The Leftovers – “The Garveys At Their Best”

Season One, Episode Nine


Grade: A

The Leftovers ended last week’s episode with a bomb, showing Jill walking through the doors of The Guilty Remnant and seeing Laurie’s expression. Leading up to this week’s episode, I was very excited to see where that was going to lead to and I was completely anticipating Kevin to go bat-shit crazy. But we don’t get that. Instead, we’re treated to a flashback episode that opened up brilliantly. Kevin’s jogging around town, sneaking a smoke from under a mailbox. He finally reaches home and walks into a beautiful, obviously expensive house. He has a conversation with a woman in the background deliberately blurred out. We know it’s not the Garvey house we’ve seen. It sort of looked like Nora’s house, since we know she does have a lot of money, but it’s not certain. Then as the woman comes into frame, we see it’s Laurie. We couldn’t have recognized her voice, but the reveal was great. And so I smiled and thought, it’s time for a flashback episode.

“The Garveys At Their Best” is such an interesting look at how things were just a few days before the Oct. 14 departure. Kevin Sr. is the police chief and he’s so respected that he’s won the Man of the Year award in town. But specifically focusing on Kevin Jr. and Laurie, their marriage is sure in a rut. It might not seem that way at first, but there is something off that’s not clear but is evident. That doesn’t stop them from loving their children. It was a delight to see Jill so close to her mom, and how Tommy was a huge part of the family. They looked like any normal family, doing things they don’t want, talking about adopting a puppy, driving to school, and saving their asses when one of them gets in trouble. They’re not perfect, but no family is. The Garveys are together and they’re your normal family.

After we’ve seen everyone smile a few times, we get into what this episode truly represents, which is how even before the disappearance everyone was still unhappy. Kevin and Laurie have obvious problems; Patti is seeking therapy from Laurie; Tommy is going through letting go his biological father; Nora is trying to get a job while dealing with her annoying children; and Kevin is all kinds of messed up. So what’s the point? Is the show saying that we’d rather be miserable with the ones we’re supposed to love, rather than be miserable alone? Is the worldwide event supposed to unite everyone? Or is it saying that before and after, you’re the same person. Whether you were the type of person to hide from the pain and suppress the feelings or the type that tackled it head on and did something about it, you’re the same.

And then there’s the deer, which holds more importance than simply a loose deer causing havoc around town. The chief wants to put it down but Kevin wants to save it. We’ve already had close-ups with deer from the show through Kevin. A deer tore through the Garvey kitchen and a pack of dogs attacked and killed a deer. So what’s the situation here? What does the deer represent? I think it represents the part inside him that’s afraid to break free from everything he knows. It’s the part that his dad talked to him about, his greater purpose and allowing the voices to dictate what he’s supposed to do. The deer keeps getting trapped inside of places, and while everyone else wants to shoot it dead, Kevin wants to save it and set it free. Will he stop trying to keep his inner demons hidden and soon let them free?

In a way, this was just as a depressing episode as any in The Leftovers. Seeing the way of life that every character misses: Nora with her family, Kevin with Laurie, Jill with her parents and Tommy, etc. And yet, all of these things that our characters miss, they all weren’t that great. And in those moments leading up to when 2% disappears, Kevin drives an out-of-towner to her hotel after she’s traumatized from killing the deer with her car. “Are you a good guy?” Kevin hesitates but answers, “No.” He knows it. So while he should’ve been by Laurie’s side at the doctor’s, she didn’t trust him enough to tell him the fact that she’s pregnant (though it seems like it might not have been Kevin’s).

Then we get to see the moment everyone disappears. We’ve already seen Reverend Jamison with his wife, and the woman who’s baby goes missing. But we finally see Kevin with the out-of-towner when she disappears. Jill and Tommy holding hands in a circle when a student vanishes, breaking their electrical charge. And the most shocking, the baby inside Laurie disappears (and likely without Kevin ever knowing about the child). It’s a powerful moment on The Leftovers. Needless to say, if this happened to us our lives would completely be turned upside-down too.

With one episode left to the first season, I’m excited to see what The Leftovers will leave us hanging with. Does Jill want to be a part of the GR or does she just want to speak with her mom? What is Kevin going to do now that Patti is dead? How will the community react when the GR pulls their latest stunt with the help from The Loved Ones? What is the next step for Tommy, Christine, and Wayne? Unfortunately, we have to wait two weeks.

Last but not least:

– “Sometimes you just have to pretend.”
– Patti sensed that something big was about to happen, but when she asks if Laurie feels it inside of her, she says that she feels nothing.
– Kevin pulls off a balloon saying “It’s a Girl!” from the deer. If he only knew.


One Response to The Leftovers – “The Garveys At Their Best”

  1. […] “The Garveys At Their Best” (S01E09) […]

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