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The Leftovers, Episode 4: The Sheriff that Saved Christmas

s1e4-scottWelcome back everybody. I hope everybody has had a great weekend…really though, would anybody be against a day being created that would fall between Saturday and Sunday? I did get to see the Planet of the Apes movie, which I highly recommend as it takes us one step further to completely blacking out the Tim Burton/Mark Wahlberg abomination from 2002… although I do recommend watching the prequel first, Dunston Checks In, or you might feel lost:

So last week I made the analogy that The Leftovers was like dating a new chick where you’re not sure yet if she is long-term potential or just a silly place filler someone to learn something from, but not meant to be with. The last episode was solely focused on the priest and somewhat detached from the show we had been watching the previous two weeks, so I feel like we or I am still at the place where I’m not sure if I want to be exclusive with The Leftovers or if it will just be our late-night-when-all-else-fails-booty-call.

It would be really cool if this was the week where something crazy happens that will leave us wanting more. So far we haven’t had that “it” moment yet, which every great drama/show seems to have early on in their run. Lost had tons of those moments early on, Breaking Bad had that moment when Walt killed Crazy 8. The Leftovers needs that type of moment very soon or it’s going to be making that 8 a.m. Saturday morning walk of shame home.

8 p.m.

And we start tonight in a creepy doll-making factory and follow the process of the baby doll being made, packaged, sold in a store and then put as the baby Jesus in the Nativity scene in a public park…until we get a zoom in after some time has elapsed, showing us that baby Jesus has been kidnapped. Who in the hell did this? Maybe this show does need a kidnapping subplot to jolt the show into the mainstream. Maybe Mel Gibson can guest star as the doll’s father and scream “Give me back my son!!!”

8:06 p.m.

Back from Creepy McGee open credits and we’re greeted by Sheriff Kevin and one of the head white house members. The Sheriff wants a break from the white gang so the town can celebrate the holidays in peace and with their families, but the white house representative authoritatively writes that there is no family, which I guess is supposed to have some deep meaning, but doesn’t at this time. The white house gang apparently is like the drunk, bitter uncle in the family that can’t just let the family enjoy the holidays without being a douche. She leaves and the sheriff’s lieutenant comes in, who I swear to god looks like the grown-up child of Elvin and Sandra from The Cosby Show. They should definitely play that angle up. He tells the sheriff about the kidnapping of our baby Jesus. The sheriff doesn’t seem like he’s about to drop everything to find out.

8:10 p.m.

After we find out that the sheriff’s son Tom has had his phone disconnected, we catch up with Tom and the pregnant underage girl Christine that he has been sworn to protect. We find out it’s been six weeks since they have heard from Mr. Wayne. Before we can ponder that, we are joined by an unnecessary naked guy…who looks like Desmond Hume’s ugly twin brother with his junk flopping everywhere… confronting Christine for showing up in his dreams. He talks about Christine “walking over the dead”. Tom makes the unfortunate choice of fighting or wrestling with the naked guy and even though he may have won the fight we all lost in the long run. Why was that guy naked? … Biggest lingering question of the show so far.

8:11 p.m.

We catch up with the sheriff at home with his daughter and her friend, getting ready to decorate the tree, but everybody involved isn’t exactly showing that Griswold family Xmas spirit so far:

In fact, the sheriff asks his daughter Jill if she stole Jesus and she doesn’t really look innocent, so I guess this will pay off later in the episode when Jill realizes her wrongs and saves Xmas for her family and the town of Mapleton…..It could happen….The scene ends with the sheriff getting bizarrely confrontational with her daughter’s friend: “You enjoying that sandwich?”…

8:15 p.m.

Next stop is with the sheriff and his crew as they prep for the Mapleton holiday event. They’re not going to let that tough white house gang that is 75% mid-fifties, overweight woman, that smoke packs and packs of cigarettes a day ruin this event like they did the last. He talks to the mayor whom I think the producers are trying to make the most unlikeable character of this summer. He gets ordered to do the old “gold fish died, so go replace it with a look-alike” with the baby Jesus doll.

8:17 p.m.

While driving the sheriff’s car which has either turned into Christine from Stephen King

or somebody has messed with it, he has to make an emergency landing. Why did this happen?

8:20 p.m.

Back with Tom and Christine as he tries to avoid going Ike Turner on her for opening up about the baby and the ranch they came from. In the hospital to get the pregnancy checked out, they get a lot of skeptical looks about the bruises on her stomach and his hands from a nosy doctor. I guess in this town it’s frowned upon to punch a pregnant girl (Just kidding!) as they call security on Tom, but he makes a run for it, like’s he’s Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive.

Hey, we’re joined again by the Mapleton Winklevoss twins. It’s been a while. They promptly get pulled over by Sheriff Kevin and get interrogated about the missing baby Jesus. They basically folded under questioning like they were waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. They are given an offer they can’t refuse in being told to return the doll before the big Mapleton dance.

8:22 p.m.

