TV Club: A festive The Last Man On Earth explores the joy of thoughtful surprises

Christmas episodes tend to bring the best out of television. The general spirit of the season coupled with a familiarity with a group of characters inevitably means a host of sweet moments and an overall feeling of togetherness. But on a show as acerbic as The Last Man On Earth, it’s hard to say how they would handle a Christmas episode. After all, the Thanksgiving episode featured everyone at each other’s throats only for the murder of a bull to bring them together. Phil and Carol may be closer than ever, but the group itself remains in a fragile state. Sensitive egos and competing emotional agendas inevitably divide people, but they especially rear their ugly head around the Christmas holidays. It’s an even more tenuous situation when most of the world’s population has been wiped out.

But for most of its running time, “Secret Santa” keeps …

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