Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Hackers Now Reportedly Say Sony Can Release 'The Interview,' But With Changes Hackers Now Reportedly Say Sony Can Release 'The Interview,' But With Changes George Clooney Pushes For VOD Release Of 'The Interview,' Calls Out Hollywood For Lack Of Courage George Clooney Pushes For VOD Release Of 'The Interview,' Calls Out Hollywood For Lack Of Courage Watch: Sony Releases "In Franco And Rogen We Trust" Promo For 'The Interview' Watch: Sony Releases "In Franco And Rogen We Trust" Promo For 'The Interview' Watch: The Style Of Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Terrence Malick & More Recreated With Stock Footage Watch: The Style Of Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, Terrence Malick & More Recreated With Stock Footage Surprising Full Cast Revealed For Jason Reitman's Live Read Of 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back' Surprising Full Cast Revealed For Jason Reitman's Live Read Of 'Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back' Sony Officially Yanks 'The Interview' From Release Following Hacker Threats Sony Officially Yanks 'The Interview' From Release Following Hacker Threats The 21 Best Performances Of 2014 The 21 Best Performances Of 2014 The 12 Best Shots Of 2014 The 12 Best Shots Of 2014 Baffling First Official Synopsis For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' Unveiled Baffling First Official Synopsis For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' Unveiled Rumor: 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Will Address Fan Complaints From 'Man Of Steel' Rumor: 'Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Will Address Fan Complaints From 'Man Of Steel' Watch: Christian Bale Goes On A Hedonistic Journey In First Trailer For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' Watch: Christian Bale Goes On A Hedonistic Journey In First Trailer For Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' The 20 Best Movie Posters Of 2014 The 20 Best Movie Posters Of 2014 Recap: 'The Newsroom' Series Finale, Season 3, Episode 6 'What Kind Of Day Has It Been' Recap: 'The Newsroom' Series Finale, Season 3, Episode 6 'What Kind Of Day Has It Been' More Leaks Reveal Reported Plans Around ‘Star Wars’ Episodes 8 & 9 More Leaks Reveal Reported Plans Around ‘Star Wars’ Episodes 8 & 9 Sony Leaks Reveal ‘Aquaman’ Director, ‘X-Men’/’Fantastic Four’ Crossover Plans & More Sony Leaks Reveal ‘Aquaman’ Director, ‘X-Men’/’Fantastic Four’ Crossover Plans & More Review: Assassination Comedy ‘The Interview’ Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, And Lizzy Caplan Review: Assassination Comedy ‘The Interview’ Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, And Lizzy Caplan The 20 Best Films Of 2014 The 20 Best Films Of 2014 Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki

Recap: ‘The Leftovers,’ Season 1, Episode 3, ‘Two Boats And A Helicopter’

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 13, 2014 at 11:00PM

With just two episodes so far, Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers” has already laid out a strong handful of mysteries, the central one being what exactly happened on October 14th that caused 2% of the world’s population to vanish. But as Lindelof has been stressing since even the show first aired, that instigating event is not the hook of the series. “If that’s why you’re watching the show, don’t watch the show,” Lindelof recently said. And as I’ve stressed over the past two recaps, “The Leftovers” is about the characters and consequences, and no better is this exemplified than in this week’s “Two Boats And A Helicopter,” which rewardingly breaks the format.
1
The Leftovers

With just two episodes so far, Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers” has already laid out a strong handful of mysteries, the central one being what exactly happened on October 14th that caused 2% of the world’s population to vanish. But as Lindelof has been stressing since even before the show first aired, that instigating event is not the hook of the series. “If that’s why you’re watching the show, don’t watch the show,” Lindelof recently said. And as I’ve emphasized over the past two recaps, “The Leftovers” is about the characters and consequences, and no better is this exemplified than in this week’s “Two Boats And A Helicopter,” which rewardingly breaks the format.

In their early review assessment, AV Club called this episode “stunning” adding that it “works almost as a very short feature film” and while I wouldn't go quite so far with the superlatives (a couple of more banal plot developments — such as the casino parking lot sequence — seem unnecessarily added just to try and trump up the action while also straining credulity), it's certainly a bold move that pays off in turning Rev. Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston) into a three dimensional character that thus far was mostly shaded as a self-serving antagonist.

With a full hour to dive into his story, a much more complex portrait emerges about Matt, a man whose relationship to God seems to have been tested since childhood, when his parents perished in a house fire. That might have been the first time that Matt learned that faith doesn't always equate to benevolence from a loving God. Indeed, in a bitter irony, it's learned that his parents actually owned the church, which is how it managed to come into his hands. Meanwhile, fast-forwarding to the events of October 14th, an accident while driving with his wife has left her bed-ridden, paralyzed and unable to speak. Matt's church is now empty, he can barely afford to pay for a nurse to give his wife the care she needs at home, while his crusade to reveal the sins of those who have departed isn't endearing him to the community. Lastly, the bank informs him that an unnamed hedge fund is offering to buy the land the church is on, and unless Matt can come up with $135,000, they're going to foreclose, and he'll lose it all. And oh yeah, he's only got 24 hours.

The ticking clock is a bit clumsily established but it works in pushing an already desperate character to even more desperate places. Matt's first stop is to see Nora (Carrie Coon), aka the Heroes Day Speech Woman, who we quickly learn is actually his younger sister. In the episode's solid cold open, Matt gives a sermon about his childhood jealousy of Nora, and how he prayed that his parents would redirect their attention from their newborn back to him. And whether it was God punishing him for envy or rewarding him with a perverse new appreciation for his life, Matt soon developed leukemia, which he survived. Now he's in her kitchen asking Nora to use her claims money from October 14th to give him a loan to help save the church. She refuses and suggests, out of love, that perhaps it's time to let go of the church, that his work and mission simply isn't coalescing. And in turn Matt informs Nora that her husband, who has become central to her narrative as Mapleton's ultimate victim, was actually cheating on her, but "it's the one thing he will never publish." This is something he too tells her out of love, perhaps hinting that after three years it's time to face the reality that Doug might not have been the person she thought he was.

This article is related to: The Leftovers, Television, Reviews, Review, TV Reviews


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates