The Leftovers Season 1 Episode 5 “Gladys”: My Unsolicited Review

The-Leftovers-Justin-Theroux-Shirtless-Towel

Remember my proposed The Leftovers recipe from last week?

  • Brooding characters
  • Intermittent appearances by weirdo cult members
  • Mysterious ending

Well, HBO stuck to what they know, and we pretty much got the same thing this week. However, things got slightly more in-depth this week, particularly in relation to the cult, the Guilty Remnant.

We knew things would be intense from the opening scene, when one of the members of GR, Gladys, was ambushed by unknown assailants who taped her to a tree, and proceeded to hurl rocks at her head. I’ve got to say, this scene was so gruesome that I literally had to turn my gaze away. I mean, HBO is no stranger to gory scenes, but this one was next-level hardcore! Even when, in Game of Thrones, the Mountain was crushing the Red Viper’s head with his bare hands, they at least had the good graces to pan the camera away. This particular scene in this week’s The Leftovers, however, was shown in all its horrific splendour.

From then, the rest of the episode was pretty much about the aftermath of this attack.

We see Kevin on a downward spiral. Laurie’s “announcement” that she wanted a divorce is doing a number on him, and he’s hitting the sauce pretty hard (I’ve put “announcement” in quotations because, really, how much of an announcement could it really be when she didn’t speak a word?). Not to be insensitive or anything, but Laurie has been a member of this cult for a while now, and hasn’t spoken a word to anyone for seven months – what exactly was Kevin expecting would happen? Add this to the fact that his professional life is facing opposition at every turn, including from his subordinates and the very citizens that he is trying to protect. A proposal to impose a curfew until the perpetrators of the hate crime are caught is met with more than a little resistance. He also finds himself terrorizing a crooked dry-cleaner, who’s apparently stealing his white shirts??

Of course, it doesn’t help that Jill, his own daughter, is still being her usual pain-in-the-ass self. To her credit, there were two scenes where she was slightly more endearing than usual: the first was when her father came to the school to inform her of the hate crime, and she broke down in tears, thinking that he’d come to break bad news to her about her mother. Then, towards the end of the episode, Kevin finally admitted to her that he and her mother were getting a divorce; without hesitation, she assured him that it wasn’t his fault when he teared up, apologising. So yes, she was a tad tolerable in those moments, but I’m afraid it wasn’t nearly enough to make up for her overall suck-ass attitude. The most accurate line spoken in the entire episode was when Kevin asked if Aimee (Jill’s best friend) if Jill was okay. “She doesn’t really do okay,” was Aimee’s eventual response. Truth! She doesn’t seem to ever do okay… what she does is irritate the living shit out of me. I mean, I get it – she’s angry and dealing with family matters: her mom abandoned her from some wackjob cult, probably due to the fact that her father cheated on her mom (apparently during the exact moment of the Rapture), and she has no idea where her brother is. So, yeah, I’m sure she figures she’s full of angst, and misunderstood. But, really, in the grand scheme of things, her problems aren’t that big of a deal. Bitch, put on some Radiohead and move the hell on!

The real storyline of the episode was arguably that of Laurie. She’s been a bit on edge for the past couple of episodes, but the hate crime against the member of the GR had her more shaken up than we’ve seen her so far, even provoking a panic attack and a trip to the ER. Side note: has anyone noticed that TV doctors often just give their patients medication with no prescription and at no extra charge? Is that a thing that happens in real life? Because I’ve gotta say, it’s never happened to me and I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to the wrong hospitals.

Anythepharmaceuticalindustryisneversogenerous, after Laurie’s stint in the hospital, Patti takes out… sort of a day off of cult business, if you will (because, you know, there’s only so much crazy someone can handle with no vacation time). During this day, Patti allows Laurie the opportunity to break her creepy muteness vow of silence, in an effort to get her to open up about what’s affecting her. Even when assured that it isn’t some trick, Laurie opts to remain utterly silent, and allow Patti to do all the talking. We then learn that Gladys had been offered a similar deal about a year earlier and, just like, Laurie, had chosen to remain silent. This lady needs serious training in motivational speaking… maybe it’s just me, but blatantly comparing someone who just died a horrific murder to someone else who is clearly so freaked out by it, is perhaps not the best way to comfort that freaked out person. Either way, Patti confronts Laurie and orders her to evaluate whether or not she is still committed to the GR, because they both know that what they’re doing is difficult, and it would be a lot easier to just go back to their families. We still have no idea what they’re actually doing, but they’re doing a pretty good job of making it seem more noble than crazy. Well, I’m not drinking that Kool-Aid just yet… unlike Meg (Liv Tyler) who finally drank enough that she’s now fully ready to become a member.

