TV Recap – Hero Delays Trip to the Pentagon in “Y: The Last Man” Episode 4 – “Karen and Benji”
Hello and welcome to the fourth installment of the Laughing Place regular recap of the sci-fi drama series Y: The last man. Episode 4 of the series is titled “Karen and Benji” and aired today via FX on Hulu.
“Karen and Benji” begins with a nightclub-style musical performance in what feels like a dreamy sequence featuring Agent 355 as the singer and an unknown man as the dance partner. We cut into the woods at dusk, where Sarah walks barefoot through the leaves. She arrives at the edge of a cliff and almost stumbles over it but stops at the last second. After the credits roll, we see Yorrick talking to Sarah from Ampersand and asking her if she’s slept. She ignores his question and says they need to ration their food. She says she’s learned all of these Iraq survival stories and Sarah isn’t her real name, though Yorrick continues to press her for more.
Hero and Sam break into a house on their way to the Pentagon to rest. Sam thinks it is suspicious that there is no body in the house and wonders if the residents are still alive. Hero tells a story about his riding trainer Karen and his son Benji. “My mom always wanted me to befriend the girls in the barn. I had more in common with horses. They find a car in a barn and are surprised when it starts, so Sam wants to drive overnight in Washington, DC, although Hero wants to wait until the next day. Later in the house, they relax in front of a fire and Sam mourns the loss of his one-man show while they smoke weed. Hero tells Sam that she was with her colleague Mike when the cataclysm happened, although she doesn’t admit killing him. She worries that her mother will ask her where she was at the time and that she will know if she is lying. She doesn’t want to be called selfish and self-destructive, but Sam still wants to go to the Pentagon. Sam falls asleep and Hero sneaks into the barn.
In the woods, Yorrick watches a video of Beth on his phone as he lies in the tent. Officer 355 returns from an errand and tells Y to undress so that she can wash them in the river. He refuses at first because “it’s cold in here”, but gives in, undressing and putting everything back on. “Turn into something neat,” Sarah said, handing him a backpack. At the barn, Hero hears Sam trying to start the car to no avail. Later, stop at an abandoned pharmacy, which has been almost completely cleaned up. Suddenly a ball bounces out of the backcourt towards them and they follow its way to the source: Nora’s daughter, who is sleeping on one of the empty shelves. When Hero tries to examine his wound, Nora runs from behind and almost attacks him. Hero says she’s EMT and can help, so after Nora calms down, they remove the bandage and wash the cut with alcohol. Hero offers to bring Nora and her daughter home to rest, though Sam looks disappointed that they don’t continue on their way.
Sarah hunts a rabbit in the woods, but it is frightened by a loud noise. She finds two women walking through their tent and when she interrupts her, they ask her if she has any food, then inquire about the monkey. Yorrick hides behind the trees and then runs off with a big stick when the women refuse to leave. Y reveals that he knows 355 killed the two pilots before returning Ampersand to his cage while they argue over the ground rules. Later, in a makeshift market, Sarah offers to swap the generator or hand grenade motorcycle for a woman who tells her about the ladies who keep things tidy. Yorrick spots someone he thinks is Beth and runs after her until he arrives in a spooky underground area where he is cornered by the police who demand that he remove his gas mask. Finding out he’s male, Yorrick pretends to be trans and testosterone-hungry, but Sarah shows up and beats the women up before they can question him further. A gunfight breaks out as they jump on the motorbike and take off, stopping on a bridge. Y says they have to go back because her phone fell out of her pocket, but 355 just tells her to grow up. They argue on the bridge over Yorrick’s privilege, but Y is upset that Sarah “becomes Rambo” whenever something goes wrong. Yorrick is devastated by the loss of the videos of Beth on his phone, but they leave on a motorbike anyway.
Inside the house, Nora finds a cat toy under one of the beds and her daughter gladly takes it to keep her company. Hero searches a bag of drugs in the living room and Nora comes downstairs to tell him and Sam that the building was once a women’s shelter. Hero tells Nora that her daughter needs antibiotics, but all pharmacies have been emptied. “Your best bet are the camps. Nora laughs. “The camps are for people who have nowhere to go. Nora collapses and says her cousin is a doctor and they went to her house but she was gone and the house was ransacked. Hero lies to Nora that she and Sam’s names are Karen and Benji, and Sam angrily goes to bed because of the deception. Hero goes to Sam’s room and says they should be happy because they have a roof over their heads and water. “We could be really good here. We could start over. Sam resists the idea, but Hero passes him and they start kissing until Sam gets angry again and straightens up. Hero apologizes and starts to leave but Sam stops him. “What happened to the car? He asks when she goes back to bed.
Outside, Nora cries to herself then hears screams in the distance. Three horsemen approach on horseback with guns and Nora runs back home. Hero and Sam start to go downstairs when they hear the commotion, and they are stopped by a woman with a shotgun in the stairwell. They put our protagonists in the barn and threaten to kill them until Nora convinces them that Hero is a medic and can help them. They take Hero to a woman who was shot and wounded five hours earlier. Hero unwraps the wound and asks Sam to act as his assistant, although the women don’t want Sam to help them because they’re a bit transphobic. “That’s why we shouldn’t have stayed,” Sam says, but Hero continues with the impromptu operation.
In the woods, Agent 355 takes care of the motorbike while Yorrick sulks on his own. Sarah throws a deck of cards at Y and tells him to take a turn, but he refuses, saying it’s below her skill level. He gives in and takes a ride for Sarah, which seems to really impress him. “When we’re done with the scientist, I’ll help you find your girlfriend,” 355 says. They bond over their mutual loathing for the wilderness and Sarah says they’ll be arriving in Boston the next day. Hero completes the operation and another woman named Roxanne enters the building. She whispers to one of her companions and tells everyone to step aside before shooting the woman on the operating table. Roxanne asks what Nora’s daughter needs and Nora replies “antibiotics”. She offers to let the newcomers stay at home, to the protest of the others in the group. “It’s the least we can do until she recovers.” They bring Mackenzie inside and Nora tells Hero not to tell them who her mother is. When Hero looks surprised, Nora says, “I worked in the White House, ‘Karen’. They turn the corner to find that the women have taken over a big box store like Costco.
New episodes of Y: The last man are released on Mondays via FX on Hulu.
Mike is the senior reporter for Laughing Place in Southern California, editorial director for Star Wars content and host of the weekly “Who’s the Bossk?” Star Wars Podcast. He has been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general his entire life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.