The Leftovers recap: 'Gladys'

A stone-cold murder puts Mapleton on edge and everyone is a suspect.
Ep. 05 | Aired Jul 27, 2014

ON THE CASE: Rev. Matt and Chief Garvey search for clues in the town's most recent murder.

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Laurie is one of the first GRs on the scene of the crime, and the horror rattles her, so much so that she requires medical attention for a panic attack. In general, she might be wavering in her commitment to the cult, even as she's moving to finalizing her divorce. She's prone to sneaking away at night to look over her family's house, and she interrupted Operation Grinch to try and retrieve the Christmas gift—an engraved lighter—that her daughter had given her and that she had tossed into the sewer. Her behavior attracts Patti's attention, who spirits her away from the hospital to a cushy hotel overnight. It's a day off from crazy cult life. When Laurie awakes, she's instructed to wear conventional clothes and meet Patti in the restaurant for a feast. Patti invites Laurie to talk, to order food, to unburden her mind, but Laurie can't or won't speak. Apparently, Gladys went through a similar phase of weakness, Patti explains, when her son was killed in a helicopter crash in Yemen. "She became distracted and she began to feel again," she says. "But there can't be any doubt, Laurie. Because doubt is fire, and fire is going to burn you up. Until you are but ash."

Chief is similarly flustered, not only by the vagaries of the investigation but by mundane everyday BS. He can't solve the burglar alarm at his house, and he's completely run out of clean white shirts for work. When he swings by the dry cleaner to pick them up, he's given the run-around by the jocular manager because he doesn't have his ticket. If the shirts aren't there, where could they be? Maybe they're hiding in the office toaster oven? As for the frustrating burglar alarm, might Laurie be sneaking into the house at night to observe Jill up-close?

Chief's relationship with Jill is becoming increasingly distant, and stepping into the breach, in an inevitably improper manner, is Aimee. She's making herself comfortable at the Garvey place, offering to make Chief coffee while still dressed in a skimpy nightgown. When Jill bolts from breakfast another morning, Chief is left to ask Aimee if his daughter is okay—as if she were her mother and his wife. There's an uncomfortable comfort growing between them.

Rev. Matt is a prime suspect in the murder, but he has an alibi. He might have motive, but the biblical method of the crime points to the same people who skulled him with a rock. He even wants to see the body, once he's cleared of suspicion, in order to pray for her soul. "Killing these people is pointless," he tells Chief. "They don't care because they're already dead. What I want is to bring them back to life." Chief relents and brings Rev. Matt to the morgue. But wouldn't you know it: another missing body. Turns out Gladys was shipped to the ATFEC in Virginia.

NEXT: Laurie blows the whistle

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