. His family turns it into a trivia competition and critique of his choice of subject matter so that the larger point is lost on them. It’s made clear that Yorick’s show wouldn’t be good enough, no matter what it was about.
This is likely par for the course for Yorick’s conversations with his family. He and Hero are both scapegoats, just in different ways. Yorick is the silly, ineffectual clown, as his name implies, and they will never let him be anything else. He could win a Nobel Prize and his parents would tell him the committee made a mistake or there wasn’t much competition that year. Hero is the rebellious, teenaged addict who they will never allow to grow up, just as the character of Hero is erroneously depicted in Shakespeare’s play. Hero could become a model citizen, but every time they see each other her mother would bring up her past and insinuate that she’s probably still a practicing addict. Hero and Yorick are aware that they’ve been boxed into these roles, but until the Event changed the world around them they couldn’t climb out.
Yorick’s act moves from Elvis to a rope, chains and handcuffs, which represent his parents and Beth. His father gets passive aggressive about being less successful than Jennifer, then Hero jumps in to ask why she was left out of the symbolic burdens holding Yorick back. He hasn’t actually had time to explain where he was going with his idea- it might have been someplace surprising.
After Jennifer questioned whether he was now doing performance art instead of a magic show (like Sam), Hero brands it as a poorly constructed metaphor for the pain of the hetero cis white male, implying that Yorick is shallow and self-absorbed for personalizing his show. There’s no way for him to come back from that in the moment. He doesn’t even try, deciding his ideas weren’t developed enough to explain to his family anyway.
As if they were some sort of judging committee instead of people he had the right to expect support from.
This moment is worth noting because in episode 8, Roxanne accused Yorick of not having Hero’s back when she was under constant attack by their parents. What we’re seeing is that both siblings were under constant attack. In this instance, Hero purposefully escalates the attack on Yorick and incidentally on herself in order to end the dinner more quickly so that she can escape, but also because fighting is just part of her nature. Yorick was playing nice, no matter what was thrown at him.
He and Beth were the only ones consciously and subconsciously trying to keep the meal pleasant. Hero used Yorick as her match to set the place on fire. This is important- Hero throws him under the bus inside the restaurant, then later accuses him of not supporting her. The opposite is true. As we’ll see later, he tried to support her, but she was determined to rain fire and brimstone down on the evening. Hero was emotionally dangerous to Yorick even before the Event. She also loaned him money for his proposal dinner, so it’s a complex relationship.
After the opening credits, 355 is asleep on the pavement in the middle of Marrisville’s Main St. She hallucinates her Culper Ring handler, Fran, telling her to get up, but it’s Janis, the leader of Marrisville, asking if she’s okay. She gets herself up.
Fran is the voice in 355’s head.
As they approach Marrisville, Roxanne and Nora wonder if the rumors about a man living there will pan out. Nora doesn’t think it matters, since she’s more interested in the town’s resources and she thinks the rest of the Amazons feel the same way. Roxanne thinks Nora needs to learn have fun, as defined by her- choosing a group to hate, then mercilessly hunting them down and murdering them or destroying their lives.
Roxanne is drunk on power and hatred, as bad as any organized hate group.
She does have one unique insight: “It’s got to be at least kind of interesting being a mother right now. The world’s gonna end. You don’t have to raise your kid to be somebody’s wife or somebody’s mother. She’ll never have to punch a clock. Have a boss. There’s some freedom in that, if you get the stick out of your *ss.”
At the edge of town the road is blocked by a barricade made of cars. Roxanne and Nora are so certain they’re attacking unsuspecting soccer moms that they don’t understand what they’re seeing.
Allison works on plants in a greenhouse with Amp watching her. 355 passes by looking for Yorick. Allison laments the short-lived species that are starting to die out because there aren’t any males, naming the Sunda rat, which only lives 6 months. Before long, many more species will be lost.
Amp hops out of the greenhouse. 355 is worried, but Allison says he won’t go far. He prefers her to Yorick. She notices 355’s bare feet and realizes that the agent is on her way back from sleepwalking. She asks if there’s anything she can do to help. 355 has tried everything. She can escape restraints in her sleep. The only thing that worked was tying a 10 lb sandbag to her arm, which is impractical while on the run.
355 says she’s recovering from her concussion, so it’s time to leave before someone finds them. Janis said they could have a couple of ATVs. Allison balks at the change of subject when they were finally communicating like two human beings. She’s worried that Yorick won’t want to leave, since he likes Marrisville. 355 is all business again and doesn’t plan to give him a choice.
