The fourth episode of HBO’s The Leftovers is back to focusing on the Garvey family. Last weeks episode delved into the life of Reverend Matt Jamison in his quest to buy back his church, which was eventually sold to the Guilty Remnant. Chief Garvey, his estranged wife, and two kids barely made an appearance is the third episode, which was odd considering the first two were mostly an exploration of their four characters.
The shows opens with the Black Key’s song I’m not the One playing while the viewer becomes familiar with the intricacies of how a baby doll is made in a factory. The doll is eventually chosen to be baby Jesus in the manger of the yearly Nativity Scene, likely by some administrative assistant. It is a very unsettling scene because so many little dolls are being made and like Jill says later in the show, one cannot “just replace baby Jesus, that is cheating.” It really highlights the banality of the exact similarities between the hundreds of dolls, and the contrasting sacredness of choosing one to be represented as the lord and savior of Christian religion.
The Leftovers continues as Chief Garvey bring in Patti Levin, the leader of the Guilty Remnant, to ask her not to show up and protest the fundraiser for the new library. He asks her not to show up because it is the holidays, people want to relax and spend some time with their families. Her response and is, “there is no Family.” She then takes down a picture of his wife Laurie in her all white Guilty Remnant outfit. Possibly a message that his family, like everyone else’s, has fallen apart in this post October 14 society.
Meanwhile Tommy has been on the run with Christine waiting for Wayne to give them a call. They are in some kind of shelter when a man, wearing no pants, confronts Christine about a dream he had with her in it. Tommy protects her, but she has already been bruised up from the man, who keeps screaming, “ I know what is inside you.”
The fourth episode of The Leftovers continues with Jill and her friend Aimee asking Kevin Chief Garvey if he knew that baby Jesus had disappeared from his manager. Kevin says yes, he knows about it, but that it was stolen. He says he will just get a new one, but the kids insist that it would be cheating if he did that, because the baby is sacred now that it has been chosen.
Kevin is then seen with the mayor, who tells him he needs to buy a new doll. She tells him he needs a win badly and that this would be an easy one for him. He goes to the store to buy a baby doll, and even has it in his hands, but he cannot just simply replace it. He wants the original to be found. He asks the police to look at the video camera footage around the nativity scene to see if they can find out who stole it. What follows is a weird scene where Kevin’s car’s brake lines were possibly cut. Chief Garvey has to skid to a halt and the car goes dead. Then he simply drives his truck for the rest of the episode and nothing is ever mentioned of it.
The show goes back to Christine and the viewer finds out she is pregnant with Wayne’s baby. Her and Tommy go to see a doctor at the hospital. She has bruises on her stomach from the attack and the Doctor goes to call security, because she does not believe their story and thinks Tommy hurt her. Tommy runs out of the hospital with security and police following him.
The Leftovers continues with Kevin Garvey pulling over the twins that his daughter hangs out with regularly because he is suspicious his daughter was involved with the baby Jesus being stolen. He tells them that he wants the baby back, and if he does not get it back before the fundraiser, then their dreams of getting high in college will be over. Next the viewer sees Jill smoking weed with baby Jesus and her friends. She decides to put gasoline on it and send it off on the top of a cooler like it is a funeral pyre. Jill picks up a Nerf gun with a flaming foam arrow and takes sight of the baby doll, while her friends are all signing Silent Night. Jill does not have the stomach to light the sacred baby doll on fire though.
The show cuts back to Tommy who is now waiting outside the hospital. Two members of the Guilty Remnant come up to him and give him a pamphlet that says “everything matters about you is inside.” The pamphlet is empty though, which Tommy finds hilarious. Tommy begins to have a crisis of faith in Wayne, but then finally his phone rings and an automated message about October 14 plays. Tommy finds this extremely comical, but apparently it renews his belief in Wayne and he takes it as a positive sign
Tension builds as Meg has brought Kevin’s wife Laurie to their house. Kevin invites the pair inside and offers them some cookies. Meg, who is an initiate in the Guilty Remnant, but still has her speaking privileges, begins to read out a message that Laurie wrote for Kevin. The viewer learns that Tommy is not actually Kevin’s son, only Laurie’s, and that Laurie is there to officially give Kevin their divorce papers. Chief Garvey gets very angry saying that Laurie does not talk to him for six months and then just waltzes back into their home, and hands him this, as he holds the divorce papers. He screams at her to “say it” in her own words as she sits silent.
Jill then walks in and everything goes completely silent. Jill apparently had wrapped a Christmas present under the tree for her mother in hopes she would return during the holidays. She gives the present to her mother and then walks upstairs. Kevin asks Meg and Laurie to leave. Laurie opens the present outside and it says, “Don’t Forget Me.” Meg tells her to keep it and that she will not tell, but Laurie throws it down the drain on the side of the road.
Next in The Leftovers, Tommy goes back in the hospital and goes up to the Maternity ward. He is not wearing shoes anymore and has a dot painted on his forehead. There is a police officer in the elevator who asks Tommy how he ended up like this. His response is “I was abandoned by my father.” Tommy and Christine then both leave the hospital with no shoes and colorful dots on their foreheads. In the next scene the pair is on a bus, which suddenly lurches to a halt. When they get off the bus the road is littered with dead corpses. Christine yells to Tommy excitedly, “They are all in white. It is just like the dream!”
The plot then focuses back on Chief Garvey, who receives a present from the twins. They have returned baby Jesus to his doorstep. The Christmas fundraiser is a nice gathering of people. Garvey sees Nora Durst there and speaks to her about how she just found out her husband cheated on her. He tells her that he cheated on his wife too and she asks why? He responds by enquiring if there is a good answer to that question?
When the Chief comes outside he sees the Guilty Remnant protesting just a couple of feet off the school property. The Chief, who has always been angry with the Guilty Remnant since his wife left him to join them, says, “It looks like they are on school property to me.” The police then arrest the few members of the Guilty Remnant that are there. Garvey asks Levin “where is everyone else?”
The viewer then sees the remaining remembers of the Guilty Remnant. They are going around town in groups, taking the family photographs out of the picture frames in people’s homes. They take everything from the casual pictures on the fridge to the formal ones on the walls. Patti Levin’s words of “there is no Family,” from earlier in the episode seem very ominous.
Lastly the Chief sees Matt Jamison, who was the focal point of last week’s episode, replacing the baby Jesus with another one he had lying around. Garvey’s purposeful gesture of trying to keep the sacredness of the chosen baby doll is thrown into contrast as the most religious man on the show simply substitutes the baby Jesus for a new one. The fourth episode of The Leftovers ends as Chief Kevin Garvey throws the baby Jesus he recovered out of his car window; a sign of how little meaning religion has in this world now.
By B. Taylor Rash