Hi everyone! Here’s my review of episode two “Don’t Be Ridiculous” of The Leftovers. This week we’re dealing with a very beautiful and introspective episode. Let’s see what happened:
– Kevin: we don’t get to see a lot of Kevin in this episode, but it’s pretty clear to me that what he does with the plastic bag is a sort of “ritual” he does everytime he’s alone. It’s still unclear if he’s just trying to “feel” again (like s1 Nora, when she paid hookers to shoot her) or if he’s desperately trying to reach the other side again. This second option seems more plausible to me. He also seems a little less upset about “The Book Of Kevin” than before. This time I had the feeling he was almost afraid of losing the only existing copy.
– Matt: Mary has finally left and Matt found himself alone without his wife and his son. He seems to be completely lost. What was beautiful about Matt in the first two season was his strong faith: nothing could shake his beliefs, neither violence nor other people’s lack of faith. Now that Mary is gone he’s helping a woman persuading everyone on Jarden that the Man on the Pillar departed, after spending three years of his life claiming that Miracle is a special place, the only place on Earth where the Departure can’t happen. Maybe his wife crossed the bridge and didn’t fall back into a coma like he believed it would happen. Maybe that’s what shook his imperishable faith for the first time in his life: what he strongly believed it would happen didn’t, and now he’s all alone without his beloved wife and his son. Another significant detail is his nose bleeding at the very beginning of the episode. Is his cancer back?
THE MAN ON THE PILLAR: At the very beginning of the episode we witness the death of The Man On The Pillar. His wife is Sandy, the woman who gave Matt some money to help him cross the bridge (s02e05). (Is the man on the pillar’s name Brian? Will we ever know who Brian is?). She doesn’t want people to know that her husband died, so she asks Matt to help her hide his body and persuade everyone in Jarden that he departed in front of her eyes. Everyone seems to believe her, even though her story doesn’t hold up. Just like Matt, she can’t accept the fact that her husband is gone: after all those years standing on a pillar and waiting for God to take him he had an ordinary death and couldn’t even make it until the “big day”, (the seventh anniversary of the departure). She’s desperately trying to convince herself and others that her husband achieved his destiny and finally joined God in heaven, and who better than Matt to help her doing that?
– Nora: Let’s talk about this amazing human being. She went through so much, she lost her whole family, she started over and created a new one, and now she’s back to where she started. In this amazing and heartbreaking episode we find out Christine has come back and took Nora to court to get her baby back. This is a very unexpected plot twist, nobody was prepared for that and it broke our hearts in a thousand pieces. Lily was keeping Nora’s life together, she came to her when she needed her the most. I can’t help crying everytime I watch Season 1 ending scene, where Nora running away from her life and leave everyone and everything because she was too hurt and broken to keep on trying to make things work. When she found Lily the world suddenly opened up to a thousand new possibilities. In that moment everything changed, she suddenly stopped being “beyond repair” and started being future-oriented for the first time in over three years.
This is why this new loss took her back to her original pain: without Lily she’s not a mother anymore, and that takes her back to when this happened the first time, when her children departed in front of her eyes. This second episode has some amazing Season One vibes: we’re going back with Nora to when the pain was too much too bare.
In the other half of the episode we meet Mark Linn Baker, the Perfect Strangers actor who suffered the departure of his three co-stars and faked his own departure running to Mexico.
Just like Nora, he was the only survivor in a group of four people, and he just can’t accept it. He approaches Nora with a creepy phone call, asking her if she wants to see her children again. He introduces her to this new theory about LADR radiations, the same kind of radiations found on the departure’s scenes, capable of teleporting people to wherever all the departed went. They basically built a device that blasts people with LADR radiations and potentially sends them wherever the 2 percent went. Apparently 119 people have already gone through the device so far and everyone of them had to pass an IQ test to qualify. Mark also gives her a flash drive with 119 videos where people testify they’re of sound mind and indemnify anyone who is involved of anything that happens to them. In my opinion, this videos prove absolutely nothing, and the fact that a lot of people with high IQ decided to went through the device is off the table as an evidence. It just means that after seven years people is still grieving. Nora seems skeptical about it too, but at the end of the episode she decides to go to Australia anyway. I found significant seeing her dressed in white and smoking while watching the videos on the flash drive.
It’s clear that she planned in advance to smoke in a no-smoking room because she had a tinfoil roll in her suitcase to cover the smoke detectors. It seems that for a moment, just like a G.R., she felt alienated from the world and from the way of coping of everybody else.
I loved the scene with Erika. It felt completely different from their dialogue in “Lens” (s02e06), where they were really hostile to each other but without being disrespectful with one another. That respect has now turned into a very strong friendship. Nora finally tells Erika everything about her broken arm, about how she broke it on purpose to hide a cover up tattoo with her cast. It’s so sad to hear her story about how she wanted to have her children’s names written on her arm but suddenly changed her mind because reading them everyday would have hurt too much. Erika’s reaction is sweet and heart melting: she’s the only one in Nora’s life who truly understands her pain without being competitive about who suffered more. That’s why the trampoline scene is so powerful: we’re shown two beautiful and strong human beings pulling together and taking a moment from grief and sadness to finally have some fun without thinking of what’s wrong with the world.
Coming back home, Nora catches Kevin trying to choke himself once again. When she lived in Mapleton she had a similar coping mechanism: she hired prostitutes to shoot her in the chest (wearing a bulletproof vest) because she didn’t want the pain to slip away. Maybe that’s why her reaction is so calm and understanding. The weirdest thing of the episode his Nora inability to make electronic devices work. That happens three time in the whole episode and it’s kinda difficult to understand why.
– The ending scene: Just like episode one’s ending, this last ten minutes confused a lot of people. I’m pretty sure this last scene is set in Australia in the present day. The tv weather man at the very beginning of the scene is talking about the incoming seventh anniversary of the Departure and he’s joking about blood and locusts coming from the sky. Also, Kevin Garvey Senior doesn’t look older than before. So, assuming that this scene is set in the present, I think someone put “The Book Of Kevin” online (maybe Michael). These four women definitely read it and worship Kevin as the new Messiah.
“And he looked at them and smiled at them, but they did not wave in response and so he clutched the stone to his chest and jumped into the water”.
This sentence is clearly referred to when the lake drained and saved Kevin’s life. It is pretty clear that they don’t have enough information to know what the real Kevin looks like, so they abduct the wrong man and kill him to prove he’s immortal. What it’s not clear is whether they know K.G. senior or not. Is it just a coincidence that they killed the fake Kevin in front of his house? That’s the same house we saw in the trailer.
Here’s some interesting things I noticed:
- The “Other Kevin”‘s number plate is 666.
- The song in the opening credits for this episode is the opening theme for “Perfect Strangers”, Mark Linn Baker’s show. Also, we hear a variation of the song in Nora and Lily’s scene. This is really significant, because it really felt like Nora and Lily were “perfect strangers”. 😥
- Does the DSD know about Mark Linn Baker and the LADR radiations?
- ***SPOILER*** This is an old picture from set. You might consider it a spoiler, so stop reading if you don’t want to know. The picture shows “the other Kevin” with the real Kevin, who is now dressed in white. That could mean that Kevin2 died and ended up in the hotel world, where he met our Kevin. This could also be the final proof that the ending scene is set in the present, and not in the future. (click here to read the article and see more pictures like this one)