The Leftovers: Penguin One, Us Zero
July 6, 2014 10:38 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

In the wake of a series of disturbing encounters, Kevin pays a visit to a therapist. Tom finds himself in a precarious situation with Christine, a favorite of Wayne's. A frustrated Meg is asked to part with pieces of her past. Jill and Aimee tail Nora Durst, who became a local celebrity when her entire family disappeared in the Departure.
posted by killdevil (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The indiscriminate SWAT attack at the beginning was disturbing.
posted by homunculus at 12:34 AM on July 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


I was disappointed that the chief didn't start punching the inflatable aggression duck in the therapist's office.
posted by homunculus at 12:42 AM on July 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


That there was a penguin! I assume that the title of the episode has something to do with it. Like the aggression penguin beat our asses instead of us beating it.

I assume Christopher Eccleston will show up more at some point? Why hire him if he's going to have one line an episode?
posted by Justinian at 12:48 AM on July 7, 2014


Looks like the next episode will be Eccleston-centric, to judge from the previews.
posted by killdevil at 4:42 AM on July 7, 2014


Holy Wayne sure is unsettling.
posted by ocherdraco at 5:13 AM on July 7, 2014 [3 favorites]


A few things:

I guess when I said last week that the police have forgotten how to be police, that extends to law enforcement of all levels. That whole SWAT invasion was just so random and terrible.

What kind of relationship does the mayor have with Kevin's father? That parting kiss seemed a little weird for an acquaintance/friend, never mind the fact that she was visiting him to begin with. Did Kevin inherit some kind of mental illness from his father, or are they both experiencing visions as a result of the events three years ago?

Again we have to sit through ridiculous teen antics. Everything that happened with them made no sense to me. You need hand cream so suddenly and immediately that you break into the car of the person you're secretly following on the off chance that she'll have some? And the horn honking - what the fuck? And then I guess they drove around with the captive brothers for the whole rest of the day until it was dark?

Guilty Remnant = not a cult. Sure, that's what all cults say.

Wayne and his Asian girl fetish - made even creepier by his particular focus on Christine. Is she pregnant? Or is this just a mind-fuck for Tom?


So, I guess that we viewers are just supposed to read people acting in nonsensical ways as fallout from the great disappearance, and not as plot devices and bad writing?
posted by MsVader at 7:05 AM on July 7, 2014


This episode was a whole lotta of WTF. The best scene was the very first one, and it was all downhill from there.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:05 AM on July 7, 2014


I very much agree with this assessment from Sean T. Collins:
But in giving [the "mystery man"] such inexplicable inside information about the Chief's hunt for him, and in tying him to the prophetic pronunciations of the voices in the head of his crazy dad Kevin Garvey Sr. (an unrecognizably grizzled Scott Glenn), The Leftovers has edged dangerously close to creating A Genuine Mystery, the kind that will have viewers demanding The Answers. It's exactly what co-creator and showrunner Damon Lindelof swore he wouldn't do, and it leaves you wondering if he can even help himself.
I don't want this show to be a show about solving mysteries. I want it to be about how people react to inconceivable existential trauma.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:33 AM on July 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, re: mystery man's puffed out lower lip: is that dip?

Somehow that's grosser to me than the Guilty Remnant's cigarettes.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:37 AM on July 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


This episode was a whole lotta of WTF.

I totally agree. I don't understand this show whatsoever. And I have a feeling no one else does, either, even the people making it.

The dog-killer wad-in-the-lip guy just leaving his $30,000 truck in the cop's driveway because he's "done with it"? Huh?

Hand cream emergency so desperate as to require a B&E?

Why the hell was the SWAT team shooting first and asking questions later?

Why was she instructed to try to chop the tree down? The hell did that have to do with anything?

Where are they going with Deacon from King of Queens?

How many years has Tom and his father been playing phone tag? Jesus, someone answer the phone.

Seriously, the Wayne & Christine thing is just plain... creepy.

The mayor lady's kiss with the crazy dad? That was more than an "I'm friends with you" kiss. I'm sure of it.

Why did the widow spill her coffee on purpose in the coffee shop? Why, after what she's been through, would she choose to take a job that will make her relive that day with surviving family members, day in and day out? Why do they have to ask surviving family members about their departed's sex habits?

WTF indeed.
posted by Falwless at 12:49 PM on July 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


Falwless: "Why do they have to ask surviving family members about their departed's sex habits?"

