‘The Leftovers’ season 2, episode 3 review: Laurie, Tom look to make the pain vanish

Laurie -For those of you who were expecting to see “The Leftovers” adopt more of a “lighter” tone in the second season as compared to the first one, that didn’t last going into Sunday’s episode. This episode was in many ways criminally depressing, from Laurie being told that her interpretation of the Guilty Remnant story was too hollow to Tom getting raped by one of Laurie’s former recruits into the cult in Meg, who seemed out to prove a point that they are still very much in control.

Meg’s particular moment will most likely be the most polarizing of the hour, largely because this is something so out of character from what we saw of her in the early going in season 1. Yet, we see it as an act of betrayal; she felt abandoned, and she wanted to take something from Laurie the way that Laurie took something from her by making her departure stamped into stone. We feel like the usage of rape has become excessive and even exploitative on TV, and while we did not enjoy this scene whatsoever, we at least understand the reasoning more than other shows.

Trying to find a way to alleviate the pain is something that both Tom and Laurie tried to uncover through various means over the hour. For Tom, it meant trying to adopt the powers of Holy Wayne, who could seemingly hug away the pain. It’s a hokey concept turned powerful and almost spiritual thanks to the way in which it was described on the show. Laurie had her book, her refuge that was almost taken away from her due to a lack of funds.

Both of these characters are stuck cradling what’s left, and Damon Lindelof did a brilliant job of conveying the hopelessness that comes with this. For Laurie, she feels with Jill almost that she is one of the departed, even in reality she has merely left Mapleton. While Kevin and Nora have found something they believe constitutes a fresh start, we’re not sure that Kevin’s ex lives within the same physical grounds.

Before we go, let us give massive kudos to Amy Brenneman for some of the best work we’ve seen from her, which is saying something given the long and illustrious career she’s had so far. This show pulled at the heartstrings tonight, but more than that it caused us to raise this question: Is there any way to truly heal the pain, or are we all just looking for a hug, an ethereal bandage on the heart? Grade: A-.

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