As the story progresses, "Y: The Last Man" — set in a world where Yorick Brown and his pet monkey Ampersand are the only Y chromosome-bearing survivors of a mysterious, global catastrophe — increasingly explores how the surviving officials of a politically polarized U.S. government handle the apocalyptic event.
In the fifth episode of the FX on Hulu series, Regina Oliver (Jennifer Wigmore) — a low-ranking Cabinet member from the Republican administration in place when almost every mammal with a Y chromosome suddenly died — makes her triumphant return to the U.S. with a constitutional claim to the presidency. Oliver is a far-right politician that other characters have described as an "anti-immigrant, anti-government, anti-vaxxer with a Twitter following," leaving viewers to compare her to political figures such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.
Her existence and story line highlight one of the key differences between this "Y: The Last Man" TV adaptation and the original 2002 comic book series created by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. Here are some other key differences between the comic book and the show so far.
President Brown: When the catastrophe decimates the presidential line of succession in the show, Rep. Jennifer Brown (Yorick's mother) becomes president of the United States. She tries to see the country through the crisis as much as she worries about her children. While she's also a member of Congress in the comics, it's Secretary of Agriculture Margaret Valentine who becomes president.
More time with Hero: In both the comics and the show, Hero Brown — Yorick's older sister — is an EMT who is with her boyfriend when the mass death event happens. Not much else about Hero's life preceding and immediately following the catastrophe is shown in the comics, and when she eventually crosses paths with Yorick, it is revealed that she has joined a militant, trans-exclusionary gang of women known as Daughters of the Amazon. Her making a friend (thanks to Yorick) is one of the key developments in Hero's journey later in the series. The show spends more time on Hero (Olivia Thirlby) and her story and she has a real friend from the very beginning. Could having a good friend keep Hero from falling in with a dangerous crowd?
Meet Sam Jordan: Hero's best friend Sam (Elliot Fletcher), a transgender man, is one of the original characters created for the TV series. While the comics acknowledge the existence of trans people, it is fleeting and dated. Clark has mentioned that this dated idea of fixed, binary gender is one aspect of the comics that the show updates. The show is much more intentional and explicit about its depiction of gender and affirming trans, nonbinary and intersex people — Yorick isn't "the last man," he's the last human with a Y chromosome.
Beth is not in Australia: In the show, Yorick proposed to his girlfriend Beth — who was about to head to Australia for her studies — in person on the night before the catastrophe and they have an argument. But in the comics, Yorick pops the question while on a long-distance phone call with Beth, who is already in Australia, and the call drops before he can hear her answer. So comic book Yorick's priority is to figure out how to get to Australia to find Beth, whose fate remains a mystery for quite a while. How TV Beth's location will affect what's to come remains to be seen.