A couple of Amazons sneak into town to do recon. They’re envious of the creature comforts enjoyed by the former prisoners. Either they don’t notice the prison just outside of town or they assume it held men and no one bothers to check.
Sonia and Yorick chat in the kitchen.
Sonia: “So what’s the idea? You become Johnny Appledick, the Universal Donor?”
Yorick chokes on his drink, not having thought of his mission in quite those terms. Sonia asks if he’s ever tried the usual method of getting someone pregnant. Yorick says that Beth was strict about waiting until she had a tenure track position at a university.
These days, that might mean waiting until she reached menopause- or never.
Yorick has always wanted kids. Sonia asks if he’s had sex since the Event, then stops when she sees his stricken face and asks if he makes a big deal about sex. She wonders how many women he’s had sex with.
Yorick: “Huh, well, I’ve never really counted before, but, uh… one.”
Sonia finds it hard to believe. Yorick explains that he and Beth met when they were very young, so there hasn’t been anyone else.
That also may be why Beth wanted to ditch him when she went to Australia. She’d never been with anyone else and saw this as a chance to date other people, whether or not she eventually committed to Yorick.
355 bursts into the room and snaps that they’re leaving the next day.
The Amazons are camped out at a public indoor pool which is somehow in perfect condition months after the Event. They use found objects to create a makeshift town map and go over the information Athena discovered doing recon. Roxanne is overconfident, certain the town is made up of soccer moms who will be too scared to fight, so they’ll be easily removed. Nora tries to caution her that the sophisticated level of operations in Marrisville suggests there’s more going on, but as always, Roxanne won’t listen and mocks Nora instead. Meanwhile, Nora is the one creating a battle plan with a strategy rather than assuming the women of Marrisville will simply run away at the sight of the Amazons.
Roxanne’s overconfidence is bolstered when two older women return to the pool and claim it’s their territory. Hero learns their names, Diana and Ruth, and tells them to leave, maybe for the camps, because the Amazons have taken it over. Diana and Ruth inform them that the camps are disbanding because the president is dead and the government collapsed after rioters stormed the Pentagon. Hero doesn’t believe them. They tell her that the president was shot in the head and people are “building bonfires on the roof.” Roxanne makes them leave. This time Hero believes them and is stunned. She turns to Nora, the only one who knows the president is her mother.
The “president” who was shot in the head is clearly Regina, but Hero has no way of knowing that. Still no word on what happened to General Peggy. Lisa is dead. Kim and Jennifer, the other obvious choices for leader, are in hiding. It sounds like the military ultimately fell in with the rioters after Regina and every other obvious successor was either shot or disappeared. The resistance could still install a new leader, either one of their own or a puppet from the old government, but they won’t bother if they’re all anarchists like Malika.
We saw that the military in Boston didn’t understand or care about what they were fighting for, they were just following orders so they would keep being housed and fed. It wouldn’t have taken much to turn them to the resistance or for them to walk away, since the resistance also had food and shelter and the military comes with the risks of combat. When the Pentagon fell, soldiers all over the country probably decided continuing to serve wasn’t worth it any more and went AWOL.
Returning to the restaurant flashback, Beth describes the culture she plans to study in Australia: “This community is matrilineal, collectivist. It’s based on the idea that your actions actually affect other people.”
Hero interrupts to ask her father what he’s doing on his phone. He claims it’s a work thing. Jennifer asks when Beth starts her Fellowship. She’s not sure she’s going to take it yet. Yorick insists that she has to take it. She beat hundreds of other applicants for the position. Dean assumes her mother is overjoyed to have such a successful daughter. Both Dean and Jennifer are finally acting like supportive parents- if only Beth were their daughter.
Beth thinks it will be hard on her mother to have her daughter move so far away. Yorick says Beth’s mother is excited and talking about Christmas in Sydney. He suggests the Browns all go as well. Jennifer dismisses the idea. Beth says again that she’s not sure she wants to go. Yorick encourages her, saying how exciting it is. Jennifer makes a toast to Beth. Hero keeps drinking.
As we know, at some point Beth’s mother was diagnosed with cancer. Beth missed being with her at the end because of the Event. In normal times she might have missed it because of her Fellowship, which she eventually accepted.
In the present day, Jennifer sits in the living room of her DC house and looks at an old picture of young Hero from one of her horseback riding competitions (earlier Yorick mentioned she won blue ribbons). Beth comes downstairs with her arms full of supplies, complaining that she couldn’t find hair dye to use as part of Jennifer’s disguise. She suggests shaving Jennifer’s head, but the former president won’t hear of it.
