Review: Y: The Last Man 1×01 – “The Day Before”
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Director: Louise Friedberg
Writer: Eliza Clark, Donnetta Lavinia Grays
Starring: Diane Lane, Olivia Thirlby, Ashley Romans, Ben Schnetzer, Amber Tamblyn, Marin Ireland
Reviewed by: Brad Filicky
When a virus kills all mammals with a Y chromosome? What would a female only society look like? How would systematic gender equality present limitations on the women trying to rebuild the world. And what challenges would you face if you were the last man left alive? The first episode of FX’s Y: The Last Man scratches the surface of answering these questions. Senator Jennifer Brown (Diane Lane) has a typical day of meeting with the President and angry right wing rivals. Meanwhile her son Yorick (Ben Schntzer) can’t pay his rent, but still manages to propose to his girlfriend Beth (Juliana Canfield) and her daughter Hero (Olivia Thirlby) has a falling out with coworker with catastrophic consequences. The mysterious Agent 355 (Ashley Roman) finishes and assignment in a most violent manner.
Then the world falls apart. The Virus hits. Jennifer goes from being a Senator to being the President when all the men die. Agent 355 steps in to protect her. Hero finds herself in a New York that has radically changed. Yorick, much to his suprise, finds himself alive (his monkey Ampersand also manages to survive). Let the adventure begin!
Every fan expects adaptions of their favorite books to be different. Y: The Last Man is no different. One good thing about this first episode is that the strong foundations of the story are still there. The premise of the story is fascinating and timely now maybe even more so than when it was written. The fact that the series is using all female directors for the episodes gives the social commentary even more weight.
The performances are grounded and believable especially Diane Lane as Jennifer and Ben Schnetzer as Yorick (who is just as charming as the character in the book). Ashley Roman does a great job of exuding the confidence and mystery of Agent 355.
There is so much post apocalyptic fiction going now and it’s understandable that people may have reached virus burnout given how the world’s been. I just hope that that burnout doesn’t turn people away. There is so much going on under the surface with this story and i don’t want potential viewers to miss out because it’s “just another virus show”. Even though the we got good background on out main characters, the pacing of the first episode was a little slow.
We are off on very strong footing. Fans of the original books will find the foundations of the story firmly intact. We get good background albeit with slightly slow pacing. The performances are top notch and the women-led team behind the show are on their a game. I’m hooked from episode 1! This is one post apocalyptic show worth checking out!