Kevin enjoys a day full of lunacy while trying to find out if he’s actually crazy while Holy Wayne’s compound is raided and Tom’s job is more important now that never before….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
The debut episode of ‘The Leftovers’ was a complicated mix of grief stricken characters all being introduced with the common thread of losing somebody they loved during a sudden departure of 140 million people three years earlier with no explanation — scientific or ideological — as to what really happened. The first hour started strange but by the end, pieces of the puzzle started to come together including the introduction of Chief Kevin Garvey and his estranged wife, Laurie, who is now a part of a group known as ‘The Guilty Remnants’ who wear all white, chain smoke like Denis Leary in the 90’s and hold true to a code of silence.
The second episode titled ‘Penguin One, Us Zero’ references a blown up penguin doll in a psychiatrist’s office where Kevin has been ordered to go seek evaluation and therapy after he shot a bunch of dogs dead (which was the conclusion of last week’s debut). Kevin holds therapy somewhere around the same place Michael Douglas’ character did in the film ‘Basic Instinct’ because he believes he’s sane and lucid and killing the dogs was perfectly justifiable considering they were attacking and ripping apart a deer at the time. The problem is the therapist, the mayor and everybody on the force has no record of this mystery man who shot the dogs alongside the chief of police, not to mention his black truck that is nowhere to be found.
The chief is also having strange dreams where he’s visited by his daughter’s best friend (and really she’s not hard on the eyes, so it’s understandable) and his waking and sleep state seems to have him questioning whether this mystery man is real at all or not. The sudden disappearance of his morning bagel even plays into Kevin’s psychosis as he starts to sink deeper and deeper into the belief that this is all a trick his mind is playing on him.
While he’s continuing his hunt for the mystery dog assassin to prove he’s not actually searching for Tyler Durden, Kevin visits the Guilty Remnants housing development, which he apparently does every few weeks looking for missing persons. This group has a tendency to welcome in plenty of people who want to join their ranks, and the police have a job to make sure everybody is there of their own free will. It’s on this visit that he meets Meg Abbott, who showed up at the house last week asking to stay just for a few days. Well now we’re weeks into the future and she’s still in the orientation house where new members can speak and eat pancakes with whipped cream on them. She’s going through some arduous work with Kevin’s wife, Laurie, who is in charge of determining if Meg is worth inviting to join the group or not. Meg is pushed into chopping down a tree with the goal being to eventually stay at it long enough to bring it toppling over and while she quits at first, she revisits the tree late at night to keep hacking away until it goes timber.
When the chief arrives he simply asks Meg if she’s there on her own accord and if she needs help he’s there to help her. She looks unsure of what to say, but ultimately brushes him off while still quietly taking his business card just in case. It appears Meg wants to be part of the white-wearing crew, but her initiation has been going strangely so far and there’s still a part of her that might make an escape.
Back at the station, Kevin is confronted with her fiancée who wants her back while bitching about the wedding they were supposed to have before she up and disappeared. Finally, Kevin gets some good — if not off putting news — because one of his deputies finds the mystery truck and it’s sitting in his driveway. No registration, no VIN number to trace, it’s just there. Strike two on old Kevin’s sanity meter for the day.
Matters don’t get better when Kevin visits his old man (played brilliantly by Scott Glenn) who was the former chief of police before he lost his mind and was committed to a home for the mentally ill. He still has chats with the mayor from time to time, and seems cognizant enough to carry on conversations and even give his son advice about how to be the best chief of police possible. Just when things are looking normal, Kevin’s dad walks back out onto the edge and he starts hearing voices and talking to an invisible entity in the room. Kevin is standing at the plate down 0-2 and a fastball is coming straight down the middle towards crazy town.
But just when it all seems lost, Kevin gets a knock at the door and there is the mystery man in the flesh with a six-pack of Budweiser in his hands as a welcome gift. Kevin’s daugher and her friend also spot and talk to the stranger while accepting the beer before he orders them not to drink a sip. The man still isn’t willing to share his name because Kevin is asking in an official capacity and not as a friend who just helped him kill a bunch of dogs a few weeks ago (his name is Dean in case you’re curious). Mystery man tells Kevin the truck is all his because he’s done with it and then tells him to gear up and meet him at a location in town where he’s spotted another pack of wild dogs that has to be put down.
