“The richness of the colours threatened to break my television”
So, 23 episodes into The Leftovers, Scott Glenn’s Kevin Snr. finally gets the episode he deserves. And with it, a Justin Theroux/Carrie Coon-free hour of Leftovers to rival Lost’s “Across The Sea”. And what an hour. Glenn’s Snr. has always been one of the most enigmatic presences on the show, yet was totally sidelined for Season 2 par a few mysterious appearances (his “International Assassin” cameo was explained properly this week). But here he is, scrambling across the Australian outback seeking purpose, redemption and the keys to preventing the apocalypse. Conveying a vivid sense of place has always been one of this show’s greatest strengths, be it the claustrophobia of Jarden or the frozen-in-time captivity of the Hotel Limbo, but Mimi Leder and cinematographer John Grillo depiction of the Aussie landscapes were truly something special. The richness of the colours, be it the smoke surrounding Snr. on October 14th or the orange desert surface, threatened to break my television; this was by far the most visually astounding episode of The Leftovers to date (and provided the majority of Season 3’s best trailer shots). As always with the ‘solo’ episodes, the focus on a single — previously underdeveloped — character changed the tone of the show; how unexpected that, after everything that happened in Seasons 1 and 2, an episode of The Leftovers would arrive that wouldn’t provoke the slightest thought of the Guilty Remnant for a whole hour — I genuinely forgot they existed until after watching the episode.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the show incorporate recent fetishism for cassette tapes (see: 13 Reasons Why, Guardians of the Galaxy), and — as a child who constantly recorded myself “hosting a show” and drove my parents nuts in the process — I was incredibly moved by Snr.’s replaying of Jnr.’s 8-year old news reports.
You have to wonder: did they use a weird cover of “Personal Jesus” for artistic reasons — or because it was cheaper?
Glenn was able in this episode to both build on what we’ve already seen of Snr., and build a relatively new persona from scratch: he did a terrific job, and defiitely rivals Coon for the finest performance of the season so far. Let’s see what Chris Eccleston and Amy Brenneman have waiting for us in the coming weeks. Speaking of Eccleston, Rev. Matt made some brief appearances in this episode, the only Jarden-set scenes of the hour, only to sign off telling Snr. to ‘go f*ck himself’ after a disagreement about the Book of Kevin. I’m now genuinely invested in the story of this scripture — I hope the ending pays off well.
Next week, Kevin and Nora will finally arrive in Australia themselves.
Most importantly, we’ll get to see Kevin bumping into a koala furry. I really cannot wait.