Comedian Jay Leno made his first appearance on Last Man Standing's final season Thursday night. In "A Fool and his Money," Leno's Joe was back to be a thorn in Mike's side after Mike and Chuck convinced Joe to help them buy an old military Jeep. Leno has been a frequent guest star on Last Man Standing as a mechanic at Outdoor Man, dating back to the show's days on ABC. Leno's return came in a surprisingly moving and heartbreaking episode about grief.
At the beginning of this week's episode, Mike (Tim Allen) and Chuck (Jonathan Adams) were excited about their plans to restore a rare military Jeep, complete with a machine gun. They thought the project was all ready to go, but then Joe and Ed (Hector Elizondo) had some bad news. The client died. They now do not have any money and the project is unlikely to come to fruition. Later, Mike told Vanessa (Nancy Travis) about the situation. During their talk, Vaness praised Joe for not being frivolous with the inheritance he received from his late mother. That set off a light bulb in Mike's head. He now thinks Joe should buy the truck, but Vanessa thinks this is a bad and frivolous idea.
The next day at the store, Mike decided to take Joe to lunch. Joe instantly knew something was wrong because he never offers to take Joe to lunch. Mike decided to just tell Joe he thinks he should buy the Jeep. Joe said he did not feel right about spending his mother's money on the Jeep. Mike kept pounding the idea into Joe's brain until he agreed. Unfortunately for Mike, Joe had some strange ideas for the Jeep, all of which horrified Mike. (The school bus yellow paint job idea does seem a little crazy.)
Back at home, Mike sought some more advice from Vanessa. Mike compared getting rid of the machine gun on the Jeep to giving the Mona Lisa a boob job. Vanessa told Mike that some of the ideas sounded fun. Then, Mike said he would just buy it himself, an idea that Vanessa was strongly opposed to. "I don't want a machine gun in the driveway!" she said. She said he would have to get rid of his truck, so Mike moved on from that idea. Mike noted he was so surprised that Joe would want to change up the Jeep because he's usually a stickler for authenticity. Vanessa suggested Joe was going through something, so she would have a talk with him.prevnext
I also think about that sometimes, when a loved one passes away and how you feel #LastManStanding— Brooke Parker (@gramfurn) February 5, 2021
Surprisingly, the discussion between Joe and Vanessa was not shown onscreen. Instead, the show skipped to Vanessa delivering the surprising news to Mike. Joe thinks he killed his mother! Joe has long felt guilty about putting his mother in a hospital before her death, even though she did not want to go to the hospital. Mike and Vanessa both know Joe does not have any real reason to feel guilty. Vanessa can understand what it means to feel guilty about something. "He was hurting Mike, it was so sad," Vanessa said. Mike did not want to hear that. "I don't want to know that doofus is sad," Mike said. Vanessa pushed Mike to talk to his friend about it.prevnext
When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, do you know what they want from you? They’d want you to be the kind of person that people miss as much as you miss them. - Mike Baxter 💯 #LastManStanding— Ryan Bartholomee (@RyanBartholomee) February 5, 2021
The next day, Mike decided to talk to Joe. He told Joe that he did what he thought was best for his mother. "I miss her Mike," Joe told him. "That's because you were a good son," Mike told him. After lifting some of the guilt from his shoulders, Joe decided it might be better to make the Jeep look as great as it did during its heyday, which was about the same time his mom was at her best. At that point, Joe invited Mike to help out on the Jeep. He gladly agreed to.prevnext
During the Outdoor Man Vlog, Mike assured his viewers it was ok to feel grief. It was sad if you do not feel grief after losing a loved one. Everyone is going to the "celestial shore," Mike said. "When you're grieving the loss of a loved one, you know what they want from you? They want you to be the kind of person that people will miss as much as you miss them," Mike said. "Baxter out."prevnext
Elsewhere in the episode, Kyle (Christoph Sanders) and Mandy (Molly McCook) were worried about their daughter saying "butt" leading to her swearing more often. They accused Kristin (Amanda Fuller) and Ryan (Jordan Masterson) of introducing her bad words. They learned Kristin and Ryan also had their own list of words they do not say around their kids. While the four parents suddenly thought they were bad parents, Jen (Krista Marie Yu) came in to assure them that because they care so much, they are good parents.prev