The Leftovers really puzzles me. I still can't figure out (along with everyone else, I'm sure) whether there is any sort-of of twist here (supernatural or otherwise), or if Lindelof and Co. are just winding us along this long road of miserable people and terrible circumstance. Either way, I can't stop watching this show because it keeps surprising me. Yeah, the surprises are mostly of a vicious and sadistic nature.. but hey, they say that art imitates life, right? I can easily see all of these events unfolding in modern-day reality after an event such as one that happens here. Maybe that's the whole point.
Anyway, "Gladys" takes us on a journey that centers around Patty and Laurie after the brutal murder of Gladys by stoning. The opening scene shows Patty nodding to Gladys in her office as if in silent agreement. We know that Gladys seemed to be higher up in the ranks of the Guilty Remnant but the whole order of things is very much left open to interpretation still. In my opinion, this opening scene is trying to make us believe that Gladys was ready for this and/or that Patty is actually behind the whole sequence of events that lead to Gladys's death. There just seems to be a general foreboding in the air and a heaviness to Gladys's nod. In addition, right before she was abducted from in front of the convenience store (they had gone to buy more cigarettes, it seems) Gladys took out a cigarette but hesitated in smoking it.. rapping it against her pad as if waiting for something. I'm not sure that I believe this to be the case, but we're still trying to piece together the motivations of these characters. The one thing that makes me think this could be a false path were Gladys's last words when she was near death in the woods. Spending your last moments begging for your life and breaking the vows of the Guilty Remnant are not the actions of someone who was fully aware of what was about to happen.
Patty takes Laurie out on an unannounced trip where they can be alone and have a private conversation. She allows Laurie to shower, dress in normal clothes, sleep in a comfortable bed, etc and even invites her to speak once more, over a french toast and scrambled egg breakfast. Ultimately, Laurie stays silent and seems to be praised by Patty for doing so. Patty says something memorable toward the end of their conversation, "Remember what you told me to do in the last session, before everything changed?".. this seems to allude to a previous relationship that these women had together. Perhaps Laurie was a therapist of some sort, or otherwise guiding or counseling Patty? Either way, it has something to do with 'Neil' and the doggybag that was delivered (presumably on his doorstep) filled with something (presumably feces?). Yikes. Basically, we learn that Patty may be even more nuts that we give her credit for. Looking forward to more on this.
Back in Mapleton, Kevin is once again faced with a personal crisis. Although we seem to learn that Dean is officially, in fact, a real person and not a figment of Kevin's imagination, the Chief's missing shirts send him into a tailspin at the end of the episode. Kevin actually physically threatens the employee at the laundromat and forces him to look more closely for his shirts. Wow, Kev.. looks like some anger management courses would be advisable. In the end, he does get his shirts back.. or are they actually his? I think we are to assume that they are his shirts. Every time it looks like the Chief may be crazy, he doubles back and reconfirms that he is not. We definitely need to learn more about his father and what happened to their whole family directly after the Sudden Departure. The way this show is going, maybe in The Leftovers Season 3?
We don't learn much, but come away with the same sinking feeling in our stomachs as in the previous episodes. Really.. this show is like eating a really delicious, but really spicy dish. Once you've started you have to see it through but not without some degree of pain and regret. I hope, as always, that in addition to the jarring moments that fill the first several episodes, we can advance the overall story arc a little more next week.