Kevin eventually makes it back to the station where he obsessively dismantles the toaster and finds his burnt bagels stuck in the back of the machine. So while his dreams still haunt him, it turns out his bagel didn’t disappear, he didn’t imagine the man who helped him shoot down the dogs, and he even got a free truck out of the deal! Sanity restored.
So it turns out Wayne the hugging healer is also Wayne the pedophile, Wayne the creepy, Wayne the kidnapper, Wayne the all around strange dude, but he’s also got plenty of senators and congressman in his pocket (as witnessed last week) so he’s been protected up till now. He’s allegedly got some kind of way to hug out the pain and misery everyone who is dealing with loss from the sudden departure is feeling, and that relief doesn’t come for free. So Federal authorities decide to storm his compound and find the freaky cult leader and expose him as a fraud to the world.
The problem is Wayne has plenty of people who buy his ability and they will fight to protect him — that includes Tom — the chief of police’s son. He’s been charged with protecting Christine, the young Asian girl who digs gummy worms, and who Wayne warned him to never, ever touch under any circumstances. So far this sounds like a weird Mormon compound but maybe I’ve read ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ too many times (recommend that book though if you haven’t read it!).
So Tom is his ultimate wisdom guns down an officer to save Christine before escaping the compound where he meets up with Wayne. The healer offers to take away Tom’s sadness and melancholy, but he’s not having it. Maybe it’s out of fear or maybe that pain is what let’s Tom know it’s all still real, but Wayne can’t quite figure it out and that’s possibly why he trusts the young man so much with the most important possession he owns.
“You’re the one motherfucker I can’t figure out. You’re all suffering and no salvation.”
Wayne escapes after a brief embrace with his dearest Christine before handing off some cash to Tom, telling him to keep her safe at any cost and advice on how to continue moving until he hears from him again at a later date. He even gets a nice smiley face burner phone as a present (this is of course after Wayne tore his nice iPhone in half).
Tom is clearly still soaking in the guilt of killing an innocent man and when the car he’s taking Christine away in doesn’t start, he just rages and lets out a wave of emotion that had been building up inside for quite some time and it just had to get out.
Follow the Leader
Jill Garvey, her friend Aimee and the wonder twins decide to follow around Nora Durst this week after running into the grieving widower at a coffee shop where they find she’s carrying a really big fucking gun around with her. They are convinced after losing her husband and kids to the big departure that Nora’s fallen off the deep end and so their mission is to follow her around to see where she goes next.
Nora’s job is with an insurance company where she goes around to different houses to gather questions about the ‘deceased’ so she can process their claim. I guess you have to figure when this one woman lost her husband and two kids, there’s probably not much else anyone can say to her about loss, much less the fact that she know exactly what these people are going through right now. Nora is also friends with Pastor Matt Jamison, whose sole purpose in life is to convince those still left behind that this big event wasn’t God’s plan or his work at all. There’s an answer out there, but it has nothing to do with God is Jamison’s ploy and apparently Nora is buying into it as well.
The kids follow her all the way to breaking into her car at one point for some hand lotion and jelly beans before high tailing it out of there when Nora pops out of the front door and sees what’s actually going on.
Two episodes in and the intrigue is growing around Kevin’s medical history and a lingering question whether or not his dreams are prophetic visions or just a manifestation of guilt and rage quickly turning into psychosis with his father already suffering from seeing things that aren’t there syndrome. Jill’s purpose on the show still has me left clueless. She’s one of the leads but so far she’s just been witness to a weird masturbation truth or dare game and then followed around a lady who is bereaved by the loss of her husband and children because why not? Thus far the best part of the series has been Holy Wayne and his creepy eyes that see right through anyone standing in his path. Is he really a legit healer or just another David Koresh with too much time on his hands and ready made access to Wikipedia.
Tune into The Leftovers next week when Christopher Eccleston takes center stage as the pastor whose answers apparently enrage a congregation, but the numbers are growing as he looks to prove to the world that this was just a freak occurrence and not the rapture, nor is God coming back any time soon. So don’t change vacation plans, Jesus is coming, but just not today.