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The Leftovers - Penguin One, Us Zero - Review

The second episode of The Leftovers aired Sunday night to much better reviews than the mixed ones received for the Pilot. I've never seen a pilot episode, or show for that matter, polarize audiences so much. I had a feeling that as this ten episode season progressed the episodes would get better, grander and much more enjoyable and it appears headed in that direction. I know it's been only the two episodes so far, but I have seen the third, and can say that this series improves on the character developments and the story arc exponentially. It was another strong episode Written by Damon Lindelof and Kath Lingenfelter

In this episode we learn a little more about the mysterious 'Holy Wayne' and his penchant for young Asian girls as wives. We open witnessing a raid on Wayne Henry Gilcrest Jr.'s compound by a SWAT team to capture 'Holy Wayne'. Wayne lost a child in the Sudden Departure, on October 14th, and I'm guessing that that is why he started this whole enterprise. The jury is still out whether or not he is insane or crazy and each episode brings about new clues for us to make a determination. My guess is he lost a little more than his kid in the Sudden Departure especially after some of the things we saw him do Sunday night. 'Holy Wayne' believes he can "unburden" people of their pain through hugging, which we learn immediately after we see him kissing a dead man on a gas station floor. Ok...umm...maybe we need a little more evidence. He may have become a little unhinged since the SD resulting, in part, to his 8 counts of statutory in Pennsylvania. On top of this, he sells his magical hugs to senators, which authorities take as a threat to national security. The SWAT team enters the compound and what happens next is chaotic and hostile to say the least. I wondered afterwards if that is how the world is after the Sudden Departure. The SWAT team assaulted some habitants and killed others. Is that the New World Order now that the Rapture, or what they think is the Rapture, has come? This is a question to keep in mind going forward.

We also learn a little more about Kevin and what's going on in his head. I suspected that Dean, the dog killer from episode one, was a figment of Kevin's imagination. Kevin is in therapy for his late night dog hunting party he had with Dean. It's in this therapy session that we learn what penguin the title of this episode references. The therapist uses the penguin balloon for children he treats to punch, letting out their aggression. 'Penguin One, Us Zero' implies that the citizens of Mapleton are letting their hostility get the better of them. Kevin's "penguin" is the bagel toaster. We are meant to believe that Kevin is either crazy or getting there. I thought he was on the cusp of insanity when I noticed no bagels emerging from the toaster, suspecting that Kevin never put them in there to begin with. Throughout the episode there are hints of this, especially in regard to the truck that he asks his deputies to locate. The truck that belongs to Dean mysteriously shows up in Kevin's driveway with the keys on the dash. Apparently, Dean put it there because he heard Kevin was looking for it and he no longer had any use for it. This relationship between Kevin and Dean is very interesting to me and speaks to what Kevin is going through with everything he has lost since the SD. The narrative definitely suggests that Kevin has some deep issues that he needs to deal with and I feel that his interaction with Dean in this episode, and episodes to come, will reveal what those issues are and how Kevin deals with them. I thought it interesting that Lucy, the town mayor, is in a relationship with Kevin's dad, who is in a home. I assume he is in the home due to the voices he hears.

One thing that I love that the creators are doing is the use of dream sequences. When done appropriately they can reveal that a lot is going on in the show in such a short time. Kevin's dream sequence was executed perfectly and looked amazing. What I noticed is that Aimee made it into his dream suggesting Kevin need for a female presence in his life that is not related to him. My favorite aspect of the dream was Dean aiming and shooting at a woman running away in the woods that resembled his estranged wife, Laurie. Remember in episode one that Dean mentioned to Kevin that the dog's are not theirs anymore. Since Dean is aiming and shooting at Laurie in this dream it's telling Kevin that, like the dogs, Laurie is not Kevin's anymore and she is running away from him. This is a great dream sequence and the direction by Peter Berg this episode was amazing.

Aggression is that heart of the episode with the characters displaying their emotions and the outlets of those emotions in different ways. What surprised me was Tom's reaction to killing that SWAT team member. He didn't really show any emotion or remorse and never mentioned it until Wayne brought it up later. The characters are all looking for ways to let their aggression and emotions out and some of them find an outlet while others struggle with that burden. Meg realizes her choice to join the Guilty Remnant was easier than she initially thought. She realizes, with the help of Laurie, that everyone leaves some kind of life behind as a result of the SD and it was time for her to let go of her past. It will be interesting to see how her relationship with Laurie and the Guilty Remnant plays out moving forward.

'Penguin One, Us Zero' was another great chapter in the bleak story of The Leftovers. There are definitely some lingering questions that I had after watching. Theses questions are why I love this series so much because I know they will be answered eventually, but the writers are planting the seeds early on. What is going on with Nora Durst? Did she do what she did in the coffee shop for attention or just to get a reaction? The best part of the show is that we want to watch the next episode immediately to get these answers, but they don't need to end on cliffhangers to make us want that.

Thoughts and Discussion

- Did you notice...The SWAT team member asks Christine, "Are you ready to die?". What is that about?

- Did you notice...The pancake, with the whip cream that Ron puts on it, that Meg is eating looks like it is half-sad/half-happy mirroring her own emotions and what she is going through on the inside.

- Did you notice...There were a lot of LOST Number references in this episode. Wayne had 8 prior incidences with the law. The corresponding numbers of some of the letters on many license plates were Numbers. Nora's job ID is 42ECN. The Patterson's Claim Number is 77123.

- It appeared that Reverend Jamison was passing out fliers to discredit some of the 'departed' as people who should not have been a part of the Rapture. What is his affiliation with Nora Durst?

- Did you notice...When Kevin is leaving the Guilty Remnant he walks past Patti Levin holding a sign that she wants to show him, but Kevin dismisses her by saying "Why don't you f**king mail it to me?". I wanted to know what the sign read so I went frame by frame to get the best view to be able to look through the sheet of paper that was turned away from us. Patti's sign, that she meant for Kevin to see, read "You can f**k off".

- Did you notice...Kevin's dad was watching 'Perfect Strangers'. I imagine that was done on purpose to mirror Kevin's relationship with his dad.

- This episode had no music, which was upsetting because after the great tracks we heard in the pilot I thought there would be great music in each episode.

- Why does Wayne think Christine is so important? Does Tom plan on taking Christine to his home?

- Who does Kevin's dad think he is talking to? How does he know that someone was sent to visit Kevin?

- I love how the show ended with Kevin helping himself and taking apart the bagel machine to prove his own sanity. I really like his character and look forward to his scenes.

Thank you for reading my Review! Please comment below to discuss the show further!

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.
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