Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 10 Movies Booed At Cannes 10 Movies Booed At Cannes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

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