The Leftovers: Penguin One, Us Zero (1.02)

EPISODE 2

With majority of shows, I know right away. I know if I like them, I know what I’m getting and in most cases, I stay with those shows for years. Two episodes in and I’m still not 100% certain whether I’m liking The Leftovers but I’m almost completely sure that I will finish the first season because I need to know HOW it will turn out.

As the shows format is rather keen on choppy editing, I’m going to be a bit more organized this time (I feel my last recap was all over the place) and segment the recap into characters and what was happening with them throughout the 50 minutes. Hopefully it means I get through the episode faster and the whole post is a bit more easier and logical to digest.

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Penguin One, Us Zero starts off two weeks after the last events in the pilot, nothing major has changed as we find out gradually, but the episode does begin with a rather intriguing scene. A military or a government organization is discussing Wayne (Paterson Joseph), the cult guy, who apparently hugs people for a greater good, so obviously they try to stop him. Followed by an intense scene where black-op look alike guys raid Wayne’s place firing bullets without warning, Christine (Annie Q) almost gets shot but Tommy (Chris Zylka) kills the guy as he was to protect the girl no matter what.

Christine and Tommy escape and later on in the episode, they meet Wayne in a gas station where he kisses a dead guy ???. He also desperately tries to hug Tommy, as he apparently has the power to take away his suffering or what not but Tommy doesn’t let him, making him interesting in Wayne’s eyes. For me, Tommy seems completely normal for not hugging him as he was just kissing a dead guy. Finally, Wayne says Tommy has to take Christine with him, as he himself can’t risk it.

As Kevin’s (Justin Theroux) plot is still the center of the show he continues to get a lot of screen time – which I don’t mind. Penguin One, Us Zero starts off with another weird dream for Kevin, his daughters best friend Aimee (Emily Meade) leads him to the weird bald guy who likes to shoot dogs. Kevin is burning and he wakes up. Later he is talking to his therapist who questions whether this bald guy actually exists, leading to the theme of the episode in which Kevin thinks he is loosing his mind.

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As the police has been looking for the truck the bald guy drives unsuccessfully for two weeks, Kevin shows that the police can be productive by raiding the silent cult’s pledge house. Apparently, before they stop speaking, wearing all white and pick up heavy smoking, they stay in a separate house, a house where Meg (Liv Tyler) has lived for the past two weeks. Kevin meets Meg and hands her his business card in case she wants to talk – hint hint.

To add to Kevin’s own paranoia about his sanity, the bald guy’s truck is found in his driveway, with a dead dog in it. As what seems to be the only question that gets a solid answer, Kevin is proven to be sane when his daughter sees the bald man who drops by for a visit later in the episode. He asks Kevin out for a dog shooting session but he declines – good for him.

The scene before the last for Kevin shows him visiting his dad in the mental institution, his father is dating the major by the way. And while his father insists his not crazy like everybody keeps saying, he is clearly hearing voices but apparently they are telling him that they have sent somebody to help Kevin. Hoping his father’s fate won’t be his, he then goes to the station to find the lost bagel he put in the toaster earlier on in the episode. Turns out, he didn’t imagine it and he seems happy about it though I doubt it would be the end of this story line.

In the midst of all of that, Meg is trying to understand the cult, which states itself to be not a cult, while chopping a tree. Laurie is her monitor/mentor in all of this and it seems Meg is finding it hard to fit in. In an one sided conversation, Meg calls Laurie’s husband hot and indicates that her mom went missing in that event on October 14th. Laurie also confesses she remembers her husband and most likely kids, and it seems she misses them so it’s even more unclear why she’s even there. In the end, Laurie and her boss think Meg left but it seemed she just went out to chop that tree down.

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Jill (Margaret Qualley) and Aimee also embark on a separate plot in this episode, stalking a woman with the Frost Twins (Charlie and Max Craver). While Jill is more mysterious and it’s hard to understand her thoughts, Aimee seems to be reckless and the kind of girl one would call a rebel. The reason why these girls are following this woman is simple, Jill sees a gun in her purse and they think she’s going to kill somebody after having lost her entire family in October 14.

Instead of going on a rampage, this woman simply does her job by visiting a house of two elderly people and asking them bunch of weird questions about their missing son. Apparently you can get some sort of benefits after having lost a family member but you have to answer a wide range of questions, for instance, had that person traveled to Brazil and did they enjoy cooking. This probably means the government wants to know the common factors among the people who went away on October 14th.

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All in all, I’m still on defense in regards to The Leftovers. I like it but then I’m not completely sure about my feelings. I do get annoyed by the choppy editing, that is a bit annoying for me at times because instead of allowing to spend more consecutive scenes with a singular character, we are constantly thrown between multiple plots. That being said, Kevin’s seems to be the most solid at this point, having the most attention and actually having some contact between the other characters like Meg.

No animals were harmed in this episode which was nice but then again, nothing really happened in this episode either. The Leftovers seems to be on a slow and steady base and who knows when shit will hit the fan so to speak. I’m hoping that some people from the October 14 will return! That would be.. interesting to witness.

Also, it seems the most questions I have in regards to somebody’s plot is towards Tommy but as much as I want to like the guy, I just can’t stand Zylka. He’s still the weak link for me and everything to do with him and Christine will most likely be interesting but I just can’t seem to find the power to be excited for them.

That’s it for my thoughts this time, and as you probably noticed, I didn’t mention the God like new opening but expect an intro post soon enough!

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1 thought on “The Leftovers: Penguin One, Us Zero (1.02)”

  1. So far, the story’s getting more interesting. Hopefully it stays this way. Especially now that Liv Tyler is being called on to do more stuff. That could be scary. You never know with her. Good review Ray.

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