The Leftovers: No Room At The Inn
November 5, 2015 1:53 PM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Matt takes Mary to Austin for some medical tests, which result in astonishing news. On the way back to Miracle, Matt stops to help a stranger, with disastrous results.

Trying not to give away spoilers in this first post.

In Season 1 the episode devoted to Matt almost destroyed me. I ended up sobbing in front of the TV as Matt's good intentions led to his dreams being torn from him. I never thought it would happen to me again. But it did. I was howling with anguish by the time the credits rolled at the end of this episode.

I don't think an actor has affected me in the way Christopher Ecclestone has done in his portrayal of Matt Jameson. What a strange, complex character. What happened with Mary? Did Matt do the unthinkable deed that's led to her own difficult situation? And what the hell happened to John to make him act so cruelly in withdrawing his offer to help Matt?

I have no idea how things will work out for a single one of the characters in this show. There's no linear plot, no clear pointers to what's going to happen further down the line - except you can be sure it won't be pleasant for most of them. Yet I can't stop watching it, no matter how upsetting I find it.

Added bonus this episode : Brett Butler!
posted by essexjan (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm so glad you added a post about this episode! This episode gutted me, as did the one last year focused on Matt Jameson. Re what happened, the situation everywhere, but especially in Miracle, borders on mass hysteria. Either shit's getting progressively weirder, as signified from the season's opening by the cave woman in ep 2-1 or a lot of people are hallucinating/cracking up, like Kevin. I have to believe that Matt hallucinated Mary "waking up" because he would never rape her. And he knows it, on some level (especially after is Groundhog Day experiments didn't work)' which is why he got her tested, stopped to help the strangers (to reaffirm to himself his essential goodness), and ultimately entered the stockade.
posted by carmicha at 5:34 PM on November 5, 2015

I had the same reaction to this episode. It was the best of this season to me, and possibly the best of the series. The series has put the viewers in the position of knowing that there's been some strange magic in Matt's life, particularly after his episode last season. Part of me thinks that Mary could genuinely have woken up just like Matt believes. It's far more plausible that he hallucinated her waking just like he did on the road after that attack. I don't think we'll ever know for sure, and I love that about this show. Just like all the characters, the viewers have seen too many strange things happen to be sure.
posted by gladly at 6:19 PM on November 5, 2015

I really want to know if Kevin's son (sorry--spaced his name) really took on Wayne's healing mojo. It's weird that Kevin found the dying Wayne. And Wayne's child winds up with Kevin's family, but not because the son placed her there directly. It's like there are twin viruses, peaceful and disturbing, that get passed around.
posted by carmicha at 7:25 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I agree it was a strong episode, but I continue to be baffled by The Leftovers. It's a series of intensely emotional, negative shows. With no larger meaning, no catharsis, no evolution to a victorious conclusion. The writing is as nihilistic as the show's various miserable inhabitants. I continue to be fascinated by this negative emotional television and impressed with the quality of the show. But what the fuck?

As for details, I'm curious, is there some biblical story that Matt's various sufferings was meant to recall? Or is it just some generic Christian martyrdom? Matt names the Book of Job as his favorite, and he certainly has Job's faith and penchant for suffering, but I don't think any of the particular indignities he suffers are drawn from the book in particular are they? The misadventure in the storm drain seems in particular like I should know which chapter of which book of the Bible it comes from. And the oar. But I don't.

The title of the episode is a reference to the difficulties Mary and Joseph had at Christ's birth, of course, but that's a whole different section of the Bible. Matt's wife is named Mary, and she is pregnant and can't find a safe place to be. Also all the animals of the manger strewn about the road along with the car wreck. So I guess that's a biblical parallel. But that seems a bit muddled to be combining with the Old Testament story of Job.

FWIW, the poem Matt recites to his catatonic wife in the trunk of the car during their desperate trip to Jarden, right before they encounter the car crash and the dead man and his orphan son and the scattered wreckage of the manger... That poem is The Song of Wandering Aengus. I have no idea what that might mean, if anything.
posted by Nelson at 9:23 PM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Matt names the Book of Job as his favorite, and he certainly has Job's faith and penchant for suffering, but I don't think any of the particular indignities he suffers are drawn from the book in particular are they?

The Biblical Job has his wealth, children & health taken by Satan. None of that tracks directly to Matt's travails. The one story that kind of fits would be Jonah, swallowed by the great fish. After he's spit out Jonah is sent by God to warn Ninevah they're about to be destroyed unless they all repent. They do, which oddly pisses Jonah off. All that either hasn't happened to Matt yet or it won't. We'll see which it is soon enough.
posted by scalefree at 4:47 AM on November 6, 2015

In addition to the question of whether his suffering reflects a just or unjust God, I thought the choice of Job mostly related to what Matt tells us in the "Prove you're a man of God" quiz: Job's wife has no name. It's a way of saying that Mary has no agency. Regarding the pregnancy, I feared Mary had experienced immaculate conception, but the direction the show took instead is more interesting.
posted by carmicha at 6:21 AM on November 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just finished the episode and I'm in tears.

I can't stress enough how much I love the music direction of this show. Every poignant note, every perfectly placed song, they all wrench out every bit of emotion of out their scenes and leave you a babbling mess of feelings.

Bonus: the 9th Doctor's penis.
posted by numaner at 3:17 PM on November 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Brett Butler looks fucking terrifying, like a legit crazy person. Which, uh, bee tee dubs, she totally is IRL.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:38 PM on December 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't think this is a literal interpretation of the book of Job - but I think it does draw heavily on the underlying themes. Job starts off as sort of bet between God and Satan: is this guy just pious because he comfortable in life; if we took away all his material wealth would he change his tune and curse the god he claims to love? We get:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." [25]
Which Christopher Eccleston...illustrates.
posted by rongorongo at 2:51 AM on August 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

« Older Podcast: The Adventure Zone: E...   |  Adventure Time: Mama Said... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments