Monday, January 26, 2015

The Leftovers, Season 1, Episode 7: Solace for Tired Feet

Someone has posted lots and lots of posters with Gladys’s face on them and the words “save them” underneath – Laurie and other members of the Guilty Remnant aren’t happy about this and rip the posters down. While she’s doing so, she sees Jill passing and they have an angst moment before Aimee pulls Jill away.

Jill and friends go to the woods to play a fascinating game of “who can stay locked in a fridge the longest”. Because these are the most bored teenagers in the world. Jill wins, of course, and the handle breaks so they can’t get her out. She starts suffocating when an old man – her grandfather (who was in a mental institution) lets her out. He tells her not to tell Kevin she saw him then leaves.

Over to Nora and Kevin who are both awkward in their flirting and surprisingly cute. But when they go to Nora’s the GR are there smoking at them – Kevin argues, Nora is more pro-active and gets the hose. Nora invites Kevin in and amusingly mocks the GR and their tactics of stealing photos, though she realises it may be a faux pas given Laurie’s membership. Unfortunately, the GR have broken the mood and the awkward causes them to raincheck

Kevin goes home to Jill and Aimee (has Aimee moved in?) and Jill asks about her grandfather – asking specifically if he hurt anyone. Kevin says yes – and Jill tells her dad that her grandfather is out of the mental hospital.

Kevin calls the police together where we learn his dad (the ex-police chief) burned down the library before checking himself into the mental hospital. He sets the police looking for him while he goes and visits Mayor Lucy. They’re both worried about someone getting hurt – but when he suggests searching her house she succinctly replies “fuck you, Kevin I haven’t spoken to your father in a month.” Apparently his mental illness grew too much for her to deal with. She also believes he’s going to see Kevin not her.

Which leads to Kevin going home and making sure there’s a gun by his chair as he listens to the police radio. He falls asleep and has odd dreams about dogs, Dean, dead GR, guns and his son. He wakes up, in bed, with his hand bandaged and a dog tied up outside. His hand has been bitten. When Jill and Aimee wake up (does she live with them?) Aimee says that Kevin brought the dog home and apparently she helped him doctor his hand.

He goes out when he gets a call from Dennis, one of his officers. Dennis approached Kevin’s father (they always got on before) and the old man brutally beat Dennis. He then ripped the library apart. Interviewing a man there, Kevin learns that his dad used a computer, broke it and tried to borrow $200 to get something for his son.

While Kevin’s at the library his dad goes to his house – and Jill finds him wrestling over his shirt with the new angry dog. She takes him in and gets him something to eat, talk about his voices (who call her Snow White) and he asks to borrow $200 and when she says no, he asks for tranquilisers. Which they do have – because Kevin takes a lot of pills. He wants to drug the dog then starts arguing with the voices in his head. Which is when Kevin comes home – Jill called him before she let her granddad in and he praises her for it.

Kevin throws his dad a pair of handcuffs and he puts them on himself. Kevin drives him back to the hospital, on the way he asks after Dennis (who he beat up), calling him a “nice guy,” and offering an apology. He’s also concerned about Kevin’s pills which seems incongruous from a man who rather randomly beat someone to the point of needing hospitalisation. His dad talks a bit randomly before he escapes when Kevin has to stop because of a GR road block (they’re all carrying “save them” pictures of Gladys but have added “don’t” over the top).

Kevin runs through the crowd, pushing past the GR and he knocks Patti over. His dad escapes.

Back to Jill using the twins credit card, the twins and Aimee – there’s a party which Aimee isn’t going to - which Jill says means she’s going to hang around at her house with Kevin – I’m taking that to mean Aimee does live with them – but Aimee reveals whenever Jill goes out so does Kevin – so it’s clearly not the first time.

Which is why she’s alone when Kevin comes home and she challenges him on his memory lapse of getting the dog and her bandaging his hand. Kevin dodges the question and instead says how they like having Aimee there (I think this is less creepy and more a “stop asking questions you’re a guest”). Kevin flushes away all of his pills and feeds the dog some random meat from the fridge. The dog continues to bark and lunge menacingly at him. While doing so, in the garden he finds the money and poster accusing the vanished judge that Rev. Matt left there.

