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

When the ATFEC investigator finally calls Chief back, he's apologetic but cites procedural red tape for delaying the investigation and preventing a return of the body. Forensics and follow-up won't be available for four to six weeks. But... he's happy to send some agents by the end of the week to "eliminate the infestation." The infestation? The ATFEC is the trigger-happy group, you might recall, that cleaned out Holy Wayne's compound. "Chief, this s--- spreads if you let it," counsels the investigator. "Just say the word and everything can go back to normal."

Just say the word, Chief, and we'll send some fascists up there who will gun down those chain-smoking wackos. Like ordering a pizza. "No thanks," says Chief, after a lengthy pause. "We can handle it." Will that be the end of it? Or will Mapleton now be in the ATFEC's cross hairs?

A drunken Chief ends up at the liquor store to pick up more beer, when he decides it's the perfect time to pick up those elusive white shirts from the dry cleaner. He frightens the dry cleaner, who hands over eight white shirts. Were they the actual eight missing shirts that Chief had dropped off, or were they just any eight white shirts the dry cleaner could find in order to get this armed madman out of his shop? I suspect it was the latter, and that Chief will find eight pressed shirts in his office closet next week.

Patti and Laurie return to the cul-de-sac after their pleasant retreat, bookended by the apocalyptic tunes of Hall & Oats and James Ingram & Michael McDonald. But not before dropping off a doggie-bag for someone named Neil—the person Patti named presumably as someone she left behind to join the GR. I'm befuddled. There were no leftovers, as the waitress pointed out, and Patti took the empty bag with her when she excused herself from the restaurant table. So who is Neil and what's in the bag?

Back at the cul-de-sac, Meg announces she's ready to take the next step in her induction, but any celebration is interrupted by Rev. Matt, who's doing his Christian duty to mourn the loss of Gladys with a sidewalk vigil outside the GR's homes. As he sermonizes with a megaphone, inviting any GR to join him in the ceremony, Laurie breaks with her group, comes outside—and blows the emergency whistle in Rev. Matt's face. Over and over, she tweets, interrupting his message of goodwill. Patti watches from the window with glee: Laurie is back on the reservation.

Somewhere in Virginia, though, the forensic investigation into Gladys murder is underway. It's an open and shut case, and by that I mean, they're dumping her body into the fiery furnace without any investigation. She's lifted on to a conveyor belt in some industrial factory and fed to the flames. "Doubt is fire," Patti had preached. "And fire is going to burn you up. Until you are but ash."

Was Gladys a martyr or a willing sacrificial lamb?

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