The Leftovers recap: 'Solace for Tired Feet'

Kevin's dad escapes the loony bin and Tom discovers a painful truth.
Ep. 07 | Aired Aug 10, 2014

THE PRODIGAL FATHER Chief Kevin Garvey gets some "wisdom" from his father, who has been running loose in Mapleton.

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

"You should know, though... I'm a f---in' mess." —Kevin

Last week, on what must qualify as a feel-good episode of The Leftovers, Nora and Kevin had a spark. Though they live in the same small town and Kevin is close family friends with her brother, the minister, they somehow never crossed paths until recently. Both now divorced—she to her cheating Departured husband, he to Guilty Remnant member, Laurie—they agreed to a promising dinner date. But as Kevin reminded viewers with the above p.s., he hasn't exactly turned the page on his own demons, and the episode "Solace for Tired Feet" dragged us back into his disturbed psyche, which struggles to differentiate between what is real and imagined. As always, Kevin's father—the former chief of police—has an aggravating effect on Kevin's mental well-being.

It's a shame because things are looking up for Kevin. After five solid dates with Nora, she invites him to her place for some intimate adult time, a plan disrupted by Meg and another GR who are staking out her house. While Kevin barks at them, Nora drenches them with her garden hose. Fun, but it kills the mood. Rain check, they decide.

Kevin might feel as giddy as a teenager, but his own kids are in real trouble. At that very moment, Jill and her friend Aimee are in the woods with the Ping-Pong twins and other assorted oddballs, playing a macabre game of chicken that honors the departure of a bullied teen, who had been stuffed in a discarded old refrigerator when the inexplicable vanishing event occurred. Daring teens now re-enact his plight by seeing who can stay inside the fridge the longest before air runs out, and Jill, who's demonstrated a reckless streak, is intent on breaking the record. But any pride in her achievement quickly turns to panic when the fridge's rusty handle snaps off before her friends can let her out. Gasping for air and on the brink of losing consciousness, she's rescued by a guardian angel—her grandpa. This being The Leftovers, I thought for an instant that the vision of Scott Glenn pulling her out of the fridge was part of her hallucination after she'd passed out. But as he fled through the woods in his robe after telling Jill, "Don't tell your dad you saw me," and her friends reacted, it became more likely that the old police chief really had really escaped his mental institution.

Elsewhere, on the road to Nazareth—or wherever Tom and an eight-months pregnant Christine are heading with the unborn chosen child she refers to as "the bridge"—the yellow, happy-faced phone finally rings when Tom is at the pharmacy picking up medicine for a feverish Christine. It's a confidence-shaking conversation, as a shaky Holy Wayne doesn't even seem to know whom he dialed. (More on that later.) While crudely accusing Tom of taking Christine as a lover, Wayne demands that Tom give up half of his quickly depleting $6,000. "Naked I came from thy mother's womb and naked I will depart," justifies Wayne, quoting the Book of Job. (Long-suffering Job is practically the patron saint of The Leftovers, and the next line of Scripture is even more instructive: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away.")

Wayne gives specific instruction to leave the three grand taped under a mailbox at the intersection of Harper and 15th Street. I suppose we shouldn't think too hard about the problematic vagueness of that detail since both Tom and Wayne are in different cities, presumably, and neither knows where the other currently is. Apparently, there's a Harper and 15th close to Tom, and it's exactly the intersection Wayne had in mind. (Maybe it's the one in Erie, Pa.? Or the one in Augusta, Ga.? Turns out the police cars are from Indiana...) It's across from that chicken place, which apparently clears things up. "It won't be long now [before the momentous event will occur]," Wayne tells Tom, before hanging up and falling back into the fetal position in his dank hiding place.

NEXT: Grandpa wants Kevin to subscribe to National Geographic

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