Kevin goes to see Matt but he’s not there but, as is his habit, he barges his way in yelling for Matt anyway. Does Kevin not understand the concept of “not in?” He makes one of the people in his home office/church call Matt so he’ll answer his phone then has a temper tantrum to Matt about his dad, he seems to think Rev. Matt is hiding him. Kevin’s right but Matt says they need to get something before Kevin can see his father. Um… Matt, no? This is not how the system works – you don’t wait for a man who just brutally assaulted someone to complete a treasure hunt before calling the police. Matt sets up a meeting instead. Kevin, in his classic calm response, shatters the church member’s phone.

Kevin attends the meeting and his dad promises not to run and asks for the handcuffs to be taken off. Kevin does – because there’s police watching the diner. His dad gives Kevin a copy of National Geographic from May 1972 which “they” (assuming he means the voices) insist he show Kevin. He demands Kevin take it and argues with the voices in his head. He tells Kevin that he isn’t “crazy” and that the voices are telling the truth. It has to be said that he’s not exactly convincing. He demands Kevin accepts because he has a purpose and lots more vagueness – but Kevin is angry (of course he is, Kevin is ALWAYS angry), angry that his dad fell into mental illness when Kevin needed him and now wants Kevin to join him. Kevin refuses to abandon his responsibilities and his family – and his dad punches him. He then tears up the National Geographic and calls Kevin a coward than starts loudly ranting about Kevin going to sleep. It’s dramatic enough to require choir music to drown out the ranting as Kevin restrains his father. He’s taken back to the mental hospital and he hugs Kevin before he goes in but also whispers that he’s not going to let Kevin off that easy

Rev. Matt tries to justify himself by quoting Bible verses – and even judge Kevin – but Kevin tells Matt “fuck you.” For once I agree with Kevin. Kevin goes to Nora’s (still with the GR stalkers). The GR doesn’t spoil the mood this time and they have sex.

Meg, one of the GR following Nora, goes to the GR headquarters and tells Laurie that Kevin is having sex with Nora. Laurie responds with a large written “so?”

The next morning Kevin confesses to Nora he thinks he’s “going crazy” she makes a joke that he’s come to the right place. Kevin goes home all bright and happy – and finds the same copy of the National Geographic; Jill ordered it for her grandfather. He bins it and starts swearing and stomping. Aimee and Jill walk out.

And over to Tom who is not exactly masterchef, and Christine who is both heavily pregnant now and not well. Wayne hasn’t called in 2 months, despite that Christine has every faith in him. When Tom goes to get medicine (trying to find something safe for an 8 month pregnant woman) he gets a call from Wayne – only Wayne doesn’t sound all that coherent. He’s called to get some of the money he gave Tom back, refuses to answer any questions, is rather random and asks Tom if he had sex with Christine – which Tom denies.

Tom gets the money and follows Wayne’s drop off instructions but then watches and follows Wayne’s minion who picks the money up. When they won’t let him in he breaks his way in yelling for Wayne – who isn’t there, just a White guy with a gun and a pregnant Asian woman – which looks very similar to Tom on the run with Christine. They were also at the raid on Wayne’s compound and it’s apparent Wayne told them everything he told Tom; word for word. Tom falls into hysterical laughter at the whole idea that Wayne has a plan – especially since the other guy still has faith. While the woman is rather narked about the whole “she is everything and super special” just being a line Wayne feeds to an apparent string of pregnant Asian women and starts firing the gun at them – shooting Tom in the hand. She collapses in tears talking about Wayne as “the bridge”.

Tom gets another call from Wayne – and he throws the phone at a wall in rage. He goes back to Christine – and finds she has given birth to a baby girl in the bathtub while he was gone.

Is this the turning point episode? With some more elements addressing the woo-woo and some meta-plot with Wayne and Kevin’s father? I really hope so because the show is rapidly losing my interest

We’re on episode 7 and we’ve had hints of woo-woo but it’s mainly been personal dramas of people dealing with the Departure. Which is fine – but we’ve followed Matt and Laurie and Meg and Kevin and Nora and seen all their pain and it was very well done and I applaud and… now what? Because that’s all we’ve been given, these character’s personal dramas which we’ve already seen and don’t seem especially to be going anywhere or be meaty enough to extend beyond what we’ve already had shown to us; while storylines that may address any wider issues (Wayne, Tom & Christine, random supernatural elements) just seem to be lurking around the outside and, again, not going anywhere. Though that storyline has got a whole lot more creepily fetishistic – and it was already rather racially dubious before – Asian women face a lot of sexual fetishisation and this whole storyline feeds into that. It certainly doesn’t present either woman as full people so much as burdens, duties, sex objects and incubators.

We need more plot, more world building and  good deal less dubious race tropes.