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'Last Man Standing' recap: Fear vs. love

Season 4 | Episode 4 | “Sinkhole” | Aired Oct 17, 2014

Last week on Last Man Standing, Mike and Ed had a falling out over a magazine article. This week, Mike and Ryan have a falling out over a sinkhole. Mike and Boyd almost drive into a sinkhole, and even though Ryan is thankful his son is okay, he can’t help but blame frackers for causing the sinkhole. This also puts Ryan and Vanessa at odds because he specifically blames her company! The episode covers sensitive topics like drilling, global warming, Al Gore, and the end of the world. Read on to see more of what Mike and Ryan are fighting about, and how all of this affects little Boyd.

The Sinkhole

Mike and Boyd are driving along, talking about the Supreme Court justices, when they go careening to a halt in front of a massive sinkhole. At home later, when the sinkhole is shown on television, Vanessa freaks out over the size of it. It took out half the highway! Vanessa also wonders about the geological ramifications and starts asking Mike a lot of questions.

Mike is a bit shaken up, but Ryan and Kristin are the ones who are the most affected. Ryan actually hugs Mike, as a thank you, for saving Boyd’s life. Unfortunately, Ryan takes the sinkhole incident as an opportunity to blast Vanessa and her company for fracking in the area. Whereas Mike saves Boyd from harm by driving safely, Vanessa is actually at fault for putting Boyd in danger because her company has been drilling. Of course there’s no way to prove that without doing any testing, and it spawns a yelling match between Mike, Vanessa, and Ryan. As Ryan goes into detail about the possible dangers of fracking, Boyd runs out of the room scared.

outdoor man ep 4The End is Near

Over at Outdoor Man, Mr. Alzate is kissing receipts and thanking the sinkhole for bringing in customers who are coming in to buy preparedness kits. Mike and Ed start talking about natural disasters and end-of-the-world situations, while Kyle quips that the end of the world is set for March 13! Well, at least Outdoor Man is well stocked with freeze-dried food and water purifiers in case that happens.

Back at the Baxter house, Boyd has barricaded himself into the family bomb shelter, in fear of fiery dragons coming out of the faucet, again, another fear instilled in him by his anti-fracking dad, Ryan. Vanessa tries to coax Boyd out with freshly baked cookies, but Mike is able to get him out by talking to him. Boyd comes out dressed in one of Mandy’s rompers, because he ran in there half naked and got cold.

Faith not Fear

Mike shares a story about how he fell once, while climbing, and that it wasn’t luck that saved him, it was God. “God is looking out for us,” shares Mike, “just like at the sinkhole,” adds Vanessa. They both encourage Boyd that he doesn’t have to be afraid of anything because God is looking out for him.

mike and boyd ep 4Ryan comes to pick Boyd up, but Boyd doesn’t want to leave because he doesn’t feel safe at home. When Boyd asks his dad if God will keep both of them safe, Ryan goes into a long, very wordy speech about an anthropomorphic deity, and Boyd runs out of the room shouting, “then I’m staying here with grandpa and God!”

Now, for Mike’s Outdoor Man vlog. The whole episode has been about how easily fear is spread, with or without facts to back it up. Whether it’s global warming, the effects of fracking, or even the second coming of Christ, nothing in life should be approached with fear. Fear, as Mike says, is not the best motivator, love is.

The episode ends with Mike encouraging Ryan to demonstrate to Boyd that he is safe, but Ryan doesn’t know how to do that. Kristin barges in, picks up Boyd, and carries him out the door, exercising her right, and her strength as a parent. I guess Ryan still has a lot to learn about being a dad, especially a dad that can comfort his son, without scaring him with big words and big fears.

As always, Last Man Standing tackles really poignant and relevant issues with such humor and grace. I loved all the banter between Eve and Mandy about watching the news. According to Mandy, those who don’t watch the news are the happiest. According to Eve, those who don’t watch the news are clueless. There is one thing they both agree on at the end of the episode: Channing Tatum’s nice abs. I don’t know if I would call that news, but hey, at least it’s something everyone can agree on.

 Last Man Standing airs Fridays 8/9C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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