Last Man Standing featured the return of a fan-favorite member of the Baxter family for the series' Christmas episode, making fans happy ahead of its winter hiatus.
Eve Baxter (Kaitlyn Dever), the youngest Baxter daughter, came back in the final minutes of the FOX comedy series' final episode of 2018 to add the final piece of the family Christmas tree.
As the family gathered to decorate the house and enjoy family time during "The Gift of the Mike Guy," Eve made a surprise appearance at the end of the episode coming home from the academy for the holidays and putting the star on the Christmas tree.
"Merry Christmas," Eve says, surprising the family and getting cheers from the live studio audience.
"I thought it was going to be Chuck," Mike (Tim Allen) says when he answers the door.
"I was supposed to bring the star," she says.
"You are the star," he says. "Come on in."
Eve reveals she took an Uber from the academy and spent $111. The family then settled to enjoy the night together.
Last Man Standing fans were delighted to see Eve make her return from the academy for the third time this season.
I know it wouldn't make storyline sense, but I really wish they could get Kaitlyn Dever on the show more often these days... #LastManStanding— LassKicker (@TimeToHunt1) December 15, 2018
The series explained Dever's absence from the series after she was accepted to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The series made Eve a recurring character for the new season as Dever had committed to the upcoming Netflix series, Unbelievable.
Dever also had a role in Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet's latest film garnering awards buzz, Beautiful Boy.
"She's in the first episode, [and] she will be in the third episode," Last Man Standing executive producer Kevin Abbott told TVLine in August. "Kaitlyn Dever's marvelous and of course she took other work while we were off... She's currently doing a Netflix show, but they're being really, really accommodating."
He added: "Kaitlyn's working really hard so that whenever she has a break, we will film her. We're going to write... B-stories [in advance] for the purpose of being able to shoot her in a scene and then drop it into a later episode."
Abbott also teased a future episode in which the Baxter clan might visit Eve at the academy in the future.
For now, however, fans enjoyed having the Baxter family together for the special holiday episode.
THERE SHE IZZZZZZZZZZ!!!! #LastManStanding— MOLLY✶McCOOK (@mollyjmccook) December 15, 2018
"[Oh my God] ITS EVE!!! This is the best episode ever," one Twitter user commented.
"I was gonna say.... Laughing out loud]. You can't do an episode like that, Christmas AND military themed, and not have Eve Baxter..." another user wrote.
"there she is with the star. Good to see Eve there," a third user commented.1comments
Eve's move to a recurring character came after Fox rescued Last Man Standing a year after it had been canceled by ABC. The network came with almost all of the cast signing back up for the show, except for Dever and Molly Ephraim, who played Mandy Baxter. Her character was recast with actress Molly McCook.
Last Man Standing returns with new episodes Friday, Jan. 4 on Fox.