“Now I honor the mystery of his loss by repeating the suffering and embracing the Great Darkness.” These words are part of the invocation that Jill reads prior to climbing into the old refrigerator to beat a record on a reckless whim. I wanted to start the recap with that part of the invocation because I feel like it speaks to the overall theme of this episode, in which multiple characters are being pushed to accept some burgeoning darkness within their own realities. The kids even refer to the kind of right-of-passage as “the crossing” which parallels “the bridge” repeated in Tom Garvey’s storyline this week.
Following last week’s character focus on Nora, this week we tune back into the Garvey family and their continued unraveling. Laurie is still a devoted Guilty Remnant member, pulling down posters with a picture of Gladys that say, “Save Them.” This is Reverend Matt Jamison’s attempt to repurpose his calling and help restore humanity to the GR. The Reverend’s effort is later used against him when the GR repurposes the signs to read, “Don’t Save Them,” and picket in the streets of Mapleton.
Jill is still on a reckless streak, volunteering to be locked in the refrigerator in the woods as a way to pay homage to a boy who departed while forcefully locked in the fridge by bullies. Jill beats the longest time in the fridge on record, but then is trapped in the box when the handle snaps off. As her oxygen dwindles and her panic overflows, we see the door come off the box. And who does her hero turn out to be? Her crazy grandfather escaped from the mental hospital. I’m just going to go ahead and assume that fruit loops gramps heard voices that told him where Jill would be. Though he later claims the whole incident was a coincidence – I highly doubt that in a show as contrived as this one that something as significant as this was just an act of fate.
Meanwhile, Kevin is off on a date with Nora and things seem to have progressed nicely for the pair and Nora is ready to get naked. But a run-in with a pair of GR watchers outside Nora’s house kind of puts a damper on the mood and the couple decides on a coitus rain check. Kevin goes back home and slips into another weird ass dream in which he hears a dog at the door and upon opening the door finds his dog-shooting friend with a trunk full of dead GR members, including Laurie. Kevin is handed a weapon and encouraged to shoot the feral dog trapped in a mailbox. The sense of being trapped is another theme in this episode. However, Kevin lowers the gun and refuses to shoot the dog trapped in the mailbox. When Kevin wakes up he finds he has a dog bite on his hand and a feral dog tied up in the backyard. It is Aimee who ultimately fills in the blacked out gap for him and tells him that he brought the dog home the night before and said he planned to rehabilitate the animal.
Aimee also hints at there having been a bit more exchanged between her and Kevin than just a friendly bandaging of his hand. I mean, the guy is blacking out entirely and doing all kinds of weird shit, I would not put it out of the question that he would also be hooking up with the teenage girl staying in his house. None of this was confirmed, but I have a suspicion, and it should get interesting when Nora comes into the family dynamic.
The search for Garvey Senior leads to a series of different reveals, one of which is that the Mayor and the old police chief have called it quits. Another is that Garvey Senior attempted to burn down the library pre-admission to the mental hospital. Garvey Senior returns to his favorite house of books and breaks in to find something and uses the computer and then destroys it. He also beats up a cop. Eventually, Garvey Senior ends up at his old house where Kevin and Jill live and Jill is the one who finds him. Kevin arrives not long after and apprehends his father. His father, on a mission to obtain a very specific item for his son, manages to flee from Kevin once again. Jill ends up finding some information written down by her grandfather and purchases the item off the internet.
This great mysterious item ends up being a very specific 1972 issue of National Geographic. After Reverend Jamison interferes in an effort to help Garvey Senior, he brings the old man to meet Kevin at a diner and this is when he presents Kevin with the magazine. Apparently, the voices he hears were very specific about this particular issue being the one for Kevin. The issue features a bear on the cover and the following stories:
- Yellowstone’s Hundredth Birthday
- Beware of Bears – 9 Park Visitors Mauled Last Year
- Cairo, Troubled Capital Of The Arab World
- Living In A Japanese Village
- The Spider That Lives Underwater
- Have Excavations On The Island Of Thera Solved The Riddle Of The Minoans
Upon doing a little research and watching the episode with closed captioning there are a couple of possible connections with these different stories. If anyone else comes up with something, I would totally be interested in knowing.