We join the twins with Jill and other teens having a bonfire party where Jill shows us how bad-ass she is when she sticks a joint in the baby Jesus doll’s mouth. Watch out for that one… She’s a wild-card. A random dude defaces the doll worse by sticking his balls on the head of it…Good times…This just keeps escalating as Jill comes up with an idea to tape the doll onto the top of a cooler and send it out on the lake. She’s about to shoot fire on it but decides last second that it’s not the best plan. Maybe she will find that the Xmas spirit was inside of her all along…I’m really pushing for this angle that will never happen I realize.

8:26 p.m.

We’re back with Tom as he is hiding out as an alleged wife beater. He gets visited by two white gang members, who just want to be friends, but he shares his dad’s distaste for them sadly. He asks fate to intervene and demands that Wayne calls him or he’s going to give up and go home aboard a bus. In that last minute he changes his mind.

8:29 p.m.

Sheriff Kevin gets a visit at home from the artist formally known as his wife and Liv Tyler. Liv pulls out and reads a letter that his wife wrote. In the letter we find out that Kevin is not Tom’s biological son and the grand reveal is that Liv and his wife also have divorce papers for the sheriff. The sheriff acts like Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs Kramer for 30 seconds until Jill comes home and walks into this shit storm. She grabs a present that she had put under the tree for her mom and gives it to her. The gift turns out to be a lighter with the inscription “Don’t forget me”, which is a pretty thoughtful gift from a person that was about to shoot the baby Jesus with a fire arrow. Liv tells her to keep the gift even though they aren’t supposed to, but she dumps it in a sewer.

8:35 p.m.

We’re back with Tom as he tries to re-enter the hospital in disguise. It works out as he and Christine assume the roles of post-rapture hippies as they leave the hospital without their shoes. I could never walk around without shoes as it seems like that would be problematic. I mean, how much grossness is on the streets?

8:37 p.m.

Back with the sheriff and his awful tattoos, which just like Lost with Jack I’m sure we are going to get a horrible backstory episode about how he ended up with them.

The sheriff is going through old pictures of his wife. How great would it be if he pulled a photo of her and Robert De Niro in Heat as he could be Tom’s biological father maybe? That would be quite the backstory that would really bring this show together. Maybe Val Kilmer could pop in to check on things…etc, etc…

8:40 p.m.

On the bus with Tom and Christine, we get to meet a new friend also named Tom who apparently is Army Strong. Before we get through introductions the bus abruptly stops and when we go outside we find wrapped up bodies all over the street. Christine screams to him that it’s “just like her dream” as he looks at her like Carlo looked at Connie in The Godfather before he roughed her up.

8:41 p.m.

It’s party time as we show up at the Mapleton dance with Sheriff Kevin. He kicks off the ceremony by telling everybody not to drink and drive and to share that he found the baby Jesus. He pauses like he’s going to get a round of applause, but it looks like nobody gives a shit after all.

With baby Jesus in tow, he stumbles into Nora in the hallways.  They share a really uncomfortable conversation and he heads outside to discover the white gang standing on the perimeter of the school. They all get arrested.

8:47 p.m.

Turns out, not all the white gang were loitering at the school, as we get a montage of different members of the gang going to their old former houses, breaking in and removing all family pictures or all pictures in general (not sure). What party poopers they are, huh?

8:50 p.m.

Sherriff Kevin runs into the priest at the nativity scene who definitely has an “I just won 80,000 grand at the roulette table” pep in his step as he replaces the baby Jesus with his twin brother Olaf, but I don’t think anybody will notice.

The show ends with the sheriff driving home and ditching the original baby Jesus out of his truck window onto the side of the road.

So this episode like the three previous ones had some good moments, but overall it felt a little off. It actually did feel like a standard TV Xmas stand-alone episode that doesn’t really carry the story forward. The cool moments had to do with Christine’s dreams that are turning out to be true, and that storyline, but everything else felt a little D.J. Tanner forgets what the spirit of Christmas is all about…blah, blah, blah… and what the hell was the scene with the sheriff’s car spazzing out all about??!!

I’m going to give this show two more chances to win me over, but right now it’s in bed with me and I’m pretending to be happy and excited about our relationship. In  reality, I’m just thinking about plausible lies I could tell her to justify her leaving my bed and going home, and then parlaying that with a text the next day saying: “This is the anniversary of something pretty hard from my past and so right now I can’t focus on a relationship , but I will catch up in a few days with you.”  Then I’ll pray that she (The Leftovers) buys it as I take some time to think this out. I really do want to like The Leftovers, but I need a little more from it. What do you think?

  • susan appleby

    Hi Scott!!! I couldn’t agree with you more about this show.
    Can you possibly think of old 70 or 80s songs to slip in? Maybe awesome amusement park rides that fit the scene?
    Something has to happen to up the entertainment level of this show.

    • Scott Gallagher

      Yes, I will try for this week…but ya…this show needs something…not sure what…but it needs something…