Once again proving that she has little empathy for other people, Jennifer asks what happened to Beth that brought her to a place where she could take part in the resistance. Beth explained her anti-capitalism views at the restaurant, then told Jennifer about her mother’s death. Jennifer lived through the same plague as everyone else, but she’s been so insulated that she can’t comprehend the desperation it’s brought out in almost everyone. She has no idea how little she and her administration were helping them.
Beth tells her the system is broken and can’t be fixed. True to form, Jennifer continues to criticize the woman who saved her life, not comprehending that without Beth, she would have been dead or imprisoned by the end of the day. Beth ignores her nonsense and asks where Yorick is. Jennifer doesn’t know and doesn’t want to help Beth find him.
Beth: “You won’t survive out there without me. Lot’s been going on since you locked yourself up in your little f**king fortress, okay? The world has changed. You stay here, they will find you. And they will probably kill you. Pack what you can carry. We’ll leave when it gets dark.”
She walks out. Jennifer doesn’t respond. Maybe Beth finally broke through her giant sense of entitlement.
As Yorick and 355 pack their gear onto the ATVs, he describes his mother’s hard exterior as mostly bravado and says she’s sweet and lonely on the inside, a lot like 355. 355 takes exception to the comparison. She doesn’t want to be like someone’s mother and she’s not lonely. He doesn’t see how that’s possible, given her lifestyle.
355: “I don’t know. I don’t need as much attention as you do?”
Like the amount of attention a normal human being needs? He spent months alone after the Event trying to find Beth, rather than racing to the nearest government worker who would take him to DC. He enjoys people, but right now he gets attention because he’s the only man. Sonia was right about 355. She can’t admit that she has normal human needs and emotions. To be fair, the Culper Ring tried to train them out of her.
Yorick asks about the Culper Ring. 355 tells him her handler was a man and they keep everyone separated, so she doesn’t know anyone else. This could be a lie or she could mean she doesn’t know any other women well. We’ve seen her with Fran and 525, so she knows at least two other women.
Yorick suggests that they stay in town until they can make contact with Jennifer. 355 refuses to consider it since the lab is in San Francisco and species are starting to die off. Allison approaches as the conversation becomes an argument. Yorick questions whether Allison can fix this problem.
Allison awkwardly makes her presence known, then tells them the Marrisville women are throwing a surprise goodbye party. She didn’t want 355 to get startled and kill someone. Then she practically runs away. Yorick looks mortified at having accidentally hurt her feelings.
Flashback to the restaurant and another time Yorick accidentally put his foot in his mouth. Dean pressures Hero to finish her Bachelor’s degree, refusing to acknowledge that she has a career and a degree (probably an Associates, though some paramedics do get Bachelor’s of Science degrees). Yorick, trying to change the subject but keep the spotlight on Hero, mentions that she has a new boyfriend. She jumps on him for bringing up her personal business, but admits to her parents that she’s dating someone- a married man with a pregnant wife. Yorick and Beth never met Mike, so they didn’t know. Yorick hoped the new boyfriend would be someone his parents would approve.
Jennifer is horrified. Dean stays quiet. The table erupts into another argument. Hero asks Dean to back her up, since he’s having an affair with his teaching assistant. She can guess that’s who he’s been texting with all evening. Jennifer is embarrassed that Hero is loudly accusing her husband of having an affair. Yorick and Beth decide it’s time to leave. Hero asks why Yorick never has her back. Jennifer also decides it’s time to leave, saying the restaurant knows her and will put the bill on her tab, so they don’t have to wait.
Hero mumbles something disingenuous about this being her fault. She didn’t ruin dinner alone, but she certainly helped. She knew where her comments would lead. Oddly, Jennifer and Dean seem less self aware or maybe it’s just that they’re more guarded, while pushing Hero’s buttons until she expresses anger and brings up difficult subjects for the entire family. Jennifer doesn’t have to confront Dean about his affair in quite the same way if Hero’s already confirmed it for her.
At the moment, Jennifer is worried about this becoming a public scandal that will affect her chances of re-election. Since she and her husband were separated and about to divorce by the time of the Event, Hero’s guess must have been correct.
Jennifer makes excuses about needing to work, then whispers in Hero’s ear. She asks Yorick to make sure Hero, who’s quite drunk, gets home okay. Then she races out, while the others, including her husband, are still seated at the table. Maybe they were already secretly separated.
