TV - The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 5

The Leftovers

Nate McKenzie suffers Scene Anxiety watching The Leftovers episode five, Gladys...

The cuticle cutting scene in Black Swan.

The Pawn Shop scene in Pulp Fiction.

The dead baby in Trainspotting.

Those are three scenes in film that have caused me the most anxiety when viewing. Even though my view was askew and askance, my stomach churned and my fingers gripped the tops of me knees the first time I saw those scenes. They are still difficult to get through upon repeated viewings.

You may have noticed that I didn't mention any scenes from television shows. Due to the obvious production limitations and censorship issues that have prevented TV from standing out in this regard, there simply hasn't been an episode of any show that I have watched (granted, I've not watched every single series ever made) that made my heart drop and my dinner rise quite like the opening scene of The Leftovers fifth episode, Gladys.

I will refrain from spoiling it for anyone who has not had the opportunity to see it, but it was difficult to watch.

Throughout the rest of the episode we are confronted with the oft-tread forked road known as moral dilemma. I found myself wavering, not sure which road I would take if I were faced with the same conundrum. Which speaks to the quality of the episode. Engaging and poignant, this particular episode doesn't quite have the layered intricacies that we've seen in the first four episodes. I was quite alright with that because any good mystery has a very strong element of heart that connects with the viewer. The fifth serving of The Leftovers connects directly and without reproach.

We also get to see a more humanised version of Patti, the head of the local chapter of the Grateful Remnant, after Laurie has a panic attack, when Patti decides that they both deserve a "day off" from their vow of silence. That is, until she draws a clear line in the sand for Laurie to contemplate her position on.

Patti... Patti scares me.

This episode, if only because of the opening sequence, deserves major praise for the emotions that percolate and the bile that permeates because of the quality of production and writing. So far, my favourite episode. If our ranking system is on a scale of missing white dress shirts this episode would be rewarded, but we have no such system.

Image - IMDb.