The Leftovers: “The Garveys at Their Best” Season 1 Episode 9 Review

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The message of this episode could be read as two things: life sucks no matter who is or isn’t around you or you won’t believe the things you miss once they’re gone. My guess is that the writers were going for the latter, but parts of The Garveys at Their Best seem to indicate the former.

This reflects the main problem that The Leftovers has had so far, it’s unapologetically melancholy tone. Sometimes the show wants to be sad just for the sake of being sad. Sometimes it wants to tell you a great story. This episode was a mix of both.

The Garveys had a very different life before the departure. Laurie made some serious money, based on the freaking mansion they lived in. Tommy and Jill have a creepily healthy relationship. Kevin’s job doesn’t involve much more than chasing around a crazy deer.

Meanwhile, Nora is hunting for a job as she takes care of her family.

While the episode starts relatively normal for all these characters, things slowly devolve and we see that no body lived a perfect life before the Departure.

Turns outs that Laurie was pregnant. She has yet to tell Kevin, and maybe she never did. With the closing scene of the episode being October 14, Laurie, whose getting a sonogram, looks at the monitor before a harsh cut to black, implying that her unborn child was among the disappeared.

Also among them, the girl Kevin was about to cheat on Laurie with who hit the deer with her car and, as we already knew, Nora’s husband and two children.

The build to the event was incredibly well done. Knowing how close we were to October 14 and then seeing the woman with the baby that opened the pilot, it was difficult to see the reactions first-hand.

But the rest of the episode traded between laying it on too thick and filling in some helpful blanks. Tommy and Jill sounded like Brady children for most of the episode. Chis Zylka, who play Tommy, has got to be one of the worst actors around right now. These two undercut a lot of the themes of the episode as well, just with the sheer simplicity of their emotions. With so many complex things going on around them, they can’t help but feel like little more than a reason to keep teenage viewers invested.

Still, what worked here really worked. The placement of this episode feels deliberate. Having it follow the most tense moments of the season, there is now extra weight going into the finale. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

 

 

 

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