The Leftovers: “B.J. and the A.C.” Season 1 Episode 4 Review

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After last week’s showstopper of an episode, we return to the normal format. But B.J. and the A.C. didn’t feel nearly as scatterbrained as the first two episodes and very effectively used dark humor to its advantage.

The Leftovers is the type of show that needs some dark humor to lighten the mood a bit. The opening bit showed how baby dolls are made, and then one very lucky little doll that was picked up at the toy store to be baby Jesus in the manger. It’s Christmas at The Leftovers and, you guessed it, they’re being cynical about it.

Kevin was a ton of fun to watch this week though. Going from not giving a sh*t about the stolen baby Jesus to obsessing over it. As far as individual episodes go, Justin Theroux seemed more comfortable as Kevin than in the previous entries. His suspicion toward his daughter Jill about the baby Jesus sort of unified all the bits and pieces the first two episodes gave us to finally create a consistent character.

Later in the episode, Laurie and Megan come by the house so Laurie can pass along divorce papers. This was hands down Theroux’s best scene. His frustration with Laurie mirrors ours. I found myself begging her to speak, just to give up her silence for one second to communicate with her husband. Kevin and Laurie are the most realized characters on the show (besides Matt of course).

Laurie’s mission with the Guilty Remnant to seemingly eradicate family from people’s lives is pretty disturbing. Sneaking into houses and taking away photographs? So simple, yet so nightmare-inducing. But Laurie clearly still believes in her family as she struggles to get the lighter she dropped into the drain that Jill bought her.

As far as failing plotlines go, Tom’s journey with Christine is literally yawn-inducing. There is so little to care about in these scenes and they don’t really seem to be going anywhere. The reasons for Christine’s importance are slowly becoming more clear, but maybe she isn’t actually that important. This is easily the least exciting thread but its being treated as the opposite. Tom’s storyline seems to be where The Leftovers is dumping its flashiest material (the full-frontal brawl, for example) and eeriest mysteries.

If this part of the show can turn itself around, the whole picture of The Leftovers would be much more intriguing. This episode did tremendous work on Kevin, while also fixing the overly melancholic tone of the first two entries. But with Tom’s storyline still gasping for air, a lot of work is yet to be done. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

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