Today marks the end of a long wait as Y: The Last Man finally makes its way to television with the series premiere on FX on Hulu. Y is based on the acclaimed comic book series by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, which ran for 60 issues from 2002 through 2008. The television rights were sold way back in 2007, but various hurdles and roadblocks prevented previous efforts from coming to fruition.
Now, 13 years after the comic came to an end, its many die-hard fans can finally see if the small-screen version lives up to the original. And new fans just discovering the story will get to experience it in a way that will likely be very different from the comic, but hopefully just as good, in its own way.
What is Y: The Last Man about?
The elevator pitch for Y: The Last Man goes something like this: Imagine all the men in the world suddenly keel over dead, with the exception of just one guy. That’s the gist of the story.
But of course, it’s not quite that simple. It’s not just all the men that died, it’s all male mammals; anything with a Y chromosome. And in addition to the titular Y, Yorick Brown, the only other male survivor of the incident is his pet capuchin monkey, Ampersand.
Yorick is a 20-something aspiring magician and escape artist, who is trying to track down the love of his life, and near-fiancee, Beth, while also trying to survive in a world after the Ypocalypse.
So what killed all the men? And what’s so special about Yorick and Ampersand that they were spared? Will Yorick and Beth be reunited? Those are just some of the questions we hope are answered throughout the show.
What’s happening in the show so far?
With today’s premiere, the folks at Hulu followed previous practice and released the first three episodes at once. That was probably a good idea because the first episode jumped from scene to scene introducing characters and storylines, and it wasn’t until episodes two and three that we start to get an idea of where the show is going.
Here’s a quick recap of the episodes so far, the characters we’ve met, and some speculation about where their stories might take them.
Episode one begins with some great shots of the world after the incident. Dead cities, bodies strewn about, car wrecks, and crashed airliners.
Then we flash back to the day before the incident to meet Yorick, down on his luck, struggling to make ends meet by giving magic lessons. Yorick wants to propose to his girlfriend, Beth Deville, but he can’t afford to make her a nice dinner, so he meets up with his sister, Hero, to ask her for money.
Hero Brown is a New York City EMT, who is taking mandated DUI classes after a recent arrest, and who happens to be having an affair with her married partner. She’s not thrilled with Yorick’s request for money, but in the end she relents in a way that shows the audience that regardless of how they bicker and fight, they do care for each other.
One of the more mysterious characters we’re introduced to is the enigmatic Agent 355, who as we meet her is building a bomb for a domestic terror group. She then proceeds to use that bomb to blow up the aspiring terrorists, and we learn that she is in fact an agent for the Culper Ring, a secret organization that answers only to the President.
We also meet Representative Jennifer Brown, mother of Yorick and Hero, a Democratic lawmaker who has served in Congress for 20 years.
Also in Washington D.C. is Kimberly Cunningham, family values proponent, conservative author, and daughter of the President.
Agent 355 is embedded in the President’s Secret Service detail after a credible threat is received. So she is in the room with Representative Brown, the President and his team when the incident happens.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for
Comic readers have long wondered what the incident would like like on screen, and in my opinion, it did not disappoint. For some, it starts with a nosebleed, barely a trickle. But within seconds that trickle becomes a torrent from the nose, mouth and eyes. Death is nearly instantaneous.
We get the expected cars careening out of control, and planes falling from the sky. But also more haunting images like a mother screaming for help, carrying the body of her dead son, and a little girl sitting mute in a car, her father bloody, slumped over the wheel.
With that, we’re on to episode two. It’s a week later, and Jennifer Brown is now President of the United States. There is chaos in the streets. Rioters attack the White House, blaming the government for the disaster, and for failing to help the survivors.
President Brown is briefed, and told that with failing power stations, there will be no electricity, no clean water, and no food. “In which cities?” she asks. “In all of them…” is the reply.
Two months later we catch up with Yorick as he continues his search for Beth in New York, which we’re told is literally falling apart. With no power for the pumps, the subway tunnels are flooding, undermining foundations and causing buildings to collapse.
Yorick loses Ampersand in the flooded tunnels, and we see the lengths he’ll go to to get him back as he braves swimming through drenched and bloated corpses to try to find his monkey pal.
With the threat to New York, President Brown assigns Agent 355 to try to track down her daughter, Hero, who is still in the city.
Hero is part of a group that includes several trans men who are planning to leave the city. Yorick is also looking for Hero, so he goes to her old apartment, and it’s him that 355 finds when she also arrives at the apartment looking for Hero.
Realizing the importance of the last living male human, 355 takes Yorick back to D.C. where he is reunited with his mother.
Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead. – Benjamin Franklin
As episode three begins, President Brown is doing all she can to keep Yorick’s existence a secret. But already the circle of those who know he’s alive is growing, including the two helicopter pilots who few him and 355 back from New York.
Matters are made worse when Yorick is spotted by Marla, former First Lady, and mother of Kimberly Cunningham, the staunch conservative.
At Agent 355’s urging, President Brown agrees that 355 should take Yorick to Boston to try to find Dr Allison Mann, famed geneticist, in the hope that by studying Yorick, Dr Mann might be able to discover why he survived.
As Yorick and 355 begin their journey, word comes that Regina Oliver, member of the former President’s Cabinet, is injured, but alive, in Israel. Earlier in the episode, while discussing the line of succession that elevated his mother to the presidency, Yorick says of Oliver “She was the anti-immigrant, anti-government, anti-vaxxer with a Twitter following. She should not be President.”
But of course, anyone who remembers their high school civics classes will know that Cabinet Secretaries are higher on the line of succession than members of Congress, which means that Regina Oliver has a claim as the rightful President of the United States.
A claim that Kimberly Cunningham is more than willing to promote, particularly after hearing from her mother that President Brown’s son might actually be alive.
Where do things stand?
Yorick, Ampersand, and Agent 355 are on their way to Boston to find Dr Mann.
But what Yorick really wants to do is head off in search of Beth.
Beth’s whereabouts are unknown. She was last seen in New York, but it’s been months so she could be anywhere.
Hero is still in New York with Sam as the rest of their group left the city without them.
And President Brown might not be president much longer, even as she struggles to keep the government afloat and mount some kind of recovery in spite of all that has befallen the country.
This was a long one since we had to get through three episodes, so I’ll wrap up with a few quick thoughts.
The CGI for Ampersand is really good. Much better than Shiva in The Walking Dead.
It’s interesting how the show writers are not shy about their politics. With trans characters, the things Yorick says about Regina Oliver, and the way the Republicans are looking like the bad guys in the Presidential power struggle, I would expect the Twitterverse to go crazy, with not everyone expressing how much they love the show.
And speaking of politics, I’ll try to avoid any overt opinions myself as I write up reviews of future episodes. But as my personal biases might come through, I’d like to say that the opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the management and owners of this web site, etc, etc, etc…
Overall, I really like the show so far. I’m most excited about following Yorick and 355 on their journey to Boston, and hopefully beyond. I did read the comics myself, and there are several storylines that I hope make it into the show.
I’ll definitely be watching each week rather than letting episodes build up and binging all at once. I do plan to write up some thoughts after each episode, so be sure to stop by, and leave a comment to let us know what you thought about the episode.
If you’d like to keep up with the show yourself, head on over to FX on Hulu. New episodes premiere at 12:00 a.m. Eastern on Monday, so sometime late Sunday night for most folks.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.