Summary: While attempting to find the man shooting the dogs, Kevin faces with the idea that he's going crazy. Jill tails Nora Durst after she notices a gun in her purse. Holy Wayne's compound is attacked by the government and he is forced to go undercover. Tommy is tasked to protect Christine and has to disconnect from his life to do it. Laurie tries to help Meg join the Guilty Remnant.
The Good: This was a decent follow-up to the pilot.
I liked the focus on Kevin contemplating the idea that he's going crazy. Justin Theroux played his paranoid desperation so well and made me believe that he thinks he might be going crazy but refuses to face up to it. I really enjoyed the input from his fellow cops that suggest he's going crazy followed by Kevin putting his foot down and swearing he isn't crazy. However, things like the mystery man, the bagel, the dream and the truck in his driveway lead to make us believe that he's crazy. And yet at the end of the episode there are a few hints dropped that suggest maybe he isn't crazy. Things like Jill seeing the man and the bagel being discovered try to lead us to believe that he is still sane. This provides a good mystery to the episode and makes us think afterwards to try to figure out if Kevin is crazy or not.
I liked Kevin Sr., who at first seemed perfectly normal and caring, but quickly dissolved into craziness. The intriguing part is wondering if he is crazy or if he has been gifted. In a world where the Departure happened, anything is possible and I will be interested no matter which direction the story goes.
While on the topic of the Departure, I really like the impact it has on the story. It questions us if the more supernatural elements are possible or if it's just humans trying to make sense of the tragedy. An example of this is the scene when Nora questioned the old couple about their departed son. She asks a few government validated questions, and it's hard to guess if the government is actually onto something or if they are just asking questions with hopes that they will find a common ground somewhere.
I enjoyed seeing Meg get accustomed into the GR. We are learning more and more about how the GR functions in every episode and these week we learn how the new members are handled. Also through a wonderful "conversation" between Laurie and Meg (see: Best Moment) we begin to understand more about why someone would want to join the GR, which is good to humanize the organization.
I'm always happy to hear a reference to The Wire.
The Bad: This show has been fascinating thus far, but some of its storyline just aren't clicking too well.
For one, the Tommy story has been quite poor and unengaging. I haven't been given any reason to care about Tommy and his story only provides vague details and action which doesn't fit in very well with the show. Sure I have been enjoying Wayne and he genuinely intrigues me, but Tommy's character really doesn't and we are being told his feelings instead of being shown his feelings. That aspect makes this story weaker than the other storylines which always show rather than tell. I also wasn't very happy with Tommy killing a man with practically no emotion except for him screaming once inside the car.
I didn't really like Jill and her friends trailing Nora either. The storyline was pretty boring and didn't offer very much emotion like the Kevin and GR stories did.
The Unknown: A truckload of questions again.
Is Kevin going crazy? Does the mystery man even exist or has Kevin imagined him? How about his dream? What does that indicate?
Is Kevin Sr. crazy or has he received some divine insight after the Departure? What did he mean when he told Kevin that someone was sent to see him? Was it the mystery man? Or are we overthinking all of this and the mystery man is just some creepy guy and Kevin Sr. is actually crazy?
Why do the GR make people cut trees? Is it just to help them get their emotions and pain out of their system?
Is Wayne real or is he a hoax? Apparently he can hug people and take their pain away. Is that an actual power or is he just a master of the placebo effect?
Why does Nora carry around a gun? Why did she hug Matt, the man handing out the papers which claim that those who departed aren't heroes.
Best Moment: Laurie and Meg talking was excellent. Meg asks if Laurie remembers how it feels to care and Laurie responds by letting Meg know that she does after mentioning Kevin. Meg soon follows up by saying she doesn't want to feel pain anymore. This exchange is fascinating because it highlights what brings people to join the GR and how they still retain their humanity despite shutting out their emotions from the world.
Character of the Episode: Kevin stole the show with his story of trying to prove his sanity. Justin Theroux's performance was impressive.
Conclusion: The Leftovers has its ups and downs for sure, but you can't deny that it is a fascinating show full of intriguing mystery. This episode continued to explore the feelings of pain, grief and misery that no other show properly does and it remains enjoyable despite some pretty bland storylines.