The Leftovers: More Questions, Few Answers

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Episode recaps
Photo Courtesy Of HBO

Warning: Spoiler Alert

If you went into the second episode of the new HBO Original Series “The Leftovers” this past Sunday night, hoping that some of the questions posed in the pilot would be answered, most likely you ended the episode even more confused. Very few outstanding questions got resolved and the second episode filled viewers’ heads with lots of new ones. Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta are not making it easy for an audience to stick with this show, hopefully all the effort will prove worthwhile once they start explaining why their universe exists as it does.

We begin the episode sitting in on a meeting between a middle-aged man and woman who are officials with some unexplained branch of law enforcement. As they start to discuss whom they want to target in their next operation we realize that they are talking about the mysterious “Healer,” Wayne whom we met in the première. His full name is Wayne Gilchrist Anthony but is now called Holy Wayne. The pair discuss Wayne’s infatuation with young Asian women and he was nearly busted for statutory-rape before fleeing Pennsylvania. They found him relocated at a ranch in Nevada and they enthusiastically agree to storm his home and to take down his operation in any way possible.

We shift to Wayne’s ranch just in time to see a SWAT team arrive and open fire on the ranch. Their motive is clear, they are not out to arrest, instead their mission is to kill anybody who appears suspicious. One of the officers chases Christine, the girl Wayne told his employee Tom Garvey was important and that Garvey was in charge of her safety. He stops her outside of the ranch and has her get on her knees with his weapon pointed straight at her and asks where Wayne is hiding. When she replies that she has no idea, the officer threatens to kill her if she remains uncooperative, causing her to cry even more.

Just at that moment, Tom sneaks up behind the officer and shoots him in the throat with a hand-gun, then apologizes for his actions but explains Christine is important as his victim draws his last breaths. They run and Tom opens up what looks like a wooden man-hole cover that covers an entrance to an underground safe-room and they both climb down, Tom shutting the lid behind him.

Back on the East Coast in the next scene as Tom’s father Mapleton Chief Of Police Kevin Garvey is asleep in his bed, when he’s woken by his daughter Jill’s best-friend Amy. Startled, he tells the teen she’s not allowed in his bedroom but she tells him to follow her that she has something important to show him. We can see that time has gone by as snow is covering the ground and the first episode took place in Mid-October, however Kevin is shirtless wearing just pajama pants and Amy’s dressed in shorts and a light top.

As they walk through the woods, Amy leads the Chief to a man with a rifle, the guy who killed all the dogs in the first episode. As Amy touches him he turns to Kevin and asks what’s wrong with his legs and Garvey looks down to set his feet and calves engulfed in flame. It was just a dream, but Kevin must have smelled the burning in his sleep as he looks out his bedroom window and sees his back fence is on fire. His neighbor accidentally caused the blaze trying to burn his departed brother’s clothes in a pile too close to the fence, Garvey puts out the fire and chastises his neighbor.

Tom and Christine have escaped the ranch and are to meet Wayne at a gas-station/mini-mart. Telling her to stay in the car he heads inside the store and finds the clerk’s been killed. He walks out just in time to see a vintage Lincoln pull into the lot driven by an elderly woman. She gets out of her car opens the trunk and Wayne jumps out, Christine is so excited that she jumps into his arms.

We rejoin Kevin talking to another man in what apparently is the man’s office and that is soon confirmed as we realize that Garvey is talking to a psychiatrist. When the police chief joined the unknown man in the truck shooting the pack of dogs in the final scene of the first episode, the other guy had left the scene by the time other squad cars had arrived. Because nobody else saw the other man, there is lots of doubt in Mapleton, that the Chief’s story is right, as some believe he’s delusional while others think he flat-out lied. The therapist does everything but tell Garvey that he thinks the story is false, ending the session on a tense note.

Jill and Amy on the way to school stop at a coffee shop and Jill trips over a woman’s handbag on the floor as she walks to her table. She stops to put the bag back in its original position when she sees a revolver inside. The woman and Jill exchange apologies, but Jill wants nothing more to sit down at her table with Amy and dish. The woman’s Nora Durst who lost her husband and two children the day of the departure the two girls theorize why she has a gun in her bag. As she leaves the shop they follow her and when she starts to drive away, they flag down their two male classmates that we met in the first episode. They follow her to the house of an elderly couple, she introduces herself to the man and explains she’s there to ask them questions to receive their departure check.

Turns out Durst is a government agent and has to ask each family that lost a loved-one on the day of the departure, 150 questions before she can give the families their checks from the government for their loss. She sets up a video camera to record the conversation and then starts asking a variety of questions about the couple’s dead son Charlie, who was 34-years-old and was born with Downs Syndrome. Needless to say most of her questions were about things Charlie missed experiencing.

We have our first encounter with the  “Remnants,” as we are in what is known as the “Pledge House,” for people who have yet to prove themselves worthy to the other members to receive unconditional inclusion into their society. Meg Abbott who asked to stay with the group after running out on her fiancé is their as well as two men. They are not subject to the vow of silence of those in the main house and they can still enjoy luxuries like pancakes for breakfast. As they are in the midst of eating, Laurie Garvey who’s in charge of Meg’s training arrives with an axe and soon the two are hiking in the woods.

