By Ryan Keating-Lambert
The third episode thrives on high-class performance and an introduction to a fascinating new character, but why oh why did Kevin Garvey Snr try to pick up that snake?
So, we’ve finally made it to outback Australia for an entire episode, but in true Leftovers fashion, our timeline is a little out of whack. The focus this episode was on Kevin Garvey Snr (Scott Glenn) and his quest to find answers to the many biblical and spiritual questions he has regarding the departure and the supposed apocalyptic events to come.
His questions bring him to the aboriginal community where he lands into a bit of trouble for crossing over into their territory, not to mention approaching tribe elders without permission. Although some of his actions seem erratic and unmotivated, like taking virtually everything as a sign from god and thinking of himself as some kind of messiah figure, there are some things that come to light.
We know that Kevin Snr fears the supposedly impending flood, which is why he was travelling along the sacred trail, singing those songs. We also know that Matt sent him the new bible, which he disregarded most of because he believed in himself to be the messiah, rather than his son.
And that’s where Grace (Lindsay Duncan) comes into it all, after drowning the police officer with her gang of Aussie cowgirls, she admits that she was wrong. How did she get this information about the second coming being a ‘Kevin’? Obviously she found some of the bible that Matt sent.
The scene of the two of them talking about it all was magical. Truly magnificent performances on both sides. I think Grace is going to be a really interesting character in forthcoming episodes and being such a similar character with a similar belief system to Kevin Snr, I’m excited to see where their relationship ends up.
There were also some wonderfully atmospheric scenes of Kevin Snr walking through the desert and we finally get to know him a bit. The sound of the sacred aboriginal music and the tapes of Kevin as a boy being a ‘reporter’ were also a nice touch. Just what are we going to find in those tapes? What will Kevin Snr take as a sign next? That Tony the chicken story was wild. The choir variation of Max Richter’s piano theme was also great – the show really has a biblical feel to it now.
My only issue with this episode was that some of the ‘signs’ he took were cheap plot devices. The man who suddenly kills himself in the middle of nowhere by setting himself and his car on fire gave Kevin the chance to have shelter and supplies. Though this is a somewhat post-apocalyptic world where strange things happen, that seemed to be a bit far-fetched.
And then there was the snakebite which led him to Grace – another sign from god? It seemed strange because despite Kevin Snr being bat-shit crazy, he does have reasonably good judgement. Why on earth did he try to pick up that snake, even if it looked dead? A dumb move that seemed very out of character for him. And falling down unconscious under that cross? A little contrived and cheesy…
Aside from those moments, the writing is impeccable. The Leftovers continues to be the best television show to capture that post-apocalyptic insanity of the human race. Not that we know what that’s like, but if it were to happen, I think there would be a lot of Kevin Garvey Snrs and Nora Dursts out there.
Photo: Screen Rant