The Leftovers fourth episode, ‘BJ and the AC’ continued to build upon the strong episode last week, turning away from Reverend Matt and back toward the Guilty Remnant, which has morphed from a mysterious unknown entity into an evil f*cking cult and the show’s real villain. In bringing out the cult’s insidiousness, Lindelof and company have managed to create more sympathy for Kevin and, finally, for his daughter, too. The wild card here is Amy Brenneman’s Laurie, who is both a terrible mother, a frustrating person, and the show’s most heartbreaking character.
The Christmas episode centered on the disappearance of a baby Jesus (The “BJ”) from the town’s nativity scene, which at the very least allowed for a very impressive opening sequence that saw the mass production of dolls that, in a way, would mirror the larger, more realistic dolls that were strewn on the road later in the episode. Those, of course, were Loved Ones, which are basically mass produced corpses which allow grieving family members to bury something in lieu of their departed family members. They are also creepy as hell when they’re strewn about on the highway. “Some sad idiot paid a f*cking fortune just to bury those things.”
The baby Jesus subplot admittedly felt like a quirky plotline straight out of an episode of Northern Exposure, but it succeeded in doing a few things: 1) It allowed us more time with the twins, Adam and Scott Frost (Max and Charlie Carver, the twin kids from Desperate Housewives), who are shaping up to be a solid source of much-needed comedic relief on The Leftovers, 2) It gave us a sense that Aimee (Emily Meade) is more sympathetic than Jill (and almost certainly has the hots for her best friend’s Dad, Kevin), and 3) It showed that Jill Garvey can be a petulant, bratty teenager, but — in refusing to launch the Nerf arrow for the baby Jesus’ Viking funeral — we also realize that there is a heart buried somewhere deep underneath all the emotional scarring.
We saw more of that in a scene in which Jill gave her mother a Christmas present, a cigarette lighter with a message inscribed on it asking her mother not to forget her. That was a heavy Christmas present, and it came on the heels of an emotionally torturous scene in which Laurie — through Meg Abbot — served divorce papers to Kevin. Kevin rightfully refused to sign them until Laurie would speak to him first, something she refuses to do, as she clearly honors her GR vows over the vows of her marriage.
That scene gave us more insight into Kevin as a father and husband: He had taken an already damaged Laurie in after a bad relationship and treated Tom as his own son. Laurie, as she pointed out in the letter, has always been screwed up. The “Rapture” only hastened it to the surface.