I can tell you what happened in last night’s episode of The Leftovers, “Solace for Tired Feet,” but I would have a very difficult time trying to tell you exactly what it means. This week’s episode was probably the most Lindelofian of the season, and if what I know about Perrotta’s novel is accurate, it’s one of those episodes that strays heavily from the source material (in fact, I’m pretty sure the subplot with Kevin’s Dad is mostly original to the series).
It’s also probably another episode that will be divisive: The hardcore Lost fans may appreciate the questions being raised, and the mysteries on top of the mysteries, but those burned by Lindelof in the past may be afraid it’s about to happen again. My guess is that, we will get answers to some of the more straightforward questions — what’s the deal with Holy Wayne? — but some of the other more ethereal questions will remain shrouded in mystery.
In fact, Lindelof is playing dangerously with those spiritual questions that got him in trouble with Lost again. Satisfactory answers are impossible to come by where it concerns spiritual and existential matters. Religious questions should be posed to make us think, and nothing more, because neither Lindelof nor anyone else can answer these questions in a way that will please us.
I am, however, excited to find out what Lindelof learned from Lost and how he plans to deal with these mysteries. What is up with Holy Wayne’s babies with young Asian women? Are any of them mystical? The second coming of Christ? Or is Holy Wayne simply a fraud, and are those babies normal, half-Asian, half-Black, delivered-by-their-own-mommas-in-a-bathtub babies? Tom certainly seems to think so, having smashed his phone and severed ties with Wayne, as if to finally say “f**k that guy.” It would’ve been more satisfying, however, if we cared more about Tom or his subplot with Christine.
Tom’s Dad did some phone smashing of his own, after succumbing to the frustration of finding his crazy father. Is his Dad crazy (yes)? Kevin Sr. is hearing voices, those voices are telling him to recruit Kevin, Jr. into the crazy person fold, and a 1972 National Geographic magazine is apparently the key. Why that particular issue? Elsewhere, we broke down several references within the episode to that issue of National Geographic, as well as a thematic parallel with the magazine. Lindelof is clearly messing with us, and having a great time.
In either respect, Kevin is reluctant, but he certainly feels the pull of the crazy side. How much of that could be attributed to the pharmacy he had on his bed stand, though? There was enough medication there to make anyone crazy.
I can’t tell you, either how much of what Kevin, Jr. experienced the night before was a dream influenced by those pills and how much was real, though clearly he did find a dog. But was it the dog that bit him, or was that a human (the teeth marks looked human to me)?
Did Aimiee do more than help him to dress the wound? Was Dean actually with him? I don’t know, but the hallucinations did clearly connect the Guilty Remnant (and his wife) to the feral dogs, so at the very least, we have a fairly good idea of what the Guilty Remnant means to Kevin’s subconscious. Is it possible that Kevin’s vision of the pile of GR bodies was actually a premonition?
Also, why isn’t Jill a little more skeeved out by the weird relationship between her best friend and her father? Or is she just so oblivious that she doesn’t see what’s going on? What did happen that night between Kevin and Aimee besides dressing a wound? Anything? Does Aimee remind anyone else of Mena Suvari in American Beauty, and I wonder if that’s intentional?
On the other hand, I am thrilled to see that Nora and Kevin are making inroads toward a relationship. It took them five dates, but it did provide us with the most explicit sex scene of the series, one that both men and women could appreciate equally. I doubt that it’s going to be easy for the two — they are both way too damaged by their past, and at some point they’re going to have to talk to each other about it, which could be catastrophic. But, I’d like to think that the two will end up together anyway. Lindelof, after all, is a sucker for romance.
— The Biblical reference that Reverend Jamison was trying to relay to Kevin after Kevin Sr. got locked back up in the loony bin was a reference to Joseph (of the Technicolor Dreamcoat). Here’s an explanation of that reference.
— “So,” Laurie wrote to Meg after Meg told her that Kevin and Nora were sleeping together. WTF? What business is it of yours, Meg?
— I posited that Patti was actually behind the murder of Gladys a few weeks ago, and if so, Patti is probably furious that Reverend Jamison is using Patti’s death for his own aims.
— Not only did Tom and Kevin both smash a phone in this episode, but they both got wounds on their left hands, and they both barged into houses uninvited. They both also dealt with mailboxes — Tom hid money in one, and Kevin thought there was a feral dog in one.
— All in all, for those of us who like to chase theories, this week’s The Leftovers was the most fun episode of the season, and there were even a few moments of levity (Kevin texting Jill about sleeping with Nora, etc.)