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The Leftovers: Episode 2 – Penguin One Us Zero

s1e2-coverHey, happy belated 4th of July. I hope everybody had a fun weekend. I feel like Facebook and Instagram almost broke this weekend with thirty thousand mothers each posting a picture of her baby/toddler with the caption “My little firecracker” as they held their breath for the minimum 30 likes from their friends that is mandated by law apparently.

Welcome back for the second episode of The Leftovers. I feel that in preparation for this episode we all need to listen to some early 90’s grunge music and think of the worst memory of our lives; basically we all need to try to be Ben Affleck in the first 80 minutes of Argo. This should be fun. I’m almost halfway through the book, but I won’t reveal or spoil anything, other than say that this show will never be Saved by the Bell in its tone; it’s always going to be brooding and heavy.

We left off last week with poor-man’s Matthew Fox (Kevin) deciding to join the dog hunting crew: Liv Tyler (Meg) checking into the “white house” after watching herself in Jersey Girl and this Aerosmith video:

and the rest of the community of Mapleton trying to recover from Shaquille O’Neal being one of The Departed. It’s summertime and there really are no great shows on television right now, so let’s hope this is the one that will carry us to September.

8 pm:

We start the show with an investigative meeting about our post-rapture Hugh Hefner, the mysterious Wayne. It is decided that Mr. Wayne needs a late night wake up call, which leads to a Zero Dark Thirty-like raid of the Wayne Compound. And just like that we get a death as Tom Garvey shoots one of the swat team members in the neck because he had a gun on the girl Tom is supposed to look after. They run into some of sort of shelter presumably with Auntie Em until the storm passes.

We get what might be the creepiest open credits in the history of television, some form of moving illustrations of people being pulled up into the sky… actually pretty cool looking… disturbing, but cool.

With the show credits over, we open up with Sheriff Kevin being woken up by his housemate, the sultry teenager Amy. They walk outside and join Kevin’s special BFF, Mr. Doggie Assassin.  This turns out to be a dream as a fire starts to spread around his feet, although maybe he is going to do one of those Tony Robbins walks on hot coals to promote trust and courage. I heard all our modern leaders have taken that course.

It turns out there really was a fire as the neighbor was burning his brother’s stuff in the backyard. God knows we have all thought about doing this at one time or another. I don’t think the town of Mapleton is really thinking “green” at this time.

We get Sheriff Kevin talking to a shrink, but I’m guessing we’re not going to get a Robin Williams type “It’s not your fault” Goodwill Hunting moment with these two.

This counselor really does need to work on his technique as being dismissive and condescending is exactly out of the Freud playbook. He is questioning Sheriff Kevin about his BFF and whether or not he is real…very interesting.

Liv Tyler makes her first appearance of this episode and it looks like she is in the talking wing of the white house as she enjoys some pancakes. The Sheriff’s wife Laurie gives her a look and off they go into the woods with an ax. Apparently this is part of a training plan for the whites. Maybe cutting down a tree is like a Mr. Miyagi lesson that will come in handy when the whites take on the Cobra Kai at the All-Valley Karate Tournament, hopefully taking place later in this season. I know I wouldn’t mind a montage with “You’re the Best Around” playing as the white gang takes on the vile Cobra Kai.

Jill and Amy go to the local coffee shop presumably only to set up the previous episode’s rally speaker Nora who carries a gun and intentionally knocks over her coffee mugs while everybody looks on horrified. She leaves and the girls decide to follow her with the Mapleton Winklevoss twins’ car.

Back to Meg trying to chop down a tree, but the progress isn’t where any of us want it. This leads us to the second episode in a row where Liv Tyler smells an Emmy and showcases her “talents”… she screams through a few lines.

We head back on the run with Tom and Christine (the girl whom he is sworn to protect). They get joined by a shirtless Wayne. Joy ensues.

Sheriff Kevin gets questioned for the second time about his BFF dog shooter and whether or not he is real. Obviously the sheriff is hurt by this line of questioning. He moves on and with his partner he shows up at the white house to talk to Meg (Liv Tyler) to presumably tell her to stop trying to force herself into an Emmy… telling her if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Meg doesn’t want to hear it and she decides to stay in the white house.

We next get a hostile note fight with Laurie and the madam of the house about Meg being able to stay in the white house. I’m going to call this fight a draw, but one judge had it as a split decision win for Laurie…always controversy in judges’ decisions these days. Maybe it’s better to argue without talking, only in writing, because this way you can’t really say anything too horrific as it would take too long to write. I would keep like four or five pre-written messages like “F**k you.”, “Double-double with fries animal-style, please.” and “Just the tip, just to see how it feels.” ;).

