‘Last Man Standing’ Gives Mike Baxter a Fresh New Role in Final Season Episode

The last season of Tim Allen's Last Man Standing is already on episode 15, and the subject of death has arisen. In a special episode directed by star Amanda Fuller, Kyle and Mandy became obsessed with trying to make sure their daughter was looked after if the worst thing should happen to them. In the end, the story led to Mike getting a surprise new family role. Elsewhere in the episode, Jen took a job at Outdoor Man and took the work a little too seriously.

The episode was titled "Butterfly Effect" because Kyle (Christoph Sanders) began worrying about how fragile life was after he saw a butterfly. If he hadn't started chasing after it, a falling branch might have hurt him. Mike Baxter (Allen) said after his own near-death experience the first thing he did was write up a will. (The first thing Ed [Hector Elizondo] did after he almost died was going on a bender in Mexico, which also almost caused his death.) While this almost-cause-of-death for Kyle was funny, Mike said it inspired a good idea. Mike suggested Kyle and Mandy (Molly McCook) start thinking about estate planning. After all, the only way Batman could afford to be Batman is because his parents wrote up a will.

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(Photo: Patrick Wymore/Fox)

Later, Mandy and Kyle popped over to Mike and Vanessa's (Nancy Travis) house to seriously talk about estate planning. This did not go very well, because it was hard to keep the younger couple on the subject of death. At one point, Kyle wondered how he might die. "All signs point to strangulation in a comfortable chair," an irritated Mike said. Vanessa and Mike told them they have to seriously think about who they feel should be a guardian for their daughter Sarah in the event they aren't there. They decided to take this subject up at their apartment.

Vanessa and Mike both surprisingly agreed that they do not want to be Sarah's guardians, even though they believed they were picked. Mandy and Kyle then walked in and revealed that they never even planned to pick them. They picked Ed and Bonnie (Susan Sullivan)! That decision shocked them, so Mike went over to Ryan (Jordan Masterson) to share the news, which surprised him. Mike wanted Ryan to "gently" push Kyle and Many in a different direction. Kyle walked in at this point. He said they picked Ed because he's the "second greatest man" he knows.

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The next day at Outdoor Man, Ed was not happy that Kyle and Mandy now don't want him to be a guardian for Sarah. Ed was very honored by Kyle's choice, so he was not happy that Mike influenced Kyle to go in a different direction. This all built up to a meeting at the Outdoor Man office where Kyle told Mike, Ed, and Ryan would all be Sarah's guardians! "If I'm a good father at all, it's because of the three men in this room," Kyle said through tears. Ryan tried to read Kyle's speech, but he started crying. Ryan and Kristin will be primary guardians, but Ed and Mike will also have a say in important decisions. After Kyle and Ryan left, Mike admitted to Ed that he has been a father figure and would not be the same man without him.

While the situation with Kyle and Mandy's will played out, Jen (Krista Marie Yu) had to learn to loosen up while working at Outdoor Man. Chuck (Jonathan Adams) wanted Jen to act like a soldier, but Kristin (Fuller) thought that was too much. Kristin and Chuck helped her realize that Mike hired her to be an executive assistant because of who she is and shouldn't change anything. New episodes of Last Man Standing air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.