First, the Minoan civilization once resided on the isle of Crete. It was long believed that the Minoans were wiped out by a volcano, but archaeologists found out that the Minoans were living on Crete long after the volcanic eruption. So, basically the disappearance of the Minoan people is a mystery with some theories as to what may have happened, but nothing has been proven. The Minoan riddle parallels the sudden departure in The Leftovers. Second, in Kevin’s dream when his police radio sounds the word “Cairo” is discernible. Third, while Christine labors in a feverish delirium she not only mentions her prophesized baby being “the bridge” she also says something about there being spiders under the water. There is something called the diving bell spider, which lives its entire life under water and breathes air in bubbles that it traps. And then the fourth possible connection is with the bear itself, in animal totem symbolism the bear invites you to embrace your power, the power of your spirit, and will lead you on a journey of introspection.
This is Damon Lindelof to the core, and with so many possible connections with that specific Nat Geo issue it is difficult to know which lead to follow. Kevin is already toeing the line with his sanity and behavior and his fear of losing his grasp on what is real is only exacerbated by his father telling him it is time for him to wake up to his purpose. Garvey Senior is convinced that Kevin is like him and he has a role to play in whatever is happening in this strange world they live in. This is obviously not what Kevin wants to hear, but he can’t escape his purpose, and this is only reinforced when he returns home from cashing in his coitus rain check with Nora to find another issue of Nat Geo on the counter. Kevin is being pushed to embrace the “Great Darkness” that he is trying to escape from.
Kevin is in a really tight spot with his black out sessions, the continually malfunctioning electronics and the crazy and possibly prophetic dreams. But after his encounter with his father at the diner and the subsequent arrest, Reverend Jamison quotes this piece of scripture to Kevin, “My son, relate not thy vision to thy brothers, lest they concoct a plot against thee: for Satan is a clear enemy to humanity.” He doesn’t actually get to finish the quote because he is interrupted by the hot headed Kevin. But the message is the same; though Kevin may have a dormant spiritual power of some kind, he should keep all of his visions, dreams and prophecies to himself or he shall meet a fate similar to his father’s because people will turn against him. So I wonder if perhaps the Revered thinks that Garvey Senior is some kind of prophet or something. The man does hear voices and he definitely has some kind of greater sight. This could be an interesting development.
Meanwhile, out in Indiana, Tom is nursing a sick and very pregnant Christine. He gets a call from Wayne who demands that Tom make a money drop. This part is all very vague, because initially Wayne doesn’t even know who he called and then he mysteriously knows what city they are in and the exact place to make the drop off. But anyway, Tom makes the money drop and follows the person who collects the money. What he finds then is disturbing enough for Tom to give up his already fraying faith in Holy Wayne. He finds that there is another desperate brainwashed guy taking care of another pregnant Asian girl who thinks that she is carrying the one, the bridge. Things escalate quickly and Tom is shot in the hand by the pregnant woman who demands to know where Christine is hiding. When Tom returns to Christine the scene is disturbing and dirty. Christine has gone into labor and Tom finds her in the bath tub with a baby girl. Christine has not given birth to the son that Wayne prophesized. I cannot even begin to imagine what this will do to Christine now that she has no purpose. And now Tom is left to pick up the pieces of Holy Wayne’s mess with very little money, a demoralized mother and a baby that failed to be the prince that was promised. Tom, like his father, fights against a purpose bestowed upon him by Holy Wayne because he has seen the darkness of this path. But what’s his next step?
While I felt this episode provided more questions than answers, I did think that Tom and Christine’s story made some significant progress. For now that Tom has severed his only means of connection with Holy Wayne, he is on his own. The multiple references throughout the episode to crossing over and the bridge may be significant in understanding what happened to the departed. Maybe Garvey Senior, and potentially Kevin, are conduits of some sort through which messages from the other side come through. That could explain the persistence of the visual element of the mailbox as a means to convey the significance of messages and dreams. The episode also connected the Holy Wayne storyline to the Nat Geo issue with the reference to the spiders that live under water. Is Holy Wayne the spider? He is living in hiding and feeding off the pain and sorrow of those who come see him, so the attributes of the diving bell spider fit quite well. But what does it mean? I don’t know, but I’m really hoping Lindelof does. There are only three episodes left, so I really hope things start coming together and connecting to help the viewers piece together all that has happened.
Amanda Lowery lives, writes and studies in Baltimore where she is held hostage by potholes, stray cats and rats that make her watch way too much TV and rhyme unnecessarily. You can find her book reviews and pop culture thoughts at amandasthinkingoutloud.blogspot.com.