Last Man Standing Season 7, Episode 5 recap: Meet Jen

Last Man Standing photo via Fox Flash, Michael Becker / FOX.
Last Man Standing photo via Fox Flash, Michael Becker / FOX. /

Last Man Standing welcomed Jen, a Chinese foreign exchange student. The Baxters want her to live with them for a semester. Also, Boyd has his first crush.

Last Man Standing Season 7 episode 5 was probably the funniest episode this season. There were also plenty of sweet moments. The main focus of this episode revolved around Jen (Kristen Marie Yu), a foreign exchange student from Hong Kong, China. The Baxters, especially Vanessa (Nancy Travis), want her to live with them for a semester.

“Not to be overlooked though is Boyd Baxter (Jet Jurgensmeyer) having his first crush. It is a surprise to his parents, who find out from Mandy (Molly McCook) and Kyle (Christoph Sanders). While Boyd doesn’t want his parents to embarrass him, they think it is too cute. At the end though, Boyd still experiences these things for the first time.

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The foreign exchange student

Last Man Standing began when Vanessa informs Mike (Tim Allen) about an event for foreign exchange students that evening. Mike doesn’t want to attend, but Vanessa plans on attending anyways. Apparently, she studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and she thoroughly loved the experience.

At the foreign exchange student gathering, Vanessa immediately meets Jen. The two females hit it off instantly. Jen loves science, especially geology. She wants to major in it and then teach it. Vanessa is in love! She is a geologist and a former teacher. Furthermore, Jen laughs at all Vanessa’s geology-related puns.

Overjoyed at meeting Jen, Vanessa returns home and tells Mike she wants to offer Jen the opportunity to live with them next semester. Mike flatly says no. Kyle and Mandy are rarely home, and he enjoys his daily routine. Vanessa has other ideas however.

Mike agrees to have dinner with Jen and her father Henry (Francois Chau). Vanessa asks Mike to be polite and politically correct, not talking about “snowflakes, Benghazi, and deflate-gate.”

The following day, Mike finishes work only to find Ed (Hector Elizondo), Chuck (Jonathan Adams), and Joe (Jay Leno) drinking. Ed enjoys retirement so much he brought drinks for his two buddies.

Last Man Standing photo via Fox Flash, Michael Becker / FOX.
Last Man Standing photo via Fox Flash, Michael Becker / FOX. /

When Mike tells them about the dinner with Jen and her father, they laugh themselves silly. They cannot believe Mike will succeed at being polite and politically correct. Ed even offers this wisdom when he detects Mike disagrees with the notion of hosting a foreign exchange student.

Mike reiterates he loves Vanessa, he will support her, and he compromises because he cares about their marriage. He proves that later in this episode.

When Jen and Henry arrive at the Baxter house, Mike and Vanessa warmly welcome them. When Mike starts to comment about the poor road conditions, Vanessa reminds him to keep quiet. She and Jen leave to prepare dinner, and the conversation really becomes humorous.

Mike informs Henry that he owns Outdoor Man, and he’ll give Henry a personal tour tomorrow. Henry follows up by asking how the president’s tariffs have affected the price of aluminum, and by extension, boat sales at Outdoor Man. Mike deflects the question with an answer of boats are great because they float.

Henry then remarks nobody in his country understands how President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. “Wasn’t Mrs. Clinton more experienced,” Henry asks, to which Mike answers, “They say so.” “Didn’t she receive more votes?” Henry questions, and Mike simply nods his head, literally biting his tongue. Tremendous acting by both Tim Allen and Francois Chau. The faces Allen made were priceless, and Chau’s ability to keep a straight face shows his acting talent.

Mike finally suggests the two men check on dinner. After dinner, Mike and Vanessa tell Jen they enjoyed her company, but her father privately declines their offer for her to live with them.

They both are crushed. Vanessa wants to be a motherly figure for Jen, and she doesn’t like the idea of being an empty nester. Mike even likes Jen. She and Vanessa got along well, and she was polite and friendly. I imagine he saw some of the same qualities in her as his daughters.

The next day at Outdoor Man, Mike talks to Henry. Henry tells Mike while he liked Vanessa, he disliked Mike. Why?