Back at headquarters, the sheriff and the mayor… who apparently is taking her character straight from the evil mayor in Jaws’ playbook… have a discussion about the sheriff’s reckless behaviors. The scene ends with the sheriff fondling and then assaulting the toaster.

We head to Nora, who apparently is an insurance agent, visiting an old couple to determine if they can be paid. She asks them a series of uncomfortable questions that made us all feel bad about ourselves…Fun times.

Back to the Mapleton Winklevoss twins, and Amy and Jill as they are staking out Nora and her 60 Minutes- like interview with the old couple. This leads to more set-up of Jill being somewhat cray cray. We get it…The Departed shook her up…She’s not dealing with it well…We get it. As they drive off, Jill and Nora have a slow-motion crazy-off staring competition. I’m going to give this round to Nora.

Back at Headquarters, poor-man’s David Beckham is in the sheriff’s office wanting to know what’s up with his fiancée Meg. I guess he has decided to wear Tom Hanks’ hair from The Da Vinci Code…You all know what I’m talking about, too! Anyways, the sheriff gives him a run down on the white house’s day-to-day program.

Beckham decides out of nowhere to throw his hat into the Emmy ring with his own tirade semi-monologue. He storms off. I’m guessing off-camera he demonstratively high-fived the key grips and other crew members on his way to his dressing room where I’ll bet he looked at himself in the mirror and spoke “ F**king nailed it!”(I hope that is true).

The sheriff then gets a call that the truck of the missing BFF dog shooter was found in his own driveway. Road trip time… “I found out long ago… ohhh ohhh… It’s a long way down Holiday Road… ohhh ohhh… Holiday Road… ohhh ohhh.”

The sheriff shows up to examine the truck and his partner at the scene gives him a “This person doesn’t really exist look.” Does this person actually exist?  I really don’t know because so far this is not in the book.

Tom Garvey is on the run with Wayne, looking on while Wayne creepily kisses or hovers way too closely into the bubble of a dead middle-aged dude. Wayne wants to showcase the power of a good hug, but Tom is not feeling really huggish right now and politely declines. Wayne tells him that the reunion will be short-lived as he sends Tom and Christine off on their journey alone.

Meg and Laurie play a game of Pictionary or something as Meg is required to turn in something that she brought with her into the white house. I guess this is a part of the initiation process. I think the next task is stealing the rival high school’s mascot before the big game to demoralize them.

We go back to Wayne before he sends off his under-aged pregnant girlfriend and Tom, giving Tom his instructions and breaking his cell-phone for good measure. Tom looks like he wants to abort this mission like Edward Burns in Saving Private Ryan…Luckily, like in that movie, he decides to stay for now.

Road trip time:

but not before Tom shouts a few “F**ks!” for good luck I’m guessing.

OK, finally the sheriff’s BFF shows up at his doorstep. We don’t know if he is real or if this is a Johnny Depp in Secret Window thing where he is taking to somebody not real (spoiler alert). At least his ghost brings him beer. His daughter acknowledges the BFF, so I guess we will go with he’s real.

Wow… We get a Perfect Strangers cameo in this episode! When’s the last time we have seen that? The Sheriff comes to see his dad played by Scott Glenn, whom I still haven’t forgiven for killing Kurt Russell in Backdraft. Now Scott Glenn is telling us the whole cast of Perfect Strangers were all a part of The Departed. I’m floored right now and need to take a five minute break. I mean, I can understand the cast of Growing Pains being taken….but not Perfect Strangers.

Mid-convo Scott Glenn displays some craziness. I’m guessing some sort of crazy PTSD parlayed with some schizophrenia. He tells Kevin to keep his craziness to himself. Spurred by this, Kevin races back to the office to see if the bagel that I guess went missing earlier in the episode (that I didn’t pick up on) is there or if he imagined it all. He in fact does find it, so I guess we’re to believe that he’s not crazy.

Back to the white house and Meg has gone missing, but they find her outside doing this:

OK, really she was angrily chopping down the tree. End of episode.

So, overall, pretty good episode. There’s definitely some intrigue here. I guess the question is, “Where is all of this leading to?” Meaning, is there an end game here, or is this just going to be a voyeuristic look into how people handle a gigantic tragedy? I’m hoping it’s the former, with some plot twist coming up and an engaging story. I guess we know now (kind of, right?) that BFF dog shooter McGee is real and he seems like he may be our Locke (of Lost) of The Leftovers…the one that will give us a fresh perspective of the situation. Maybe another way of looking at things that will hopefully lead to something cool happening. What does everybody else think of this episode and the show overall?