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‘The Leftovers’ Review/Recap: “Penguins One, Us Zero”

Adam Reynoso ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Annie Q. and Joseph Patterson in The Leftovers episode "Penguin One, Us Zero." Photo Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO.
Annie Q. and Joseph Patterson in The Leftovers episode “Penguin One, Us Zero.” Photo Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO.

As the HBO series continues, it continues to use mysterious dream sequences and scenes that make the audience question if what is happening is real or not. Much like Kevin Garvey, the audience is doubting themselves about whether or not Kevin is imagining things or if he’s actually experiencing these bizarre things. And another major development in the episode is further exploration into the mysterious Holy Wayne and how involved Tom has become.

The episode opens with a look into an investigation on Wayne and details of his crime. It’s revealed that he’s been known to have sexual relations with underage Asian girls on his ranch, as well as curing people of their baggage with hugs. Immediately after, the feds raid the ranch, looking for Wayne. The most surreal thing about the raid was how relentless the feds were, shooting anyone running or even just standing there. It seemed much harsher than any regular raid. But either way, the act was suspenseful and dramatic. It ends with Christine, the girl Tom promised to protect, about to be shot down by an agent. But just then, the gunman is shot down by Tom.

Ann Dowd and Kevin Frank in The Leftovers episode "Penguin One, Us Zero." Photo Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO.
Ann Dowd and Kevin Frank in The Leftovers episode “Penguin One, Us Zero.” Photo Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO.

These details about Wayne help the audience see what his compound was about and what kind of people Tom has gotten himself involved with. One of the most creepiest scenes is when Wayne is seen caressing a dead man’s face and he says, “He never would have let me do that when he was alive.” It shows another dark, disturbed side of Wayne. And to know that Tom hasn’t accepted a hug from him yet, it’s a sign of his distrust. He doesn’t want to let go of his pain or forget. But once he’s given the task of watching over Christine, he loses it in the car. Despite Christine’s promises of things being alright, it’s clear he doesn’t believe it. And seeing him call his dad earlier, perhaps he will return to Mapleton.

Meanwhile, Kevin is left having to go to therapy as result of his dog shooting activity last week. Even though he claims to have had an accomplice, no one believes him. He’s the only one who’s seen the man who shot the dogs before and has no proof he’s an actual person. The episode does an excellent job at playing with the audiences doubt, as well as having surreal dream sequences. This week’s dream included bein woken up in bed by Jill’s friend Aimee. Now that alone could lead to an attraction to Aimee, or that he’s just in need of another female companion. Either way, she leads him into the snow-covered forest and there, they meet the gunman and they begin to shoot at an unknown woman.

Ann Dowd in The Leftovers episode "Penguin One, Us Zero." Photo Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO.
Ann Dowd in The Leftovers episode “Penguin One, Us Zero.” Photo Credit: Paul Schiraldi/HBO.

The biggest development with Kevin is that he’s not sure of what he’s seeing. He’s obviously not all together and is continuing to slip each week. He wasn’t drinking this week, which is one step in the right direction. But even when he sees the man at his house, all suspicions are dropped after Aimee and Jill acknowledges him. He still doesn’t trust him, and instead, chooses to visit his dad to see if he could be heading toward the same type of breakdown. It’s in this meeting that we see how even though he’s partially there, he’s still obviously been through something. It’s a nice foreshadowing of where Kevin could be heading.

And lastly, the show explored the Guilty Remnants as Meg began her stay. She’s been there for weeks and is still not part of the group and is still only on the pledge level. Laurie is in charge of working with her, but fears she may be too hard on her. Learning more and more, the group itself seems less like a cult and more like any other religious group, especially less like a cult than Holy Wayne’s people. But the key to joining the GR is shedding the past and accepting their ways and goals. Even though the group doesn’t believe Meg will stay, by the end, it’s shown that she’s determined to prove her dedication.

The writing has proven to remain sharp, as well as the direction. The show is continuing to progress and establish its characters and world. The mystery of the show is beginning to slowly unravel and it’s continue to pique interests.

Overall Episode Grade: B+

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