'Last Man Standing': Who Returned in Series Finale

Last Man Standing finished its nine-season run with an emotional finale that could have been used to bring back some fan-favorite characters. Unfortunately, the last episode, "Keep On Truckin,'" did not bring anyone who had not been on the show recently back. Kaitlyn Dever did make a cameo appearance via Zoom, but that was it. The episode did not even include an appearance from Boyd, the "missing" son of Kristin Baxter and Ryan Vogelsong. Anyone hoping for a fourth-wall-breaking appearance from Molly Ephraim would be greatly disappointed as well.

In "Keep On Truckin,'" which was written by Tim Allen, Mike was ready to say the 10-year restoration of his beloved truck was complete since he got his hands on the original bill of sale after the truck's original owner died. However, the owner's family sold the bill of sale to Joe (Jay Leno)! Joe decided to give it to Mike (Allen) as a gift, so that was no trouble. But the real trouble came later when the truck was stolen. After everyone's efforts to find the truck failed, Mike held a "wake" where everyone was supposed to talk about how important the truck was in their lives.

last man standing finale eve fox
(Photo: Michael Becker/Fox)

For many of them, they didn't really have many great memories associated with the truck. The one member of the family who really did miss the truck was not physically there - Eve (Dever). She spoke to Mike and Vanessa (Nancy Travis) via Zoom. It was an emotional moment, with Eve calling the times she worked with her dad on the truck "some of the best times of my life." Later, Eve shared plenty of other great memories from her past year at the Air Force Academy, including breaking the sound barrier. "I've broken wind, I've shattered glass, but I've never shattered the sound barrier," Mike said.

Dever wound up being the only star who did not regularly appear on the show during its final season to make an appearance in the finale. Kristin (Amanda Fuller) and Mandy (Molly McCook) did mention their daughters early on in the episode, but they were not seen onscreen. Jet Jurgensmeyer, who played Kristin and Ryan's (Jordan Masterson) son Boyd, was not in the episode. In fact, Jurgensmeyer did not make an appearance at all in Season 9. His final appearance on the show turned out to be the Season 8 episode "You've Got Male (Or Female)," which aired back in January 2020.

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During its run, Last Man Standing did see roles recast, but none caught the ire from fans as much as Molly McCook replacing Ephraim as Mandy. Like Dever, Ephraim's career blossomed after ABC canceled the show following Season 6, most recently starring in HBO's Perry Mason. Although there were jokes about the recasting way back when Last Man Standing returned to Fox, Ephraim did not appear in the finale. Over time, fans began to warm up to McCook, who understood how hard it could be for fans to acclimate to a new Mandy.

"I think that it has changed and a lot more people have sort of accepted me, and I also think that I've sort of learned how to navigate social media in that way and not focus on the negative," McCook told PopCulture back in March 2020. She later added that her Mandy was different from Ephraim. "I think I sort of came to the conclusion that if, by now, they're not into my version of Mandy, then they never will be. And that's okay," McCook said at the time. "Because actors are actors and they always will be."