Last Man Standing Review: “Outdoor Woman” Drudges Up Past

Last Man Standing

Last Man Standing doesn’t really have bad episodes. Even when the episodes are less funny, they’re more focused on the characters and the emotional aspects. This episode was still funny, but it didn’t bring the laughs like normal. However, what I appreciate about this show is the heart it always has, and how it’s put on display when the jokes fall flat. So even when it’s short on laughs, there’s something compelling to watch.

On this episode of Last Man Standing: Ed and Mike work to close a deal to get a line of climbing gear in their store, but they must sell to Mike’s ex-girlfriend, Billie (Reba McEntire). To seal the deal, Mike must go on a photography trip with Billie…alone. Meanwhile, Mandy helps Ryan and Kristin sell their stuff at a yard sale, but they all struggle with emotional attachments.

On the whole, I enjoyed this episode. I noticed right away that this episode wasn’t making me laugh as much as it usually did, but there was still some fantastic content. First of all, anytime you get Reba on your show, you’re doing something right. As a fan of Reba, McEntire’s first television series, it’s always a pleasure to see her on my TV. She brought an extra-special presence to this show. McEntire did an excellent job of playing Mike’s coy, fun-loving ex-girlfriend without pushing the “old feelings” angle too much. Her performance was nuanced, strong, and fit the show well.

I was also appreciative of the story with Mandy and Kristin. The comedy of their lack of emotional attachment to things played well, and then when it came time to be attached, they had a real moment. One of the best things that Last Man Standing does is portray its characters realistically. As someone with a tendency to be sentimental, I can really appreciate when characters are the same way. The story behind the teddy bear and Kristin and Mandy being there for each other was sweet and fit the show well. Molly Ephraim and Amanda Fuller were great, as they reached this simplistic beauty in their scene together. It was a great way to show that two characters with few similarities can both be sentimental.

Even episodes like this that don’t bring funny moment after funny moment still appeal to this audience. The emotional moments and the family stories are enough to bring people to the TV if done right, and Last Man Standing does it right. That said, there were still some pretty funny moments. Here are some of my favorite quotes/moments from the episode:

  • The best part of this whole episode was Kyle not knowing who Helen Mirren is.
  • “In our neighborhood, 2 bucks for a chair is pretty steep.”- Ryan
  • “I thought we were talking about dinner.”- Mike
  • “There’s no right answer to that quiz.”- Mike, obviously having learned something in his married life
  • “Nice piece of theatre. I’ll give you a dollar just for that!”- Chuck, an innocent bystander in a sibling feud
  • “So I guess you’re cheating on me with your wife!”- Billie
  • “It’s that accent of yours. Everything you say sounds like flirting.”- Mike
  • “Honey, she’s not hitting on you. It’s just her accent.”- Mike

“Outdoor Woman” may have been less focused on laughs, but it was still a strong, funny episode. There are only a few left in Season 5, but I’m looking forward to bringing you my thoughts on those as well.

What did you guys think? Did you enjoy the episode? Let us know in the comments!!

Last Man Standing airs Fridays at 8/7c on ABC

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