In this week’s episode of The Leftovers, viewers are exposed to what the Garvey family and most of the other characters were like before the great “disappearance.” It’s actually really intriguing how some of the characters used to be positive, genuinely happy and normal instead of the mental cases they are now. It just goes to show that you never truly know a person until you’ve seen them during extreme adversity.
In the pre-apocalypse, Kevin Garvey is a pensive man who thinks the answer to a happy marriage is through avoiding telling his wife what’s on his mind or showing his bad habits. Unfortunately, this just drives them even further apart. At work, Kevin is his father’s shadow as his father gets constant appraisal from colleagues and even the “Man of the Year” award. Back then, Kevin Sr. was a force to be reckoned with, and his son could not compare. However, this doesn’t bother Kevin as much as the strange and eerie signs he gets about the upcoming catastrophe; random people in a car on the highway stop to ask him if he’s ready, and a deer wreaks havoc on the town.
Still, Garvey Sr. is by far a sight in the pre-apocalypse. He behaved exactly how post-apocalyptic Kevin behaves; stern and without bullshit. He has the love and adoration of the entire police force and town. He even catches the eye of the soon-to-be mayor. He’s also a family man – everything seems to be going great for this well-aged guy.
Even Jill’s pre-apocalypse life is unexpected. After watching episodes filled with this emo-like girl who couldn’t care less whether or not she woke up in the morning, it was a real eye opener to see how exactly Jill became the way she is. I didn’t think that she’d be this chirpy, geeky, braces-wearing kid who attended science fairs, smiled a lot and constantly showed her family love; in a previous episode, when Kevin asked Aimee what was up with Jill, Aimee responded that Jill was just being Jill, leading me to believe Jill had always been that way.
On top of all this, we’re introduced to a verbal Laurie! We actually hear Laurie’s voice and see how she was before joining the Guilty Remnant. Unfortunately, her life pre-apocalypse is still depressing. She’s a successful woman with a vibrant career as a psychologist but still can’t seem to get the love and appreciation she wants from her husband. She and Kevin are so disjointed that she doesn’t even tell him about the foetus she’s carrying.
Then there’s Tom, whose character didn’t really change as much. In the pre-apocalyptic world, he is this emotional college kid who gets into constant trouble with the police over harassing his biological father who doesn’t and never wanted him. It’s amazing how the October 14th incident only heightened Tom’s sheep-like behaviour and need for approval.
Meanwhile, Patty’s life before the not-rapture event is almost shocking. Patty was a woman with low self-esteem whose ex-husband used to abuse her and who has a premonition about the end of the world. She’s a regular client to Laurie’s practice and Laurie tries her hardest to get to the root of Patty’s problem without pointing out the fact that she might just be looney. It’s pretty ironic how Laurie now follows Patty’s ideology. The directors also reveal who Neil is (the person who received the paper bag Patty dropped off on his doorstep on Laurie’s day off). It’s her ex-husband who used to abuse her. Was he the loved one whom Patty lost in the not-rapture? Is that why she decided to create her own chapter in the cult-like organisation?
We also get a look at what Nora was like before the traumatic event. Nora was an overstressed mother who was trying to get a job as a campaign manager. Her husband was a conceited, chirpy man who couldn’t care less about how their kids were being raised and who didn’t pay his wife enough attention. I really feel Nora’s pain, since she not only lost her entire family, but was arguing with them the moment they disappeared.
While no one disappeared for Matt, viewers still get to see snippets of what his life was like with his mobile wife. Pastor Matt and his wife, Mary, were as lovey dovey as a pair of teenagers and they even made an appearance at the surprise party that Kevin’s family was throwing for Kevin’s dad. It really is heartbreaking to watch how hard Matt has to work now to keep his paralyzed wife healthy.
The highlight of this episode had to be watching the loved ones of the main characters disappear. I mean, you don’t know what their pain is like until you’ve experienced it with them.
Like the flashback showed in the beginning of the series, Kevin was with another woman when the non-rapture took place. The thing is, the woman Kevin was sleeping with also disappeared right as they were having sex.
Jill and Tom were at a science fair when it happened. They were taking part in a human circuit experiment where a group of people had to hold hands to help light the bulb in the centre. That’s when a person within the group just vanished right before their eyes, and the bulb went out.
Nora was trying to clean the orange juice her daughter spilled on her phone when she noticed the kitchen had gone quiet. When she turned around, her entire family was gone.
Laurie’s experience was probably the worst. She was at an ultrasound, checking up on the progress of her foetus when it just vanished. I mean, wow! I was wondering from the beginning why Laurie had gone off the walls when none of her family members had been taken. But a loved one was taken from her; her unborn baby. Now that I understand what happened to her, I can’t believe that she hasn’t gone bat-shit crazy as of yet.
Still, I hope that in the next episode, we’ll either see a development in the current plot or get the opportunity to see what happened to other people before the October 14th event. I realize that this episode’s title was “The Garveys at Their Best,” but I would’ve loved it if we could’ve seen what Holy Wayne’s life was like before the not-rapture. Or even Christine’s life. Or even Aimee’s.
What irks me the most is whether or not the creators of the show will continue to draw out the already short storyline after they’ve exhausted the flashback option. I think that the concept behind The Leftovers is pretty good, and I’d love to see this show advance in ways that would have me glued to the screen.