In episode 4, Hero told Sam that Jennifer whispered she has no regard for anyone’s life but her own and she’s selfish, self-destructive and cruel. Dinner with the Browns is a blood sport. Jennifer reacted to Hero as if she was the woman sleeping with Dean. Dean, Jennifer and Hero are vicious when they feel threatened. Jennifer attacked and then ran out, like an escape artist might.
After dark, Beth and Jennifer are preparing to leave when Sam breaks in through the front door. He wants them to come with him to help get Hero away from the Amazons. He noticed a van around the corner, obviously watching the house. They grab their bags, intending to get out immediately, but it’s too late. Bright lights shine in through the windows and there’s loud pounding on the door. A woman tells them the house is surrounded. “We need you to come with us.”
Hmm, Sam’s arrival was convenient timing, giving them just enough warning so that they weren’t panicked by the knock on the door. I still think he could be a Culper Ring agent, maybe Beth as well. At the very least he’s cooperating with them to help bring Jennifer in for questioning. Beth kept Jennifer tucked safely at home all day, until the van came for her.
The Amazons’ pool party continues into the night. Nora and Hero sit on the side of the pool and remember Jennifer. When Ted Campbell considered Jennifer for vice president, Nora was the one who vetted her. Jennifer listed Hero as a liability. Hero was questioned for 9 hours, while they only talked to Yorick for half an hour.
Nora tells Hero that they’ve both spent their lives trying to be perfect. Hero just gave up sooner. She can’t believe someone would name their daughter Hero. Hero explains that it’s from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, the ingenue whose fiancé is tricked into thinking she’s betrayed him. Nora confides that she changed her name when she left home because she didn’t like the old lady name her mother gave her.
To Roxanne, this appears to be the sort of conversation that could lead to an alliance against her. She mocks them, especially Nora, for mourning the loss of the Pentagon and the system that hurt them all, while the Amazons are celebrating their certain victory tomorrow. Nora stands up and tells Roxanne not to speak to her that way. Then she joins the pool party.
The Marrisville surprise goodbye party is going on downstairs, but both 355 and Allison escape upstairs to go to bed early. Allison has a moment of self doubt and asks 355 what will happen if she can’t fix the Y chromosome issue when they get to San Francisco. 355 tells her that the job probably is too big for one person, even someone as smart as Allison, but they need to try. Then 355 lies down on her back to go to sleep. Allison lies next to her, head on her shoulder, simulating a 10 lb sandbag. She asks if it’s okay. 355 puts her arm around Allison. She’s making progress in allowing herself to be a person again and not just an agent.
Downstairs, Sonia tells Yorick she’ll miss him, then explains that she doesn’t view time as completely linear. She prefers to think the order of our actions, the before and after, isn’t the most important part of who we are. Then her after can be just as significant as what she’s already done- “which was kill someone.” She doesn’t try to make excuses for her crime. She just wants to do better going forward.
Sonia: “If time was more like an ocean, then you can’t just pick one moment out. It’s all mixed together, the good and the bad. You can miss your girlfriend and you can make new friends. Doesn’t mean you miss her any less.”
Since he and Beth appear to be taking a break anyway, Yorick kisses Sonia. This leads to more kissing and moving into Sonia’s bedroom.
Used judiciously, Sonia’s philosophy is lovely. It’s also the kind of thinking that justifies affairs.
Mack wakes up early to use the bathroom. Nora follows to check on her and discovers that Mack has gotten her first period. She tells Mack, “It’s exciting.” Mack asks why but Nora doesn’t know. She was just repeating what her mother said to her.
In a patriarchal society, menstruation is a dubious rite of passage. In a world where sexual reproduction is no longer an option, it’s a nuisance.
Nora tells Mack she loves her and she’s sorry. She takes off her wedding ring and tells Mack they’ll find a chain so she can wear it around her neck. Mack thinks Nora should keep it, but Nora doesn’t need it any more. She tells Mack that they’re both always going to love her dad and brother.
Nora: “But you’re a woman now and I need you to be brave and strong.”
Mack: “You sound like Roxanne.”
Nora, her voice hardening: “No. Roxanne sounds like me.”
Nora created a simple, but meaningful moment for them as mother and daughter. Then Mack gave Roxanne credit. Nora is just about done with hiding behind her.
Kim dreams that she’s back in the Pentagon, standing in front of a mirror in her nightgown. Yorick says her name and milk flows from her breasts. He takes off his shirt and kisses her neck. They kiss, then she straddles his hips. She’s getting into it when she wakes up in a pile of hay on the floor of an old barn.
What a let down for her. The breastmilk/motherhood kink is about to get even further out of control.
She wakes up Christine, who is sleeping next to her, and tells her she’s seen her own future, all of their futures. They just need Yorick.
