This week we get the third point of view on the events that set the stage for this season. When Jill and Tommy met in the diner for a chance at a sibling connection, you wondered how Tommy and Laurie were doing as the two most estranged members of the Garvey family. Now we know just how hard it is for the makeshift remnants of a family torn apart by the sudden departure. Outside the sturdy confines of the nuclear family unit, estranged from the comforts of home and hearth, it’s pretty wild and wooly along the borders. Laurie, you’ll remember, experienced her great loss from within her own womb. Tommy could no longer proceed along his preordained path once his college buddies started killing themselves. But didn’t it really start even before, when Kevin and Laurie married, and tried building their family of parts and pieces of failed earlier relationships? Laurie’s abusive ex, Kevin’s complicated family, was it all a paper-thin sheen of normalcy that was totally disrupted by the Departure? Now she and Tommy are a team, working on dismantling the Guilty Remnant “hives” one person at a time. And that’s the saddest goal of all, because though Laurie’s faith in them was broken by the violent retaliation to their antics (and the near-death of her daughter as a kind of collateral damage), her plan of deprogramming their victims has one fatal flaw. As her son points out, the remnant makes a kind of sense the more you immerse yourself with it (doesn’t Laurie know this first hand?), and when you reject them, you need to have something else to believe in instead. All Laurie is offering is the old human connections and interactions, which we see shatteringly is far from enough when one of her rescues finds no solace back with the family she left, even though she is forgiven and welcomed. As miserable as the silent, white-clad, chain-smoking cult rituals made her (their mission opts for a slow suicide, occasionally intensified by the negative attention they court), she’s just as lost back at home. And so she opts for the Christopher Walken solution from Annie Hall, this time very much not played for laughs. That horrible news disrupts Laurie’s demeanor at her meeting with a publisher, where she thinks her new exposé on her days with the cult may offer the vengeful release she’s longing for. But just as her failed rescue noted the anger they shared in common and that Laurie wouldn’t admit, the potential publisher notes the personal angle missing from narrative. He wants to know not just what happened, but just what it was that attracted Laurie in the first place. How had she felt about all the subsequent events that resulted in ongoing catastrophe? And since he’s played by veteran Mark Harelik, he turns the smarmy indifference up to eleven. He sounds more like an insensitive Hollywood producer than a book editor, but maybe those roles have collapsed these days. His casual insensitivity provokes a violent response from Laurie, one that lands her in a jail cell. She’s been committing crimes of her own throughout the episode, testing how much Remnant members wanted to survive, stealing back her laptop from a sleazy landlord, and her sheepish affect when Tommy bails her out is just one of the many nuances Amy Brenneman nails in this troubling portrait of a lost soul. She doesn’t miss a beat, however squirmy or self-damning. Tommy goes through his own trials in the episode (the adult warnings of nudity and rape relate mostly to him), as his infiltration of the “hives” triggers its own enigmatic response. Because he’s a guy he doesn’t talk about it, except to demand how his mother left things with Liv Tyler’s character Meg. Laurie’s own indifference is revealed, which is little comfort to him. That he does have something to offer to their ex-cultists ties back to last season, when he seemed to inherit the mantle of savior from Holy Wayne. If you believe that Wayne healed Nora (on her own trial by fire at the book conference), then it’s not hard to believe in what Tommy says now. He’s been on a dangerous path since leaving school … this new ability won’t make him any safer. The Leftovers 2.03 "Off Ramp"Shawn's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.