In “Gladys,” The Leftovers shifted its focus to the Guilty Remnant (or “the GR,” as Kevin refers to them). And yet, there’s not much more known about them now than there was before. They’re into wearing white, aggressively smoking, and buying up real estate, but there hasn’t been a reason given for their methodology or beliefs. Still, aside from a lot of wheel spinning, “Gladys” also showed, because of where its brutal opening scene ultimately led, there’s a lot going on in that wide world beyond Mapleton that might play into the overall mystery. Hit the jump for why “we want them to remember something they want to forget.”
“Gladys” began with the brutal stoning of a member of the GR, by perpetrators unknown. When Kevin attempts to enforce a curfew after the killing, the town balks — why should they be inconvenienced because someone is targeting the GR? Meg tells Laurie she’s not afraid of the retaliation against them, because she knows that they are pushing buttons; namely, they are reminding people of the Sudden Departure when many would like to move on.
But as Kevin tells the GR later, it’s more that they are stalking, silently; smoking, staring, buying up property, painting everything white, and generally harassing people with their presence. Their numbers seem to be growing then not because people believe in the cause, but maybe because, in Mapleton, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
What the GR believe has mostly been shown through what they don’t do. Laurie’s collapse allowed for that to be explored a little more after Patty gives her the day off. She’s given a regular shower, a nice bed, normal clothes, a filling meal and the option of the conversation — which she rejects. Patty tells her that Gladys once sat where she did, and was given the same option to pour out her heart, yet similarly refused. There was a light threat in Patty’s voice. Would there have been repercussions if Laurie had spoken, or if she had decided to go back to her family?
Kevin, for his part, finally acknowledges the brokenness of his marriage, which he shares with Jill. The Forever Sullen One allowed her father a little compassion, telling him she knows it’s not his fault, and that she understands. Maybe she’s responding to his breakdown, but if the show is one where the only catharsis comes through sadness and pain, then even those who have gotten this far may have trouble seeing it out, with only bleakness to look forward to.
The Leftovers has also taken a break in the last two episodes from anything supernatural. Kevin hasn’t had any more visions, and his dog-killing friend (now foe, at least for now while he tries to get Kevin’s attention) is real for all to see. As I mentioned in my review of The Strain this week (another show based on a novel), The Leftovers is a show that takes a drawn-out and novelistic approach, teasing that something in the future will bring these stories together. But the adaptation from one medium to another isn’t a one-to-one ratio; it still needs to give viewers something each week … and it really hasn’t done so. The supernatural plot is, at this point, the show’s only real driving factor by default (because if it’s supposed to be a nuanced character drama …). Yet, it hasn’t been given any consistent time or enough interest to really make it a driving force.
On the other hand, Kevin’s dealings with the ATF(EC — it now includes explosives and cults) seem to suggest there’s something else at work here. Tommy and Christine’s experience with the truck of body bags coupled with Glady’s final journey to an ATFEC facility where bodies are photographed, examined, cataloged and then burned hints at potentially troubling (and certainly strange) governmental involvement
But hints may not be enough, especially as the show gets closer to its halfway mark this season without having done much to imbue viewers with a desire to finish it out. In that way, a connection with the apathy of the GR may be closer than first suspected …
Episode Rating: B for bored
Musings and Miscellanea:
— I finally gave in and read the Wikipedia plot entry on “The Leftovers” novel. I had wanted to stay away from the book and let the show speak for itself, but I was curious. Looks like the show really should have been a miniseries …
— Does the Mayor just hang out at the police station all of the time?
— Several times Kevin has had things “go missing” that he later finds by trying a lot harder to find them. Is there a lesson there?
— TV shows are really into bludgeonings right now. Brainings, stonings …
— It’s worth noting that the scripture Matt quotes to Kevin is not actually in the Bible, it’s from the Gospel of Thomas, which is not part of Biblical canon (it’s one of many books that make up “The Gnostic Gospels”). He must really be into the Apocrypha or something.
— “Doubt is fire, and fires gonna burn you up until you are but ash” – Patty.