The Leftovers Review by John Keegan

The Leftovers 1.08: Cairo

The Leftovers 1.08: Cairo

Written By:
Curtis Gwinn and Carlito Rodriguez
Directed By:
Michelle MacLaren

The Leftovers is not an easy show to watch.  It’s an ever harder show to review.  Part of that is the subject matter alone; every episode is a deeper descent into a psychological and emotional abyss.  This episode, however, underscores another major reason why it’s so hard to get a grasp on the series: Kevin Garvey, ostensibly the central character, is about as unreliable a narrator as it gets.



 

It’s firmly established in this episode that all the weird things that have been happening with Kevin all season long are the result of his mental illness.  It may not be the same illness that plagues his father, or it may be the early stages of it; regardless, Kevin has blackouts, and when he does, he is a completely different person who makes very different kinds of decisions.  In essence, his “other self” does all the things that his more rational incarnation thinks to do, but knows better.

 

This is most evident with Patti, his Guilty Remnant nemesis.  There is a great deal of irony involved in their final interactions.  Patti is well aware that her movement is largely populated by adults who operate out of a childish mentality.  They wear the nihilism of the post-Departure world on their sleeve, but they lash out like spoiled brats: pulling elaborate pranks, refusing to speak to anyone, and generally embodying the passive-aggressive mentality to the utmost.  It’s no wonder Jill finds herself at their door; her lashing out this season has been a smaller scale replica of the Guilty Remnant’s toxic nonsense.

 

Patti is much closer to what the Guilty Remnant pretends to be.  She realizes that a movement that’s supposed to be about denying one’s individual identity in a world on the brink is populated by people who want to have their pain noticed, to be held up as more rightful martyrs than those moving on from their loss.  Patti has enough true darkness within her to recognize what is within Kevin.  For Patti, Kevin is everything that the Guilty Remnant represents; at least, the part of him he tries to deny.

 

The implications are disturbing, to say the least.  It’s pretty clear that the “real” Kevin is just as violent and psychotic as Dean is; perhaps even more so.  And the fact that the “real” Kevin has also been spending an awful lot of time with Aimee makes her denial of Jill’s accusations a lot harder to read.  Is Aimee really upset that Jill would think she’d sleep with Kevin, or has she been dissociating the depth of her own depravity as well?  It’s hard to say, but it wouldn’t shock me to discover that Aimee wasn’t sleeping with Kevin, so much as toying with his obvious attraction to her open sexuality, pushing him into actions she found “amusing”.

 

The question is: where is this all going?  Those looking for “answers” might be missing the point, but that doesn’t mean that the lack of direction isn’t a fair criticism.  A showdown with the Guilty Remnant is coming, as they prepare to unleash their biggest act of just plain evil yet: leaving dolls of Departed family members, dressed in clothes they wore in stolen family pictures, for those left behind to find.  It’s unbelievably cruel, but what is the intent?  There’s a lot happening, but I’m still not clear where it’s all going.


Our Grade:
B
The Good:
  • The depth of Kevin’s insanity is revealed
  • So is the pettiness of the Guilty Remnant
The Bad:
  • Still not clear where the series is heading

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 - 8/20/2014 8:32 AM237 views

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