Film and TV

The Leftovers: Holiness on the Wane

One aspect of the show that I haven't really talked about much is that of Holy Wayne and his strange hold over Sheriff Garvey's son Tom. Frankly, when you've got a much more interesting cult in the form of the Guilty Remnant going on you don't really waste time on some dude that looks like the I'm-on-a-horse guy from Old Spice commercials hugging the pain out of people for a Grover Cleveland while impregnating underage Asian girls.

There were some interesting developments in that area this week, though.

Tom Garvey has been on the run with Wayne's broodmare Christine, listening to the girl go on and on about how the fetus between us is the bridge for the spiritual something or other. Tom, who has his father's grim determination, has been on the lam with her through thick and thin keeping them ahead of the law and acting as the dutiful foot soldier even though he clearly has feelings for Christine.

This time, it's revealed that Wayne's rather particular insistence on young Asian girls has taken a darker turn even more so than that sentence would usually imply. Tom follows a fellow escort back to a motel and finds an almost identical set-up with an almost identical girl. I know that sounds like Captain White Guy here saying all Asians look alike, but in this case it's true down to the outfits and haircuts. How many Asian Baby Mamas is Wayne shuffling around the country like some kind of birth powerball?

For the most part in The Leftovers the plot seems almost inconsequential. It's not that you don't care about character arcs. I particularly like watching Tom's sister Jill come to terms with the sick sad world. It's just that what is infinitely more fascinating is witnessing how the world itself gets turned upside down from so small an apocalypse.

In that weird, anthropological exercise you sort of forget that there is something deeper going on. Something that is driving these people towards each other in a showdown that is thus far inexplicable. It's not unlike Twin Peaks where the mystery is so all-encompassing that you grab at the individuals in it like life preservers in choppy seas.

Speaking of Twin Peaks, there was a hell of a fine weird dream sequence this week. It's not Black Lodge good, but it was still as disturbing as all get out. Sheriff Garvey is a man of many dark corners. The connection between him and the strange behavior of the dogs in the town isn't done being explored, and even more bizarre is his relationship with his daughter's best friend Aimee.

It's easy to miss how thoroughly out of place she is. She seems to have no home of her own, having all but moved into the Garvey residence without a single explanation as to where her own parents are. She's constantly on hand for every single one of Jill's descents into painful trials by fire, and she apparently witnessed Sheriff Garvey bring home a mysterious dog and bandaged his hand when it bit him.

Yet for all that, no one takes her as more than your typical teenage girl. Like Wayne's concubines, I think she's pregnant with something larger than she seems. Where Aimee places in all this I don't know, but she's more than she seems.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner