The Leftovers Review: “Cairo”

(Episode 1.08)

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<i>The Leftovers</i> Review: &#8220;Cairo&#8221;

There is certainly no confusion now: Kevin Garvey, Jr. is losing his damn mind.

As the episode begins, we find the embattled police chief waking up in the passenger seat of a truck, shaken awake by his buddy Dean. And as he becomes conscious, he quickly learns that he has done something very, very bad. He and Dean had beaten up and dragged Patti—the head of the local chapter of the Guilty Remnant—out to a cabin near Cairo, New York, where she is now duct taped to a chair.

It seems these fugue states that Garvey goes into are even worse than he could have imagined. And now, more than ever, he faces huge, potentially life-changing consequences. To make matters worse, it becomes clear that he’s been up in this woodsy area a lot. He finds a bunch of his police uniform shirts nailed to nearby trees.

Back to his senses, he tries desperately to reason with Patti, offering up a deal to let her go in return for her silence on this incident. Not a chance, she responds (in so many words). The first moment she gets, she’s going to tear his world apart, brick by brick. Dean tries to “help” matters at a point, by taping a plastic bag around Patti’s head, but the chief rescues her instead. Even that, though, will not sway her. He knows what he’s done and he’s going to pay for it.

It’s a tense, gripping standoff that you know will not end well for all parties involved. But how will it end? That’s the question hovering over the whole episode. When the answer comes, it’s legitimately shocking.

At a certain point, Garvey thinks he might have the upper hand, when Patti reveals that she was behind the stoning death of Gladys as part of a plan to keep her acolytes engaged in this cause of never letting the world forget what happened on the day of “The Departure.” With that news, he releases his captive; ready to face the music with this chip he can play in his defense. Patti, unfortunately, keeps the upper hand by grabbing a large piece of glass and plunging it into her carotid artery. That the episode doesn’t return to the scene after her death is one of the savviest moves the series has made to date. Who wouldn’t want to tune in next week to see how this plays out?

There’s more reason to keep up on The Leftovers with what the Guilty Remnant has planned for Memorial Day. In the previous episode, we saw Patti laying out a bunch of clothes on the floor of the church they purchased. Later in this episode, a trailer full of fake bodies, all wrapped in brown paper, is delivered to the building. It doesn’t take long to realize that they paid to have replicas of the disappeared made, and they plan on revealing them for the horrified and grieving citizens on the holiday.

The other big moment occurs at the end of the episode when Jill shows up at the Guilty Remnant compound asking if she can stay there for a while. It’s one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the show because it’s obviously an extreme attempt to reconnect with her mother, and it’s going to hurt Kevin even more when he realizes the only family member he had left has abandoned him. Things are rushing towards what is likely going to be a big first season finish. I’m already bracing myself for impact.

Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.

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