The Leftovers recap: Beating a dead dog

Chief Garvey might be killing the town's dogs; he's not so sure
Ep. 02 | Aired Jul 6, 2014

Tom's daughter, Jill, is at the coffee shop with Aimee when she jostles a woman's purse. When Jill straightens it up, she sees that the seemingly mild-mannered woman is packing a gun. It's Nora Durst, the Heroes Parade keynote speaker, a local celebrity because she lost her entire family in the Oct. 14 vanishings: her husband, her 6-year-old son, and her 4-year-old daughter. The girls are fascinated by her and her gun—is it for protection or suicide?—but even more so as they watch her purposely edge her coffee mug off the table as she causes it to smash on the floor into pieces. The shop's manager erupts in anger, until he sees who it is. She apologizes; he is mortified by his initial reaction and offers her another; she declines and leaves—without paying. What a scam.

The girls follow Nora out of the shop, and then hijack the Ping-Pong twins' Prius to follow her Subaru, which still has those annoying family figure decals on the rear window. Nora drives to a house, where she meets with the parents of a vanished man about their "departure benefit." Presumably, relatives of the missing get a fat government check for their loss, but Nora seems to be misrepresenting herself. Likely, she's not there in any official capacity and is instead taking advantage of people's greed to ask them curious and probing questions about their kin, perhaps in order to find some explanation, some common link, between what happened to others and her missing loved ones. She's searching for answers, for truth, but she stomps on the emotions of the sweet but needy couple who lost their 34-year-old son with Down Syndrome by asking about his sexual history.

Kevin is still obsessed with the GR cult, which is somewhat understandable since his wife abandoned him and their children to join its ranks. His office wall is plastered with an alarming amount of photos and personal information about their membership and who lives in which house. "Jesus," says Mayor Lucy. "I never should've told you to watch the effin' Wire," as she takes in the obsessive wall collage. Though Lucy and Kevin were at odds over the parade, she comes in peace and claims to be looking out for his best interest. The whole town seems to think he's responsible for the dead dogs: the department shrink (with the inflatable penguin) was skeptical of Kevin's claims about the Mystery Man, his deputy is doing his best to cover for his boss—especially when the Mystery Man's truck shows up in Kevin's driveway, with a fresh dead dog in the flatbed—and Lucy just takes it as fact that Kevin is responsible. But rather than deny it, Kevin says, "They're not our dogs anymore," the same line that the Mystery Man said to him in the premiere. As Kevin struggles to locate his marbles toasted bagel, the line lingers as evidence that there is no Mystery Man after all.

Until the Mystery Man knocks on Kevin's door that night. (Or does he?) He comes with beers and an invitation: there's another pack of dogs out there that needs to be dispatched. A perplexed and dazed Kevin never tells him no, or arrests him, or even gets him to give his name. "We're doing the Lord's work, believe you me," says the Mystery Man. So did this conversation really happen? Jill and Aimee walked in on it, with Jill even taking the six-pack from him. So... yes?

NEXT: Kevin signs in to loony bin... to visit

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