In the morning, Yorick and Sonia are happily naked in bed together. 355 is also still in bed. She and Allison are curled up around each other. 355 stretches contentedly, then notices there’s a new Culper Ring tracking cylinder on the window sill. She jumps out of bed to look at it.
She looks shocked, but also more than that- scared or overwhelmed? She must have thought they were done with her, either because they’d collapsed like the government or because everyone else in her section was gone and the organization was too compartmentalized to find her.
This suggests that they’re watching, but spread too thin to give the usual amount of backup support, so they’re remaining hands off as long as the mission goes well. It also suggests they trust that 355 is on their side, something that could be hard to determine, given how many sides there were in the Pentagon when the government collapsed. Those various factions still exist in the remnants of the government and in the rest of the country (as represented by Jennifer, Regina, Kim, Lisa, Beth, Malika, Peggy, the rioters, possibly Captain Nguyen).
The Amazons ride into town like they own the place. Roxanne hollers for the residents to wake up and produce the man who lives there. Janis comes out and tells them to deal with her. Roxanne tells her their options are to die traitors protecting a man or to run and pray the Amazons never catch up to them. Janis glances around, checking to see if her people are in place yet. They’ve practiced for exactly this type of attack. When Roxanne begins a countdown, Janis fires two signal shots in the air.
Janis: “You have no idea who you’re dealing with.”
355 tells Sonia to get Yorick, Amp and Allison to someplace safe outside of town. Sonia suggests a silo about a mile away. Yorick doesn’t want to leave 355 behind, but she makes him go as more shots are fired. Ray, the trans man who lives in town, stays behind with 355.
Athena, Hero and Nicole call for whoever’s inside Sonia’s house to come out or they’ll start shooting. Athena sends Hero to check the other doors. 355 and Ray leave their guns inside. When they go out, 355 pretends to be scared and obedient. Athena tells them to walk toward the center of town so Roxanne can meet Ray.
Nora is the only one of the Amazons in the street who pays attention to what’s going on around them while Janis and Roxanne continue to argue. She shouts to alert Roxanne to the danger, just as the prisoners open fire from storefronts and rooftops. The Amazons are taken by surprise. One falls and is dragged down the street by her horse.
355 pretends she’s hurt and uses the distraction to take Athena’s gun. She scares the horse so that Nicole falls off, then she and Ray run toward town. Main Street is a battlefield. One of the Amazons, Jodi, is shot as she runs between Nora and Mack. Mack insists to Nora that she’s strong enough to help move Jodi out of the line of fire. Nora covers her, then they hold Jodi while she bleeds out.
Hero chases Sonia, Allison and Yorick as they run across an open field to the silo. She and Sonia shoot at each other, then Yorick recognizes Hero and stops them. He and Hero have a happy reunion for a second, then she tells him that Jennifer is dead and the Pentagon has fallen. Plus, her new friends the Amazons want to kill him, so the new world can be born. He needs to run.
Nicole, back on her horse, shoots Sonia in the head. Hero tells Yorick, “Run, right now, or I will shoot you!” Then she kills Nicole as Yorick and Allison run away.
Nicole is the one who left the oreo for Hero in episode 9. Hero is sad after she kills her.
Sonia did not deserve to die. This is not okay. I’ve been sympathetic toward the Amazons until now, but this crosses a line. We’ve lost Kristen Gutoskie on enough shows already.
Flashback to the family dinner. Hero smokes a cigarette alone on the sidewalk while Yorick rants at Beth about Hero’s selfish behavior. Sam jogs up, unaware anything is wrong. The original plan was for them all to go out for a drink after dinner. Yorick tells Beth that their car has arrived and pulls her in. Beth says goodbye to Hero and asks Sam to take her home. Hero tells Sam she made a mess. He presses the tips of his fingers and thumb together and pecks at the corner of her mouth like a bird while making kissy noises, then hugs her.
355 and Ray make it into town. The Amazons were already losing badly, but Nora can see that they’ll all be dead soon now that 355 has joined the fight. Roxanne notices 355 and decides to kill her by storming across the street, out in the open, firing without really aiming, until her gun is empty. Or jammed? Roxanne stops in the middle of the street to fix her gun, as if 355 isn’t right there.
As 355 jumps up to shoot Roxanne, Nora stands up and yells that the Amazons surrender. 355 aims to shoot Roxanne anyway, but Janis stops her. Roxanne has a temper tantrum, screaming at Nora for surrendering and trashing stuff as she storms away.
