I stated that last week’s episode of The Leftovers was perhaps the best that we’ve seen of the season. I also hoped that it meant a turning point in the show, and that all the subsequent episodes would be as good (if unable to be better) and that we would be treated to more revelations and less confusion. This week’s episode was a pretty fair mixture of the old and the new… that is, I’d argue that it followed in last week’s trend of being interesting, but it still reverting to its usual mysteriously confusing air of confusing mystery!
First of all, before any criticisms start, allow me to just say thank you to HBO! When I found out that the Carver twins had signed on to this show, I knew that it was only a matter of time before HBO found a way to get at least one of them nude; it took a few episodes, but Max Carver finally bared his bum last night in a gratuitous and highly unnecessary display. I say unnecessary because any living man can tell you that it NEVER requires your pants all the way down to your ankles to take a successful leak… still, though, I’m not complaining because it was a beautiful scene indeed.
Last night’s episode started off with Jill and her usual gang of dumb friends doing their usual dumb antics. This time, it involved locking themselves in an old rusting refrigerator, trying to beat the record of what was clearly an urban legend. Jill, who is ordinarily a giant waste of oxygen on any given day, actually managed to stay with limited oxygen in the old fridge, beating the record. However, just as she was about to be let out, the handle to the refrigerator broke off, trapping her in there with a now depleted supply of air. As unconsciousness was about to claim her, the door finally swung open, and we see that the person who rescued her was her grandfather, who’d obviously escaped from his mental hospital.
Most of the episode subsequently dealt with the consequences and reasons of his escape. When Kevin went to Lucy’s house to find out if his father was hiding out there, he learns that the two of them hadn’t spoken in over a month. Evidently, his alleged craziness had become too much for her to handle (you don’t say!) and she’d broken it off. Honestly, she was dating a man who was locked up in a mental health institute, and would spontaneously break into violent arguments with voices in his head… didn’t she at some point realise that it would eventually be too much for her? Anyway, it doesn’t take long for Kevin to realise that his father has broken out to come looking for him.
After another night of bizarre vision-like dreams, Kevin wakes up to find a vicious, filthy dog tied up in his backyard, barking incessantly. Though he has no recollection of the dog finding its way into his yard, he realises that he must have been a part of it, as his hand is bloody and bandaged, the result of a dog bite. The only person who seems to have an idea of what is happening is Aimee, who seems to be at their home far often than even they are. Seriously, doesn’t she have parents who are worried that she’s sleeping over at the house of a gorgeous single man? Aimee has been suspicious for a while now, and although it isn’t an overt suspicion, I’m immensely curious to learn what her deal is.
After a hell of a lot of drama, Kevin and his father finally have a sit down and discuss why he left the hospital. According to Kevin Garvey Sr, the voices who speak to him sent him to offer an invitation to Kevin Jr because his services are now needed. Kevin has no idea what this means, but he finds it difficult to muster very much curiosity when the “invitation” turns out to be an old National Geographic magazine. Despite his father’s insistence that he isn’t crazy and everything that he says is the truth, the two of them get into a physical confrontation when Kevin Jr has to restrain his father, and the latter is eventually returned to the hospital. As he is dropped off, Kevin Sr whispers in his son’s ear that “they” won’t give up on him so easily. It’s already obvious that the eventual outcome will be that Kevin Sr isn’t crazy, and the voices that he hears are legitimate, but the show is going so out of their way to portray him as crazy that I’m finding it slightly taxing and tedious to invest emotionally in him.
The second half of this episode’s story centred on Tom and his continued struggle with Christine. From the onset, we see that Christine is sick, suffering with a high fever, and when Tom goes to try to get her something from the pharmacy, his phone rings for the first time in two months. Though Wayne is the one who called him, there’s a period of momentary confusion at the beginning of the call, when Wayne seems unsure of what exactly he’s doing on the phone. He gives Tom instructions to leave half the money that he has left at a specific mailbox, and after grilling Tom about whether he’s had sex with Christine, he announces that it’s almost time, and abruptly ends the call. Tom does as he is commanded with the money, but instead of dropping it off and leaving, he waits to see who handles the pickup. When he finds out, he follows the guy to a seedy motel room, and then busts in, demanding to speak to Wayne. He doesn’t find Wayne there, but what he does find left me totally floored. Right there, which I must admit I hadn’t expected, was an identical situation to Tom’s – a lost, confused young white guy on the run with a heavily pregnant teenage Asian girl. I cannot tell you how far my level of disgust for Wayne rose at that point, and no matter how magical, mystical or miraculous his goddamn hugs are, I couldn’t see him as anything but a disgusting paedophile. After Tom reveals to this other couple that they all share great similarities, the girl flies into a rage of mixed jealousy and betrayal, and ends up shooting Tom in the hand. Tom flees and, when he gets back to his and Christine’s hideout, he finds her soaking in a tub of water, where she announces “it’s a girl”, and holds up her freshly-delivered newborn.
It may not have been as good as last week’s, but it was still an interesting episode. I particularly liked that Kevin and Nora are working out, despite both of them finding it awkward to communicate with each other. They finally managed to get it on last night and, let me tell you, there was no awkwardness there! The Guilty Remnant returned, and are just as cryptic as ever. Liv Tyler’s Meg is now fully immersed in their lifestyle, and she’s making a spectacular play at replacing Jill as the most infuriatingly unlikeable character on the show. Check out some of my favourite moments in GIF format below, as we wait to see what the coming weeks bring.