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The Leftovers - Gladys - Review: "Doubt Is Fire"

"But what a fool believes he sees
No wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
And nothing at all keeps sending him..."
- "What A Fool Believes" - The Doobie Brothers

I apologize that this Review of Sunday's episode of The Leftovers is a little late, but I wanted that first scene to marinate in everyone's mind for a little before you commented below. I watch a lot of TV, which I'm sure quite a few of you know already, and there have been few scenes that have elicited the kind of reaction I had when I saw Gladys in those cringe-worthy first minutes. It was brutal to say the least and I have been anticipating what all of you thought about that scene and the episode as a whole.

I believe what happened to Gladys will reverberate throughout the remaining episodes of the season. It definitely added to the theory that the GR is being set-up as the series first 'big-bad'. After watching the episode, I immediately tried to draw conclusions to who killed her and why? A few scenes stuck out to me as odd and if we piece them together I think we can come up with a plausible explanation of what is going on in Mapleton. Mind you, none of what transpired in this episode was in the book, so I don't already know the answer to this; we are all in the same boat. In fact, the TV series now appears nothing like the book, except for the basic characters.

The first scene that I recalled was the first few seconds of the episode. Gladys and Patti sit across from each other and between them is Patti's desk. They sat in silence, of course, staring at each other before exchanging a terse nod, as if they knew what would transpire and they had a prearranged agreement about something. I found this a little odd, but it makes me initially think that the GR and Gladys were in on the barbarous stoning that resulted in Gladys's death. The GR would have much to gain from Gladys becoming a martyr of sorts. The second scene(s) that somewhat supports this theory is Patti taking Laurie to her 'day off' breakfast at Denny's [1]. I think she was doing this to recruit Laurie to be the next martyr or possibly choose someone else for the spiritual position.

Something else I was thinking about is the mysterious character named Dean, who shoots stray dogs and has a perpetual supply of chewing tobacco in his mouth. If you noticed when Gladys was snatched up by the convenience store there were dogs barking in the distance. Since I associate everything relating to dogs to Dean, I think he was in on it along with that man walking his two dogs that came up to Kevin's car and startled him awake. I know, I know, that is specious reasoning, but you all think Dean had something to with it too, right? He just happened to be in the woods at the time they were looking for Gladys - He is always chewing tobacco (much like the other GR Members always smoking) - and he is trying to become friends with the towns Chief of Police whose wife is a member of the GR.

There are so many cults popping up all over that the ATF changed it's name to "Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives and Cults" - The ATFEC. And apparently they get raided to bring about their end according to Agent Kilaney (get it? 'kill any'-- no?...is that a stretch?...ok). So far, we have these cults: Holy Wayne, The Guilty Remnant, The Barefoot People (remember this is what Tom and Christine are pretending to be with the targets on their foreheads), Heaven's Converts (this is the cult that was on the TV getting raided when Kevin woke up in the beginning of the episode - the compound was in Noma, FL where Agent Kilaney was), and Tomorrow's Family. I suppose this is to blur the lines between religious and cult beliefs in our society. People will believe what they want to believe and everyone has their own agenda for believing. In a moment that expresses his belief system perfectly Reverend Matt says to Kevin, "Killing these people is pointless, they don't care because they are already dead. What I want is to bring them back to life."

At one point the Rev tells Kevin a story about Thomas the Disciple and Jesus. The meaning behind it is that it is easier to stay silent, then it is to speak truth. This is a comment on the GR and Gladys and their relationship with the town of Mapleton and it's citizens. I imagine we will find out by the end of the season if it is easier to stay silent or speak truth. When taking in to account the whole episode, the message that comes across is 'doubt' and how it relates to ones religious beliefs. Doubt is a necessary element to any religion so faith has something to be compared to and springboard off. Patti says to Laurie, "Doubt is fire, and fire is going to burn you up until you are but ash." Gladys, unfortunately, had doubts.

[1] - I don't think it was actually Denny's, but I thought it was funny, so I wrote 'Denny's'.

Thoughts and Discussion

- There was pretty good song selections in the episode. Here they are for those of you want to know:
"Kiss On My List" - Hall & Oates
"What A Fool Believes" - The Doobie Brothers
"Warrior" - Terry Divine-King & Winston Francis
"The Twins (Prague)" - Max Richter

- My other idea for the Tagline to this Review was "Officer Mustard Stain".

- Did you notice...Gladys had 13 rocks thrown at her. The number 13 has a mostly negative connotation and is referenced quite a bit in religions.

- LOST Numbers - Gladys was supposed to be in morgue drawer 4. Officer Mustard Stain had 8 white dress shirts at the dry cleaners. The numbers in the time in Patti's car both times add up to 16. Laurie woke up at '2:3''8' and it has been 8 months since she spoke.

- Did Patti put feces in the bag she wrote 'Neil' on and leave it on someones porch?

- In case any one was wondering Gladys is a latin name that means 'Sword'. I have no idea what that means so if anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

- Did anyone else think that Dean (the dog shooting guy) looked like the man processing bodies at the ATFEC center at the end?

- Nora's statement to Kevin at the dry cleaners is a comment on the SD and makes light of it - "They'll turn up pnce you stop looking for them." Which they did. This is now the second episode in a row and third so far where something just "vanished".

- Did you notice...Jill's room has a lot of interesting things on the walls. One thing I thought was interesting and worth mentioning was the poster for "Murder By Death". It is the name of a band and also a movie. The movie is a comedy that revolves around a murder mystery whodunit.

Thank you for reading my Review! Please comment below so we can discuss the episode further. I would love to know what everyone thought about that cold open and the episode in general. It's hard to believe this episode marked the halfway point for the season - only five episodes left! Have a great weekend everyone!

About the Author - Geo N
My name is George and I am from Detroit, MI. My favorite shows are The Blacklist, Hell On Wheels, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, LOST, Sons Of Anarchy, Sleepy Hollow and countless other shows. When I'm not watching tons of TV, I enjoy reading, playing hockey, comic books, weightlifting, and writing. Thanks for checking out my post.
Recent Reviews By Geo N (All Reviews)

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