Josh recaps Season 1 Episode 2 of The Leftovers, titled Penguins One, Us Zero, which gives us more insight into what is going on with Kevin Garvey. We also learn more about his wife, and some new members of the G.R., the silent cult. Wayne and his followers have a gruesome encounter with an agency known as the AFTEC. Following the recap, both Josh and Violet share their thoughts on the episode. Let’s get into it!
Episode Recap of The Leftovers, Season 1 Episode 2: Penguins One, Us Zero
What is AFTEC? Who is Wayne?
So the second episode begins with an agency known as “AFTEC” looking at a case file for Wayne, the creepy leader of a cult-like group. We learn some background, that he an “hug the pain out of people”, but we also learn he likes pre-teen Asian women. The agency decides to move in to arrest the man, and they go into his compound pretty heavy handed. The officers seem to shoot first and ask questions later. The girl from last week’s episode, Christine, is stopped by a soldier, who threatens to kill her if she doesn’t tell him where Wayne is. But Tom shows up, and shoots the officer dead. He is broken up by the murder, but tells the dying soldier that Christine “is important”. He then takes Christine to a hidden shelter as gunfire and screams continue from the compound.
Later, Tom has gotten a vehicle and has made it to a gas station. He moves to survey the area, finding a dead man inside. A car pulls up, and after a tense moment, Wayne climbs from the trunk.
Wayne and Tom chat, and Wayne offers to let him “hug out” the pain. Tom refuses the hug though. Wayne then tells Tom that he will be taking care of Christine. Wayne gives Tom some money, and gives them some tips to stay alive. Wayne drives away, leaving Tom and Christine in their vehicle. Tom freaks out after the car won’t start, and begins slamming the steering wheel. Christine remains calm though, and tells Tom “everything’s going to be okay”.
Is Kevin Crazy…?
So next we see Aimee, who wakes up Kevin, and takes him into the woods, in the snow in just his underwear. The dog killer is shooting, and takes aim at a woman in white, potentially his wife? The man then warns Kevin about his feet, and there is a fire on the ground. He then springs awake.
Outside, Kevin’s neighbor accidentally started a fire, and Kevin rushes to help put it out. Kevin then has a session with a psychologist, and Kevin remains stand-offish. The psychologist asks Kevin about the dog-killing man, and Kevin becomes defensive about him. The psychologist seems to insinuate that perhaps the mystery man is made up, but Kevin remains defensive.
Meanwhile, Kevin asks one of his officers if there is any luck finding the dog shooter’s truck. The officer seems disinterested in finding the truck, but Kevin tells him to keep the search going. Kevin then pays the G.R. a visit, and has a chat with Meg. He takes her picture after having a chat, and offering to help her. He gives her a business card, and leaves her be.
So, back at the station Kevin continues his investigation of the people at the G.R., when Warburton warns him to keep himself in check. Kevin meanwhile has begun cooking some bagels. After sometime, the bagels seemed to have disappeared. Kevin gets frustrated, and eventually gives up searching for them when another office looks at him like he is crazy.
Kevin then meets with Meg’s fiancée. He tells him where Meg is, and the fiancée becomes heated, angry that she has left him. Kevin says she may still be save-able, but the fiancée doesn’t seem interested. The fiancée storms off, when Dennis, the officer searching for the dog-hunter’s truck, calls. He tells Kevin that the truck is in his driveway. Dennis offers to pull the truck away a few blocks, so it doesn’t look suspicious. Kevin is taken aback by the lie, and says that someone else put the truck in his driveway. Kevin seems perplexed by the truck though.
At Kevin’s house, he has a visitor–mystery dog-hunting man. He has brought some beer, and Kevin asks about the truck, and his name. The man remains coy. The man tells Kevin that he has found more dogs to hunt, and tells him where to meet up. The man leaves the truck at his house, and Kevin seems bewildered by the encounter. Jill asks who that person was, to which Kevin replies, “Nobody”.
Kevin then heads to what appears to be a mental facility. Warburton is visiting with an older man, who turns out to be Kevin’s father. Warburton takes off, and Kevin and his father have a talk. We find out that Kevin’s father has some sort of split personality disorder, as he begins talking to people that aren’t there. Then the father says he was told that someone was sent to help Kevin. Kevin asks, “Help with what?” But gets no answers.
After his meeting with his father, Kevin heads back to the station for some vindication–he finds the burnt bagels that jammed in the toaster oven. Perhaps he is not as crazy as he may have thought.
Should Meg Stay or Should She Go Now?
Meg continues her admittance to the weird non-speaking cult. She is in the “Pledge House” where people are still allowed to speak. Laurie, Kevin’s wife, greets Meg silently with an axe, and walks her outside. Laurie leans the axe against a tree, but doesn’t really give her any direction. Meg assumes it is to cut the tree down, and so she begins.
Meg gets pretty exhausted, and then demands why she has to cut down the tree, and makes assumptions about metaphors it could stand for. She finally gives up and storms off when she isn’t given any answers.
One of the women supervising Meg, Patti, warns Laurie that Meg is going to leave their group, and accuses her of going to easy on the girl.
Back at the G.R., Meg is visited again, and her belongings have been taken away. Meg tries to fight, but Laurie demands it taken. Meg and Laurie share a heart to heart, and Meg seems to be resign to giving up her last belonging.
Meg then decides to leave the G.R. compound, but where she has gone is a bit of a twist. She has taken the axe and now joyously is chopping down the tree she was working on before.
Aimee and Jill’s Stalking Adventure
Meanwhile, Jill and Aimee are out and about, and accidentally see a gun in the purse of Nora Durst, the woman who lost her whole family on October 14 and made the speech at Heroes Day. Jill tells Aimee about the gun, and they begin theorizing about what the gun is for. They then see Nora intentionally push her cup off the edge of the table, which only stokes their interest in this lady. They begin following her, borrowing the Frost brothers’ car to stalk her.
Meanwhile Aimee and Jill follow Nora to a house. Nora heads inside, and we see that she is conducting a interview regarding a benefit for an older couple’s departed son. As Nora conducts the interview, the couple becomes a irritated with the questions.
Outside the house, Aimee and Jill decide to get a little daring, and Aimee decides to search Nora’s car. Jill decides to make it more daring, honking her horn, alerting Nora, who comes outside to investigate. They drive away as Nora stares them down.
Josh’s Thoughts: The Leftovers, Season 1 Episode 2: Penguins One, Us Zero
The show continues to be of a sort of a slow pace, but it certainly has its interesting elements. So far the most interesting part of the show is the story of the Kevin. Is he crazy? Will he be where is father is in a few years? Is something else at play, such as the “Rapture”? The mystery dog hunter is interesting as well. Does that man really exist? It would seem so, since Jill mentioned him to Kevin. On the other hand, perhaps we do not know what is a dream and what is reality. A loss of reality has to be something that is very hard to deal with. Especially in a world where reality has already been turned upside down once.
It looks like Meg might possibly make it out of the cult, but based on the last scene, it looks like something that Laurie wrote to her really hit home for Meg. I think Meg has determined that the tree symbolizes her old life as she described earlier in the episode, and is now chopping it down to start anew.
As for the other cult–the followers of Wayne, they are even more crazy than the G.R. I wonder how much Tom believes in Wayne. Did Tom refuse the hug due to non-believing? Or did Tom refuse it because he didn’t feel right giving up the guilt of the murder he committed? It is hard to say, but I would like to learn more about Wayne, and to know if he does have a “gift” or if it is all a ruse. Given that we do not know anything about the disappearance, it is hard to say what is real and not real in the world this show has created.
I am curious to see how the show progresses. There is a lot of interesting character development, but I really hope to learn more about the disappearance. We really still know nothing other than what other characters in the show have inferred themselves.
It is interesting that the show is leaving it a mystery as to what actually happened to the disappearing people.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 1 Episode 2 of The Leftovers: Penguins One, Us Zero
The pace picked up slightly, what with the shootout at OK Corral – er, I mean, Wayne’s cult compound. Last episode I was wondering just how known this cult was, considering that it was out in the middle of nowhere. I had thought maybe it was so secluded as to be unknown. But that was far from true, if this AFTEC group was so keen on invading them. Apparently this guy Wayne was known for his preference for underage Asian girls. So, just how old is Christine then? And how old is Tom? Why does Wayne keep saying that Christine is important? Is it just because he is in love with her? Or is there some sort of special higher purpose that she is to serve? What is her ultimate role in all this? Will Tom continue to keep his hands off her? Seems like they’ll be spending a lot of one on one time together for awhile.
How much does Kevin know about what his son, Tom, is involved in? What does he think Tom is off doing? Is Kevin going crazy? Will Kevin eventually go crazy like his dad? I was starting to wonder whether the dog shooting guy was in fact real or not, but if Jill saw him and asked about him, then I guess he is real. How much time has passed between this episode and last? There’s all of a sudden a ton of snow, when temperatures seemed rather mild last time.
So I guess Laurie has convinced Meg to stay after all. I’d still like to know more of Meg’s back story, though. And Laurie’s back story, for that matter. How could Laurie just up and leave her kids? From the family picture last episode, it doesn’t look like any of their immediate family was taken, so it’s not like she was distraught over losing a child.
Then there’s this Nora Durst, who lost her whole family. Is it really such a big deal that she carries a gun? She’s all alone, and could be afraid for her own safety, especially in this slightly post-apocalyptic world. But then she purposely pushes her cup off the table. Why?
Again, tons more questions this episode, and no answers. I have a feeling the questions are just going to keep building up for awhile before we start to get any resolutions.