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.
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
"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