The Leftovers: The Prodigal Son Returns
September 8, 2014 6:12 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

The Guilty Remnant pull off their long-planned Memorial Day event. Holy Wayne wants (needs) to grant someone a wish. Monsters are due on Main Street. A baby is found.
posted by jbickers (14 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Clicking through FanFare there should be a Prisoner crossover. I'm seeing the season end with Kevin waking up in Portmeirion wearing the number six. He goes through the day with retro mysteries including a tamed deer. At the end Nora comes clear that they'd won a contest and it's time to get to the plane back to America.

I so shulda been a teevee writer...
posted by sammyo at 8:21 AM on September 8, 2014

In general I like where things are going. There's a complexity to the narrative threads & how they intersect that pleases me. The GR use the dummies made by the guy Nora met in NYC to stage the reappearance, along with the photos they'd previously pilfered, preparing it all at the church they'd bought from Matt. Just as she's at her wit's end Laura picks up Wayne's baby that Tommy had left at the doorstep, finding new meaning in her life. Jill's presence at the GR challenges Laurie's dedication to the cause, as does her need of rescue from the burning GR house. Kevin meets one of his dad's ghostly companions & enters his reality. And Wayne grants him a dying wish as testament to the truth of his spirituality. Even the dog gets into it, becoming tame again. Just in time for the rest of the town to literally fall into Hell, the Garveys appear poised to become a family again. Is there a possibility of Grace for those who've been Left Behind?
posted by scalefree at 9:04 AM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Nora's mannequin family scared the everloving hell out of me, the daughter's face especially. Total nightmare fuel! I had to watch kitten videos for like an hour before I could go to bed because I couldn't keep those terrifying fake faces out of my head.

The baby-finding thing made me laugh so, so hard. TV shows don't often know what to do with female characters who don't have children -- usually they'll throw in a surprise pregnancy or make them infertile and depressed about it, but in Nora's case, they had her literally find a baby. That has to be a first. Instead of being like, "Gee, maybe I should figure out whose infant this is and why on earth they left their newborn child unattended on dude's front porch," she's all, "Hello, baby! I was just about to leave town or kill myself or both, but I'm your new mommy now!"

As the AVC review opines, I've seen every episode of The Leftovers and I still don't really know exactly what's going on. But my roommate calls it "that hot cop show" and that is what will keep me tuning in regardless.
posted by divined by radio at 1:16 PM on September 8, 2014 [4 favorites]

So Tommy just left the baby at the front door, and then his plan was just to tool around town for a while?
posted by whir at 3:06 PM on September 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Nina Simone - Ne Me Quitte Pas
posted by homunculus at 3:08 PM on September 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

So Tommy just left the baby at the front door, and then his plan was just to tool around town for a while?

Given conditions in town it looked like the safer bet.
posted by scalefree at 3:45 PM on September 8, 2014

Does anybody have any thoughts on a possible parallel between the dummies that the GR planted, and the emphasis placed on the nativity scene in an earlier episode? Plastic representations of people we love are creepy. Unless it's the baby Jesus, in which case we treasure it, and the police chief will spend an entire episode trying to rescue it.

(I might be giving the writers of this show too much credit, but that's one place where my mind went.)
posted by jbickers at 5:58 AM on September 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

I wasn't feeling well and binge watched this today. Glad I stuck with it, despite the possibility it's Lost 2: Incoherent Boogaloo.

Does anybody have any thoughts on a possible parallel between the dummies that the GR planted, and the emphasis placed on the nativity scene in an earlier episode?

It struck me in both that people were treating the images like the thing itself, which I think was the problem for them. (Like, as a viewer, we find those things all uncanny valley, but the people on the show seemed to regard them as a harrowing and lifelike reminder of what they'd lost, so they went ballistic.)
posted by mordax at 10:14 PM on September 9, 2014

Love the show, but this episode felt small to me. Particularly the way the intersection loops close, Wayne's death, Nora finding the baby. It felt sort of trite rather than profound. I admire they stuck with the insane emotional tone of the show though, and am hopeful we'll get more in the next season. (There will be a second season, phew.)
posted by Nelson at 6:49 PM on September 10, 2014

Love the show, but this episode felt small to me.

