Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Leftovers, Season 3, Episode 3: Crazy Whitefella Thinking

Dear gods why am I watching this? Seriously, why did I just spend an hour of my life watching this? I could have spent it doing something more interesting, like cleaning the tile grout in my bathroom. It’s already clean but even that’d be more productive than this.

For some reason – possibly some vindictive need to make the world suffer – this episode follows Kevin Garvey Senior who is now in Australia.

And what is he doing in Australia? Continually stalking, stealing from and generally appropriating Aboriginal culture. It’s cringeworthy, it’s awful, it’s disgusting and it’s morally reprehensible and it’s all about the awfulness of cultural appropriation writ large as this white man tries to steal and copy sacred Aboriginal culture, music, tradition and even lying and claiming Aboriginal identity.

The bright point of this? The bright point is that just about everyone he meets is thoroughly disgusted and appalled by his actions. His misdeeds are clearly labelled and people do their very best to not just express their utter disgust at his nastiness but shun him and try to spare the Aboriginal people from his endless nonsense. At no point does this show present what Kevin senior is doing as remotely acceptable or tolerable. It is treated every bit as offensive as it is.

I won’t even follow the ridiculous chain of random events that have led Kevin senior in his trek around Australia. He has a copy of Matt’s holy book about his son – and he hates it because it’s not all about him because he’s decided he’s the messiah, because of course he has. By a series of random events he explains to Christopher Sunday, a Cleverman (played by David Gulpili an Aboriginal Australian), that through a series of dubious convoluted signs he has decided the world will flood with the anniversary of The Departure if he doesn’t collect the songs of many Aboriginal people and sing them. Christopher decides that this damn fool on his doorstep might as well be useful for fixing his roof

Instead Kevin falls off said roof and lands on Christopher. He then gets dumped in the middle of the outback by ambulance drivers who have no damn patience for his appropriative bullshit.

He wanders the outback, randomly runs into a random person randomly setting himself on fire, because this is The Leftovers and more random is always needed. He decides to eat a snake which is a damn silly thing to do because one does not fuck with Australian wildlife, it is known. He’s promptly bitten

Here’s me hoping he dies but, alas, no, he staggers to a shrine where he is found and, alas, saved. The people he’s saved by are building a boat in the middle of the Outback, as you do. They also tell him that Christopher Sunday is dead so there’s no chance of him collecting all the songs according to his drug-fuelled visions.

This is where we meet Grace – the lady who just drowned the local sheriff

See Grace and her husband were very religious people, they adopted several children and generally appear to have been nice people. When the Depature happened, the religious Grace assumed this was the Rapture. In the chaos that followed she worked her way home and found her house empty – she assumed everyone had been Raptured: and she was happy, her husband and children had been called up by god and rejoice.

Except the authorities then found the bodies of her children on her property. When her husband was Departed the kids didn’t know if she would return or vanished – so they tried to leave the property and they died in the Outback. Because Grace thought they’d been raptured, she never looked for them… and maybe she could have saved them.

Now this, this is the one bright spot of the episode. Grace, her conflict and her pain were poignant, powerful and meaningful and show again some of the tragic consequences of the Departure.

She continues to describe how she found Kevin Senior at the cross she placed to mark the resting place of her children – carrying a page of apparent scripture (Matt’s book) describing a sheriff called Kevin who drowned and came back to life. With the local Sheriff called Kevin she assumed this was a sign – hence the drowned sheriff.

And since that ended up murdering someone she has now lost all faith in everyone.

The extremely annoying Kevin Senior who didn’t die of snake bite declares no, she just had the wrong Kevin.

And I declare that that’s an hour of my life I didn’t get back. I mean, on the good side absolutely no-one was tolerating Kevin senior’s nastiness. On the other side, why did I have to watch this? What did this add to this show? To confirm that Kevin Senior is random and more than a little delusional? Wasn’t that known? Did anyone care about Kevin senior? And that damn National Geographic (Madlib shows, your “easter eggs” fail to be Easter Eggs if you’re just throwing random unexplained shit against a wall.) This whole episode felt boring and pointless with a heavy side order of cringeworthy. I and my contact embarrassment could have spent the last hour being much more amused elsewhere