Instead of jumping right back into it with our regular crowd, this week is entirely focused on a new character, Pamela Brinton (played by Kristen Wiig), and her backstory. You need no prior knowledge of the show, so jump in right now!
The episode opens with Pamela giving a speech with a lot of lame, awkward jokes (it’s Kristen Wiig, so I’m sure you can imagine.) at a charity event she has arranged at her home.
According to her speech, The Pamela Brinton Foundation, focused on canine hip dysplasia, has “saved 4,000 lives. That’s 28,000 lives in dog years.” She explains that the pups are robbed of their mobility, dignity, and ‘canininity.’
Catherine, an apparent frenemy in the audience, mocks Pamela’s use of a non-existent word. As a way to publicly shame Catherine, Pamela makes a joke about her being a cat lover. Everyone at the event seems to like Catherine more – her joke actually receives laughter when she replies that her nickname is Cat, so her husband is the real Cat-lover.
While asking the guests to imagine what it would be like for these dogs to lose their legs, Pam spots and publicly greets a man in a wheelchair. The whole scene (and episode) tries to capture Pamela’s blend of ritzy and awkward.
Leonard collapses with blood dripping from his mouth, and Pamela jokes that he’s just trying to make her big night about him. Trying to direct focus back to herself, she starts singing “who let the auction out” and the scene, thankfully, ends.
Skipping ahead a bit, we see Pamela and her husband eating breakfast and listening to the news:
“Flooding in Tennessee is expected to continue through the weekend .
President Pence plans to visit the affected areas.
The Federal Pandemic Agency has released new guidelines for combating the emerging viral outbreak.”
They ask for a joke to lighten the mood (“Why did the banker quit his job? He lost interest.”) and then change the subject to Catherine, who has bought a bunker underground in case things get worse. Pamela mocks her for being paranoid, saying that this is just a bad flu season.
Riding around town in her limo, Pamela sees almost everyone wearing medical masks, including a baby and a dog. Her limo driver coughs and she rolls up the window between them.
Annoyed at the mess in her home, Pamela asks her husband where Christina, their maid, is. He says that she texted earlier to say that she died. He then clarifies that it was probably Christina’s daughter that has texted, and Pamela increases the amount of hand sanitizer she uses, rubbing it up her arms, on her face, and through her hair. She starts getting irritated that a vaccine hasn’t been released yet, insisting that the president likely has received a vaccine.
Aaaaaaaand cut to footage of President Pence’s Memorial service.
Followed by President Paul Ryan
Pamela, realizing the situation is much more serious than she had ever considered, wears a mask, goggles, gloves and a giant trash bag when she goes out to the store. She runs into Catherine, who is also wearing a mask, buying the last bag of dog food (for herself to eat). We find out that Catherine’s husband, Robert, is a little under the weather, and Pamela backs away slowly.
Pamela wakes up and applies hand sanitizer as her new morning routine. Her husband is already out of bed, and she calls for him. When there’s no reply, she notices a little bit of blood on his pillow. She finds Benjamin coughing in a locked room. She offers to make him some soup, but he urges her to leave their home, in case he’s contaminated the house.
Pamela heads over to Catherine’s house, dressed in her Sunday’s finest. She sees Catherine still in bed, so she ‘pokes her buns a little bit,’ but Catherine is non-responsive. Pamela finds a binder on Catherine’s desk that has the key to the bunker they had bought (by the time they realized that the outbreak was as bad as it seemed, they were found to be too unhealthy to live there) and takes off for her new life.
When Pamela gets to the bunker with her dog, Jeremy, she looks around with disapproval. The master bedroom isn’t good enough. The canned food isn’t good enough. The gun supply is weird.
She finds a large screen that can display anywhere in the world. While checking out the different options, Pamela accidentally engages a drone, but she eventually manages to click enough buttons for the drone system to decide to dock.
Pamela tries to stay optimistic that someday there will be a cure. We start panning through her years in the bunker. Year One is filled with lots of dancing and learning to operate the drone.
Her drone finds a field of dead bodies, and Pamela’s optimism drops. We see her with Jeremy at Christmas time, and she thanks her dog for giving her a reason to stay alive.
Years Two and Three are much more lazy and stir crazy as Pam yells at her dog for not cooperating by learning to say the word “milk.”
Much more time passes, and a drunk Pamela decides to play a prank on Jeremy. She opens a can and calls him over. When Jeremy starts eating out of the can, Pamela “Do you know you’re eating cat food? And you look like a fool.”
Once she realizes that Jeremy doesn’t at all care that it’s cat food, Pamela takes the can away and tells him to say “milk.”
When Pam finds that Jeremy chewed through something (sorry I can’t be more specific, but I really have no idea what it was), she yells at Jeremy and tells him to make up his mind on whether he wants to stay in this bunker with her. She opens the door, bluffing, and Jeremy runs outside.
Life goes on without Jeremy. Pamela hisses in the mirror. (Honestly relatable.)
Eats a can of cat food.
Replaces a picture of her family with Catherine’s family, etc. Everything is obviously totally normal. And then BAM. Remember last season when Gail was day drinking (Gail’s literally always day drinking) and she said she saw a drone and no one believed her? Well, Pam is messing with her drone and stumbles across Gail lounging at their old home in Malibu. Pam yells, trying to communicate with the woman on the screen, but there’s no speaker. Before she can figure out anything to do, the drone’s battery gets low, and it starts retreating back to its charging station.
She waits for the drone to charge, and seeks out Gail once again. This time, Gail is joined on the lawn, prepared with friendly signs with Erica, Todd, and Carol (Hi, friends!), but suddenly the picture goes black. (Our wacko, protective Melissa shot it out of the sky.)
Pam had been hoping that they would come find her, but once that becomes an impossibility, she braves the world and sets out to find these people.
On some level, I’m disappointed that this episode completely focused on Kristen Wiig, while we have unanswered questions from the mid-season finale (Did Gail kill herself???), but I absolutely loved this episode, and am forcing my Kristen-Wiig-fan friends to watch, even if they haven’t seen a single episode of LMOE before. I’m excited for what Kristen will bring to the ensemble, but not getting my hopes up that she’ll stick around – Jason Sudeikis may have stuck around for 12 episodes (five where he had minimal screen time while isolated in space, and seven while on Earth), but Will Ferrell was gone after only one. No matter what happens, thank you, writers, for this episode.
The Last Man on Earth airs Sundays at 9:30/8:30c on FOX!