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Answers to 10 Burning Questions About 'The Leftovers' We Got From 'The Garveys at their Best"

By Dustin Rowles | The Leftovers | August 24, 2014 | Comments ()


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1. What destroyed Kevin’s kitchen in the pilot episode of The Leftovers?? As we already surmised, it was a deer. Importantly, however, it was a deer among many other deer who went ballistic ahead of the “rapture,” at least one of which destroyed a school. The deer, like the dogs, had a sense about the Sudden Departure.

2. Who is Neil? One of the nagging mysteries is was the identity of Neil. In an earlier episode, Patti sh*t in a bag with “Neil” written on it and left it on a doorstep. Neil we now know is Patti’s abusive husband. We also know that Patti was kind of nuts before the sudden departure. In fact, the departure gave her life the very “greater purpose” that Kevin had been looking for before the sudden departure.

3. What does Laurie have to feel guilty about? Laurie — a therapist — lost her unborn baby to the sudden departure during an ultrasound. (Interestingly, during the episode in which Nora attended a seminar in NYC, a lecture on that very topic— losing unborn babies to the departure — was being advertised in the background).

4. Why did Laurie join the GR? Guilt about losing a baby that she was possibly planning to abort was certainly a huge part of it, but the fact that Patti had a sense — a premonition — about the Sudden Departure probably gave Laurie a sense that Patti knew what was up.

5. Who was Kevin banging when the rapture happened? A rando who ran into the feral deer Kevin was attempting to rescue. “Are you a good man?” she asked Kevin, the same question that Patti asked Kevin last week in “Cairo.”

6. Why did Tom decide to follow Holy Wayne? Daddy issues, obviously. Tom was obsessed with his biological father, and tried to forget about him against the advice of his mother. “Don’t forget about [your Dad],” Laurie tells Tom. “It doesn’t work.”

7. Why is Jill so sullen? Wouldn’t you be? Because the circuit was broken. Because entropy — the tendency of order to become disorder — was FUCKING PROVEN BEFORE HER VERY EYES. At a SCIENCE FAIR. And the circle — and her family — was forever broken.

8. What’s up with the corrupt judge? We’re not entirely sure, but it appears that the corrupt judge was awarded Mapleton Man of the Year the year previous to Kevin, Sr., and that Matt knew he was corrupt.

9. Why did Nora feel so much guilt? Because she was basically praying for a job to get away from her kids, because she was secretly tired of being a stay-at-home mom, because she was frustrated with her kids and her husband on the morning of the sudden departure.

Also, we have a better idea why Nora intentionally knocked over her coffee cup way back in episode two. Because it reminded her of the orange juice that fell to the floor when her daughter was raptured.

10. How did the current mayor of Mapleton win the election? By default, obviously. She had no chance to beat “Buddy,” and the fact that she won suggests only that Buddy must have been taken in the Sudden Departure.

(My full recap of ‘The Garveys at their Best’ will appear on Uproxx tomorrow)







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • mernymerlyn

    I have been watching every week and while I was at the edge of my seat, this was the episode I felt was necessary for me to finally care and connect with the characters. All we have seen was the aftermath. This was my favorite episode so far.
    And the ultrasound scene killed me.

  • Maydays

    I read a list that The Leftovers posted on FB and one of the commenters suggested that everyone who had Departed was being regretted in that moment: Laurie's baby, Kevin's random hookup, Nora's family, the crying baby in the back of laundromat lady's car.

    *ETA This is also a point that I see Dustin made on Uproxx. So now I just feel like a dummy.

    I'll bring up a point I haven't seen covered: What was with the Trading Places reference? Love that movie. Any significance?

  • aroorda

    The makeup artists were on point tonight too. Jill genuinely looked 15.

  • John G.

    will we also get a full recap post, or is this it?

  • e jerry powell

    You have to go to Uproxx.

  • Glory

    Great episode - I loved getting the lead up to the event now when we are slowly piecing together who these people are and what they mean to one another.

    I think it's interesting to see Kevin struggling to find happiness/contentment before things went to crap, makes the bedside table full of pills a bit easier to understand.

    So was Patti actually aware on some level of what was happening before hand or was that just a coincidence? It would certainly reinforce her GR beliefs is she thought she was prophetic.

    Kevin seemed to be the only other one noticing that things were strange ie. the crack in the wall, the coffee cup, that car full of women and the gas explosion - that's a lot of attention grabbing strange stuff for one guy to witness.

    Not to mention the poor deer :(

  • gunsandrockets

    That car full of women -- for a moment that event made me wonder if the whole episode was some kind of dream by Kevin. Because why did those women slow down and address him? He was wearing white while smoking a cigarette. I thought those people in the car were GR and mistook him for one of them!

  • Glory

    And were they the ones who were flashing the light at him and then honking the horn when he stopped for a smoke the day before?

