Y: The Last Man Season 1 Episode 1: The Day Before Recap

The Day Before

This is a recap, with spoilers. My review of the first 3 episodes is HERE.

After several years of real life twists and turns, the TV adaptation of the Brian Vaughn-Pia Guerra graphic novel series Y: The Last Man premiered on FX on Hulu on September 13, 2021. As with many other graphic novel adaptations in recent years, such as The Walking Dead and Snowpiercer, it appears to be striking a balance between using the source material as a guideline but also updating and modifying storylines for television and changing times. This makes sense, since the first installments were published in 2002, a very different era from 2021 in terms of issues such as gender, race, sexual orientation, violence, terrorism and Climate Crisis awareness.

What ties the two eras together is the theme of coping with overwhelming reactions to a massive crisis. In 2002, the US was dealing with the aftereffects of the 9/11 attacks and was at war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2021, the world is in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic that has killed 1 in 500 Americans. Both periods share the zeitgeist that the world has changed and not for the better. We grieve the loss of the old world and those we’ve lost along with it. We’re in the dark about what the future will bring, resulting in escalating feelings of isolation, confusion, anxiety and anger.

Y: The Last Man picks up on this zeitgeist, then applies it to a world in which all mammals with a Y chromosome have died, save 2. The sudden genocide of half of humanity, the half which maintained control of so many vital systems, provides an opportunity to explore the results of oppression and inequality in unique ways. Most of the categories that humans use to separate ourselves into groups still exist in their world, from race to political party. Most of the issues that humanity faced before men died still exist. But now, humanity and all species of mammals also face extinction, if whatever caused this mass die off becomes a permanent part of the environment.

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