Why get married when you're the last two people on Earth? That's the question Phil Miller faces when his sole human companion insists on walking down the aisle. But he begins to wonder if making the best (raisin ball) of a bad situation (Carol) isn't so awful after all. Well...at least until the very end of the episode.
Last week, our titular last man on Earth agreed to Carol's demand that they get married. Early in the episode, we learn Phil's great fear about marriage: that somehow he'll marry Carol out of desperation only to learn that they're not the last two people on Earth. When he wakes from a rice-throwing nightmare, Phil decides, with some relief, that the nightmare is impossible. He and Carol are still alone. For now.
Carol reinforces that idea that other people are an impossibility when she brings over a metaphor for dinner: spaghetti with raisin balls. Other people, Carol suggests, are meatballs — something neither of them will ever see again. Carol has decided to make raisin balls instead, symbolic of making the best out of a bad situation. Phil isn't encouraged when Carol's metaphor proves inedible.
So, while Carol goes to work crafting up a storm, Phil has a bachelor party with a flame thrower, a bunch of booze, and some pilfered wigs. It's nice to see that Phil still has his cohort of ball friends. Just because he now has human company, that doesn't mean he can't indulge in a little healthy insanity.
Even before these two (literally) crazy kids say their "I do"s, it's clear that Phil and Carol, for all their differences, fit together pretty well. Carol's insistence that Phil become President of the United States fits with her desire to see the trappings of the old world maintained, but there's a weird slyness too it, a mischievous glint in Kristen Schaal's eyes when she sets up a joke that will only pay off on the wedding night. And where Phil is able to appreciate the finer aspects of the post-apocalypse — eating next to a T-Rex skull, experimenting with different forms of destruction — Carol is industrious and creative. Sure, raisin balls and eggplant wedding cake are terrible, but at least she's trying. They never would have looked twice at one another before the apocalypse, but there is strong evidence that, in the post-apocalypse, she's the lid to his cracked pot.
And while Carol may be obsessed with tradition, she knows that Phil is anti-wedding. That's why she assigns him just a single task: getting the rings. She's willing to accept everything else: that he shows up at their wedding in cargo shorts and a hoodie, that he doesn't have much in the way of vows. But the fact that he wasn't able to extend their play-acting to a trip to the jewelry store, that wounds her. That's a raisin ball she just can't swallow.
The Last Man on Earth is pretty obvious on the point that Phil and Carol's marriage is an exaggerated version of any other marriage. Even with no one else around, Phil is afraid of settling. Carol's dream wedding can't live up to her (admittedly meager) expectations. But the key thing about a marriage is this: it's about people building a home. As much as Phil and Carol drive each other up the wall, Phil quickly realizes that she's his home. And you know, he could do worse than a woman who raids craft stores and glues a beard on the cake topper just to make it a little more special.
Once Phil decides to dive into this whole marriage thing, Carol seems transformed. Perhaps all that she needed was the security of binding herself to Phil to let her own inner Phil out to play. When they visit a jewelry store, she doesn't just want an engagement ring and a simple band — she wants all the sparkly things. She's willing to listen to Phil's feedback on sex. She gleefully plays racquetball in the house, shares in Phil's fascination with destroying things, and gamely beats up the mannequin Phil kissed in the pilot. As soon as she becomes Phil's wife, she's able to relax and become his friend.
For an instant, Phil thinks that getting married was the best decision they could have made.
Then his car hits a limo.
The moment after the impact shows just how much Phil has grown — and grown fond of Carol — over this episode. The first thing he does is check on her to make sure she's okay. But as soon as she tells him yes, he bolts, curious to see how on Earth they managed to get in an accident.
Oh. That's how.
Now, I must admit, I feel a wee bit of trepidation at this development. It makes sense that the show is adding more characters, but I worry about this turning into a love triangle. This was a truly delightful episode of sitcom television, with two people settling into their quirky existence. It wasn't raisin balls at all. But I hope the show doesn't lean too heavily on sitcom cliches when Phil and Carol are confronted with the classically pretty January Jones. Plus, the fact that she rolls into town in a limo makes me wonder if her particular brand of craziness more closely aligns with Phil's.
But there are a lot of directions that this could go. Yes, Phil could dissolve his marriage with Carol, but perhaps that won't happen. Maybe January Jones' character is gay. Maybe they'll all try polygamy. Maybe she'll drive off into the sunset, deciding she doesn't need humanity as much as these two lunatics do. But after seeing what a good home he makes with Carol, it would be disappointing to see Phil neglect her feelings now that she's not the last woman on Earth.