Postmodern Rapture – The Leftovers Episode Two – Penguin One, Us Zero


Colton Royle

Every Tuesday Colton Royle discusses the newest episode of HBO’s new show about a new kind of rapture, The Leftovers. Since two episodes have already aired, we covered episode one on Friday and here is episode two. You can also read our review of the book the show is based on.

To repeat, massive spoilers ahead.

I cannot believe I’m saying this: there are too many guns. Already in episode two a SWAT team is getting sent into Wayne’s establishment to rob so many Asian girls it’s comical. This action that happens way too soon gets multiplied by Tom “saving” Christine by killing with a gunshot to the neck. Yes, I’m enjoying the parallels to his father, Kevin’s, shooting of the dogs last episode, and yes, we’re debating whether the identities created so far are because of the massive departed, or whether the personality was something there all along, but it’s too much too fast. The violence left the rest of the episode in a fog.

More questions of identity: Kevin Garvey’s mental disturbances mimic the continued parallel to the supernatural plot developments of Stephen King’s The Stand and Under the Dome, and we’re unaware if it is truly madness or divine intervention, which is so 15th Century. It has that Lost feel to it that makes me want to bite down on live electrical wire.

The quick edits to the dog shooting during the therapy session were too quick and not subtle and loud and just…etc.

Kevin’s “Investigation of the Missing Bagels,” felt like a Blue’s Clues episode, but this combined with questioning the shooter’s existence to his father’s schizophrenia was layered extremely well, and featured that adult paranoia that seems to be building in Mapleton.

Yet Jill observing Nora purposely break the coffee mug to get out of paying for her breakfast was easily the most engaging moment in the episode. Is she using her tragic story for profit? Is she simply playing around with suburban niceties? This coincides with her role in “departed insurance” which is literally profit made on the disappearance three years ago.

Jill is at a crossroads, and is the last Garvey to commit to any kind of altered behavior post-disappearance. Playing detective with both the dead dog last episode and Nora this episode has her seeing all the avenues. Again: so much identity.

Meg Abbott swinging an axe is one of those odd totally-a-cult procedures that gets remarked on by Laurie Garvey as “not a cult,” and this is a problem. It’s a problem when handwriting is with blue ink on little white notepads that make us feel like we’re teaching the sixth grade because we’re squinting at the screen. It’s a problem when dialogue moves fast and handwriting and reading don’t. There are some major complexities with the Guilty Remnants that are going to be missed or incorrectly assumed or told without elegance.

Tom’s repeated yelling from underwater last episode to above water this episode was an excellent progression of the suffering that Wayne says he wants, “without salvation,” and perhaps Tom assumes in some way that he is already damned.

Will Kevin uncover the truth about his supposedly “sent” friend? Will Jill and Aimee steal more stale gummy bears? Is Christine really everything? Will Liv Tyler build a log cabin? We’ll let Wayne decide.

Colton Royle is a reader of mostly American fiction and non-fiction. He is currently teaching in Fort Worth, Texas.

Image: The Daily Mail

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