Mike attempts to clear up any misunderstandings when he encourages Chuck and then Ed to tell Henry about himself. They initially sugarcoat who Mike really is, yet when Mike tells them Henry’s opinion of him, they let loose. In fact, Ed states, “Mike Baxter is a bastard!”

Maybe not the best choice of words, and Henry again refuses the offer for Jen to live with the Baxters. Yet he inadvertently reveals he does not want Jen to leave home. Her mother died when she was 10. It’s only him and her. Mike speaks highly of Vanessa, and he tells Henry the truth. He was just being polite at dinner. The roads suck because the government sucks, and in a Tim Taylor-like sound, he says, “Mike Baxter.”

After all is said and done, Jen will live with the Baxters. She won’t arrive until the next semester, so she will probably appear in episodes more frequently beginning in January. For FOX, that will be another marketing opportunity for Last Man Standing. The new addition of Kristen Marie Yu injects new storylines into the show. Mike tells Jen he wasn’t his normal self at dinner, to which she retorts this.

It’ll be nice to see Jen live with the Baxters. Perhaps Jen can teach Mike new aspects about her culture, and he can be more open-minded. Mike can teach her about all that takes place in making this country both crazy and great. For Vanessa, this is a chance to really make an impact on this girl’s life. Eve is very similar to Mike; Jen appears very similar to Vanessa.

Boyd likes a girl

At dinner, Mandy and Kyle inform Ryan and Kristen that Boyd has his first crush. Her name is Danielle, and she is in his math class. The Vogelsons are surprised to learn this. Ah teenagers.

Kristen speaks to Boyd about Danielle, and he admits he didn’t tell her because she may embarrass him. While she denies this claim, when he says no pictures, she asks if they can take one now. His point exactly!

Ryan jumps to hypothetical conclusions, but Kristen cautions against any hasty judgments. She admits she finds this all too sweet. Her baby boy is growing up. She even tells Boyd no matter how old he is, he will always be her baby boy. Again, embarrassment factor! Look at these faces; wouldn’t you be embarrassed?

Last Man Standing photo via Fox Flash, Michael Becker / FOX.
Last Man Standing photo via Fox Flash, Michael Becker / FOX. /

Minutes before Danielle arrives, Boyd becomes nervous. He doesn’t know what to say, and he wants his parents help. Luckily, his parents offer him advice. He gains confidence, only to discover she changed her outfit. He asks his parents to stall her while he styles his hair.

This is the most screen-time of Jet Jurgensmeyer on Last Man Standing. He flawlessly portrayed a teenage boy with his first crush. Ryan and Kristen will probably need advice from Mike and Vanessa. They ended up with a teenage pregnancy, so I’m certain they don’t want Boyd to make the same mistake.

Boyd probably will ask Ryan and Mike for advice on girls. It’ll be interesting to see how Mike and Ryan differ in their ideas about dating. Mike sees Boyd dating from the perspective of a grandfather who has enjoyed a long marriage, and Ryan sees Boyd dating from the viewpoint as his father who wasn’t there when Boyd was very little.

It would be neat to see Danielle on Last Man Standing. After all, seeing her and Boyd together would be progression for the show, and it could reveal new things about Boyd.

Ed, Joe, and Chuck all added to the comedy of this episode. Jay Leno really makes Joe likeable and funny. After drinking with Ed and Chuck, Joe planned on throwing up in Mike’s office.

Chuck is a caring hard-working man who can evenly match Mike’s comments. In the last episode, he and Vanessa pranked Mike. Jonathan Adams delivers his lines with just the right touch.

Ed of course is a series regular, and he is a generous man, even if his advice isn’t the greatest. Despite his older age, Hector Elizondo can still make viewers laugh.

In the last scene of this episode, Mike shakes his head, admitting it will be a female-dominant household once again. That scene reminded me of the early seasons of Last Man Standing. The females ran the Baxter house, and Mike learned how he fit in. The early seasons still had their flaws, but in its seventh season, Last Man Standing is more polished. Hopefully, the rest of the season builds on the ample amount of laughter and sweet moments from tonight.

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Last Man Standing airs Fridays at 8/7c on FOX.