Episode two of The Leftovers, “Penguin One, Us Zero” was really part two of the pilot, and like the pilot, this episode was directed by Peter Berg, whose character didn’t make it out of the episode alive. While the pilot basically introduced the characters, the second episode introduced the mysteries beyond the rapture-like disappearance that will take up the rest of the season. It also introduced a lot of questions. Let’s break those down.
Kevin Garvey and the Mystery Man — The overriding question this week is if the Mystery Man actually exists, or if he’s a delusion of Kevin’s mind. Most people in the town think that it’s a delusion, that Kevin was shooting feral dogs on his own, and that maybe Kevin is going crazy, like his old man (Scott Glenn), who was institutionalized because he lost his sh*t, although Kevin Sr. claims that he didn’t lose his sh*t at all. He understands, however, why other people think he lost his sh*t.
Does the Mystery Man exist? On the one hand, it’s awfully weird that the Mystery Man’s truck would show up in Kevin’s driveway (with no tags or registration) with a dead dog in the back, and that no one else in the city could vouch for the presence of a bald man with a gun mowing down feral dogs. On the other hand, when he showed up at Kevin’s house at the end of the episode looking for a friend to shoot dogs with him, Kevin’s daughter Jill DID see and interact with the Mystery Man. So, he exists? Unless that entire sequence — including Jill — was a delusion? After all, Kevin does have a lot of very vivid dreams. Or maybe Kevin and Jill aren’t crazy, but they see things that others do not (Jill’s friend didn’t seem to acknowledge the Mystery Man). Maybe the Garvey family sees dead people. MAYBE THEIR SIXTH SENSING US ALL.
Whoever the Mystery Man is, he’s apparently been sent to Kevin by the crazy voices in the head of Kevin’s father, who seemed pretty sane to me (except for the conversation he was having with his imaginary friend). I thought it was even more interesting to find out that Kevin’s father was in a relationship with the Mayor, who it turns out is Kevin’s step-mom? That explains why Kevin gives so little deference to the mayor.
Anyway, Mystery Man (who is identified as “Dean” on IMDB) is either a much less appealing Tyler Durden than Brad Pitt, or Kevin is actually sane. And since there WAS a bagel in the toaster, that probably means that Kevin is right in the head. Unless he dreamed the bagels’ reappearance. Unless two percent of THE BAGELS are gone. WHERE DID ALL THE BAGELS GO?
What the F**k is Wayne Supposed to Be? — One of the other bigger questions is Wayne, the guru mystique who may or may not also have a thing for young Asian women and/or corpses. First of all, why the f*ck was he kissing Pete’s (Peter Berg) dead body? What was that all about? And why was Pete dead in a gas station, anyway? That was a really sloppy, poorly executed raid by the FBI to not only kill Pete, but unnecessarily mow through Wayne’s compound with machine guns. There had to be a better way. For God’s sake, they used to at least give everyone a chance to come out with their hands up before they threw open doors and began gunning people down.
Meanwhile, is Wayne really just a kook? Why is the Asian girl, Christine (Annie Q.) so important? Why has Tom been put in charge of protecting her? Where the f*ck is Wayne going? Does he actually have the power to rid people of their guilt? Or feelings of abandonment? Is Wayne just waiting for Tom to die before he makes a move on Tom?