When they have hiked for a while, Laurie hands Meg the axe and motions to a big tree which she realizes that Laurie wants her to cut down with the tool. It’s obvious that Meg has never experienced any kind of manual labor and doesn’t accomplish much before telling her observer that she’s done, which Laurie questions by writing down Why? Meg just lets loose with everything that’s bothering her about her time with the “Remnants,”  and calls the exercise stupid. Laurie writes down okay and the two head back to their homes.

Mayor Lucy Warburton heads down to the station house and finds the Chief with a couple of his officers in the break room and asks for some privacy for her and Garvey. As they leave the room Kevin asks Lucy if she would like a bagel, which she refuses and proceeds to toast one for himself in this complex oven-device. She then brings up the dog shootings and asks him to apologize to the therapist for his actions and promise he won’t ever do it again, but he refuses. He tells her that he can’t make that commitment as he may encounter another pack of what he refers to as “not our dogs.”

She tells Kevin she is going visiting that night and he tells her to send his regards and she leaves the station. Garvey tries to get his bagel out of the oven-device, but it’s nowhere. Angrily tearing apart the machine still left him without a bagel and one of his officers looks at the Chief as if he lost his mind.

Wayne tells Tom that Christine’s safety is his biggest priority and that to make sure her protection she will travel with Tom than himself. He then tells Tom that Christine had told him of his exploits and he realizes that Garvey is torn up over his first kill. Wayne offers to use his powers to take the pain away from Tom, but the young man says he can’t do it. Wayne laughs and tells him that he’s the one person he’s yet to figure out; all suffering and no salvation.

Kevin drives over to the “Remnants,” complex and as the apparent leader Patti answers the door of the “Pledge House” he presents a warrant that gives him the right to search that house for reported missing persons. He sits down with Meg and asks her name and whether she is there on her own free will. She responds she is and he hands her his card telling her if she encounters any difficulty to call him. She holds on to the card, which Patti notices.

Getting into his squad car he gets a call from one of his officers telling him that they located the truck of the dog shooter and its in his driveway. Dennis Luckey is on the scene when the Chief arrives and tells him that they ran the truck of identification and came up dry. He then tells Garvey that the bag in the vehicle’s bed contains another dead dog and the keys are on the dashboard. Luckey suggests he moves the truck a couple of blocks away, but Kevin angrily tells him to report that it’s in his driveway.

He heads back to the station and breaks the news to Meg’s fiancé that she is living in the “Pledge House ” of the “Remnants,” but tells him that he believes her boyfriend can talk her back into returning to the life they shared. The fiancé asks Garvey why he would want to do that and the Chief replies that Meg needs him. The other man explodes and tells Kevin that he postponed their wedding for three-years due to her needs and he has reached his limit.

That evening Laurie comes to the “Pledge House” to conduct a nightly ceremony, taking away another of Meg’s possessions that she brought with her when she first arrived. At first she tries to convince Laurie to allow her one night that she can keep her remaining possessions, but her request’s dismissed. She asks Laurie if she has forgotten what it is to have feelings and emotions and Laurie responds by writing that Meg met her husband today and takes Kevin’s card out of Meg’s sleeve. Meg’s shocked wondering what Laurie is doing there when she could be living her old life with her “hot cop” husband. Laurie writes down that she still remembers and the two may have reached a meeting of the minds.

We find out where the Mayor went visiting, as the Chief enters the mental institution were his father former Chief Kevin Garvey (Scott Glenn) senior resides in. Lucy is just leaving when the current Chief arrives and she shares what looks like more than a friendly kiss with his dad. The former Chief suffered  nervous-breakdown shortly after the Departure and it’s apparent that the son doesn’t visit his father often. He brings up the dog shootings and tells Kevin to tell the therapist he’s ashamed of the incident because he drank too much and it would never happen again. However any thoughts that the father retained his sanity disappears when Garvey Senior starts talking with a non-existent person, though oddly the message makes sense. The former Chief tells his son that he was just told that they sent somebody to help him, but he should keep the information private.

Leaving the institution he drops by the station before he went home and got some tools and disassembled the oven-device. He then found his bagel, burnt, cold and hard as a rock. What that scene represented went over my head.

Soon after arriving home there is a knock at his front door and the dog shooter is standing there holding a six-pack of beer and asks Garvey if he is going to invite him in. Kevin asks the man his name and the man in return asks if the Chief is asking as a friend or professionally? Garvey responds they are not friends and the man declines to tell him. Jill and Amy walk into the door as the man is standing there and Jill asks if the brews are for her, to which the man asks her to put the six-pack in the refrigerator for her father. As she walks away, the man tells the Chief he has located another pack of wild dogs and he wants Garvey to meet him the next evening at a school-yard at sundown so they can take them down together. When Kevin asks why the man needs his assistance he replies he gets lonely and tells Garvey he will meet him the next night and walks away.

Patti walks into the room where Laurie is sleeping and kicks her foot to wake her. She holds up a note that read Meg is gone and the shock is apparent on Laurie’s face. However Patti doesn’t realize that Meg has taken the axe and returned to the tree and starts hacking at it in a cathartic release,  first laughing and then crying.

The story will pick up again next Sunday night on HBO

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