After premiering with the first three episodes last week, Y: The Last Man returned to FX on Hulu tonight with episode four, Karen and Benji.
Warning: This article contains major spoilers for Y: The Last Man episode four.
After those first few episodes hopped around introducing all the characters and story lines, this week’s episode settled down a bit and focused on just a few groups.
Yorick and 355
When we last saw Yorick and 355, they had started their journey from D.C. to Boston to find Dr. Allison Mann, renowned geneticist. Yorick had just watched in horror as the helicopter carrying the two pilots who knew of his existence fell out of the sky and burst into flames.
Episode four starts with a dream sequence. A young girl is watching from the wings as a woman performs on stage, singing and dancing. (Update: Somehow I completely missed the fact that Agent 355 is the one performing.) We see 355 walking barefoot through the forest, apparently sleepwalking. She awakens right before she would have stepped off a cliff.
The next morning we see that she and Yorick are camped out having abandoned their helicopter. Yorick complains that they should have flown closer to Boston, but 355 points out that it’s too conspicuous, especially at night. But it can still be useful, as they strip some of its parts to use for trade.
355 tells Yorick her name is not Sarah Burgin, and to call her 355. Yorick’s response “Okay, cool. Call me Trapezoid.” gives a glimpse of the type of humor his character in the comic was particularly known for. I hope we get a lot more of that in the show.
355 goes to a nearby stream to wash their clothes, and returns to find two women rummaging through their supplies, with Yorick nowhere to be seen. 355 is convincing them to leave when Yorick again shows his impulsive side, and bursts out of the bushes, tree branch in hand, causing the women to flee.
This again is the Yorick we know from the comics, headstrong, and though he has his moments, not always the brightest tool in the shed.
Though 355 is none too pleased with his antics, they had their intended effect this time and they continue on their way into town.
They find a busy swap meet-type market set up in a football stadium where vendors of all sorts hawk their wares. Women dressed as cops are patrolling the market, and 355 is told that they’re wives of former state police officers. They take what they want in return for protecting the vendors.
It’s interesting that only a few hundred miles from D.C., there is clearly no functioning government, at least at street level.
355 is negotiating a trade for a motorcycle when Yorick’s inability to restrain himself takes over again, and he runs off when he sees a woman who resembles his girlfriend, Beth.
He’s caught by the group of women acting as security for the market. The force him to remove his gas mask, and though he tries to tell them he’s transgendered, it’s clear they don’t believe him.
As usually happens in TV-land, 355 arrives in the nick of time and proceeds to kick all their asses.
They manage to make their way back to the motorcycle, and escape as bullets fly around them. As she did when confronting the two who ransacked their camp, 355 again shows restraint by not killing them and deliberately shooting one in the leg when she had a kill-shot lined up. It appears as if Yorick’s reaction to knowing she killed the two pilots has affected her, and she’s doing what she can to not have to kill indiscriminately.
Though she didn’t have to kill anyone, 355 is still livid, particularly when Yorick says he has to go back because his phone fell out of his pocket.
“Do you have any sense of what the hell we’re doing here?” she asks him. “You need to grow the fuck up and do as you’re told.”
After a shouting match where they both get a lot off their chests, they agree to move on.
Later that night, they’re camping in the forest again and apparently their fight seems to have cleared things up between them as 355 asks Yorick to show her a card trick. After protesting “he’s an escape artist, not a magician,” and that card tricks are beneath him, he gives in and 355 is duly impressed.
355 tells him that when they’re done with the scientist, she’ll help him find Beth. Yorick also apologizes, and it seems as if they’ve made up.
Hero and Sam, Nora and Mackenzie
The other half of the episode started with Hero and Sam as they travel from New York City to D.C. They’re now somewhere in Pennsylvania and decide to rest in an abandoned home.
They investigate a nearby barn, and Hero tells Sam that she used to have a riding coach, a woman named Karen with a son, Benji.
In the barn, they come across a car that still runs. Sam wants to head out that night, saying they could be in D.C. by morning. He’s anxious to get to D.C. in part because he needs to replenish his supply of testosterone. We were told that he had only a two-week supply, and that was before they left New York, so he must be out, or close to it, by now.
But Hero is clearly reluctant, and convinces Sam to wait until morning. Later she tells him how she told her mother about her affair with Mike, her married partner at work. At the time, her mother told her that she is selfish, self-destructive and cruel, which is why Hero is in no hurry for a reunion.
Later that night, Hero sneaks out and disables the car in the barn, so they’re forced to continue on foot the next day.
