Recap: The Leftovers – Ep. 2

The Leftovers Episode 2

The GR are not a cult, mmmkay?

Trees…who needs them, anyway?  Not the GR, apparently, the white-cloaked silent group who ask potential recruit Meg to cut one down.  When she asks why, an answer is not provided–thus setting the tone for the entire second episode of The Leftovers.

Or maybe it’s for the whole show, since we’re on the topic.  A few details are revealed–the GR stands for the “Guilty Remnant,” and according to the estranged Mrs. Garvey, they’re not a cult.  They only wish to “remind people of what happened” on that fateful day three years ago, and they carry forth such activities by recruiting members and picketing events (as we learned in the pilot episode).

Details surrounding the strange drop-off ranch are also partially revealed–turns out Wayne is also known as “Holy Wayne,” and he’s famous for sucking the pain right out of people via the magic of…hugs?  Yeah, okay.  Some of his clients are higher-ups in Washington, making his operation a national security threat (he’s also a pedophile or something, I guess), so the Feds send out a team of agents to (possibly) neutralize him.  Wayne escapes, and is reunited with his favorite girly, Christine, who in turn was rescued in the raid by Tommy.

Gah!  As I write this recap down, I realize one thing: there are too many characters in The Leftovers, and we’re only on the second episode!  It’s a formula that works sometimes–I’ve brought up Lost before, and I’ll do it again!–but personally, I’m having a hard time caring about them.  The big problem is contextual in nature.  So far, we have four major sets: there’s the GR, who I detailed a few paragraphs above this one; the tribe of “Holy Wayne,” who currently only exist to make the feds angry, there’s Jill and her high school buddies who follow people around for fun; and then there’s Chief Garvey, who exists on a playing field completely of his own creation.

My question: what does any of this add up to?

I ask this not in a fit of suspense, but rather one of grave impatience.  The Leftovers has taken a little over two hours of my life away, and so far the only thing remotely intriguing about the show is the original premise–the vanishing act of October 14th. Everything else seems so random and unrelated.  It’s like a greatest hits album from a brand new band you’ve no one’s ever heard about.

But such an intriguing premise it is!  People vanishing!  For no reason!  Why, why, why?!  Drop us hints!  Drive the plot!  Expedite a story!  Something, people, something!

Alas, it seems as if The Leftovers is a “character” show, nothing more and nothing less.  Fine.  I’ll play along.  Let’s talk about characters some more.

Chief Garvey is going crazy.  At least that’s what everyone else is suggesting.  Remember the dog killer?  Well, his peers suggest that it’s all in his head, and that Garvey is the one murdering dogs.  What a twist that would be!  But no, they find dog killers truck parked in front of Garvey’s house, complete with fresh dead dog in the bed.  His partner subtly accuses Garvey of parking the truck there on purpose, but this is proven untrue when the dog slayer shows up at Garvey’s doorstep with a six-pack of Bud Light.  Jill sees him as well, disproving that Chief Garvey is not crazy.

Or is he?  Is it possible that Garvey is imagining his daughter as well ala A Beautiful Mind?  Highly improbable, but it  is revealed that his father, Kevin Garvey Sr., spends his days in the looney bin.  Junior goes to visit Senior and asks him when he lost his marbles.  Senior claims that he’s completely right in the head, all the while having a conversation with an imaginary friend.  Nothing to see here, folks, move along.

We’re also introduced to Nora Durst, who lost her entire family thanks to “The Sudden Disappearance.”  She shares an embrace with the ninth doctor, so, uh, there’s that.  Nora also carries a gun with her at all times and likes to intentionally break mugs at the coffee shop, all the while pretending it was an accident.  Good thing Jill, Amy and two other unimportant high schoolers know decide to follow her while she’s on the job interviewing an elderly couple about their departed son.

I realize that is probably the crankiest TV recap of all time, and I do apologize for that, but regardless: I’m a little irritated with myself for christening my “TV” section with The Leftovers.  I’m going to stick with it till the end–there are only 10 episodes planned, after all–but something mighty special had best happen before I even consider touching Season 2.

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