I’m not sure if she’s stupid enough to think they were going to walk out of there or if she wants to go down in a blaze of glory and take all of the Amazons with her. I suspect it’s some of both.
Nora has a temper tantrum later, back at the pool. I’m not clear on why the prisoners would let the Amazons just leave, but apparently they did. Hero shows up and confides to Nora (and no one else) that Yorick is alive. They were already the two women in the group who still loved certain men in their lives. Now they share this secret as well.
Roxanne is still fuming and taking it out on the Amazons, complaining that they failed her as warriors. Nora tells her to stop. The raid turned into a suicide mission because of Roxanne’s poor planning. Roxanne lets out a string of insults about Nora. Nora tells her she’s just like the men she hates, alternating abuse with compliments. Nora already tried Roxanne’s game 20 years ago, when she changed her name from Victoria to Nora and tried to be someone she wasn’t.
Nora: “It doesn’t work. The real you is a shadow and it is always there.”
Roxanne: “Athena, Hero, please escort this b**ch out of my face.”
They stand, but don’t touch Nora. Hero is enthralled by her words.
Nora: “She wants to change you. She wants to brand you. Chip away until you’re exactly what she wants you to be. Any of that sound familiar?”
Roxanne: “Oh f**k this s**t.”
Nora points her gun at Roxanne, who starts to taunt her that she doesn’t have it in her to do it. Before Roxanne can finish the sentence, Nora shoots her. She falls backwards into the pool.
The rest of the Amazons grab their weapons, not sure what Nora will do next.
Nora/Victoria: “We don’t have to reinvent ourselves. We don’t serve Roxanne. We don’t belong to anyone. This world will learn to fear us because we’ll show them exactly who we are.”
Mack nods her head in agreement. Hero stands next to her in protective solidarity. They ignore Roxanne bleeding out behind them, having become cold-blooded murderers thanks to her lessons.
Allison catches 355 in a hug outside the silo, then warns her that Yorick has had a rough morning. Inside the silo, Yorick sits against the metal wall as if he’s in another prison cell. He lists everything that’s gone wrong, blaming himself for the deaths that seem to follow him.
Death isn’t following him. It’s everywhere. Out of the potential targets where men had been sighted, Nora chose Marrisville because of its electricity. But his sister just threatened to kill him, then killed someone to save him, which is hella confusing, so let’s give him a pass this time.
355 shares that her grandmother lived with her family when she was a kid. She was a singer who took 355 to a club one night when she was 12. Her parents discovered where they’d gone and collected them from the club. Her father screamed at her grandmother on the drive home, which was weird for 355, because it was the best night of her life. Then a drunk driver caused their car to hit a tree at 60 mph. Her parents and grandmother died in the accident.
The adults were angry, then they were dead and she was alone. She felt like she should’ve died, too, but she survived. She tells Yorick that he will, too. She says she’s sorry to hear that Jennifer is gone. She takes her orders from the president, so if the president is gone, the mission is over. Yorick is free to go, if that’s what he wants. Allison tries to object, but 355 signals for her to wait.
After everything, Yorick needs for this to be his choice, to have some control over his own life. It’s only fair to take a pause and let him decide to participate on his own terms rather than making him continue on as cargo.
Yorick: “I don’t want to be a liability anymore. Or a pawn. Or a Y-chromosome with legs. If we do this, I can’t be helpless.”
He wants her to teach him and says he’s a quick learner. She agrees.
Jennifer, Sam and Beth sit silently in a cell in a Culper Ring facility. They haven’t been told anything, including who’s holding them. Sam and Beth think they drove for about 2 hours to get there. Jennifer tells them not to talk, since they’re on camera.
525 and Fran watch from a control room. 525 asks if she should go talk to them, but Fran says it’s not time yet. On her way out, Fran says she wants to know when “she,” presumably 355, is on the move.
355, Allison and Yorick use the tracking cylinder to find a car that’s waiting for them with supplies for the next leg of their mission, including lab supplies for Allison, maps and a new tracking cylinder. 355 explains that the Culper Ring has been watching them. Now they want them to come in. Allison asks if the Culper Ring are like 355’s family. She doesn’t answer.
This episode was written by Eliza Clark and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer. Cinematography by Catherine Lutes and film editing by Amy M Fleming. Music by Herdís Stefánsdóttir. Production design by Alexandra Schaller.
The car accident that 355 dreamed about was the one that her family died in. When she dreamed she was a jazz singer, she was imagining she was her grandmother. Her dreams always relate to the night her family died, then she wakes up having placed herself at risk of death. She has survivor’s guilt. 525 mentioned that the Culper Ring always picks kids needy kids from orphanages and group homes. Do they put kids they’ve scouted out into those situations first? Has 355 figured that out yet?
