When Last Man Standing was finally able to bring Kaitlyn Dever's Eve Baxter back for a full in-person guest spot in Episode 914, "The Two Nieces of Eve," fans were as pumped as Tim Allen and the rest of the show's cast and crew to see her again. While Dever did pop up briefly in the season opener that followed the Super Bowl, it was only through a Zoom call with the fam, so having her back for a full Eve-centric episode was awesome. As well, her return also inspired an interesting and unexpected conversation behind the scenes.
As viewers (but not studio audience members) noted during the episode in question, certain moments took place inside Eve's bedroom. When CinemaBlend spoke with Last Man Standing showrunner Kevin Abbot, we talked about the process behind turning Eve's room into a set. Specifically, I asked if they kept all of the room's furniture and props were kept in storage without Kaitlyn Dever around all the time, and he talked about the conversation-starting question that Tim Allen had. In his words:
They are. As a matter of fact, we had an interesting conversation about that. Because in order to deal with the COVID crisis, you know, we moved the show forward two years in time. We had Mandy and Kyle living in the house during the COVID crisis. We were all dealing post-pandemic stories, and that's how we were acknowledging what happened, but not having to actually live in the moment and kind of cope with everything. But you know, Tim was saying, 'Okay, well, did the room change? What happened? What are we going to do with the room?' Tim's very [detailed] and wants to keep everything as real as possible. So we had to have a big discussion on what would have moved and what would have not.
Admittedly, for all that I was indeed curious about how Last Man Standing's production team sorted out Eve's room situation, I totally hadn't considered Season 9's two-year time jump whenever I asked about it. So Kevin Abbott kind of blew my mind when bringing up the additional logistical hurdle that Tim Allen brought up.
Theoretically, the creative team had to think about how many times Kaitlyn Dever's Eve would have visited during that two-year span, and what she might have changed about her room in the meantime, as well as what Tim Allen's Mike or Nancy Travis' Vanessa would have done to it. Nothing looked like it had two years' worth of dust collected on it, so that's good.
In the end, though, Kevin Abbot shared that the team agreed that Eve's room shouldn't be too different from what everyone remembered it to be, even after the time jump. He explained:
We eventually put the room back the way it had been. There are all these [pictures]; the set decoration has photographs of the entire set, and they put everything back the way it had been just because we wanted the sense of nostalgia for us. But you know, we also felt that since we are feeling that way, then maybe the audience would be feeling the same way as well.
While I can't imagine Last Man Standing fans would have freely rioted had the set designers taken down the soccer and skateboarding posters, it was probably a smart move to keep Eve's bedroom just as it was the last time Kaitlyn Dever popped by. Especially if that ends up being the last time that fans will witness a scene in that room, considering the sitcom only has seven episodes left to go in its final season, with no news of whether Dever was able to film additional scenes for future episodes. That said, fans can take comfort in knowing "The Two Nieces of Eve" was crafted specifically for the actress' return, even beyond the title itself, and the writers would have come up with a totally different storyline if she wasn't available.