“Mann Hunt” is burdened by some heavy-handed social commentary and its unlikeable protagonist, but at least it feels like it’s actually getting somewhere.
This recap of Y: The Last Man season 1, episode 5, “Mann Hunt”, contains spoilers.
You’d think a major, potentially world-destroying global event would get everyone on the same page, politically-speaking – ha, sorry, couldn’t even type that with a straight face. But you know what I mean. The instant death of everyone on the planet with a Y chromosome is objectively a bad thing, for innumerable reasons, and unless it’s addressed it spells the end of everything. And yet Y: The Last Man is increasingly becoming about those with their own agendas refusing to go along with what’s best; about the instant flourishing of extremism in the absence of order. With all the anti-government sloganeering and cries of a hoax, it’s too accidentally topical for my liking. Characters in comic book adaptations shouldn’t reflect our reality as close as these ones do.
Y: The Last Man season 1, episode 5 recap
But, nevertheless, Boston is under tight military lockdown, with the military regularly tear-gassing protestors who are insistent that Jennifer Brown is a liar and that the whole thing has been made up. The sight of Yorick would only fan those flames, which is why it’s even more annoying than ever that he won’t just keep his gasmask down and do what he’s told. When 355 leaves him by an alleyway dumpster while she poses as an Airborne sergeant to drum up intel on the location of Allison Mann, he picks the lock of a nearby door and accidentally wanders into the ramshackle HQ of the lefty rabble-rousers. He’s promptly caught by a woman named Steph, who requests his help in tipping milk into the eyes of a gassed protestor, and within about a minute he has his mask off again. Admittedly she assumes he’s trans, so he reckons he’s off the hook, but it’s just bad form, really. Speaking of bad, Steph’s loaded insistence that “Nobody can hide forever when the whole world’s looking” in reference to the Boston Marathon bomber is as clunky a line spoken aloud as it sounds written down.
Yorick and 355 quickly find Mann’s apartment and find it empty but scare up clues that lead to the Union Club of Boston, where she’s hiding out, which they discover after she attacks Yorick with a knife. Mann is the typical frantic, socially-inept-but-scientifically-brilliant boffin archetype, but Diana Bang does a good job of giving her some contours. She’s difficult, though. She refuses to return to Washington with her research because a) she doesn’t trust or like the government and b) most of her research has been destroyed anyway. The only option she’s even willing to consider is traveling to San Francisco, to the only lab with the right technology to allow her to continue her highly advanced and ethically questionable human cloning research. Mann also points out, rather astutely, that Yorick’s very existence is proof of the rioters’ claims that the government is hiding things; Mann’s defiant anti-looter position is eerily familiar.
But 355 has an agenda of her own. Instead of using her sat phone to contact Jennifer as she claims to be doing, she instead breaks it and heads out to find a new one. So, she heads to 72 Warren Street, the location written on the note she took from the Culper Ring office, and gets into an averagely choreographed fistfight with a fellow agent, 525, who is there looking for the same person: Fran, their enigmatic recruiter. The implication here is that the Culper Ring knew about what was coming before it happened, hence why they relocated several agents to Washington on the day of the apocalypse. Through 525’s accusations, we get an idea of how the Culper Ring recruits its agents from juvie and the foster care system, and even though 355 denies it in her case, it’s easy to believe.
Meanwhile, Yorick and Mann get very drunk together and argue about everything from the décor – Yorick points out that she has drawn penises on all the photos – to Yorick’s career, his physical appearance, and 355’s penchant for disappearing on secret missions. Even though Mann feels like an obvious way for the show to dispense heavy-handed social commentary, I think this dynamic works. She’s obviously significantly smarter than Yorick, but not in as hostile a way as 355 is. Plus, she seems more on-mission than 355 is. When the agent eventually returns, she lies about having received authorization from Jennifer to head to San Francisco, though the blinking tracker in her bag suggests she’s not really on the hunt for the lab, but someone much more specific.
Unlike last week’s episode, “Mann Hunt” actually checks back in on Washington, where Jennifer is fretting over the imminent return of Regina, who is to be offered a senior – but not too senior! – position, and the two missing helicopters, the wreckage of which is discovered along with human remains. But there’s more going on here than just this. Christine, it turns out, is pregnant, and Kimberly catches her having what is assumed to be a miscarriage. Kimberly helps, admittedly, but the idea that she won’t use this information in the future is pretty ridiculous. As it turns out the unborn child is fine, but any suggestion that it might be a boy is quickly ruled out as ridiculous.
Christine is obviously important because of her proximity to Jennifer – it’s her who she instructs to encrypt 355’s Culper Ring files when it seems like 355 might have assassinated the helicopter pilots under the mistaken belief that Jennifer wanted her to – so her pregnancy, and the fact Kimberly knows about it, is a fairly big deal. So, too, is the return of Regina, who arrives in a wheelchair and is almost immediately told by Kimberly that she has friends here. Friends, meaning people of her political persuasion, since she’s appalled that “the socialists” are running things. We wouldn’t want that, would we?
You can stream Y: The Last Man season 1, episode 5 on Hulu.