The midway point of the season (kind of) and we catch up with Matt Jamison, the holy man played by the excellent Christopher Eccleston. Or the former Doctor Who. Like the famous time traveller, we find ourselves once again skipping in time. On the face of it, this should be welcomed. Matt’s story holds intrigue, and his appearance in Jarden prompted the arrival of his sister and the series’ lead male, Kevin.
As always with Matt, things haven’t been going well for him, but he’s guided by faith. This time it isn’t just blind faith to the man above, he has true belief good things can, and do, happen in Miracle Town.
He claims his wife, Mary, woke the first night in Jarden. This assertion becomes all the more important when he discovers she is pregnant during a routine check-up. Then in typical Matt fashion, he gets carjacked and beaten up, their passes to Jarden stolen in the process.
This episode displays the power of belief and the drive of desperation. Once again John Murphy fulfils his duty as potential bad guy.
Despite containing key players and new elements, it’s the first average outing of the season. It just becomes hard to care about the downtrodden when it feels mundane.
The saving grace comes in the climatic scenes. It enriches an otherwise unnecessary episode and provides Matt with a new story arc. One that should be important later in the season.
Episode 4 throws us back to Kevin Garvey, and more importantly, what happened during his first night in Jarden.
It was neat to connect him to the disappearance of the water and potentially the missing girls. In a sleep walking state, he ended up in the empty river. He inadvertently left his finger print on Evie’s car and left his phone at the scene of the event.
It all makes for good tension building. The desperation passing between all the characters is tangible. The Murphys are struggling to cope with the loss of their daughter and the pressure drives John to extremes.
Kevin tags along, partly through guilt, partly because he’s now a passenger in his own life, sharing the view with Patti. It’s unknown if this element is delivering sound advice or a construct of his fractured mind that’s trying to make sense of the strange new world.
The divisions and lines between people are starting to form.
It’s 8/10 for this episode. A dip from recent showings but this is more of a foundation layer than revealer.
In our catch-up tour of the characters, the next stop we come to is Laurie and Tom Garvey.
This episode goes to show expectations should be put aside when diving into The Leftovers. After a blistering start to the season, filled with intrigue, I had little interest in finding out what Kev Garvey’s estranged wife and step-son had been up to.
Coming in with this low desire to see them may have helped what followed.
It’s an episode filled with tension. They are both helping members of the Guilty Remnant escape and recover. The reappearance of the cult was a sight I’d hoped we’d be spared. But it was silly to think one fire would see them off when they had spread like, well, wildfire.
What follows is an example of belief and hope versus fear.
After two 9/10s we get our first 10/10 show of the season.
After the introduction to the new town in the last episode, the story starts the process of playing catch-up. The obvious place to start – and the one the show’s writers opted for – was Copper Kevin Garvey and his newly formed dysfunctional family.
We glimpsed them last time out through the eyes of the Murphys. This time we saw how they got there. I’ll keep it spoiler free (within reason) but suffice to say, the cracks are there for our cast to fall through.
Carrie Coon successfully takes on a lead role type performance once again, filling the void left by the missing Jasmin Savoy Brown. Her character Nora Durst, reminds us she is a little cray-cray at times when she refers to her old habit of getting hookers to shoot her.
Kevin reminds us he may be proper cray and not too different from his father. He’s embroiled in unknown madness that could tie him to the climax of the season debut.
Usually backstory can cripple shows, especially so soon after resetting a scene, but it works well here. We need the blanks filling in so that we can move forward understanding the unique challenges facing the characters.
It’s a 9/10 showing once again.
The start of the new season opens with a scene reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. What isn’t clear right now (I’m sure it’ll unfold over the course of the series) is whether it’s used for a similar purpose or a more direct plot point.
Since last season the story has shifted from fictional Mapleton, New York to another pretend place, this one going by the name of Jarden, Texas. This is a unique zone. Instead of a rapture event they suffered no losses. They are all leftovers. This leads to returning cast members, Justin Theroux as Police officer Kevin Garvey and his family, including Carrie Coon’s Nora Durst, deciding to take up residence in miracle town.
Her brother, Christopher Eccleston, of Doctor Who fame, also has found a new life in Texas.
Doctor Who is making the journey for spiritual purposes; the Five-O because – well, he’s the star of the show.
In this episode he was outshone by Jasmin Savoy Brown. She plays Evie Murphy. Her father looks like the ready-made villain; she’s the jolt of life running through a morose subject.
The end of the episode was rather ominous for her character. Hopefully that will be explained soon enough. But there is a chance, a show that runs on mystery is about to add even further layers.