TV - The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 9

The Leftovers

Nate McKenzie discovers The Garveys at Their Best really are at their best in The Leftovers episode 9...

The second to last episode of the first season of The Leftovers has come at the right time. By that, I mean the series makers chose the perfect time for a flashback episode. Nothing sets up a season finale quite like a foray into what amounts to an emotionally-charged origin story.

The Garveys at Their Best begins with no indication that the forthcoming events take place in a time prior to the Day of Departure. Kevin is out for a jog and comes home to a house we don't recognize as a back-lit figure approaches him and we see that it is Laurie, sans white garb. After the credits, there is interaction between Kevin, Laurie, and an uncharacteristically upbeat brace-faced Jill. It really sets in at this point that we are not seeing things as they are but as they were. The exposition then progresses and we are introduced to Nora's husband and children. All seems well in this strange new world we have seeped in to.

Of course, this is a Damon Lindelof production; the sense of foreboding weighs heavily. It doesn't take long for this feeling to manifest itself in the form of conversation between Laurie (who is a psychologist) and one of her clients - Patti. Discussing the feeling of dread that an obviously distraught Patti is dealing with, Laurie asks her to describe what it feels like, as Patti has had this feeling before: Patti answers, "Those times? Those were like tremors. This... this is the big one, like the world is going to end."

This was an interesting episode as it bridges a lot of gaps and creates connections between characters, answering questions that I didn't even know I had. We know now why Laurie so faithfully followed Patti after the Departure, for example. Also, the dynamic between Tom and Kevin is finally addressed. It was something that I could not quite tell was an issue but now makes perfect sense.

Numerous other connections (some menial, some significant) are revealed and help propel the rest of the episode.

Also, I really enjoyed the (intentional?) wink-and-nod to the season one finale of Lost, Exodus, Part 2. You'll know it when you see it.

The story eases into the final few minutes, then surges into the climax that we can see coming, but - like Patti - can do nothing to stop. It's not so much the action itself as it is the perspective; like knowing that a disaster has happened and feeling empathy for those involved, then seeing ground-level video footage of the event. Nothing prepares you for that. To that point, nothing could prepare you for the ending of this episode, even though you think you know what is going to happen. I watched it five times. Each time I was blown away.

Superb acting, musical perfection, direction and editing on point: this episode is a gem.

Image - IMDb.