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The Leftovers Season 1: “B.J. and the A.C.”

By Eleonora Iafano on Jul 21, 2014 to The Leftovers

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Christmas is supposed to be a time when family and friends get together, spend time and catch up with all the fun and light-hearted things that holidays are supposed to bring. In this particular episode, there’s not much to celebrate. People are still reeling over their loved ones’ disappearances and many people are still depressed, angry, confused or outright apathetic.

 

Baby Jesus

Baby Jesus was stolen from the Nativity scene from the local church. Who steals a doll from a church display? More to the point, why would anyone want to do that? What purpose does it serve? Apparently a lot of people were talking about the fact that the doll was stolen from the church display, according to Jill’s best friend, Aimee. PC Kevin Garvey doesn’t really consider it to be any significance, but his daughter, Jill, seems to be a little too interested in the doll’s disappearance. We later find out who the actual culprits were – Jill herself, along with her two friends, the twins, whom I will affectionately call Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, because they aren’t the brightest bulbs in the pack. Even the Mayor gets in on the action by telling Kevin to go get a new doll and lie about it, “you found it, it was scuffed up,” – like this is the first time we’ve seen a politician lie, right?!

 

The Savior

What’s up with Tommy and that girlfriend of Wayne’s? Let me just put it down for the record that I find her to be a selfish, empty-headed twit. I guessed early on that was pregnant with Wayne’s child and after a very weird scuffle, while in some sort of hostel, we find out that she is indeed, pregnant. Tommy loses his cool and beats up some strange man who kept going on about how he had seen the girl in his dreams before and that “He knows what’s inside of her.” Oh boy, I hope that the child she’s pregnant with is not the Anti-Christ, because that would really freak me out. She also has a big mouth and doesn’t know when to keep it shut. After a tense situation in a hospital, Tommy takes off, for fear of being charged with assault. He later comes back to retrieve Wayne’s girlfriend, under the guise of pretending to be some sort of cult follower. You can also tell that Tommy is at his wit’s end, waiting for a call that hasn’t happened in over 6 weeks. While en route to another destination, their bus lurches forward and brakes hard. Once people step outside, they see a truck overturned, with bodies scattered across the highway. People dressed all in while, in white body bags. What could this mean?

 

Family Drama

leftovers25__1405955295_109.76.51.191While PC Kevin Garvey and co. are busy coming up with a plan to protect the high school in case the Guilty Remnant shows up, they don’t fully realize that they are being duped. You have to understand the frame of mind that Kevin’s in – earlier on, his wife visited him with Meg, the other lady who seems to be making the transition into the GR group. I had a feeling this scene was going to end with a divorce petition and I was right on the money. Kevin is stressed out, emotionally drained and bewildered as to why his wife wants a divorce. “No!” he bellows. “You say it!” he implores, as he wants to hear it from her, not Meg. Of course, Jill comes in to hear the portion where her dad is yelling at her mother and in an awkward moment, Jill goes to the Christmas tree and gets the small gift underneath it. She then hands it to her mom and leaves the room. (The gift is an engraved lighter that says “Don’t Forget Me”). So, you can see why Kevin is not too thrilled when the GR group members show up on the school property. Except for one tiny detail: it wasn’t as large a group as they thought: it was a distraction. While some of the GR were arrested for “trespassing”, the rest were out and about, taking away every single family photo they could find, while breaking and entering into people’s homes that night. Creepy. Then again, remember what Patty had written down and shown Kevin in the beginning of the episode: “NO FAMILY”. I guess with the GR taking all pictures of family members, they are trying to send a message to the rest of the townsfolk: there’s no such thing as family anymore.

 

Teenage Angst

Looking at the way both Tommy and Jill behave suggests that they are also suffering, but choose to vent it in different ways. Tommy has no contact with his family, which frustrates the heck out of his father. Meanwhile, Jill is very confused: she tries to go with the crowd and tries to stand on her own two feet. I can’t figure her out – yes, it’s got to be difficult when one of you parents is no longer at home and a weird event claimed the lives of so many people without explanation, but wouldn’t that make you want to become closer to the people you still have left in your life?

 

Truths Revealed

At the dance, while Kevin is about to return the baby Jesus doll, he encounters Nora, who’s sitting by her old locker. I got the impression there was some underlying flirtation going on. Some pretty intimate details are revealed between the two: Nora admits that she recently found out about her late husband’s infidelity, while Kevin admits that he had been unfaithful to his wife. Nora looks a bit stunned, and then asks Kevin why he did it. His response: “Is there a good answer to that question?”

Lots of questions still unanswered in this series. Lot of unresolved feelings about what happened and how people are coping. Let’s see if any of them are answered with next week’s episode.

Here’s a preview for next week’s episode, “Gladys”, and episodes beyond:

  • Jef Dinsmore

    Before I watched this episode or read any descriptive notes I was all over the title B. J. & the A. C. I first focused on character names but that wasn’t it. Then I thought of the words blowjob and air conditioning. But when I realized this episode takes place during the Holidays that killed the A.C. connection. The B. J. of course, became easy after seeing the episode – Baby Jesus and the A. C….

    …OH No! Eleonora you may have hit on something here. A. C. – the Anti-Christ! Christine is carrying the Anti-Christ. Well, not really, trust me, but
    many may think so just because of her association to Holy Wayne.

    The episode gives us a lot. There is character reveals about the Garvey family and Christine’s importance. There is illustration via fake Jesus’ and fake Loved Ones that all these beliefs and practices don’t really hold weight. Plus, there is the rotten G. R claiming that the concept of family is not relevant anymore. Yeah, give them all, DRANO!

    This episode made me think too hard. Just what is right and wrong, good or evil for post Departure society? What is holding on to Christian beliefs or any belief going to hurt? What is fighting for or showing concern for family going to hurt? It has been three years since the event. How long does society need to fumble around with what to feel, think and believe in? Christine’s baby is going to have the fucking answers? I don’t think so.

    I could pontificate longer, but that’s enough because I don’t know what I believe in now either. Is it a good show or a bad show because it makes you think so hard? I didn’t mind it with TRUE DETECTIVE? I’ll just have to give it a rest.

  • That’s it, I’ve had it. I hated this episode, which is a pity, as last week’s one-character take was actually pretty interesting.

    I’ll finish watching the season, but I’m no longer going to waste my time attempting to analyse this borderline schlock, apart from the odd thought here and there. The cast is great (apart from Tommy and the Asian girl), the cinematography is great, the central idea is great. But, the execution is uninteresting, the writing is terrible (especially regarding anything to do with teenagers, fuck off with that nonsense), the music is repetitive and overly melodramatic to the point of comic relief, and the characters are probably some of the most boring to ever show their faces on a TV screen. You have to hand it to him – Lindelof has managed to create Lost 2.0, only without the interesting characters and somewhat intriguing themes. Maybe if the show is renewed for a second season, it might go somewhere, as the constraints of the apparently badly written book are doing the show’s premise a large disservice.

    There is one plus, though. I’ve finally figured it out, the very root of the problem of Mapleton and its boring asshole residents; god stole all of the interesting people three years ago.

    • Eleonora Iafano

      I so wanted to see another episode like last weeks’. The one character perspective helped to bridge a few characters and shed some light on what went down in Mapleton (and the rest of the world). Sigh. Hopefully they still might do this for a few more episodes?










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