Really? Wayne dies, Kevin goes the rest of the way nuts, the GR pulls a cruel prank on the entire town, a riot ensues, and the GR compound gets burned to the ground?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:20 AM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah really! I don't mean to be fighty about it, I still love the show! But so many of the episodes were taking us to new places, bringing in new ideas and stories and themes. This one just closed a bunch of loops. Like the build-up to the GR prank was so lovely from episode to episode, introducing us to the mannequins, showing us Laurie handling the transaction, the slow awful realization of why GR had been stealing photos. And now boom there it is, OMG body doubles, and it's never as interesting as you imagined.

I guess that's natural for a season finale, closing loops. And thank goodness it isn't some open ended discontinued sprawl like Almost Human was. Just felt claustrophobic.
posted by Nelson at 6:54 AM on September 18, 2014

Finally got around to binge watching. A few thoughts:

Holy fuck, does misery love company. I'm looking at you, Guilty (Ghoulish) Remnant. I can't think of many other fictional characters or groups more repugnant, to the point I found it a bit satisfying to see their brutal comeuppance. They seem to have outdone Fred Phelps by a factor of ten.

I also found little sympathy for Christine. I hope she's gone for good. I was rolling my eyes every time she was on screen.

Which leads me to Tommy. WTF is up with him, anyhow? Glutton for punishment. Was his devotion to Holy Wayne, or to Christine? He never came off like a Kool Aid drinker, yet the loyalty he exhibited was impressive. I guess it's yet more testament to how thoroughly shaken the Garvey family was after the Sudden Departure, considering they came through unscathed (or so we thought up to the penultimate episode). As far as I can tell, it seems perhaps only Laurie was aware of the Departed family member, yet it was enough to allow the family to near completely unravel.

Government conspiracy? It seems the Feds have openly little sympathy for the likes of the GR, but have a curious interest in the members, and are viciously hostile to groups like Wayne's. It's not clear to me if this is a signal to deeper involvement or just a continuation of post War on Drugs/Terror law enforcement mindset.

So, is Laurie going to continue the Harpo act? And is Tommy going to join her? Were magic powers passed on to Kevin, or just more delusions? The theme of mental illness in the story; Kevin Sr.'s breakdown, Patty's pre-Departure state of mind, Laurie's pre-Departure occupation, Kevin Jr's seemingly tenuous grip on reality, Dean's hint of hearing voices like Kevin Sr, the overall sense of pareidolia.

I think there's a lot to like about the show. I find it has an appealing Lovecraftian vibe, where humanity finds its place in the cosmos suddenly thrown into complete doubt and ambiguity, and reacts by drifting into nihilism and dread. I think this is an angle that can be mined with a great amount of intelligence and creativity. Hopefully it can plow on in that direction next season, because if I sense it's going to jerk me around with some pointless melodrama or supernatural activity, I'm gonna bail.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:11 PM on October 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I finally got around to finishing the series, and although it's too late (as in, 2.41am-and-I-need-to-sleep late) for in-depth analysis, I will say just this:

- I'm really going to miss Holy Wayne and am disappointed that his gifts and significance won't be further explored in the second season, as I'd hoped. Great death face, though. (On a tangent, why oh why can I never get enough Patterson Joseph in my life? It is a tragedy.)
- So I guess the common thread among the disappeared is that their loved ones wished them gone in a maybe/not really/ambivalent kind of way?
- Ghost Patti is fucking terrifying.

Apparently the second season is going to be something of a reboot: set in a different location and with most of the cast of season one gone, but still focusing on the Garveys and still including Carrie Coon and Christopher Eccleston.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 6:50 PM on December 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

We didn't find out what Kevin wished for, and Wayne certainly thinks he granted it before he died. (It's too bad, we didn't really explore his story.) I suppose he wished for his family to be back together but I'd rather he wished that Matt's wife was restored to health since Matt just did him the immense favor of believing his Patti story.

I was with Nora the whole episode until she started packing her suitcase. That voiceover letter had suicide all over it and instead she decides to...leave town? but sees a baby on a doorstep (Tommy, what a doofus) and suddenly finds fullfillment with a do-over kid? Bah.

And another thing. Meg says the GR staged the Memorial Day horror show, "we made them remember". But a few weeks/months previously there was the big memorial of the disappearance at which the GR protested with signs, "you have no family". So which is it?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:26 PM on May 31, 2021

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