Ahhhh... The Leftovers. It's funny, my previous show of choice on Sunday nights was Game of Thrones and although it is filled with as much or more vigor and violence, it simply can't match the gloomy atmosphere that surrounds Mapleton in a thick fog. In contrast to the previous two, this particular episode, "Two Boats and a Helicopter", is centered around one character - Reverend Matt Jamison (played by Christopher Eccleston). It actually allows us to take a deep breath from all of the goings-on and character development crammed into the first two episodes and follow just one set of footsteps.
Eccleston's portrayal of the Reverend is chilling - he seems to be trying so hard to do the right thing by his wife, by his congregation, by the town, etc but every time something good happens to him it is followed up by something much worse. Inexplicably bad, even. For example, in this episode he is told by the local bank that his church has been purchased by some kind of organization, but that he has a chance to buy it back if he can come up with the money in time. Sparked by some kind of revelation, Matt heads to the casino and turns $20,000 into $160,000. Nice roulette skills.
Unfortunately for him, his niceness and related inability to avoid confrontation get him into trouble. First, after leaving the casino with the money he needs in an envelope, someone who saw his winnings tries to steal it from him but ultimately ends up with his face bashed into the pavement. A surprising turn of events for Matt but he is prepared to do anything it takes at this point in order to preserve what little he still has.
Trusting in the pigeons, Matt? Just before he gets to the casino he sees (for the 3rd time) pigeons.. this time in a group of 3, sitting on top of a flashing red stoplight. He bets 3 times.. on red, at the same table that we earlier saw 2 pigeons on top of. I'm still struggling with the imagery here but it seems that Matt's relationship with Kevin's father (Kevin Garvey, Sr., played by Scott Glen) and the strange things that seem to be happening to both of them must be connected.
Anyway, The Leftovers puts on a happy face and it looks like there might just be a light at the end of the tunnel for at least one character when we get completely shut down. Surprise? Stopping to help one of the Guilty Remnant who were hit in the head with a rock from what appeared to be a group of teenagers driving past in a vehicle, Matt was hit in the head himself and wakes up in the hospital after a series of dreams (visions?) and flashbacks. He rushes to the bank to try and save his church, but when he gets there it is already closed. After speaking to Jim Lewis, whom he previously dealt with, he is informed that he was actually in the hospital for several days.. and the church has already been sold.
The organization that bought the church? Yep, the Guilty Remnant. And we see the powerful image of members of the group painting the stained glass windows stark white. And what about his wife, is she ok after Matt never returned home? Like so many things that have already happened in this series, any small semblance of joy or resolution that a character may try to latch onto is destroyed absolutely. Should we fear Reverend Matt Jamison now? I think so.. there is no telling what holy vengeance he may try to strike down upon the Guilty Remnant and others that get in his way now that he has lost almost everything that he held dear. At least he's got $160,000 and a really strange American accent. Good luck, Matt.