There is still a long way to go in the rest of Last Man Standing's final season, but this week's episode appeared to hint at where the show might be going in the end. In "Grill in the Mist," Tim Allen's Mike Baxter grappled with the coronavirus pandemic's long-lasting effects on Outdoor Man while considering his own future. In the end, Mike made a surprising decision, picking someone who will replace him when he retires.
At the beginning of the episode, Vanessa (Nancy Travis) grilled Mike about never taking time away from work to go on that Peru trip they have been delaying since the pandemic began. Mike said he still wanted to go, but he couldn't just now. "Just promise me you won't be one of those guys who dies at the office," Vanessa grumbled as she walked away.
At Outdoor Man, Mike assembled the full team to discuss how Outdoor Man needed to make some changes. The only person who was perfect is Chuck (Jonathan Adams) because his security work is incredibly efficient. Mike's big goal was to make sure every square foot of the store made money. One section that has done well was bicycles, especially during the pandemic. "Look at this way, people just liked riding away from their families during the pandemic," Mike joked.
Back at home, Vanessa found Mike going through his papers and the numbers were not good. Mike believed the only way he can help Outdoor Man is to close The Grill, the restaurant inside the store run by Kristin (Amanda Fuller). Vanessa and Mike both believed this was awful to do, but it was necessary.
Mike jokingly suggested they run off to Peru. Mike later brought his proposal to Ed (Hector Elizondo) at The Grill, and he agreed with the idea. Mike agreed to tell Kristin himself. At that moment Kristin walked in, and she made her own proposal. "We have to close The Grill," she said. Mike thought this would leave Kristin devastated. "I'm not devastated... I'm completely destroyed," Kristin said. Mike said he would help Kristin by letting her staff go, but she will take that on herself. "I'm proud of you Kris," Mike said. "Good, you can take me out to dinner. You'll have to pay," Kristin said as she left.
Later, Kristin suggested Mike could use her Grill staff at other parts of the store. "When did you become such a compassionate businesswoman?" Mike asked. "Hi, I'm Mike Baxter's daughter," Kristin replied. The only person she could not find a new job for was herself though. She said she would be fine. "Thank goodness your husband sells drugs for a living," Mike said as Kristin left the office.
That night, Jen and Vanesa were surprised to see Mike was happy. During his drive home, he came up with an epiphany. He decided that when he retires, Kristin should take over! "She's got great management skills, she's got a great heart," Mike told Vanessa. "I love this, Outdoor Man is going to be run by a woman!" Jen said.
The next day, Mike told Kristin the great news, but she was completely shocked. She even thought it was a prank. Surprisingly, Kristin turned down the offer! Mike did not understand this at all. She believes he would never retire. "Who in their right mind would stay at Outdoor Man forever?" At that moment Ed walked in. (Ed supposedly retired, but still hangs around.) "I said who in their right mind," Mike said as Ed left. Mike insisted he was really ready to leave, but Kristin really needed a timeline. She agreed if Mike would leave within two years and it was written in a contract. If Mike does not retire then, she wants a big penalty. The episode ended with an Outdoor Man vlog about how there is no more gratifying feeling for a parent than seeing their kids support themselves.
The second story of the night was another plot involving Jen (Krista Marie Yu), Mandy (Molly McCook), and Kyle (Christoph Sanders). Mandy and Kyle enlisted Jen to help her organize her closet. Jen reluctantly agreed to do it, but only if Mandy didn't ask any questions. Mandy was disappointed that some of her clothes were going to be tossed until she realized Kyle remembered everything she did while wearing them. New episodes of Last Man Standing air Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox.