The Leftovers Review by John Keegan

The Leftovers 1.03: Two Boats and a Helicopter

The Leftovers 1.03: Two Boats and a Helicopter

Written By:
Damon Lindelof and Jacqueline Hoyt
Directed By:
Keith Gordon

Of all the characters introduced thus far on The Leftovers, Reverend Jamison was probably the least explored.  For that reason alone, this was a much-anticipated episode, but the fact that the Reverend is played by Christopher Eccleston takes that anticipation to another level.  In a lot of ways, this has the potential to be the “Walkabout” installment of The Leftovers, similar to how that episode gave Lost its early-series storytelling boost.




The episode is basically an exploration of Jamison’s motivations, from his desire to expose those who did terrible things but gained the “reward” of becoming one of the Departed, and thus hailed (for some reason) as a “hero”.  Like much of the show’s narrative thus far, it’s not entirely straightforward.  Jamison sees the world in black and white, and so individuals are either meant to be rewarded or punished.

 

Thus it is fascinating to watch Jamison, who has openly judged so many for their faults and unseen crimes, find himself committing many of the same acts in the name of saving his church.  Nor is the irony lost as every act of Christian charity effectively becomes an obstacle, either forcing another infraction to course-correct, or ultimately killing his chances at the end of the struggle.

 

What will be interesting to see is how this changes Jamison’s course.  Given his worldview, will he see this as another kick to the crotch, or will this be another hint that he needs to stop judging others and look to his own path?  The metaphysical elements of the episode (largely a matter of perspective, rather than an actual depiction of the supernatural) suggest that Jamison would do well to take that money and put it to better use, given how he has abused his position in his church with his “paper”.


 

It’s also somewhat interesting that Jamison’s church was bought by the Guilty Remnant.  Actual meaning of the group’s name aside, it ties directly into the irony of Jamison’s terrible no-good day(s).  In a sense, the “guilty” prospered, while the man trying to do the right thing (for one of the “guilty”, no less) was left empty-handed.  It also says a great deal about how little the Guilty Remnant cares for anyone else; from their point of view, those trying to maintain the old way of life are deluding themselves.  Those of an atheist point of view might find it amusing that one “cult” was effectively undercut and replaced by another.

 

So far I’m enjoying The Leftovers, but I can see why a lot of people are still on the fence (or even giving it a pass).  It is treading a fine line between semi-literary and pretentious, much like a highly anticipated independent film rendered into a television series.  The fact that this is probably the “lightest” episode yet, and is still soaked in a certain brand of nihilism, keeps this a show for a very select audience.  And shows like that tend to end sooner rather than later.




Our Grade:
A-
The Good:
  • The best episode of the series yet
  • Christopher Eccleston gives a strong performance
The Bad:
  • Still borders on the highly pretentious

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

The Leftovers by - 7/15/2014 11:29 AM138 views

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