Nora’s reveal that Ted Campbell considered choosing Jennifer for his vice president, when she wasn’t even from the same party, shows how close the two families once were and emphasizes the significance of Jennifer’s betrayal of Marla and Kim. We were shown in the pilot that Ted and Jennifer had already politically betrayed each other, instigated by Ted’s pandering to right wing extremists like Regina. But their friendship was strong enough to withstand political maneuvering, so Jennifer and Dean were both at Marla’s birthday party the night before the Event and Jennifer had an open door policy with Marla afterwards. This all could have gone differently if Jennifer had trusted her old friends with her secret.
Kim has gone off the deep end, with her madness focused on Yorick bringing fertility back to women and herself in particular. There’s some not quite the Virgin Mary imagery in having her dream of Yorick, then wake up next to pregnant Christine in a hay-filled barn, while Yorick has sex with Sonia then hides in a silo.
Sonia had a mystical side, between her Johnny Appledick conversation and her philosophy of time as an ocean. Too bad she can’t have Yorick’s philosopher/escape artist baby.
I wish we’d seen how much damage was done to Marrisville, if it can be repaired and what the terms of surrender were. Was anyone other than Sonia seriously injured or killed? It’s strange that the invaders were allowed to just walk away.
I’m willing to give 355 and Allison a chance at a slow burn romance, but I don’t feel as much chemistry between them as I do between 355 and Yorick. I also understand that if the show were to go several seasons and Yorick and 355 were end game, they’d need some obstacles. And for the foreseeable future, it would be intimidating for anyone other than Beth (who has a prior claim) to think about Yorick being involved in a monogamous relationship, as Sonia pointed out.
We were shown Beth being cool toward Yorick several times and there was the video where they hadn’t had sex in a while. It could just mean the relationship was doomed, but when combined with her interest in matrilineal collectivism, it makes me wonder if she’s interested in women as potential lovers as well. Meanwhile, Yorick was ready to settle down in the matrilineal collective that is Marrisville, so there’s hope for them yet, whether it’s as mates or friends and platonic soulmates. Or maybe Sonia was right and in addition to his lab activities, Yorick will have several mates, so as to make lots of babies.
As head of the House Intelligence Committee, Jennifer would have been given the same information as the president. She might be the only living soul left who knows the secrets about the US and foreign powers that she was privy to. That makes her valuable whether she holds an official title or not. It makes sense for the Culper Ring to collect her, either as one of their assets or to install her as part of a reinstated government. It’s Beth and Sam they don’t need- unless Beth and Sam are also working for them or they want to use them as leverage with Yorick or Jennifer.
The Culper Ring could have long-term embedded bodyguard/handler agents secretly embedded with persons of interest similar to the clones’ monitors on Orphan Black. As I’ve examined Sam, Beth and Christine’s activities, they’ve reminded me more and more of the professional embedded monitors on Orphan Black who insinuated themselves into a character’s life, sometimes even marrying them. If the Culper Ring is responsible for the Event and they knew they wanted Jennifer to play a role afterwards, it would make sense to protect her and watch her family. Sam and Beth might be sitting in the cell with Jennifer hoping she’ll reveal something useful.
Or they could be Culper Ring agents from a different faction than Fran, 355 and 525. I hope that when Beth thought she’d lost Yorick to death she realized how much she cares about him, but I strongly suspect that she wants to find him so badly because it’s her mission. Ditto for Sam- he’s weirdly, excessively determined to get Jennifer and Hero together when he knows how toxic their relationship is. How is Jennifer, who’s now in hiding from various enemies who want her dead so that she can’t reestablish the government, supposed to save the daughter who hates her from a murderous cult?
The Army seemed very quick to declare Regina president and then later to declare “the president” dead. Jennifer helped doom herself by not making public appearances and working harder to disseminate official news, since she probably wasn’t very recognizable to most people who don’t follow politics. The news that the president’s body was thrown on the front steps of the Pentagon was likely spread by military radio and word of mouth starting with the rioters and the camps. Almost no one saw the body and almost no one cared who the actual president was.
The question is, does the military still exist in some form and did they actively disband the camps, as Regina would have done? Or did the military disband when the president died and the rest of the government collapsed, which means everything the military oversaw collapsed as well when they walked away, and the federal government is well and truly gone?
