So after last week surprised us with a crazy ending (both Patti stabbing herself with a shard of glass in an attempt to implicate Kevin and Jill turning up at the Guilty Remnant), I would expect nothing less of The Leftovers than to avoid the cliffhanger and throw us back into the past. It's really more of a move from Damon Lindelof's Lost, but certainly welcome here as it serves to build tension before the season finale which airs in two weeks. Anyway, on to the good stuff..
Laurie has been a bit of a mystery to us since she was introduced as Kevin Garvey's wife and one of the Guilty Remnant. Bits and pieces of information have been floating around though which you might have picked up. It is revealed in "The Garveys at Their Best" that Laurie was a psychologist before the Sudden Departure (I'm just assuming that's capitalized in this world) and, in fact, one of her patients was Patti who went on to become the head of the Mapleton chapter of the Guilty Remnant. Hearkening back (or forward, rather) to "Gladys", we gain a greater understanding of what was in the brown paper bag that Patti left on the doorstep of her [presumably] ex-husband's house. Shit. In addition, we see all of the build-up that caused Laurie to join the Guilty Remnant and leave her life in the first place. Not only was her and Kevin's relationship tumultuous to say the least, but she was pregnant with a baby that no one else knew about and who disappeared in the Sudden Departure along with the others. Not that the Sudden Departure wasn't bad enough already, but the thought of women at various stages of pregnancy suddenly losing their unborn children is a startling one.
Elsewhere in Mapleton, we see a surprisingly lighthearted Jill (with braces, no less) who is as far as she could possibly be from the older, more jaded version of the same girl that we know now. We also learn that Tommy apparently gets loaded and heads over to his biological father's house quite often. Kevin spends the episode chasing an "unstable" deer throughout the city and trying to capture it alive, though it ends up dead at the very end of the show (and that series of events also leads Kevin to infidelity). The way that Kevin Garvey's past was portrayed in The Leftovers previously had led me to believe that he (and his family) were happy.. but it appears as though Kevin has never quite been happy, never found his true calling or reason for being. Foreshadowing all of the crazy events with Dean and Kevin Garvey Sr., at one point Kevin is on a run and sees a car with four women in it drive up to him. "Are you ready?" they ask him. When Kevin looks confused they seem to laugh and drive off only to have a sewer grate nearby blow off the street and into the air with a visible eruption of flames. This seems like the moment that the top comes off the bottle, so to speak, for Kevin. Whether the women in that car have anything to do with the more recent developments in the show or are even real at all remains to be seen.
Does the deer in this episode symbolize Kevin's sanity or how he thinks of himself? Is Laurie's baby really gone, and if so were Patti's words in the therapy session, "there's something wrong inside you" somehow related or just referring to the unsettling feelings that many characters seemed to have? When and why does Kevin Garvey Sr. go all nutty bar? Why would Laurie follow someone like Patti whom she knows is not completely well or mentally stable? Lots of questions posed here like usual.. thanks The Leftovers, I'll be not so patiently waiting until the season finale in two weeks!