I waited a week to watch this episode of The Leftovers. Not because I was busy, or had better things to do. Because I was scared. Father Matt Jamison’s favorite biblical book is Job, and an episode focusing on him is bound to be a hurt-fest. If this season is some kind of retrenchment and doubling down on the feats and themes of the first season (and that theory makes sense to the extent that they’ve left the template novel behind at this point), then it was Matt’s turn for a solo trial. Last year his ongoing battle with the Guilty Remnant was an ideological one that crystallized his battles on all other fronts; he doesn’t think the Departed left for any particular reason, he couldn’t comfort those who felt the need to praise and mourn their loved ones, and he had an ongoing battle of his own to cope with his own loss, as his wife Mary was injured in a car accident in the moment of departure. He’s also got a very poor self-preservation instinct when it comes to helping others in need. You might say he’s self-destructive, or at least has a martyrdom complex. As such he’s one of the star players of this series I shouldn’t even be watching, concerned as it is with rapture, guilt, punishment, desperation, forgiveness, and reprisal. The religious framework of the show (“thank god I didn’t say Lutheran” says our Job during one of his many fraught negotiations this week) should be a huge turnoff to me, as my bouts of organized flagellation and guilt are long over. But the permanently agnostic doubt afflicting every character does have a kind of narrative purpose. It can lead to moments of catharsis and epiphany, as we’ve seen time and time again. Such moments seem to be what everyone searches for on this show, moments occasionally found, but always at a price, and seldom lasting. Matt’s quandary is this: his wife will not wake up again after her mini-miracle when they found their new home in Jarden. Those three hours resulted in a reunion that now has a consequence: she’s pregnant. And she wants her son to live, she says when she briefly speaks again, of course where only Matt can see and hear. To help her he has to return to town, but his horrible luck has placed them outside the fence with no phone, no car, a broken wrist and an unfortunate dependence on one ally: John Murphy. And that’s the point of the episode, because Murphy demands he admit he’s a rapist, rather than pretending she actually woke up. And though he tries to do it for her sake, Matt can’t violate his own basic nature so easily. Because instead of taking what John is offering (a room at the inn, of course) he has to ask John to show him where he got hurt. What made him so angry? And that is the question we all need to know, and the one John has committed arson and probably much more to avoid. So they are now permanently at odds. Instead of back inside (and despite his sister Nora’s heroic efforts to get what she wants for all her loved ones at all times; the Departure has at least made her morality very specific and personal) he finds himself a wanderer in the bizarrely freewheeling world outside the gate, where human nature has receded to a rather medieval level of morality and faith. Matt clearly realizes he’s needed so much more in that wilderness than inside the seemingly civil walls. Is ending up in a pillory what he deserves, though? It’s just one more price to pay. The Leftovers 2.05 "No Room at the Inn"Shawn's Rating3.0Overall 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.