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The Leftovers – S3E3 – Crazy Whitefella Thinking

Previously on The Leftovers, “Don’t Be Ridiculous”

Five minutes after The Sudden Departure, Kevin Garvey, Sr. (Scott Glenn) began hearing voices. This led to his hospitalization for mental issues, and only when he stopped fighting the voices and did as they instructed was he deemed fit to re-enter the world.

The last directive from these unseen voices (or Kevin’s mental illness) was to go to Australia. So, he does, armed with a backpack and a tape recorder he uses to listen to tapes of his son, Kevin Jr., when he was a little boy. He’s not sure what he’s meant to do and this leads to him taking a hallucinogen in the hopes of “talking to God.” This, in turn, leads him to a chicken he believes will reveal his purpose. When it pecks on a specific tape in his backpack (one in which he sings for Kevin Jr. to stop the rain and the rain does, indeed, stop), Kevin Sr. becomes convinced a great flood will occur on the 7th anniversary of the Departure and he’ll need to sing to stop it.

Images: HBO

Kevin then spends his time spying on Aboriginal people, stealing details of their rituals, and performing them on sacred grounds in preparation. Of course, this doesn’t go over too well with the locals and Kevin further complicates his situation by stealing the address of a clever man named Christopher Sunday (David Gulpilil). At Christopher’s home, Kevin pleads his case. Christopher is the only man alive with knowledge of the last bit of the song he needs to stop the flood. Christopher, to his credit, listens patiently – perhaps because he sensed Kevin’s genuine fear or because he realized he could get some free labor out of the crazy white man. Unfortunately, Christopher dies thanks to an accident by Kevin and he does so before sharing his part of the song.

This leaves Kevin broken and wandering the outback. Like many others we’ve encountered since the Departure, Kevin is looking for purpose. Like John Murphy back in Jarden, Kevin needs to believe there’s a reason for all they’ve gone through. He’s already disillusioned;  he read the Book of Kevin that Matt sent him and is resentful that the book is wholly about Kevin and not his own journey to being a part of something bigger. After he’s bitten by a snake, Kevin passes out by a cross, and is eventually rescued by Grace (Lindsay Duncan), the woman who killed the man at the end of last week’s episode.

While she’s off killing the wrong man thanks to a page of Matt’s book that she found in Kevin’s hand, he makes himself at home and encounters a group of people building an ark outside of Grace’s home. Maybe he’s on the right track after all?

By the time Grace tells him her heartbreaking story of losing her children after the Departure and killing the Australian Kevin with the hopes it would give her an opportunity to speak to them again, Kevin is convinced this is where he’s meant to be. Grace wasn’t wrong in believing; she just got the wrong guy.

Leftover Questions and Observations

If you believe in this kind of thing, Kevin Sr. experienced trials of biblical proportions. Was he rewarded for his commitment by meeting Grace? Or is this just going to end up being a convenient coincidence? It could go either way since The Leftovers has successfully walked the line between divine events (Departure aside) and people seeing signs where there are none.

Is Matt sick? Has his cancer returned? Last week he had a nosebleed and this week he’s sweating profusely and wrapped in a blanket when Kevin Sr. calls.

Kevin Sr. encounters a man who asks, “Would you kill a baby if it meant curing cancer?” When Kevin says he wouldn’t, the man replies that he answered the same way and then sets himself on fire. Who the hell was that?

If you’d told me last week that I’d enjoy an hour of television in which Scott Glenn Rachel Dolezal’d his way across Australia, I’d have asked how many canine arthritis meds you took. Much like last season when Patti scoffed at the idea of a “magical negro” (Virgil) having the answers for Kevin Jr., The Leftovers didn’t shy away from the absurdity of a white man thinking he’s the savior the world needs by appropriating the culture of brown people.

Lindsay Duncan was amazing in the last scene, explaining how she assumed her children departed with her husband and how devastated she was to learn, two years later, that they hadn’t; they went looking for her and died in the outback. This performance was right up there with Regina King’s and Carrie Coon’s in last year’s episode, “Lens.”

