Laurie shows back up at home but sticks around to deliver some news to Kevin and share a Christmas moment with her daughter Jill….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It was clear when the premise of ‘The Leftovers’ was revealed (if you didn’t read the book because I did not), this show was going to veer off in a lot of directions, rarely walking any straight lines and leaving a lot of questions unanswered. Matters were made worse when ‘Lost’ co-creator Damon Lindelof was revealed as one of the executives on this series and immediately thoughts shifted to two-percent of the world’s population disappearing and then showing up again on an island filled with polar bears and Desmond Hume (okay, so that was just me).
All jokes aside, one of the best and worst parts of ‘The Leftovers’ are the numerous curiosities that spring up each episode and rarely is there ever a clear answer. One thing we know for sure is that Chief Kevin Garvey’s life fell apart because of two events that happened since the great departure of 140 million people. First, he cheated on his wife. There’s no good reason for why he did it or as he explains — and in reality this is the best ‘excuse’ ever stated by somebody who has been unfaithful — ‘is there ever a good answer to that question?’. True words, Kevin.
In addition to that, Kevin’s wife Laurie left his family six months ago to become a member of the Guilty Remnant, the all in white clad cult springing up all over town, buying churches and stalking people in pairs while chain smoking Marlboros like Robert DeNiro in ‘Casino’.
In the latest episode, Kevin has one mission and one mission only — recover a stolen baby Jesus lifted from the town’s nativity scene. The doll wasn’t anything special — just a mass produced plastic doll (from a company called Afordy of all things), wrapped in a blanket and put in the manger. Kevin is ordered to replace the baby Jesus by the mayor, but she couldn’t care less whether it’s the real thing or another store bought Jesus — so long as something is wrapped up and put back in the nativity scene by the time a town dance starts that evening (a town dance? Is this Mayberry?).
Kevin is just about to purchase another Afordy doll when he decides to make it his personal goal in life to recover the original stolen mass produced Jesus. He doesn’t want to believe that his daughter was involved, but surveillance footage proves otherwise. Kevin confronts the Prius driving twins, who deny but then all but give up his daughter as the culprit. You see Jill would rather kidnap the Jesus doll and allow her friends to defecate on it before she suggests dousing it in gasoline and setting it out into the middle of a lake while she fires flaming Nerf arrows to set it ablaze — it was like a modern version of a Tully funeral but in this case Jill didn’t miss the funeral pyre like Edmure did when it was his time to set his father on fire. She couldn’t even pull the trigger.
The baby Jesus shows back up on the Chief’s doorstep as the wonder twins make their great escape, and Kevin has at least accomplished something today because everything else in his life is certainly turning to shit.
In the middle of the great baby Jesus-napping, Kevin’s wife Laurie and Meg from the Guilty Remnant show up on his front doorstep. He offers them Christmas cookies in one of the only times poor Kevin has shown even a brief twinkle of happiness in his eyes during the entire run of this show. Maybe some of his struggles have come internally because he openly admitted cheating on Laurie, but his disconnection with Jill isn’t helping and the latest news delivered by his wife certainly won’t bring him out of the mire either.
Laurie is filing for divorce and she won’t offer up a word of explanation outside of a letter writing to Kevin, read by Meg, explaining how she’s broken and maybe that’s the entire point — she’s not meant to be fixed. She also reveals that Tommy is not actually Kevin’s son, but he raised him that way regardless. At this point in their lives, however, Laurie wants to be free of their marriage and Kevin can’t take anymore — he demands that she say that she wants this divorce and in the midst of his rant, Jill comes home and sees her mother sitting in their house, not saying a word, much less reaching out to give her a hug or to tell her how much she’s missed her in these last six months.
Jill quietly goes over to the family’s sad Christmas tree, filled with ornaments that may not even be their own (those are Grandpa’s) and reaches for the lone present she filed there earlier in the day. She hands it over to Laurie and then runs upstairs. When her mother exits and heads up the street, she opens the box and inside is a lighter with the inscription ‘don’t forget me’. It’s a sweet, downtrodden message from a daughter who just wants to make some kind of connection with a mother who abandoned her, but who she clearly still loves dearly inside her heart. Meg offers to keep the lighter a secret, but instead Laurie dumps it down a sewer grate before continuing her walk away from the life she used to have before becoming a member of the Guilty Remnant.
