The Leftovers – “Cairo”

Season One, Episode Eight

the-leftovers-cairo

Grade: B

After a few weeks without any major plot points regarding the Guilty Remnant, we get the biggest blow yet to the local cult in “Cairo.” Remember Kevin’s problem of blacking out? If you thought the dog bite was bad, he takes it to another level last night. Apparently after lying down in bed, he gets up, drives to the bar, talks with Dean, and while driving him home he spots Patti giving him one of her infamous “fuck you” looks, and then he just snaps. He jumps out of the car, attacks her, throws her in the truck and ties her up in a cabin he used to sneak off to when young. But he doesn’t remember any of it.

When he does snap back to reality, he’s appalled by what has taken place. At the same time, Dean is confused at the complete change of heart shown by Kevin and wants the “other guy” to come back to finish what they started, but Kevin is set on letting her free. That is until she claims she’s going to report him to the authorities and soon after he’ll lose his job as Chief of Police and likely will lose custody of his daughter. To Dean, there’s a very easy solution to all of this, but there is more conflict inside of Kevin’s head. This is the moment when he has to decide what kind of man he is.

This is as much as Jill’s episode as it is Kevin’s. Jill, the rebellious teenager that she is, certainly has it tough. Her mom has left her for the GR and her dad never has any time for her, being the Chief and all. So it’s no wonder she’s a damaged girl floating around town without much care to what happens to her. As proof with last week’s episode, she wanted to get into that fridge, not just to beat the record but with the slight possibility that she’ll disappear (or die). Just like Nora being shot in the chest with a bullet-proof vest on, Jill is hanging onto life by a thread. She wants to feel the moments leading up to her death, but when it becomes a reality she clings onto the last bit of life she can.

That’s why the relationship between Jill and Nora is so interesting. Nora has dinner with the Garveys and Aimee and naturally, Jill isn’t thrilled about her dad having his girlfriend over. Jill questions Nora about having a gun, and even looks inside of her purse with Nora’s permission. There’s no gun, but Jill’s not convinced. She winds up breaking into Nora’s house and discovering that her handgun was inside of a board game box in her daughter’s room. This causes Jill to break down and cry. At first, I wasn’t sure why she was so upset, but I think it’s because of how she can relate to Nora out of anyone else in her life. Nora lost her entire family to the events on Oct. 14; Jill has also lost her entire family even though none actually disappeared. Seeing Nora doing so well, and her father genuinely happy when he’s with her, was like an alarm going off in Jill’s head. Maybe it is possible to get past all the pain. Maybe it is possible to feel better from a never-ending hurt.

Except Nora still has the gun. Even though she doesn’t carry it with her, she still has it in the house, and that’s proof that she’s not entirely over her pain. And this causes Jill to cry because the one person who she thought finally had everything figured out ends up being a fraud in her mind. No matter how much Nora smiles and no matter how nice she seems, on the inside she’s still clinging onto the fact that her family is gone. It’s important to mention how Jill also fought with Aimee in the episode, because Aimee (unlike Jill) seems to be ignoring the great disappearance. But that’s who she is. She drifts wherever she wants to go; wherever she feels welcome. It’s just that Jill had enough of her bullshit. When you’re that depressed and going through so much, you can only relate to other people in similar situations. So Jill can’t put on a fake smile like Nora, she can’t pretend nothing is wrong like Aimee, and she isn’t as preoccupied as her dad. No wonder she entered the GR at the end of the episode.

This was definitely shocking, though not entirely surprising. Jill has no where else to go and thanks to Patti’s talk with Kevin, we get more of an understanding about the GR and what they represent. Do I completely understand? Like Kevin, I don’t. But they don’t want to keep living without constantly thinking about the great disappearance. They don’t want to pretend like they’re okay. They don’t want to move on from the incident. They want to live in its mystery, its fear, its desperate uncertainty. Could there be a more perfect place for Jill? I doubt it.

In the end, Kevin chooses to let Patti go and she’s surprised, but that doesn’t stop her from picking up a large piece of glass from the floor and stabbing herself in the neck. Poor Kevin. He does the right thing and admits he’ll turn himself in and face the consequences of the actions he doesn’t remember, and still he’s left with a bloody corpse in his arms. The more this happens, the closer he’ll get to believing his father. The big question is, what’s next? The Leftovers usually has a few weeks pass between episodes, but it seems like the Memorial Day plan for the GR is too big of an event to skip over. Which is good because I want to see how Laurie accepts Jill and what Kevin does immediately after Patti killing herself. And how will the community react from the GR’s stunt? I guarantee there will be violence.

Last but not least:

– More parallels between Kevin and his children: Jill takes a knife and cuts the dog loose while Kevin takes his knife to cut Patti loose.

– Patti confesses that Gladys’ death was planned, and how Laurie’s turn is coming soon. Since Patti has just killed herself, I guess Laurie’s the leader now? How long until she dies? Why would anyone want to be in the GR?!

– Meg throws a fit and attacks Reverend Jamison when he spreads more papers, this time targeting her mom (who died the day before the sudden departure). “Her grief was hijacked.” 

– Nothing from Tommy, Christine, and Wayne this week.

– With only two episodes left, I expect the penultimate episode of the season to be full of fireworks.

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