In this episode, Hero purposely kills Nicole so she can’t kill Yorick. Nora kills Roxanne because her self-destructiveness has become too dangerous to the group. Both kill other Amazons: Nora kills openly as part of her coup, but it’s a betrayal of Roxanne, who took her and Mack in when they were in need. Hero keeps it a secret, since she betrayed the Amazons to protect Yorick. Hero feels an added kinship to Nora because they both made these protective kills that were also betrayals.
Committing a secret murder to protect another secret also puts Hero in the same category as Roxanne, who murdered Kate to protect her own secrets and her position as leader. Hero was brought into the group to help Kate. Nora came with her. We’ve come full circle.
The show has spent the season illustrating the differences between Roxanne and Nora. That continues, up until Nora surrenders. Then they are paralleled by putting their temper tantrums side by side within the episode. Hero reveals her secret, that Yorick is alive, to Nora directly after. Nora shoots Roxanne in a parallel to the way Roxanne shot Kate, acting out one of Roxanne’s fears, but she doesn’t act out the other fear and reveal Roxanne’s secrets. The two women were united in their rage and desire to stop feeling helpless. Roxanne took her revenge fantasy too far, until she turned it around on herself.
Victoria begins her leadership of the Amazons feeling superior to Roxanne, but just like Roxanne, she’s changed herself to become what she needs to be to lead and she’s got secrets to protect. (If we include Hero’s multiple secrets- Yorick, plus her murder of Nicole. Who knows what other lies Nora has told.) She’s also got people to protect, a weakness Roxanne didn’t have- or doesn’t have. I couldn’t tell where on her body Roxanne was shot. It’s conceivable that she survives.
I keep wondering if Roxanne is suicidal because she can tell her cancer has come back and she’d rather go down fighting. Breast cancer is another parallel between Nora and Roxanne. Nora’s mother died from her cancer.
Hero is one of those people who will only tell you the end of the story, which makes it seem like she’s a victim who had no choice but to make the decisions she’s made. In this episode, Hero was backed up against a wall, same as when she killed Mike. But she’s had choices all season long, in the past and present, that led her to each point where she “made a mess.” She’s damaged because of her parents, but so is everyone. She’s an adult. Time to grow up.
What direction will the Amazons take from here? Will they still hate and hunt down the last few (trans) men, even though neither Nora nor Hero care much about that? Or will they live for themselves and enforce their rule against fetishizing men?
There is a mythological maiden, mother, crone goddess element to Mack, Nora and Roxanne. By killing Roxanne, Nora removes the burden of the past. Roxanne represented the past as a Destroyer out for revenge. Now Victoria is the Crone and Mother. Hero takes the center of the triad as a Huntress and Mack remains a Maiden. But they are all Destroyers, with the traditional Creative energy that balances the other side of the birth, death, rebirth cycle in jeopardy now that it’s unlikely they will have the opportunity to become mothers. Victoria is the last mother in the group. Creation doesn’t require motherhood, but they seem at a loss as to how to replace that energy other than with destruction. Victoria’s symbol is the vulture, a fierce, protective mother which eats death and creates life from it, so I suspect she’ll eventually figure it out.
The women of Marrisville have already symbolically been through this life, death, rebirth cycle and found the balance that the Amazons lack. They lived one life before prison, then were symbolically dead while imprisoned. Some used this time for spiritual and personal growth. They were reborn after the Event when they took control of the town (after fighting a war for their survival) and turned it into a peaceful, self-sufficient collective.
The women of Marrisville and the Amazons have similarities to the Irish goddess the Morrighan, who can be a singular or triple goddess. Her name is often translated as Phantom Queen, but it can also mean “great” and “terrible.” She is a goddess of sovereignty, war, land, animals and fate. She rules over the land, protecting her kingdom, fighting to keep what’s hers and to keep it safe. She’s not terribly fond of men. Because she’s a powerful protector, her wars often become excessively bloody and deadly. An appearance by her predicts doom.
Y: The Last Man Showrunner Breaks Down That Major Villain Twist: In-depth end of season interview with showrunner Eliza Clark.
“The whole first season, I think, for all of our characters, they begin the season clinging to who they were before and some idea of what the world used to be and their place in it. By the end of the season, for better or for worse, they have all come to terms with the fact that that world is not coming back, and that they’re going to have to change.”
ETA- Showrunner Eliza Clark updated the show’s status on 1/14/2022:
For those of you who have been asking me: we tried really hard to get another platform to pick up season 2 of Y. But sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. It is always incredibly difficult to move a show, and in recent years, it has only gotten harder. (thread)
— Eliza Clark (@TheElizaClark) January 14, 2022
Images courtesy of FX on Hulu.