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Series / Y: The Last Man (2021)

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Y: The Last Man is a post-apocalyptic drama from FX Networks, based on the acclaimed comic book of the same name. The network released the first three episodes on Hulu on September 13th, 2021.
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On an ordinary day, with no warning, every mammal on the planet with a Y chromosome suddenly dies. The world is instantly plunged into sheer chaos with millions more women dying in the initial wave of crashes, etc.

Weeks later, it turns out two mammals with Y chromosomes have survived: eccentric would-be escape artist Yorick (Ben Schnetzer) and his pet monkey Ampersand. Now, paired with Secret Service agent 355 (Ashley Romans) and geneticist Dr. Allison Mann (Diana Bang), Yorick is trying to discover the reasons for his survival, the source of the plague and get to his girlfriend Beth (Juliana Canfield), trapped on the other side of the world.

But there are other forces who want Yorick for their own means...

On October 17, 2021, the series was canceled before its first season ended. According to news sources, FX made the decision due to COVID-19-related production troubles and changes made for the showrunner and cast. Further attempts to find a network willing to back a potential second season stopped in Febuary 2022.

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Tropes:

  • Accidental Murder: Hero kills her partner/lover Mike during an argument when she angrily throws a fire extinguisher at him, with its trigger puncturing his neck. Mike bleeds to death despite Hero attempting to stop this.
  • Adaptation Deviation:
    • Agent 355 had been flying from the Middle East when the plague hit. Here, she's planted with the Secret Service in the White House when it happens.
    • A big one in episode 7: Rather than be stuck in first Australia and then Europe, Beth shows up at the White House to be welcomed by Jennifer.
    • The Daughters of the Amazon leader gets killed by a disgruntled subordinate, which doesn't occur in the comic.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Daughters of the Amazon leader Victoria becomes Roxanne, also dropping the character's obsession with Chess.
  • Adaptational Diversity:
    • The series addresses the question "what about trans men?" and adds one to the main cast, named Sam (he's a friend of Hero) along with other minor ones, with the title becoming more specifically about the last cisgender man. In a brief shot we see that another friend of Hero and Sam, a trans woman, had died in the plague too, since anyone who had a Y chromosome was killed. In the comics, while trans characters did exist, they were minor and this question was not explicitly addressed.
    "We have found plenty of men—just not anyone with a Y-chromosone."
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    • This allows a deviation from the comics of women stunned to find a living man. In episode 5, Yorick is able to pass himself off as transgender with some refugees (who even offer him "testosterone if you need it"), and he and 355 realizing it's a good disguise.
    • Dr. Mann emphasizes how thanks to the quirks of genetics, "millions of women dropped dead who never even knew they had a Y chromosome." Thus intersex people also get mentioned, unlike in the comic, such as those with androgen insensitivity (people with it can appear and identify as female but have a Y chromosome).
  • Adaptational Job Change: In the comics Yorick's mother, Jennifer, was simply a U.S. Congresswoman. Here, she's now one of the only two women left alive in the line of succession and thus the President of the United States.
  • Amazon Brigade: Due to the gendercide, all armed groups are now made up entirely of women. Notably, the Daughters of the Amazons take specific inspiration from the Amazon legend.
  • Basement-Dweller: It's established early on that Yorick's parents pay for his expenses.
  • Bathtub Scene: There's a long conversation scene while Hero is bathing with the Daughters of the Amazons, attempting to keep her privacy in a tub even as the rest casually stand around or wash nude. Hero herself is covered by the water.
  • Boom, Headshot!:
    • Roxanne euthanizes one of her women who's dying from a gunshot with a headshot from close range.
    • Regina is killed by a shot to the head after attempting to stop militia women storming the White House.
    • Roxanne is shot dead by Nora this way at the end of Season 1.
  • Buried in a Pile of Corpses: How Agent 355 sneaks Yorick out of the Pentagon, to his visible disgust.
  • Canon Foreigner: Sam, Hero's Best Friend, was created for the show.