I have no idea on all the others, but I have a strong suspicion on this one: this ridiculous battery of questions is the government trying to collect data on all the departed to determine if there is anything, anything at all, that connects them, that gives a pattern to the disappearance. That's why the questions seem so random.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:01 PM on July 7, 2014 [10 favorites]


Who was the dead guy in the gas station that Holy Wayne kissed?
posted by gwint at 8:29 PM on July 7, 2014


>Hand cream emergency so desperate as to require a B&E?

That's just an old fashioned teenage dare. Although god is the friend annoying.

>Why was she instructed to try to chop the tree down? The hell did that have to do with anything?

They were trying to teach her about the futility of it all, and at the end when she was actually chopping it down, it represented her rejecting the GR's philosophy?

>How many years has Tom and his father been playing phone tag? Jesus, someone answer the phone.

Wayne's true power apparently are his hands of steel. You see that dude snap an iPhone in half?

>Why did the widow spill her coffee on purpose in the coffee shop?

Because she can do anything and no one in the town will blame her because of what happened to her family. What can I do to get people to react? Am I even alive?

>Why, after what she's been through, would she choose to take a job that will make her relive that day with surviving family members, day in and day out?

Had a crazy thought that it's not actually her job. She's faking it looking for answers. But that whole scene seemed ridiculous, because isn't this some small town where everyone knows everyone?


Not sure this show has the goods, but I'll give it another episode or two before giving up.
posted by gwint at 8:41 PM on July 7, 2014 [2 favorites]


That was the most dramatic scene of a man holding two bagel halves that I've seen yet. Also, does the Mystery Man with a massive dip in ever spit? That just makes him more mysterious yet.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 9:25 PM on July 7, 2014 [5 favorites]


homunculus: “The indiscriminate SWAT attack at the beginning was disturbing.”
I have just turned off the television to come write in this thread, so it's been like an hour and I'm only just coming down from the — I guess you'd call it an anxiety attack. I don't know that I have a valid opinion about the rest of the episode, but it all just kind of vaguely pissed me off. I deleted it off series record.

Done.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:03 PM on July 7, 2014 [1 favorite]


this show is so fucking weird
posted by edeezy at 1:39 AM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I totally agree. I don't understand this show whatsoever. And I have a feeling no one else does, either, even the people making it.


I'm confused by all the confusion here. It's pretty clear to me that since the event happened, people, government, and societal norms are bent, if not broken. Hence the feds just go in guns blazing, rather than serving a warrant. Hence the dog shooting guy just leaving his truck because hey, it's just a truck, who cares. Hence the teens acting out with the spin-the-iPhone game and the stealing skin cream.

But that whole scene seemed ridiculous, because isn't this some small town where everyone knows everyone?

She's not asking questions for the fun of it. She's obviously working for whatever government agency is responsible for handing out payments to the relatives of the disappeared, and I agree that the questions are designed to tease out a pattern.

I will say that since we know infants were among the disappeared, it seems like these questions can't possibly produce answers that lead to such a pattern.

Why was she instructed to try to chop the tree down? The hell did that have to do with anything?

It's a cult. Why do they smoke? Why do they wear white? Why don't they speak? It's a cult.

At least part of the point of the show is to illustrate how people act and react after such a devastating and inexplicable event. It shouldn't be surprising that many of them act irrationally and without fear of consequence.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:07 AM on July 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


The dead guy in the gas station was Peter Berg. We saw him in the Wayne compound in the first episode.
posted by MsVader at 7:05 AM on July 8, 2014


I was amused that the entire cast of Perfect Strangers was among the missing.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 8:33 AM on July 8, 2014 [4 favorites]


Lindelof Two, Us Zero.
posted by koeselitz at 10:51 AM on July 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


MsVader: "You need hand cream so suddenly and immediately that you break into the car of the person you're secretly following on the off chance that she'll have some? And the horn honking - what the fuck? And then I guess they drove around with the captive brothers for the whole rest of the day until it was dark?"

I get the feeling you sprang forth fully formed and were never a teenager, or never had "bad" friends. Of course you would go take something from a stranger's car, not even on a dare - just to prove that you could. You didn't need it - it was the excuse to go break into the car. Of course your friend honk the horn just to try to get you friend in trouble, because it's funny. And more than anything you'd spend all day doing anything but what you were supposed to do - hours lost to pointless driving around.

I'm not saying that teenagers aren't absolute idiots, but I am saying that every part of that scene rang true to me based on my experiences as both a teenager and an idiot teenager.

