By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist July 27, 2014 at 11:00PM
Loyalty is a bond that can be stronger than blood ties, but creating that connection requires a careful balance of trust and vulnerability to show that you can be both sensitive and stoic to the needs of someone else. But loyalty can also be dangerous, and that becomes clear in "The Leftovers' " fifth episode "Gladys," where we witness in rather chilling fashion how and why the Guilty Remnant stay so devoted to their cause even in the wake of horrific acts.
Indeed, viewers were likely jolted by the shockingly violent cold open of the episode. Following the GRs' cruel Christmas act at the close of "B.J. And The A.C.," the already fraught relationship between the group and the citizens of Mapleton has clearly reached a tipping point. While waiting outside a gas station for a fellow GR member who had gone to use the bathroom, the bespectacled Gladys (Marceline Hugot) is snatched and taken into the woods by an unseen group of assailants. She's then duct taped to a tree and stoned to death, in a sequence that director Mimi Leder doesn't shy away from, holding the camera on Gladys face for every brutal blow.
The event shakes up the GR, even if new member Meg (Liv Tyler) is coldly rational about it, noting that retaliation was inevitable, and none more than Laurie (Amy Brenneman), who has already seen her emotional core tested as she possibly entertains doubts about her involvement with the group. The morning following the murder, Laurie suffers a panic attack and winds up at the hospital, and after she's discharged, the usually sour faced Patti (Ann Dowd) is waiting to drive her back ... except they take a detour to a local hotel. And what initially looks like an act of kindness turns into some direct and precise manipulation.
After treating Laurie to a comfortable night in the hotel and leaving her with a set of non-white clothes as well, Patti meets her the next morning in a restaurant for breakfast, declaring that she's given her a "day off." So yes, that means regular attire and more importantly, Laurie can break the vow of silence that she has kept for eight months. As Patti literally speaks, Laurie is shocked and surprised by her candor, but it soon becomes apparent that the entire charade is not exactly for her benefit.
Patti launches in a story about Gladys, revealing that the former GR member had lost her son while she was in the group. Gladys was a wreck, started moping around the house and even crying while out on the streets doing the group's work. So Patti did what she's now doing with Laurie—she took her out for a meal, allowed her to speak, and what did Gladys do? She stayed silent, she "never broke," Patti says with some pride. While Patti "understands the pull" of family and the past, she says, tearfully, that "doubt is fire" to their cause, and it will burn you up. It's masked plea of sorts for Laurie to stay with her "family" with the GR and as we'll soon see, it works.