In the end, Laurie’s convictions in the cult are strengthened, and we saw this when her crazy comes back full force, and she screeches a whistle at Rev Jamison, who came to the GR’s headquarters to pray for the soul of Gladys. When Laurie ran out to meet the congregation, we – along with the Reverend – felt a tingling warmth inside, believing that she’d been inspired into grieving. Unfortunately, she rained the psycho down on all of us in cold, wet sheets, with the unceasing shrill of her damn rape whistle.

So we’ve covered the brooding characters and the weirdo cult. This week’s mysterious ending came to us courtesy of the body of Gladys. A bizarre mix-up had occurred earlier when one of Kevin’s employees – without authorization – included the feds in the murder investigation. Although Kevin tried to rectify it, we all know what happens when bureaucracy takes over, and the body was ultimately requested and shipped out. One of the most interesting aspects of the exchange between Kevin and the federal agent was the fact that this fed made a sincere yet unapologetic offer to send some of his people to the GR’s headquarters in order to “eliminate the infestation”. Though drunk off his ass, Kevin was able to think clearly enough to reject the offer, though it certainly seemed like he was simultaneously freaked out and tempted by it. Anyway, when Gladys’ body reaches whichever facility that it was supposed to arrive at, it is wrapped and incinerated. I’m not even trying to figure out what that was about, because this is The Leftovers and we’re apparently not meant to understand anything! However, it’s interesting that the letters emblazoned on the uniforms of the workers at this facility spelled ATFEC. Now, I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that this is the same agency which went raiding Wayne’s compound! Although neither Tom nor Christine were present in this week’s episode, we can now apparently expect a link between… you know what, I don’t even know what we can expect a link between, because we don’t know any damn thing worth knowing on this show!

There aren’t many GIFs this week, but careful, because the first one is quite disturbing…

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5 thoughts on “The Leftovers Season 1 Episode 5 “Gladys”: My Unsolicited Review”

  1. Bahahahaha! Radiohead!

    And I agree, wtf planet is Hollywood on? Because going to the hospital is NEVER that convenient.

    Anyway! In regards to the white shirts… I’m still brewing ideas on that one. Did the cleaner really steal them? Or did he just piss himself and give away the first few white shirts he could find because Kevin was acting like a crazy man? And what do the shirts symbolize? Kevin’s innocence? His sanity? His marriage? His children? All those things he’s struggling to hold on to but has to fight so hard to do so…

    Thanks for keeping up with the show. Everyone else I know who started it gave up because the story is too much mystery for them. But I like it. Aside from the stoning, anyway.

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    1. I’m with you on the shirts thing, in terms of the fact that the shirts the cleaner gave him may not really be his. I’m not so sure it’s quite as metaphysical as you’re suggesting, but I love that you’re giving it more depth than it might merit. The cult members of the GR broke into everyone’s houses, didn’t they? Maybe they stole some white clothes to add to their thrilling, couture-inspired white uniforms.

      I’m not surprised that people are giving up on this show. However, I have faith in HBO, so I’m waiting it out to see how the season pans out. I think our loyalty will be rewarded, just like those who were left after the Departure will be… this is, of course, pure conjecture because we still have no damn idea what’s happening!

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  2. Well the white shirt he pulls from the laundry has the police logo on it so if the dry cleaner gave him HIS shirts they’d have the MPD logo on it.

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  3. Oh and ATFEC is the ATF expanded. Alcohol, tabacco, firearms, explosives and cults. So the agency would handle both Waynes Cult AND the GR.

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    1. Melissa, I formally put in a request to have you in my living room every Sunday evening, because you are making some astute observations that would be a huge help in understanding this show! Both of those were excellent points!

      Like

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