  • annie

    I think the flashing light was the mylar balloon on top of the deer's head. Someone said the deer had crashed through a baby shower and the balloon said 'it's a girl.' i assumed that meant kevin had seen the deer in the woods but didn't realize it it was the deer. but the horn. i don't know.

  • Glory

    Of course! Thanks, I'd missed the baby shower reference.

  • Naye

    The only thing I have to contribute to this is that this means it was in fact just one deer.

  • Bananapanda

    I missed that idea. I saw the popped balloon later but didn't think of it as shining sunlight earlier. There are several theories about deer and what it stands for...

  • gunsandrockets

    Yes, this episode explains so very much of what we have seen so far this season. In particular for why the Garvey family seemed so traumatized even though they had seemingly lost no one.

    But being directly present when someone 'poofs' has got to mess with your head. And as tonights episode progressed and I saw they were leading up to the great 'poofing' I knew the only explanation for that we had never heard of Laurie's pregnancy during the season is because the fetus was going to disappear too. I thought, holy crap! You bastards! No wonder Laurie joins the GR.

    One other interesting thing I noticed. Since we the audience were also present when people disappeared, we could witness the immediate aftermath. Notable was the lack of any noise or movement or light or anything else during the disappearance. The disappeared were just gone. And the disappeared took everything on their bodies with them. No piles of clothes, or other artifacts left in the wake of vanishing.

  • Rachel Mullins

    I noticed noras husbands phone was still on the table, and the cups too...

  • e jerry powell

    Also, am I the only one who was freaked out by seeing Undead Ann Dowd everywhere tonight?

  • lowercase_ryan

    Genevieve kicked me in the gut tonight by informing me that there is only one episode left this season. I've grown into an unabashed fan of the show and with each passing week I find myself more and more impressed with Justin Theroux. He's just killed it as Kevin.

    At this point I'm not even looking for answers, I genuinely want a super slow burn. I love all the weird little shit as much as the big shit. I love hating someone one week only to have my heart broken the next. I would like more now please.

  • Maydays

    I also loved this episode, and feel further sucked in by every episode even though I'm not sure where we're going. I had such a ball of tension building up as I knew we were getting to the Departure.

  • JenVegas

    Cosigned 100%. I'm so excited that they haven't rushed this story and character development. I am sad the season is over but I can't wait for #2...how long until it starts???

  • e jerry powell

    There is still good stuff left to do for the second season.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    Pretty sure that hour of television did more to connect me to most of the characters than ever other hour of this show for the entire rest of the season. They should have aired it sooner. I feel a lot softer towards Laurie, Jill's sense of loss and displacement is clearer, Tom's attachment to Wayne seems clearer, etc.

    If they'd only done this like, three or four episodes ago, I'd be way more invested in the finale.

  • I actually like that they waited this long. Part of the reason it was so effective was because we spent eight hours with these people in the depths of their grief. I think if that was the fourth or fifth episode, the building craziness, Nora's recovery, Patti's death -- it all would have felt out of sync.

    I'm with you though about the characters. This is the first time I really understood why they're so messed up three years after the fact. Their despair always made sense from a logical perspective. But last night was the first time it felt emotional

  • Genevieve Burgess

    A lot of people have been very hard on Laurie for how she's reacted even though she didn't lose anyone. Finding out that she not only lost a pregnancy, but also couldn't even grieve openly because she hadn't told anyone about it made a lot of things fall into place. I think that Patti probably started GR not long after the events, and Laurie came to her because she was desperate to express grief and anger somehow, and that's what the GR was offering.

  • e jerry powell

    The Great Departure was clearly a Grand Reversal for just about everybody left. I'm trying to figure out whether or not what happened to Mary was directly related to the Departure.

    Also, I think Patti's insight into Laurie still hasn't been explained sufficiently. It still bugs me. If Laurie was Patti's therapist, there's really no circumstance where Patti knowing that much about Laurie would be even a little appropriate ethically.

    I'm assuming that Laurie's focus on the sonogram means that the obstetrician had just walked out of the room and didn't go poof. At the same time, you figure if the doctor has left the room, the wand wasn't still on Laurie's belly...

  • Caitlin

    In a previous episode (the one that centers around Matt) it was shown that Mary was driving a car with Matt when the departure occurred. Somebody who departed in another car crashed into her. When they left the doctor's office in this episode Matt said "We need a drink" and Mary said "You have a drink, I'll drive." and the departure happened moments later.

  • C F

    I think Mary's car was hit by the car the judge was driving when he departed. And because the judge was corrupt, Matt has been trying to convince people that the departed people weren't 'chosen' by God because of their virtue. These details were mentioned earlier in the season before their full meaning was clear.

  • e jerry powell

    Thanks for the reminder. My brain is getting a little lost with everything that happened in that 24 hours.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    Someone screamed outside the room and the obstetrician turned away from the screen. Then time was slowing down (in all the flashbacks) as Laurie looked back at the screen, so I assumed the obstetrician was still looking towards the door or maybe someone came in to say something. So, she was still there, just distracted.

  • e jerry powell

    More than plausible.

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