Previously on The Leftovers, ‘A Matter of Geography’
Just when we thought The Leftovers had abandoned the theme of gloom and doom, the Guilty Remnants return.
Last week, we noticed Laurie was driving Tom from his meeting with Jill at the diner. This week, we learn the two have become a cult-fighting duo. It appears they have a solid system where Tommy enters as a recruit and helps extract Guilty Remnant members that seem to be unsatisfied with the life they thought they would find inside the group’s ranks. He brings them to Laurie, who has set up a self-help recovery meeting to assist the refugees in their return to life outside of the cult.
Except… the Guilty Remnants is still a cult and Tom has always been an impressionable young man. He struggles to resist the lure of the propaganda that once trapped his mother. (You would think a therapist would have seen this coming, but Laurie has always seemed the self-absorbed type.)
Laurie has problems of her own, as she tries to keep her group afloat despite a complete lack of income. She is working on a memoir that she is sure will bring them financial freedom, but that’s not really paying the rent on her office space. It doesn’t help that her landlord earned his MBA from the Slumlord School of Business. She is able to measure little victories with each new extraction, but it is clear she’s hanging by a thread.
This thread snaps when Laurie and Tom return from meeting Jill to find the members of their support group huddled around Laurie’s belongings on the sidewalk. Tom tries to reassure everyone that meetings will continue in their apartment if necessary, but that is not reassuring members like Susan, who was actually living in the office space until they found a way back to their old lives. Laurie is little help in soothing the panic as she begins tearing through the objects littering the sidewalk. It appears the landlord evicted everything except her laptop, which held the only copy of her manuscript.
Laurie makes an appointment to speak with her former landlord in an attempt to appeal for his merciful return of her computer. Nobody is surprised when Slumlord denies ever seeing the laptop. So, Laurie takes the only logical next step – she breaks into Slumlord’s house and steals the laptop from his son’s hands. As she makes her escape, she decides to play a game of car bowling with Guilty Remnant pins.
Is Laurie coming unglued? It would seem. However, Kevin’s meeting with the police leaves us pretty confident she’ll get away with her act of vehicular homicide. Nobody cares what happens to the Guilty Remnants.
Things seem to be coming around. Susan returns to her home with a bit of family counseling from Laurie. Tom finds a new cult house to infiltrate. Laurie sets up a meeting with a publisher.
Unfortunately, the return to domestic life does not suit Susan. The final straw comes when she finds a note from one of the Guilty Remnants and decides she can’t go back but she can’t stay here. Sadly, her answer to the conundrum was to point her vehicle, loaded with her husband and son, into oncoming traffic.
Laurie is just about to meet with the publisher when she gets the call about Susan. She considers leaving but is called back before she can exit. It seems a book deal is almost definite, but then the publisher mentions changes he’d like to see. Apparently, Laurie was unable to translate any emotion into her narration. They walk her through the stories, particularly her role in Jill’s entrapment in the fire. They really want to know how these events made Laurie feel.
The answer is homicidal. Laurie launches herself at the publisher and is next seen in a police cell. They must have been feeling sympathetic because she goes home with Tom that night.
Tom’s luck does not run the way of his mother’s. His next attempt to extract a member from the Guilty Remnants results in his exposure as a double agent. He is beaten before awaking in the back of a box truck. Whatever he envisioned as punishment could not have touched his reality. Meg enters the truck and rapes Tom before having him dragged onto the road and doused in gasoline before leaving him with the instructions to tell Laurie she said “Hi”.
Despite all of these events, Laurie and Tom are convinced they can still help the extracted cult members. If they could only find a way to fill the void left by the Guilty Remnants, they could return everyone to normal.
In the closing group session, Laurie spends time sharing her story with the support group. She discloses that she hasn’t been completely honest, there are parts she omitted to protect Tom. Now, Tom is ready to tell his tale.
Tom shares his story of life with Holy Wayne through the birth of Lily. Wayne was dying, told him where to take the baby to be raised, and offered him one final gift for his service. If Tom was willing, Holy Wayne would share his gift.
When Tom opens his arms to offer healing hugs; it is hard to determie who looks more content, Tom, or the ex-cult members.
The Leftovers S2E3
It appears the season was just too good to be true. So many things in this episode felt forced. Why would Laurie send Tom into the Guilty Remnants? The Susan subplot felt rushed and weird. Meg is speaking, raping, and just all out Patti now? Laurie was able to smile at the Slumlord but attacked the publisher? Did we have to bring back the Holy Wayne hugs, real or imagined?
Everything that seemed to have been put to rest from last season was all dug up in one episode. It is hard to imagine the show opening all of these issues to leave them hanging and that will detract from the more interesting tales being told in Miracle.