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The Leftovers: Gladys

"It was only a matter of time."

Gladys (heretofore known as "not Patti"), we hardly knew ye. Somewhere in the distance, you can hear a flophouse full of Tyler Durden acolytes chanting, "In death, she has a name! Her name... is Gladys!"

Patti, on the other hand... is Patti. The previouslies showcased her outmaneuvering Kevin in successfully distracting the police force while the Guilty Remnant members broke into homes all over town. We were reminded of what her poker face looks like, and what her cheshire cat smile looks like when all the pieces she's set in motion are falling into place. In this episode, we saw both of those faces again.

Given Patti's penchant for strategy, the silent nods traded between her and Gladys in the opening scene, her mostly steady demeanor in the aftermath of Gladys' murder, and her quick acquiescence to Kevin's request for the GR to stay off the street, it seems unlikely that the events of this episode were wholly outside of her plan. I would be surprised if the murderers were actual GR members, but I am leaning toward the hints that Patti and Gladys at the very least arranged circumstances in a way that allowed her to be attacked. Future episodes may prove me wrong, but as I've said before, my money is always gonna be on Patti.

No matter the perpetrators, the murder has taken the escalating tensions between the GR and the town to another level, and triggered two different and opposite trajectories. One is Kevin's accelerating slide from a troubled police chief and semi-competent father, to someone who unleashes his alcohol-fueled rage onto innocent bystanders. (We knew things weren't looking good when he downgraded from 6-packs of Yuengling to 12-packs of lite.) In every aspect of his life, he's losing control – over his security system, the town meeting, his underlings, his investigation, his marriage, his shirts, and his own temper.

The inverse of Kevin's ongoing meltdown is the ascendency of the GR and Patti's power. Whether or not Patti arranged or allowed for Gladys to be murdered, the outcome is the same: the two most familiar GR underlings (Meg and Laurie) have indicated their increased commitment to the cause.

However, Gladys' murder was only one indication of the growing threat to the GR. We learned a bit more about "ATFEC" (the marvelously named Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, and Cults). Agent Kilaney's empathy-free solution to cult control is eerily reminiscent of Dean's (look who else got a name!) relentless extermination of the local feral dog population.

Bits & Pieces:

— Aimee continues to be my favorite character. Initially, her constant presence at the Garvey house seemed to be the result of teenagers taking advantage of a parenting vacuum. As the show progresses, I'm starting to think that she's (consciously or subconsciously) stepping into the empty place left behind by Laurie's departure and Kevin's increasing isolation and absentee parenting. Jill needs love and comfort and presence, and neither Laurie nor Kevin are currently capable of providing any of those.

— Like Margaret Qualley, Emily Meade is another actor whose Leftovers role is barely scratching the surface of her range. That said, after seeing what her character went through in "The Deuce", it's fine by me if she spends the rest of The Leftovers eating breakfast in the Garveys' kitchen. Jill isn't the only one who could use a hug.

— Kevin's giant back tattoo belongs to Justin Theroux himself.

The Leftovers doesn't always nail its musical choices, but Patti jamming along to Hall and Oates seemed just about perfect.

— "Heisenbrau Lite" is a fictional beer. The internet seems to think this is a reference to Breaking Bad...?


Meg: "Are you surprised? We want them to remember something they want to forget."

Kevin: "You get statements from everyone in the search party?"
Det. Vitello: "Yes, sir. Mike's at the Biggie, getting yellow pads in bulk."

Jill: "I shouldn't have cried. She wouldn't have cried for me."

Dog walker: "Don't investigate too hard."

Aimee: "Mr. Garvey, we heard that the woman who got killed got dragged behind a truck and, like, crucified. Is that true?"

Kevin: "Is she okay?"
Aimee: "She's Jill."
Kevin: "What does that mean?"
Aimee: "She doesn't really do okay."
Kevin: "I can't win."
Aimee: "Now you're gettin' it."

Dry cleaner: "Hey, Officer Mustard Stain!"

Meg: "She's not your wife anymore." You can feel the room temperature drop 10 degrees thanks to Liv Tyler's icicle-dripping line reading.

Matt: "It's easier to stay silent than to speak truth. Killing these people is pointless. They don't care, because they're already dead. What I want is to bring them back to life."

Agent: "Or if you want, we could just eliminate the infestation….this shit spreads if you let it. Don't worry about your victim. She doesn't give a shit. Worry about your town."

Meg: "I'm ready now."

Doubt may burn you up, but so will actual fire.
Overall Rating:

"Gladys" was another strong episode, significantly raising the stakes of the tensions inside and outside of Mapleton. Kevin may have staved off ATFEC for the moment, but the dripping menace in Agent Kilaney's voice will likely echo in the viewers' ears as well as Kevin's.

Three out of four empty Yuenglings,



  1. Definitely agree this was a strong episode overall, 3 out of 4 star for me. We’re starting to get hints of what drives all of our main cast, and I’m looking forward to what I assume will be some bigger payoffs down the line.

    I was waiting anxiously for this review to see what might be said about that pre-credits opener. When you watch a show or movie, your own experience is uniquely subjective. I’ve watched just about every genre and would consider myself pretty desensitized but for me, that intro hit a nerve - I cringed, shielded my face, and as it just went on and on, finally paused and walked away. But as is typical for me, I was too curious to let it go. But Leftovers, let that be a warning - anything more that intense, and you will be called to the DreadPirate office for a serious talk.

    As for the rest: Who is Dean - amended from my earlier question of “what” is Dean? He seems to be real since Aimee and Jill could see him, but he just gave Kevin his truck and no one at all questions it??

    There is cultist and then there is zealot - Meg is giving me early zealot vibes.

    “The Leftovers doesn’t always nail its musical choices” - this is SO TRUE. I will definitely be bringing this up in future episodes.

    In defense of dry cleaners everywhere, those folks are miracle workers. They don’t know your name, you don’t have a ticket - no problem - a little press of a button and those shirts are just there. EVERY TIME. Everyone knows this. My money says Kevin never even brought the shirts in.

    1. DreadPirate, you are not alone; I found the attack on Patti to be almost unwatchable (it's no coincidence that I didn't say more about the attack itself).

      I also continue to be puzzled by Dean. Right now, I'm wondering if he is just a weird dude who does weird things, and served only as a plot device to establish Kevin as an unreliable narrator. However, that is pretty unsatisfying, and I'm still trying to trust that the showrunners are playing a longer and more interesting game with that character. (Side note: Dennis' half-skeptical, half-credulous line about Dean being "late to his ballroom dance lesson" hit my funny bone. "The Leftovers" is not wasting a single one of its small roles.)

  2. Loving the reviews, Mothra.

    Kevin's shifting expression as that ATFEC agent casually proposed exterminating the Guilty Remnant as if they're a virus or some invasive species. He was reaching out for sane help for his insane problem, but all he found was more insanity. This show is terrifying in such a real-yet-unreal way.

    1. Thank you. :)

      "He was reaching out for sane help for his insane problem, but all he found was more insanity." Great way to sum up that phone call. I also loved the camerawork in that scene, zooming in and out and finally ending with Kevin looking small and slumped on his sorry living room couch, beer in hand (again).

    2. That comment was me, btw.

      Thanks for the response. And for reviewing this great show.


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