  • Cassandra Truth: An agent hunting Agent 355 sees Yorick but President Brown is able to use how crazy the story of a living man and a monkey is to dismiss her.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Heavily implied in general due to the staffing shortage, but in Episode 4 it is made clear that an EMT is not an adequate substitute for a trauma surgeon.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Invoked by the pilots who help Agent 355 find Yorick in that a lot of women are going to find it suspicious that out of four billion men on Earth, the President's son is the only survivor who just happened to be found when she was sending someone to track down his sister. It's a key reason President Brown has to keep it secret.
  • Cut Short: Never even got to finish its first season before getting canned.
  • Depopulation Bomb: Billions of people all over the world lose their male loved ones, including sons, all at once and being unable to help any.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The first episode spends most of its run time on this, to almost ridiculous proportions and further making it moot by opening the story "Three Weeks After", only then to go to a flashback juuuust before the outbreak. The whole presidential PR crisis subplot is rendered moot before it is even introduced.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Hero's fellow paramedic/lover dies in the initial outbreak in the comic. Here she accidentally kills him in a fight over their affair just before the plague hits.
  • Does Not Like Men: The Daughters of the Amazons make it ritual, with members reciting bad things men did to them (which is then extended to the whole gender). New arrivals are urged by their leader to make the same statements, pressing them even if they don't want this and haven't experienced anything like that. Sam is just barely tolerated in their midst, and one is beaten for fraternizing with him. As he's a trans man, Sam's asked accusingly why he wanted to become one on them first running into him too.
  • Domestic Abuse:
    • After learning Mike hasn't left his wife for her, Hero angrily throws stuff at him. He then slams her up against a cabinet. After he lets go, Hero starts throwing things again, and kills him accidentally with one.
    • The Daughters of the Amazons are explicitly a group with many domestic abuse survivors, which was only implied in the comic.
  • Dramatic Irony: Hero got away with accidentally killing her boyfriend since every other man died a few hours later from the plague anyway. This secret is quickly seen starting to destroy her.
  • Driven to Suicide: Marla, the former First Lady and Kimberly’s mother, kills herself by jumping from the roof of the Pentagon due to being devastated after her husband's death and learning of her family home's destruction.
  • Dying for Symbolism: As the plague hits, the blood of the President washes over a map of the United States to show how the plague is sweeping the world.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Obvious with over half the population of the planet dying and millions more in the aftermath. More importantly is the realization that with no men left and even Y chromosome samples destroyed, unless something changes, the entire human race will die out without a new generation in about fifty years as the newest generation is about six months old.
  • False Flag Operation: In "Ready, Aim, Fire" we learn that Roxanne made the women in her group think men were shooting toward them by firing in the air, posing as their rescuer afterward and thus getting them on her good side.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • Prior to the events of the series, Roxanne had breast cancer and went through a mastectomy. She has no problem changing shirts in front of Nora or swimming topless with the other Amazons. The camera does not try to hide her scarred chest and single surviving breast in any way, shape or form.
    • Some of the Amazons are shown naked while they're washing themselves but aren't conventionally attractive, and audience members might have preferred to not see them this way.
  • Fanservice Extra: You'll note the Bathtub Scene mentioned above. With males almost entirely gone modesty taboos seem to have been abandoned by many women, so female nude scenes seem to show up around Once per Episode. They're by minor characters, and most (though hardly all) are conventionally attractive.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The President reports that communications have gone down in Israel. Seconds later, his nose bleeds as he collapses, followed by every other man in the Situation Room.
  • Flashback: In "Ready, Aim, Fire" there are several which show Roxanne's life prior to the present. They show basically everything she said about her life was lies.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The very premise of the series is that every single male that isn't Yorick and Ampersand will die due to a plague. Thus whatever tension, plot threads and what not the first episode is building is completely deflated - and even worse, it happens in a flashback, after the carnage is already shown in the opening.
