First of all, if you’re reading this then thank you for sticking with us. With the news earlier today that Y: The Last Man will not have a second season on FX on Hulu, it’s likely that many viewers who are only so-so on the show will not bother with the remaining episodes.
So, if you’re still here, it probably means that you either like the show a lot, or you like it enough that you’re willing to hang around until it gets really good.
In either case, I think you’ll agree that Ready. Aim. Fire. was not the episode we wanted to see on cancellation day. To have any hope that the show will be picked up by another network, we need to finish the season with strong episodes that will generate buzz, and encourage folks to join the #YLivesOn campaign to save the show.
Episode eight wasn’t bad per se, but it’s not going to show up on fans’ lists of the best episodes of the season. What we needed is more non-irritating Yorick, ass-kicking Agent 355, and wise-cracking Dr. Mann. What we got was a full hour of the Amazons, and a backstory on Roxanne that wasn’t very exciting.
All is not as it appears at priceMAX
The episode opens with Roxanne and Kate in the woods, but even I, who have been following the show very closely, had to pause and go look up some things to realize that we were seeing a flashback. Kate is the Amazon who was said to be injured in episode four, and is the reason that Hero and her group were not executed when they learned that Hero has medical training.
In that episode, Kate had been shot, and Hero did her best to treat her, before Roxanne arrived and shot her in what we all thought at the time was a mercy killing. But in tonight’s flashback, we see that it was Roxanne herself who shot Kate when Kate wanted to leave the group. And it was no mercy killing, Roxanne was trying to keep her quiet.
That was the first clue of the night that Roxanne’s motives aren’t as pure as she makes them out to be.
Back in the present, the Amazons are training to shoot. Hero has little experience with weapons, but she does very well and Roxanne says she’s a natural, to a round of applause from the others.
Hero encourages Sam to give it a try but he begs off, until Roxanne intervenes and forces him to shoot.
Nora is watching her daughter, Mackenzie, playing with the others, when another woman accidentally spills the beans when she asks Nora “Where will you go? When you leave?” Nora has not been told yet, but apparently, Roxanne is kicking her and Mackenzie out of the group.
Nora confronts Roxanne and begs to be able to stay. “Just tell me what you want, and I’ll do it.” she says. Roxanne says that she can stay a few more days, but “You’re not our people.”
Next is another flashback, a little more obvious this time, but they’re coming Memento-style, in reverse chronological order. We’re stepping back through Roxanne’s past. (I only realized later after re-reading my own recap that some of the flashbacks are in fact not out of order. It’s confusing.)
In this one, she enters what we know is the women’s shelter where the women lived before joining Roxanne, gun drawn, announcing herself as police. Shots have been fired nearby, and the women cower together in the living room.
Roxanne says she saw at least two shooters, and that it’s no longer safe in the home. She invites them to come stay with her at the priceMAX store. The women have promised to stay with each other as long as possible, but Roxanne says they’re all welcome, so the seeds of the Daughters of the Amazon are planted when they agree to stay with her.
Again, back in the present, Roxanne is conducting a group therapy session. Hero is reluctant, but Roxanne insists she participate. Through a series of leading questions, and quick judgements, Roxanne steers Hero toward talking about the worst aspects of her brother, Yorick, discounting Hero’s protests that “He was one of the good ones.”
Knowing she and Mackenzie have few options once they leave the group, Nora tries to encourage Sam to convince Hero to leave and go to D.C. Nora was turned away from the Pentagon in episode three, but she knows that if she showed up at the gates with Hero, President Brown’s daughter, then they would be let in. But Sam refuses to talk to her.
It turns out that Sam’s plan is also for Hero to leave the group, but not to head to D.C. Instead he wants him and Hero to find an abandoned home in the countryside and settle down. He presents the idea to Hero, but she says there’s no reason for them to leave, they have everything they need here.
The conversation turns into an argument when Sam points out that things might be good for Hero with the Amazons, but they’re shitty for him. Roxanne intervenes and tells Sam to apologize to Hero. Hero protests, but eventually tells Sam “Just say you’re sorry.”
“No, I’m not sorry. I am not. This place is fucked up and you know it!” Roxanne appears to be weighing her options, deciding how to reply, but Hero convinces her they’re just tired, and that everything is OK.
Roxanne relents, but it’s clear that Sam’s days with the Amazons are numbered.
Later that night, Sam packs a bag of supplies he had hidden. Roxanne catches him, but allows him to leave. “We’ll take care of her,” Roxanne tells him. “She’s not your problem anymore.”
In another flashback, Roxanne is outside the priceMAX burning bodies. She spies a State Trooper vehicle in the parking lot, with a dead officer inside. Then she sees a horse and follows it across a field where it leads her to the women’s shelter.
