The Leftovers: Cairo
August 21, 2014 9:13 AM - Season 1, Episode 8 - Subscribe

Kevin fears he's losing touch with reality after inexplicably finding himself in a difficult situation involving Patti Levin, a leader of the Guilty Remnant. Meg loses control during another encounter with Matt; Jill confronts Aimee about her relationship with Kevin; Nora stands up to Laurie, and finds her privacy invaded.

Patti recites the second stanza of Yeats' "Michael Robartes Bids his Beloved be at Peace". This episode was directed by Michelle MacLaren, best known for her episodes of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.
posted by gladly (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I will miss Patti, even though the Guilty Remnant reminds me of the WBC too much to enjoy any of their victories. Her scenes in the cabin were so real compared to Kevin's surreal feeling about the situation. Her fanatical certainty was scary, and I'm glad we got confirmation that the GR sent Gladys to die.

Jill knocking on the door of the GR was a shock to me; I expected her friend Aimee instead. The semi-reveal of what the GR did with the family photographs and the long-running thread of the Loved One Dolls was horrible, although I'm not sure I grasp what the GR stand for any more than I did before this episode.

I feel like there are no mysteries here any more, except the original departure. Now it's just depression, fear, and madness after an apocalypse that left so much untouched.
posted by gladly at 11:02 AM on August 21, 2014

Good episode, even though it's not going in the direction I had previously thought. Happy to be wrong.

Unhappy to learn, as much as I like the show, that it's been renewed for a second season. That makes the odds of a satisfying ending in two weeks far beyond remote.

So, the whole point of the GR is that they exist to remind people of the great disappearance? Surely there are more efficient ways to do that, ways that don't involve killing off your own members. Is this once again an allegory about how stupid religion can be?

Another random point: As noted in the previous thread, the National Geographic issue that was featured contained a story about Cairo. (Egypt, I think, but still.)

Another random point: At one point, very briefly, didn't Dean (the dog-killer) look up over his shoulder and mutter something, just like Kevin's dad did several times?

Two things REALLY irritated me in this episode:

* Jill comes home, disables the alarm ... then Aimee comes down the stairs? Why was the alarm set when someone was in the house? Wouldn't Aimee have set off all of the sensors? Minor continuity thing but it irked me.
* INCREDIBLY lazy trick to build suspense that was used not once but twice in a single episode: "Hey, (s)he has a sharp thing! (S)he's gonna kill it! ... wait, no (s)he's cutting it loose."

Best line of the episode, if not the show so far: "Well shit, I think I just heard a bell."
posted by jbickers at 11:05 AM on August 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by homunculus at 12:45 PM on August 21, 2014

Another random point: At one point, very briefly, didn't Dean (the dog-killer) look up over his shoulder and mutter something, just like Kevin's dad did several times?

I noticed this too. It is possible he hears the voices as well?
posted by Dick Laurent is Dead at 1:32 PM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've been watching this because it's oddly compelling in spite of its numerous, severe faults. I thought that the past few episodes have been getting stronger, and that this was a pretty decent one. Stuff happened, the situation with Patti was pretty engaging, and it was even well shot. I felt the same way about Nora's episode, but the grandfather one last week left me cold (although that fridge moment was very tense and well done - one of the scenes that keeps me going with the show).

I don't know. It's a push / pull relationship, where I'll be drawn in one second and then eye rolling the next. I like the idea that it's working with at a basic level, which is an attempt to realistically portray how humans would react to a slowly encroaching "real" mysticism to the world. Like, the failure of science, the presence of real miracles that actually get reported on the news, the emergence of charismatic figures who help to make sense of that. The problem for me comes when something happens that's so symbollic but so divorced from coherent narrative that it takes me out of the story and makes me feel dumb for having cared in the first place. Plus all of the intentionally poignant music cues.

It's really frustrating.
posted by codacorolla at 2:39 PM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm totally loving this show still. I like how it's exploring this emotion, this human expression, that's just not represented on television much. Nihilism, despair, loathing. Negative emotions, misery, nothing uplifting. No victory is possible because they don't struggle over anything that can be overcome. I love how Patti is the only sane one in the cabin, begging to be beaten to death, explaining her horrible Guilty Remnant philosophy. And yet it's all a direct and clear reaction to the Departure, an emotional way of processing grief. A religion based on Disappearance instead of Creation.

As the show winds on it seems very odd that the center, the Garvey family, themselves have no Departures. All their family drama and misery is caused internally by small things; a possible infidelity, a dissatisfaction with life. And they're the ones falling apart at the seams.

I only realized later that Patti probably set up her own capture. That explains her handing the money off to Laurie and asking if she was ready. Also fits in with what we learned about poor Gladys.

And holy hell did Liv Tyler finally turn it on this episode. She's a hell of an actress and I felt she was being wasted as Megan. But her losing her shit and just screaming and shouting at the injustice of it all was terrific. And so uncomfortable, I was right there with Laurie slapping her and shushing her.

Why are the Guilty Remnant all represented by women? There are men in the organization, but none of them are main characters and apparently none in charge. One of the episodes had a bit of a Three Fates imagery with Patti/Laurie/Megan, which is either cheap reference to symbolism or else deeply significant, not sure which.

We don't smoke for enjoyment.
posted by Nelson at 4:15 PM on August 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I was not expecting a sleepelganger, and, taking the previous episodes into account, I think that reveal was pretty well set up.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:14 AM on August 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is Dean real?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:35 AM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

I'm getting a little worried. I don't like how [the Scott Glenn character] is rambling about conspiracies but never comes to the point. He goes to great lengths to get the National Geographic issue but then just tells Kevin, the answers are in here. I like his earlier scenes when he was more lucid (albeit still hearing voices). Other than the word Cairo, pronounced kay-row, will anything come out of the magazine? Seems very LOSTian to build something up and then just drop it.

And now Patti is a goner. It's a shame because she personified that loathsome cult. The cabin scenes didn't resonate with me, aside from no, no no, get out of there. I thought Dean, tobacco chaw guy, was real--he was at the town meeting when they were discussing the curfew but the cabin scenes made me think this was a Fight Club scenario with Kevin hallucinating most of it up to Patti's death and the thought of him trying to convince people, oh see, I cut her loose but she slit her own throat with a piece of glass! just makes me tired.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:01 PM on May 31, 2021

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