On other topics: Justinian, are you now convinced that Running Naked Guy was the Chief's dad, aka Previous Chief?
posted by komara at 7:42 PM on July 8, 2014 [3 favorites]


This whole episode was really lame and boring. Stupid teen antics... utterly predictable cult indoctrination... inscrutable other-cult slaughter... potentially crazy cop getting gaslighted... meh. I very much agree with the quote above about this now being about A Great Mystery or whatever. And I, too, "want it to be about how people react to inconceivable existential trauma."

But the same thing happened on Lost, albeit a bit more slowly. The trauma portrayed on the first season was really interesting. Then, subsequently, people would just get shot right and left in the jungle and no one would really care. Pathetic.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:43 PM on July 8, 2014


On other topics: Justinian, are you now convinced that Running Naked Guy was the Chief's dad, aka Previous Chief?

I am now convinced it was either Chief or prior Chief. I am a brave prognosticator.
posted by Justinian at 7:54 PM on July 8, 2014 [2 favorites]


I just rewatched that Running Naked Guy clip and it's... still inconclusive. The guy's hair does look grayer and thinner, but it's hard to say. I will note that the actor who plays the dad/ex-chief was not credited in the first episode, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 8:03 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm almost positive that Naked Running Man was the Chief's dad, based on the fact that the woman with the missing dog asked him if he was crazy, then flashback, then Chief says something like "oh, you're thinking about my dad." At least that's how I remembered it.

I'm weary of getting into this show, because I heard about Lost and how that turned out, and I was all excited for Prometheus and then that kind of sucked. At the same time, Game of Thrones is over, so it gives me something to look forward to watching on Sunday night.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 10:12 PM on July 8, 2014


komara, I guess the reason these teen angst scenes aren't working for me is because I totally wasn't like that when I was a teenager. And neither were my friends, so I guess you're right, I didn't have any "bad" friends. We may have done stupid shit, but I guess it was just different stupid shit. The only thing I can relate to is driving around aimlessly for hours.
posted by MsVader at 7:11 AM on July 9, 2014


A Bad Catholic: "then Chief says something like "oh, you're thinking about my dad." "

Right, he does. The question is whether he's telling the full truth there. We do now know that his dad went crazy, but we also know that the chief is questioning his own sanity, so maybe that naked-in-the-yard incident was actually him and not his pops.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:11 AM on July 9, 2014


Two quick things:

I don't think I've seen anyone discuss the potential meaning of the show's tagline, "Grace period is over." The phrase grace period, to me, implies someone/something giving someone else X, for a specified period of time, and then it is taken away unless that someone else does something (pays for it).

Also, if anyone here has read the book, would you kindly comment (without spoilers) whether the show has deviated from it yet, or has remained true to its plot?
posted by jbickers at 12:15 PM on July 9, 2014


NOT PENNY'S CULT
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 6:22 PM on July 10, 2014 [7 favorites]


%n: "NOT PENNY'S CULT"

Okay, this was funny.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 5:02 PM on July 14, 2014


Thank you, I was disproportionately pleased with that.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 2:30 PM on July 15, 2014


I have never been so pleased to see a bagel. And I love bagels. Literally had my fingers crossed.

Also, he may be be a dog-shooting ass, but what's going on with Chief and how upsetting that is is really the only thing keeping me watching this thing. I'm an optimist with an excellent ability to suspend disbelief, so so far everything has made sense or has the ability to make sense in the end. Leave the truck? Ok. Also, doesn't really matter if he doesn't exist. (I'm still not convinced the girls saw mystery man.)

As the most senior member of the Justin Theroux Face and Body Appreciation Club, I hate to see anything trouble those lovely brows.

Also Christine is absolutely not worth it. That poor guy needs to get the hell out of there. I'm hanging on just to see him peace the fuck out. I had brief hopes for Liv Tyler (also hopes of a nice sex scene with her and Theroux, to be frank), but ALAS.

What got me started watching was the first 15 minutes of the next episode, which I get to watch now.

Had a crazy thought that it's not actually her job. She's faking it looking for answers.
Yes, this would be awesome.
posted by Sayuri. at 4:26 PM on July 16, 2014


That was the most dramatic scene of a man holding two bagel halves that I've seen yet.

Was that scene that some kind of clumsy imagery intended to show us that the departed aren't really gone, just hidden?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:47 AM on September 9, 2014 [1 favorite]


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