Roxanne does not make herself known, but instead keeps to the woods, observing from afar.
The morning after Sam’s departure, Hero is distraught at his leaving. Roxanne says she has something that will cheer her up and sets up a “Fuck ‘Em” party with all the women in attendance around a bonfire.
Roxanne encourages Hero to through Sam’s cap into the fire, setting off an evening of good old fashioned debauchery. All the women are drunk or high, and even the children join in on the dancing.
Nora tries to tell Mackenzie that they will leave soon, to head back to D.C. “What happened? Did you do something?” asks Mackenzie.
Nora tries to tell her that there are just too many people here, and that they’d be better off in the camps in D.C. but Mackenzie gets angry and screams that she’s not leaving.
Nora is also drinking, possibly drunk, and knowing that she’s running out of options, she sets fire to the store, while the others are passed out or asleep.
No one is hurt, but the fire destroys the store and all the supplies within. Nora’s hope is that with the group broken up, she’ll be able to convince Hero to return to D.C. with her.
Before we can see if her plan works, we get another flashback. This time Roxanne is attempting to submerge Trooper’s vehicle in a nearby river, but it gets stuck, half out of the water.
We see her cleaning up the priceMax store, setting up the defenses and the string of trucks that surround the entrance.
She returns to the women’s shelter, points her gun to the sky, and fires three shots. So now we know the she orchestrated the “emergency” at the shelter herself, all in the attempt to bring the women under her control.
Back at the priceMax, the morning after the fire, tensions are starting to rise within the group with bickering and short tempers. It appears as if the group that Roxanne schemed so hard to bring together is instead falling apart.
Nora approaches Hero to ask her to return to D.C., but Hero says she’s not going there.
Nora heads to the river to check on a cache of supplies she has hidden away. She appears near her breaking point when she finds the Trooper vehicle that Roxanne had tried to sink. More importantly, she finds something very important inside.
In yet another flashback, Roxanne is living alone in the priceMax. She hides when a woman with a gun runs in, and is pursued by another woman with a shotgun. The two woman end up shooting each other, giving Roxanne an idea, and the weapons to carry it out.
Over time, a series of women enter the store, and Roxanne shoots them down in cold blood. Hence the pile of bodies she was burning in the earlier flashback.
In the present again, Nora confronts Roxanne. She tells Roxanne that to survive out there, she needs numbers. Nora tells her she wants protection for her and Mackenzie, the best supplies, first access to food. “You need me, you just don’t know it yet,” Nora tells her. “Oh yeah, why would I need you?” asks Roxanne.
“Because I know how to get them to stay,” Nora replies, and then plays her trump card. She shows Roxanne what she found in the police car. “You can go out there and tell them what you are. Or, you can be the thing you so desperately want to be.”
And then, in the final flashback of the night, we go all the way back before the incident to see that Roxanne is an assistant manager in priceMAX. She is berated by her boss for overstepping her bounds. “I spend half my day managing your bullshit,” he tells her.
The episode ends with a rousing speech by Roxanne to her followers. She tells them of the Amazons of legend. “This is an opportunity to take what we deserve,” she tells them. “Let them cower, but not us. We are warrior women, daughters of the Amazons, and this is our world now!”
The women cheer, and the Daughters of the Amazon are born.
And with a smug, self-satisfied smile, Nora pockets the the item she found in the police car, and is now holding over Roxanne’s head. Roxanne’s priceMAX name badge.
As I said before, it wasn’t a bad episode, but it definitely wasn’t exciting, and the revelations we got don’t really have a lot of bearing on the story. It turns out that Roxanne was never a cop, and instead she worked at priceMAX, but so what? It doesn’t make much difference other than the fact that Nora knows she was lying.
That secret doesn’t seem like it was worth a series of confusing flashbacks to lead up to its reveal.
Comic fans will be happy to see the origins of the Daughters of the Amazon, but those who have only watched the show will not understand the importance of the moment.
Nora is now basically blackmailing Roxanne, threatening to reveal her secret if Roxanne does not accede to her demands. But in this same episode, we saw Roxanne murder several other women without blinking. Why doesn’t she just kill Nora? She could surely make up some story that her followers would believe, and maybe could even use the incident to draw them back together.
I guess we’ll see if Nora proves her value by using her political and PR skills to coach Roxanne on how to influence her followers to do what she wants.
We now only have two episodes left in the series, with dim prospects for ever having any more. The episodes were shot long ago, so there’s no chance to make any changes to help wrap up the other story lines.
We can only hope that those final two outings will be stronger than tonight’s and that they’ll help to encourage another network to take over the show.
And just a reminder, you can sign the Change.org petition if you’d like to show your support of the series.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.