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Recap: 'The Leftovers' Episode 2, 'Penguin One Us Zero': New Facts, Questions and Theories

Photo of Ben Travers By Ben Travers | Indiewire July 7, 2014 at 6:57AM

Sunday night's episode of Damon Lindelof's new drama continued the relentless pacing of the first hour -- as long as the dour tone -- but with similarly fascinating results.
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The Leftovers

Well, week two in a world without two percent of the population has come and gone -- though technically it's a new month -- and new facts have emerged as well as questions and theories. Much like "Game of Thrones," die hard fans could simply read Tom Perrotta's novel to find out what happens in the end -- but as we've seen with both shows, the book doesn't always line up with the visual version, and with Damon Lindelof, you simply never know what's going to come next. Theories will certainly abound regarding what happened to the missing two percent, as well as the other personal and philosophical mysteries found in the first hour of "The Leftovers."

READ MORE: Watch: 'The Leftovers' Premiere Is Now Available to Stream on Yahoo!

Below, we've compiled a list of facts, beliefs, and questions. Obviously, the list can't be all-encompassing, so please leave your own lingering quandaries and theories in the comments below, or find us on Twitter. We'll be updating the list each week with new information, so keep checking in for theoretical and factual developments each week.

Facts:

1) Holy Wayne ain't so holy

So the holy hugger introduced in the pilot was exposed this week for the charlatan he really is -- or at least what the government believes him to be. Tom's new lord and savior is a pedophile with a fetish for Asian women, who according to the FBI, "recharge his batteries." While more of a confirmation than a revelation after last week's pilot where we saw Wayne threaten Tom after he got a little too close to one of his prized youths, the raid was an exciting and well shot intro for a show knowing its intro was a bit of a downer. They didn't betray the tone at all, but they certainly upped the ante to kick things off. 

2) Tom is in some deep shit, and he knows it.

When Tom pulled the trigger and took out that cop, his storyline shifted severely away from the plot line established in the pilot paralleling his mother's. It seemed like both Tom and Laurie were in need of saving, specifically from a man ill-equipped to do so at the moment. The Chief already tried and failed to pull his wife out of the GR, and he'd been calling Tom to check up on his distanced son. Turns out he needed to be -- Tom tried calling his Dad after the incident, but then Wayne showed up and destroyed his phone. His steering wheel freak out reminiscent of the pool scene from Episode 1 shows Tom is clearly frustrated and not totally sold on his newfound occupation (Disciple of the Holy Hugger). He's just trapped. Like many youths, he's gotten in too deep and it's almost too late to ask for help (for more, head to Theory #2).

3) Megan's fate is still up in the air.

Megan has joined the GR, but after more than a month living in the house she's yet to be convinced it's her path. Things are looking up by episode's end -- and by "up," I mean it looks like the so-called non-cult is winning (members stating they're not a cult is exactly what cult members would tell their pledges). Her fiance isn't going to go after her. It doesn't look the movement is slowing. And she somehow found meaning in chopping down that tree. We know why she's there in the sense that she's searching for inner peace. We know she's more committed now than at the episode's beginning. We know perhaps as much as we ever will -- Lindelof and Perrotta seem in no rush to explain the GR, for better or worse.

4) The Chief's dad is Scott Glenn! 

That is all. It's just a surprising and very welcome casting addition -- and one perfect for Justin Theroux/Kevin Garvey Jr.

5) Not everyone is thrilled about all the dead dogs. 

Big surprise, and one we called last week. It was a fairly predictable turn for some of the Chief's cop and political colleagues to question the man's drunken decision to wipe out a pack of neighborhood dogs, but one spurring a much more pressing conversation....

The Leftovers

Questions:

1) Is the Chief crazy?

