For a brief, fleeting moment, everything is perfect in Phil Miller’s life. He has what he thinks he wants, and he’s determined to keep it that way. But if there’s one rule in The Last Man on Earth, it’s that the universe hates Phil and wants him to be as miserable as possible.
“Moved to Tampa” opens at the fire pit, where Phil and Carol announce their divorce and, in the process, reveal a detail that Gail and Erica were missing: the pair had been married for just three weeks. That’s when they decide that maybe Phil wasn’t as terrible as they thought he was, and both women make an attempt to date him. Phil schedules sex with Gail and a hike with Erica. (Also, I love that, instead of a kitchen or a cafe, everyone still hangs out in the cow room.) Naturally, he’s thrilled, but he’s not the only one hoping to maintain the status quo.
Todd and Melissa are still in lovey-dovey mode, with Todd making Melissa heart-shaped pancakes and Melissa engaging in flirty banter. One morning after the divorce announcement, Todd tells Melissa that he loves her... and Melissa thanks him. The fact that she doesn’t reciprocate leaves Todd devastated, and he confesses to Phil that he’s worried that their relationship will fall apart if more men start showing up.
Lucky for you, Todd, Phil has a terrible plan that will in no way prevent that!
That’s how Phil finds himself trapped on a billboard after replacing “Alive in Tucson” with “Moved to Tampa.” He misses his dates with both Gail and Erica, and it’s only when Carol realizes that Phil would never miss an opportunity to be his horn dog self that the cul-de-sac dwellers fear the worst.
That’s when Phil Miller shows up. Not that Phil Miller, this Phil Miller:
Not only is Phil not the Last Man on Earth anymore — he’s not even the last Phil Miller on Earth anymore.
Todd introduced relentless niceness into the group, but New Phil is a man of practicality. He served in the military, worked for Habitat for Humanity, and knows at least some stuff about alternative energy. He’s also the handsomest man on the block, which the women (Melissa aside) are quick to notice.
New Phil’s appearance has two major, immediate results. For one thing, we learn that Todd is capable of being an insecure lunatic. He’s sure that Melissa is going to leave him for New Phil, and he’s preparing himself by loudly claiming defeat. Todd, if anything is going to tear you and Melissa apart, it’s this behavior.
Old Phil, however, loses everything to New Phil, socially speaking. New Phil wins the right to be called “Phil” in a game of Jenga. (Phil is henceforth known as “Tandy.”) New Phil attracts Gail and Erica’s attentions. He even takes away the one thing that Old Phil took for granted this entire time: Carol’s nurturing. Phil didn’t realize how much he had come to rely on Carol, on having a partner who would do the little things for him, like putting salve on his sunburns. Phil started this episode thinking the divorce would give him the freedom to find a better mate. Instead, it gave Carol the freedom to do the same — when Carol may be Phil’s ideal mate after all.