  • Foreshadowing: Throughout the pilot, there are hints of something off from rats scurrying or dying to other animals acting up, indicating they're the first to feel the effects of the plague before it breaks out.
  • Gendercide: Obviously with Yorick and Ampersand the only two mammals with a Y chromosome left on the planet.
  • Given Name Reveal: Nora mentions to Hero that her mother had given her a traditional, old-fashioned name she hated, so when she left home, she changed it. She later reveals it to be Victoria. Doubles as Title Drop for the season finale episode.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Kimberly, after learning Christine's unsure what to do about her surprise pregnancy, offered to adopt her baby and or give her support as she knows she's considering abortion.
  • He Knows Too Much: Agent 355's insistence on a separate helicopter in episode 3 and her stony response to the other copter's surprise crash implies this.
  • How We Got Here: The opening moments take place three weeks after the outbreak, showing cities filled with corpses and signs of car/plane crashes. The majority of the pilot then flashes back to hours before the outbreak.
  • Injured Limb Episode: In episode 3, Mackenzie falls and impales her leg on a spade while trying to chase some crows off her father and brother's bodies. Most of the B-plot in episode 4 revolves around trying to help her. Nora says they judged the wait at the refugee camps too long so she decided to leave to take her to a cousin who's a doctor, only to fail to find her. Hero and Sam run into them hiding in a pharmacy and Hero's able to get the wound cleaned up and find her some antibiotics for the infection.
  • Ironic Last Words: Roxanne claims Nora doesn't have the guts to shoot her, just a second before she does just that.
  • Mercy Kill: At the end of episode 4, Roxanne shoots one of her own fighters dead, since she's mortally wounded and can't be helped.
  • The Mistress: Hero had been in a long-term relationship with her partner Mike, who's married. After he lied about having finally left his wife for her, Hero flew into a rage.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: After having a tryst with Mike, Hero lies with a blanket around her chest on the gurney.
  • Modesty Towel: Beth wears one after taking a shower at the Pentagon, making note that things such as showers and towels are now luxuries.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Hero is distraught and then shell-shocked after she accidentally kills Mike, her lover, during an argument.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Kimberly Campbell Cunningham is clearly based on Meghan McCain, as blonde-haired daughter of a well-regarded Republican politician who publicly advocates for conservative values (especially that women belong in the kitchen). Her position as daughter of the (now former) President as well as acting as his advisor brings in shades of similarly blonde Republican daughter Ivanka Trump too.
    • Regina Oliver is clearly based on Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican lawmaker known mostly for controversial stances and a Twitter following. She also has shades of Lauren Boebert, a similarly controversial Republican lawmaker known for bringing firearms into places that restrict them.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Nora finally calls Roxanne out for her BS in "Victoria" saying though she blames all women's problems on men, Roxanne's just like every male boss she's ever had, breaking down women to build them up again in a way she'd like.
  • One-Gender Race: All mammal species end up being one of those - short-lived as it will last.
  • Outlaw Town: "My Mother Saw a Monkey" has Yorick, 355 and Dr. Mann find Marrisville, a town made up of former convicts, who escaped prison and settled on the nearby town.
  • Persecution Flip: Discussed when Kimberly claims that in the US men and boys are becoming oppressed. She relates how her son was penalized over having pushed a girl at school who also did something but wasn't, then says male instincts are being steadily repressed by social pressure.
  • The Plague: One that targets any mammal that possess an Y chromosome, leading to near-instant death within seconds.
  • Recovered Addict: Hero is introduced going to AA with Sam.
  • Secret-Keeper: Jennifer Brown knows she has to keep the circle of people who know about Yorick tight with (as of episode 3) only her, her chief of staff, Agent 355 and the two pilots with the latter when they found Yorick knowing there's a man alive. By the end of episode 4 355 downs the pilots' helicopter via implied sabotage to make that number even smaller.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: Literally, with Yorick waking up on his couch after the plague sweeps the country.
  • Spanner in the Works: In Episode 9, Beth leads the militia into the Pentagon, figuring they can quickly subdue President Brown and others to make their issues heard. Too bad they had no idea they were walking right into the middle of an attempted coup by Regina and Kimberly that leads to multiple deaths.