So much to say about this episode: Were the people building the arc some of the children Grace had adopted? Is Kevin Sr. going to allow Grace to drown Kevin Jr.? Kevin Sr. doesn’t mention seeing Kevin Jr. in the television during his acid trip; does he not remember it? I’ll try to address some of this on the podcast tonight.

Leave your thoughts on the episode below or on the Facebook post with this review, and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast. 

The Leftovers S3E3
  • 8/10
    Plot - 8/10
  • 10/10
    Dialogue - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Performances - 10/10
9.3/10

"Crazy Whitefella Thinking"

The Leftovers – S3E3 – “Crazy Whitefella Thinking | Starring: Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Regina King, Christopher Eccleston, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Jovan Adepo, Amy Brenneman, Kevin Carroll, Scott Glenn, Margaret Qualley, Liv Tyler | Written by: Tamara P. Carter | Directed by: Mimi Leder

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About Nina Perez (1389 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on Amazon.com for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

4 Comments on The Leftovers – S3E3 – Crazy Whitefella Thinking

  1. FOR THE PODCAST

    Ho-hum, another brilliant hour from the show that can do no wrong. There is going to be such a void in my soul when this goes off the air.

    Scott Glenn was delightfully hilarious in his portrayal of Chief White Privilege, making a mess of everything in his path, failing all of his self-important quests, and generally leaving everything worse off than he found it, as white men are so often wont to do.

    So much of what makes The Leftovers better than anything else on TV is its fearless commitment to absurdity and its willingness to take serious narrative risks. There are so many times this show could have gone off the rails- Focusing the Season 2 premiere on characters we had never met before, everything in International Assassin, Mark Linn-Baker, and now Scott Glenn portraying a living embodiment of the white savior trope running around on Aboriginal land in Australia, and they nail it perfectly by playing it for the absurdist comedy that it is. A lesser show would have come off as sanctimonious or maybe even offensive, but Lindelof and Perrotta seem to be perfectly and comfortably self-aware enough to make sure that didn’t happen.

  2. So glad I knew he was going to survive this episode!

  3. For The Podcast:

    Hey Nina, John, Jasmin and Mr Canada, cause I’m guessing he’s listening too.

    –Can I just point out that using the worship of MapleKevinJr to kill an innocent Kevin (#Justice4OzzieKevin) is clearly some kind of Anti-Christ shit. Justin Theroux may be the personal Jesus for ladies everywhere, but Kevin Garvey could still be The False Prophet.

    New Theory: Kevin Sr is some form Satan
    1) Kevin Sr is bitten by a venomous snake, yet survives. Snakes are biblically evil, thus enforcing the metaphor.
    2) The overhead shot of him by the cross is angelic, but also broken. His body is physically broken and poisoned. He is figuratively a fallen angel.
    3) He selfishly wants the Book of Kevin to be all about him; he wants to be worshiped instead.

    As Christopher Sunday said, the final song brings the rain. What if instead of saving everyone from the apocalypse, the Garveys are actually going to end up bringing it.

    Finally, Fuck Matt. He’s actually a piece of shit. How dare he write all this emotional shit Kevin Jr went through and try to package it as “The Bible Part 2: Departed Boogaloo.”

  4. For the podcast:

    Hi all! First time writer, long time listener. I just have a few random thoughts and don’t want to piss Nina off with long-winded BS. So here it goes.

    1) Kevin Sr was told he could talk to God and ended up talking to his son. More proof of Kevin jr as the messiah?

    2) I think Matt is sick again. Between the nosebleed and his shaky, sweaty antics, I feel like that’s what they are setting up.

    3) She was literally his saving Grace. Too much. But that’s okay. Her monologue was amazing, but I have to admit I kept watching that watery booger. I can’t be the only one.

    4) I’m glad we got this episode. I feel like Kevin Sr. Is often viewed as the “crazy guy on the periphery,” but I do really think he believes his delusions. It will be interesting to see if mental illnesses will be used to describe all of this behavior.

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