Murder and renewal emerge from the two newest episodes of HBO’s The Leftovers as tensions rise and new leaves are turned over.
In episode 5 of The Leftovers, a member of the Guilty Remnant is kidnapped and stoned to death. The town is in an uproar and Kevin tries to bring back tranquility by any means possible.
Laurie is the one to find the body when the Guilty Remnant goes looking for their lost sheep and this affects her deeply. Jumping right into action, Patti goes to Kevin to get help. However, instead of calling the police or going to the police station she shows up on the chief’s door step.
Laurie is traumatized by the whole situation and Meg isn’t the only one who sees this. After a severe panic attack lands Laurie in the hospital, Patti takes Laurie on a trip out of town for her to get a break from the Remnant. She encourages her to speak and do whatever she wants but Laurie is taken aback and stays silent throughout the whole escapade.
Meanwhile, Chief Garvey is dealing with his fair share of trouble as he tries to keep the peace in town. One of his officers called an agent and told them about the Guilty Remnant and all that they do. Kevin and this dude have a big argument until the mayor intervenes. She tells the officer that he had no right to call the agent and asks Chief Garvey what he wants to do about the entire situation. Being under so much stress, Kevin tells her that they should have a curfew for all citizens of the town.
Unfortunately, Kevin had to get the curfew approved by the council and they decided to side with the aggravated citizens who believed that they shouldn’t be held accountable for whatever happens to the GRs. Funnily enough, the guy who constantly urges Kevin to shoot dogs with him is present at the meeting and adds the cherry on top of the cake. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the purpose of this character. He isn’t a figment of Kevin’s imagination since people can see him. He’s on a mission only he knows about. Yet, I don’t think I fully understand his intentions. Are they good or bad?
Kevin figures that if he can’t instill the curfew, he can at least put a band aid on the gaping wound. He visits the GRs and gives them whistles so that whenever they’re in danger they can blow the whistle and a patrol car will come to their rescue.
Among all the confusion, Kevin interrogates Matt who might have reason to attack one of the Remnants; they bought his church after he helped one of them. However, Matt’s only concern is praying for the dead Remnant. Kevin is obviously creeped out and denies the pastor this request. Later in the episode he complies after he realizes that the Guilty Remnant doesn’t have any support.
What I find peculiar is that in nearly every episode Kevin is involved in, an object of his goes missing. First, he thinks he’s going crazy and coming down to the end of the episode he’d find the misplaced item. In the fifth episode, he lost eight shirts at the laundry and then (after roughing up the laundry guy) he gets back his clothing.
On top of this, when the agent finally returns Kevin’s call, he offers Kevin the opportunity to rid the town of the Guilty Remnant once and for all. Kevin is dumbstruck for a moment by the agent’s offer to commit mass murder and then denies the offer.
In the end of episode 5, Matt takes his ministry to the streets and holds a service for the dead GR. His sermon begins with him declaring that he wants to send the murdered Remnant off in peace since the other GRs can’t say anything because of their peculiar faith. Laurie takes a serious offense to this and blows her whistle right in the pastor’s face like she’s trying to say that they don’t need Matt to be the voice for them.
Unlike the fifth episode of The Leftovers, the sixth episode focuses solely on Nora Durst. Nora is said to be the most grief-stricken resident in the town since she’s known as a “legacy” (a person who has lost more than two family members). Nora lost her entire family in the “departure” and lives her days as a clerk for the organization that hands out financial aid to those who lost loved ones in the “departure.”
What’s really hard to watch is that Nora holds on to every memory of her family; she goes to the supermarket and buys the same cereal and milk her kids usually devour and she never replaces the paper towels in the kitchen. She’s a woman going through a type of pain that no one can help her overcome. Until she’s sent off to a conference in New York.
After having brief and awkward interactions with Chief Garvey, Nora is torn between getting involved with Kevin and remaining in her lonely life. I think what’s tearing her up most of all is her inability to move forward. She wants to but can’t. I guess that’s how grief works.
Anyway, things get more than weird at the New York conference. The staff holding the conference can’t find Nora’s name tag and decide to give her a tag marked “guest.” This is just the beginning of Nora’s horrific field trip.
She comes across a group of business people who make light of the whole conference and downplay the pain that “legacies” have to go through. Since Nora has a guest badge, no one really knows who she is and they invite her to a party. The party quickly gets out of control after they all take drugs that aren’t even FDA approved as of yet. One of the guys who seemed to have taken a liking to Nora asks her to guess what his job is. Throughout the time that Nora is at the conference, he’s asked her to guess and with the help of the drugs, she’s finally interested.
High as a kite, he takes her to the back of the hotel room where the party is and reveals a human body that is similar to his. He tells her that his job is manufacturing bodies that look exactly like the person a loved one might have lost so that they can give them a proper burial. I didn’t know whether to be creeped out, empathetic or angry.
Then the creep asks Nora to kiss him and she kisses the manufactured dude instead of the real one. The rest of the high business people who witnessed the kiss cheer in unison.
But things go downhill after the party as Nora is kicked out of the hotel for vandalism that she says she didn’t commit. I can’t imagine the level of embarrassment she’s going through after being kicked out of a hotel in the middle of New York.
Anyway, she doesn’t take the eviction lightly and sneaks back into the hotel. The hotel staff accosts her and takes her to the head of security. Nora explains to him that she’s being impersonated and that the person who stole her badge is in the conference at that moment.
When the staff enters the conference room to see if Nora is right, they find a thin lady sitting in Nora’s place. Without a heartbeat the imposter reveals herself and then harshly speaks out against the conference. At this point, I thought Nora would’ve fainted from the whole thing but instead she runs.
She runs into the crowded streets where people are picketing against the conference and tries to escape the whole escapade. That’s when a strange bald man who’s been following people around and praying with them comes up to Nora. He asks her if she wants the pain to go away and she gives him the dirtiest quizzical look I’ve ever seen but still follows him.
At this part in the episode, I was convinced that this guy was in the same business as Holy Wayne and that these “organizations” were sprouting up all over the place. However, it turned out that the bald dude works for Wayne and lead Nora right to Wayne’s new nest. After paying a hefty sum of cash, Nora agrees to let Wayne take away her pain by hugging him.
I don’t know if he’s the real deal or what, but the person who returned to the town was a new and improved Nora; she removed all the milk and cereals and replaced the paper towels. She was even SMILING again.
As the episode came to an end, I was left with the question of whether or not Wayne is truly who he says he is. What’s his deal? But most importantly, how did he know about his imminent death?