  • Straw Feminist: The Daughters of the Amazons, as in the comic, are quite uniformly hostile to men, going beyond just condemning domestic abuse by rejecting them entirely with the entire gender condemned. Sam, a trans man, has a hostile reception and though let into their compound remains shunned. Just like the comic, many members suffered domestic abuse, and their leader is clearly manipulating them by posing as a police detective who claims she often saw such cases in her career. It's no coincidence they take inspiration from the story of the Amazons, female warriors in Greek legend (loosely based on real Scythians) who by some stories cut off one breast to draw their bows better (as their leader has, due to cancer).
  • Succession Crisis: The series is setting this up as Jennifer was elevated to Speaker and then President despite being a Democrat when the Republicans are in control. The late President's daughter is already making moves to convince other remaining Republicans that they should be in charge as the "lawfully elected party." To complicate matters further, the actual woman who was in the line of succession, Regina Oliver (known as a borderline lunatic), is found alive in Israel, meaning she should be President despite how Jennifer was already sworn in with everyone citing the Constitutional crisis. It finally erupts in Episode 9 when word of Yorick's survival breaks...and then Beth leads a militia into the Pentagon with Regina ending up dying.
  • Surprise Pregnancy: Christine abruptly finds out she's pregnant after the pandemic with heavy bleeding she mistakes for a miscarriage. It's even more impactful than usual as this may be one of the few pregnancies since all cis men's deaths in it-especially if she's having a boy.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: For whatever reason, during Manhattan evacuation, the PA system on a military vehicle is blaring in Polish. A perfect, unaccented Polish, which is quite a feat.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security:
    • Despite the Pentagon limiting people coming in, the people already inside seem to have free reign to wander wherever they want. The Secret Service is mentioned as being in short supply but no one seems to be actively protecting the President from internal threats, which are obviously gathering steam by episode 3.
    • The former first lady waltzes into the President's office/bedroom, interrupting her without a problem.
    • The President should have a guard posted outside her quarters 24 hours a day, but Yorick is able to leave and wander the Pentagon freely despite being the most secret object in the building.
  • Thought They Knew Already: When the former First Lady babbles about returning to the family farm, Kimberly assumes her drunk and addled mother has forgotten that in the initial aftermath of the plague, a dam burst without anyone monitoring it and flooded the area. Her mother's reaction makes Kimberly realize too late she had no idea about this news, sending her further into a breakdown.
  • Token Enemy Minority: Not exactly an enemy, but Lisa Murray is an ally of President Brown, despite being a Republican.
  • Undressing the Unconscious: In "My Mother Saw a Monkey", after 355 crashes the camper, Yorick falls unconscious. He next awakens naked on a bed, under a blanket in a rather homely room with a strange woman asleep next to him. He sneaks out without awakening her, using pillows to cover himself until he finds his own clothes. He attempts to sneak out of the house, but is caught by other members of the community, who treat him warmly much to his surprise and the woman asleep next to him, Sonia, was supposed to be watching over him. Later, when he questions them why he was stripped naked, all the women look accusingly at Sonia, who gives a lame "his clothes were filthy" reply, but nobody believes her.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Roxanne's group becomes more hospitable to Hero and Sam when they realize that they're trying to help the injured Mackenzie. Roxanne even says they're above hurting a child.
  • Wrong Assumption: In ""My Mother Saw a Monkey", when a group of women find Yorick unconscious and tied up while 355 and Dr. Mann aren't, they naturally assume he's their prisoner, and treat him well while locking them up.
  • Wrong Genetic Sex: This comes up in discussion, as the criteria for being affected by the phenomenon that killed almost all the world's men was apparently having a Y chromosome. As a result, women who had a Y chromosome without ever knowing it died on top of self-aware intersex people with one and trans women. The men other than Yorick who were spared, meanwhile, are in the reverse situation, though only trans men have been confirmed so far.

Alternative Title(s): Y The Last Man

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