His daughter saw "the man with the truck," but even her taking the beer from his hand and making an offhand comment acknowledging his existence isn't enough for me to completely believe this guy is real. For one, the daughter asked if the beer was for her and Aimee, not specifically addressing the man standing at her doorway. If the Chief's mental state is as unhinged as some suspect, it wouldn't be a big leap for him to have been standing in that doorway alone, holding a sixer. Or, in an even more troubling theory (I know, wrong section), Jill is just as crazy as her dad and granddad, carrying on the family gene of seeing people who aren't really there. 

2) Is the Chief's dad crazy?

It seemed like a safe bet given his residency and conversation in the nursing home. Unlike his son, we the audience don't see anyone when Chief Sr. holds a discussion with an "imaginary friend" to his right. Clearly, he's crazy -- or so we thought until the invisible man tells the old man about a friend he sent to visit Chief Jr. Just vague enough for a reasonable explanation to explain things later, but specific enough to cause doubt, the father/son convo was the most dramatic element of Episode 2 -- way more exciting than the opening shootout. Still, the question remains, who's crazy: the Garveys, or the rest of the world?

READ MORE: 'Leftovers' Creator Tom Perrotta On How He and Damon Lindelof Made His Book Darker for HBO

3) Will Meg be convinced to join the GR, or can she still be saved?

She's going to join the GR. Call it a hunch, but methinks she'll be ascending the ranks and stirring up trouble soon enough. Her character is dynamic enough to leave many possibilities open, of course, and her development this week is a clear A to B arc. This question may thusly seem irrelevant, but we need to keep an eye on her status with the Guilty Remnant. 

4) Are you being saved from the GR, or is the GR doing the saving?

Ooo! Which is it? Much of Meg's drama this week came from your perspective -- is it good for her to find herself and establish independence by choosing to join the GR, or is she being manipulated by a cult of lunatics with strong beliefs but no answers? Well, I have a theory, but others are certainly welcome. 

The Leftovers

Theories:

1) The GR is a cult, and it needs to be shut down.

Call it paranoia after reading far too much about Scientology, but there hasn't been a moment in the first two episodes where I could even consider the Guilty Remnant was good in any way shape or form. The smoking is an obvious indication of evil -- thus making me suspicious they are somehow good, considering the pilot's preference for reversals (see fact #4 from last week). But even my impulse to distrust Damon Lindelof isn't enough to convince me these troublemakers without answers are on the path of the righteous. While I've previously stated it's okay for "The Leftovers" to end without explaining October 14th, the group's stubborn mission to "remind" people of what's going on is instigating to the nth degree. They have no answers. They're lost. They want people to know how lost they are, and try to convince them they all are, too. It's dangerous, and right on the border of hate speech. Here's hoping Chief Garvey finds a legal way to shut their asses down. 

2) The Chief's existential crisis will come to a breaking point when he's forced to help his son.

A connection between father and son is being sought. In both of the first two episodes, it's come up more than once, making it fairly clear the conversation will be significant whenever it happens. My best theory is the discussion will be mutually beneficial. The father will need the son almost as much as the son needs his father. Whether he knows it or not, the Chief is looking for purpose again. His family has fallen apart from top (Chief Sr.) to bottom (Jill, who frequents parties where spin the bottle means sex/autoerotic asphyxiation), and he needs a clear goal. Keeping his son from a) prison, and b) the maniacal "healing" hands of Holy Wayne seems like as clear cut a cause as any -- and clearly one in which Tom could use his papa's powerful position.

3) The Garvey family is not crazy -- both father and son are dealing with supernatural elements related to the events of October 14th.

Call this the "Lindelof twist" (or Perrotta's -- I won't know 'til it's confirmed or denied, having not read the book), but I don't think the Garvey boys are crazy. I think the man with the truck is as real as those who disappeared and somehow connected. There's not much supporting this theory outside of the father/son conversation this week, but when it comes to watching something from Damon Lindelof, evidence and reason are thrown out the door. 

This article is related to: The Leftovers, The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta, Damon Lindelof, Damon Lindelof, HBO, HBO





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