Kevin’s pathetic day gets one glimmer of hope when he runs into Nora at the high school where the dance is taking place and the appropriate sparks fly even in the face of tragedy (he just lost his wife, she just found out her husband cheated on her before disappearing off the face of the Earth). He heads back to the nativity scene to put Jesus back in the manger when he runs into Pastor Matt Jamison, who has shown up just in the nick of time with a spare Jesus he had laying around. This one looks more like the traditional Jesus used in nativity scenes and not the plastic, lifeless doll previously being used. Maybe the worst part about this entire ordeal was how the mayor made such a huge deal about the Chief replacing the baby Jesus, but when he revealed the news to the townspeople all gathered at the high school they seemed less than enthusiastic to hear that the Lord has returned. Kevin’s day has been filled with nothing but bad news, broken down cars, a divorce and now no one even cares when he brings Jesus to town. Oh yeah and he continues to ignore his daughter when it’s clear she really wants attention from her father. She didn’t steal the baby Jesus just for kicks and giggles and with a mother who already left and clearly isn’t returning, this is a cry for help if I’ve ever seen one. Of course, Kevin fails to even acknowledge that and when she pushes him for answers all he can say is that things are difficult. Her response is to let her know when things get simple again.
I’d like that same call, kid.
Tommy isn’t having much better luck on the road watching out for Holy Wayne’s favorite lady Christine. It’s been six weeks since they left the compound and not only is Christine pregnant, but Wayne hasn’t been in touch with them once in all that time. To make matters worse while they are waiting at a hospital to get her checked out, a crazy man with no pants shouts that Christine has been in his dreams and naturally he attacks her. Now I’m not medical expert, but I’m guessing anyone that mentally disturbed wouldn’t just be roaming around a hospital — especially pantsless. Tommy has to intervene before they bolt and go to another hospital instead.
There the nurse starts to examine Christine, but when she raises the girl’s shirt to do an ultrasound it’s impossible to ignore giant bruises across her midsection. Things are compounded when she notices the scrapes and skinned knuckles on Tommy’s hand. Before the cops can come, he makes a quick escape and waits by a bus stop nearby, hoping the situation will cool down so he can go back and rescue Christine from the hospital. In the middle of his crisis of conscience, Tommy is visited by two members of the Guilty Remnant, who hand him a flier that says ‘everything you need is inside’ and when he opens up the pamphlet what do you know it’s just a blank piece of paper. Just when it looks like Tommy is about to say ‘fuck it, dude, let’s go bowling’ and hope on a bus bound for Mapleton, the burner phone he has rings — when he answers it’s a telemarketer talking about the loss of loved ones and he takes this as a sign that he needs to continue his mission.
Tommy scoops up Christine and they hop on a bus bound for nowhere but then the strange only gets stranger when he awakes to find her flirting with as soldier named Tom before the entire vehicle stops on a dime and everyone is thrown forwards as they avoid a near crash. In front of the bus is a turned over tractor trailer with ‘bodies’ all over the side of the road. The truck was filled with ‘loved ones’ the creepy advertisement that’s been playing in each episode — basically these are replicas of the people who disappeared on the great departure and these life sized dolls made to look like them are being sent to the families so they can bury them and at least say goodbye to something even if it’s not the dead body of the person they lost. Just then Christine runs from the bus and says she saw this in her dream. What this means, I have no clue. My theories on this show run deep, and while I rather enjoyed the Holy Wayne stuff in the first two episodes, this latest run in with his lady and their holy baby was just odd and off putting. Hopefully something is made clear soon or Wayne rolls in a white horse pretty soon to bring some of what’s happening to light. The dude could at least give Tommy that hug now.
While all of this has been happening in the background, the grand orchestration that survived all episode long paid off in the end when Chief Garvey plotted to basically incite the Guilty Remnant to show up at the town dance, step foot on school property and then arrest them all for trespassing. Well, they show up but stay five feet back from the property line to avoid any wrongdoing, but Kevin isn’t playing this game any longer. He orders the whole bunch locked up because what are they going to say in their defense?
In the middle of his big arrest, however, Kevin notices that for all the members of the Guilty Remnant that showed up for the vigil, there were still a number of them missing including his soon to be ex-wife Laurie. Across town while the entire police force was distracted with arresting the members of the Guilty Remnant not really doing anything, the rest of the group was vandalizing house after house after house, ransacking the places for family pictures. Each house that was burglarized had family pictures stolen and frames left empty for people returning home to find. I have to assume at least some of these homes, if not all of them, belonged to people who lost loved ones during the great departure and these were the reminders and remnants of those now gone for more than three years.
Following the picture theft, Laurie decides to walk back to cult-de-sac, but instead goes back to her old neighborhood where she finds the storm drain where he daughter’s Christmas present resides. Desperately, Laurie reaches with every last centimeter of her fingers trying to pick up the lighter he daughter gave her with the words ‘don’t forget me’ inscribed on the front.
Maybe the real reason Laurie isn’t ready to say her life with Kevin and her daugher is over has nothing to do with the vow of silence she took to join the Guilty Remnant. Maybe she’s just not prepared to be done with her old life.