They’re scavenging a store when they come across Mackenzie, daughter of Nora. I didn’t mention Nora in the last recap, but she was an aide to the former President. After the incident, she tried to gain access to the Pentagon with her daughter, but was turned away. She came to Pennsylvania with her injured daughter to try to find her sister.
Hero offers to help Mackenzie and is looking over her wound when Nora comes at her with an axe.
Hero convinces her she really is just trying to help, and they all return to the house Hero and Sam stayed in the night before. When asked for their names, Hero replies “I’m Karen and he’s Benji.”
After doing her best to treat Mackenzie’s wound, Hero tells Nora she needs antibiotics, but that they’ve been searching pharmacies on their way down from New York and haven’t seen any.
Later that night, Hero and Sam almost have a “romantic moment” but Sam breaks it off. After, he asks Hero what happened to the car, but she doesn’t reply.
Nora is outside the house when three figures on horseback ride up. It turns out the house is one of theirs and they take the four captive at gunpoint while they retrieve an item they came for.
They’re lining up the four to be executed, when one of the attackers says of Sam, “I don’t get it. Choosing to be a man.”
“I didn’t choose. I am a man,” he replies.
Hero is about to take a shotgun blast to the face, when Nora yells out that Hero is a doctor, and shows her daughter’s bandaged wound as proof. It turns out that the attackers are at the house to retrieve medical supplies. Their friend has been shot and so the agree to take the four back to their location to treat her.
Blindfolded, the four are taken to the attackers’ friend, and Hero is forced to treat her. She is doing what she can, which is not much, when the group’s leader, Roxanne returns.
Assessing the patients condition, Roxanne decides to end things, and shoots her.
Some of the group try to argue that they should not help the four, mostly because of Sam, but Roxanne overrules their objections. They will help with beds, food and medicine.
As they move to the main compound, Nora reveals to Hero that she knows her true identity, having worked at the White House and knowing Hero’s mother very well. She tells Hero not to let anyone know who she really is.
It’s then revealed that they’re in a big box store, a Costco or Sam’s Club, with shelves full of supplies, live chickens, and even electricity.
The screen goes black, and we’ll have to wait until next week to see what happens next.
Where do things stand?
Yorick and 355 are still on their way to Boston, but the fact that word is spreading about Yorick is sure to add a few extra hurdles to their journey.
Hero, Sam, Nora, and Mackenzie have grouped up, and are currently “guests” of an unknown group. It looks like they won’t be making it to D.C. anytime soon.
And speaking of D.C., we didn’t get any updates this week. The main focus there still looks to be the brewing conflict between what amounts to Democrat and Republican factions, and the very real question of who the legitimate President of the United States is.
In a show titled Y: The Last Man, many would expect that Yorick is the hero of the story, that he will be the one to save the world through his actions. But as we’re getting to know his character, we see that he can be whiny, impulsive, and even selfish. We’re learning that he’s just a passenger on this ride, and the saving of the human race will need to be handled by those more capable and suited to the task than he is.
Obviously he should continue to be a focus of the show, but I don’t need him to be the savior of humankind.
I’m wondering what 355’s sleep walking was about, and if it will crop up again. Her character is among the strongest on the show, cold-blooded and ruthless when it comes to completing her mission. It will be interesting if they explore some of her flaws, or continue to show how she’s only human after all.
I’m happy to see 355 and Yorick getting along better. Having read the comic, I know where they end up in that version of the story. I’m curious to see if they follow the same path in the show.
Hero is also revealing a selfish streak. Disabling the car so that they would have to walk hundreds of miles instead of driving as far as they could was definitely what I would call a dick move. (Huh, will that phrase have the same meaning after the Ypocalypse?)
I liked the swap meet scenes, and how they showed the breakdown of central authority, even in the cities. I’ve seen many comments on social media and Reddit questioning why things are so bad in the show, and asking why the women don’t just band together to get things running again.
But without broad coordination you’d end up with pockets of recovery, with local communities coming up with their own solutions, like we saw with that marketplace.
Next week will be the half-way point of the season already. I expect episode five will focus on the D.C. story, but I hope we get to see at least some of the other groups. I don’t mind some political intrigue, but I’m really here for the apocalyptic stuff, so I hope we get at least some of that in every show.
What about you? Did you like the episode? Drop a comment below or stop by our Discord to let us know what you thought.Want to chat about all things post-apocalyptic? Join our Discord server here. You can also follow us by email here, on Facebook, or Twitter.