By Jared Jones
HEAR the Shadowy Horses, their long manes a-shake,
Their hoofs heavy with tumult, their eyes glimmering white;
The North unfolds above them clinging, creeping night,
The East her hidden joy before the morning break,
The West weeps in pale dew and sighs passing away,
The South is pouring down roses of crimson fire:
O vanity of Sleep, Hope, Dream, endless Desire,
The Horses of Disaster plunge in the heavy clay:
Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat
Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast,
Drowning love’s lonely hour in deep twilight of rest,
And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet.
And with those parting words (departing words?), the Guilty Remnant’s head honcho Patti took her own life in the climax of last night’s episode of The Leftovers via glass shard to the throat. It was a gruesome, mindf*ck of an ending to a complete mindf*ck of an episode.
That poem, by the way, is WB Yeats’ “Michael Robartes Bids his Beloved be at Peace.” I’m guessing the horses represent the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse or some other cataclysmic event, but trying to theorize at the deeper meaning of anything in this show before the season culminates is a wild goose chase of which I refuse to participate in.
Perhaps its so hard to get a grasp on what exactly was happening in “Cairo” due to the show’s continual use of Sheriff Kevin Garvey as an unreliable narrator. As the audience, we are given no further insight into Kevin’s blackouts/dreams, the peripheral characters possibly contained within them (Dean the dog-killer), or the significance of things like his misplaced white shirts than Kevin himself. Are the drug cocktails Kevin was previously on causing these blackouts? Alcohol maybe? Or is Kevin being played a fool by almost everyone around him? For now, all we know is that he appears to be losing his mind, and we’re right there with him.
If what we learned last night is to be believed, Kevin has actually made several trips out to Cairo, NY (a five+ hour drive from Mapleton), to ritualistically hang his police shirts from trees, all while blacked out. This all culminated in last night’s trip, where he allegedly picked up Dean the dog-killer, brutalized and kidnapped Patti, then dragged her up to a cabin in Cairo that he used to “sneak off and smoke cigarettes in” as a kid. That’s one high-functioning alcoholic, my friends.
But it’s hard to fault Kevin for being an unreliable narrator, as almost everything we learned in “Cairo” was told to him secondhand by Dean, a man with no driver’s license, birth certificate, or even a Dave & Buster’s Power Play card. According to Patti, Dean is “a ghost.” Based off what we know about Kevin’s father and the voices he hears, it is incredibly likely that Dean is simply a figment of Kevin’s imagination, although the fact that Dean has interacted with several other characters on the show (albeit for incredibly brief moments) seems to play against this theory. Perhaps Dean might just be the face Kevin has assigned to his split personality, maybe?
Of course, it’s possible that everything about Cairo might be in Kevin’s head. Cairo was, after all, the only thing he heard over the walkie talkie during his previous dream sequence involving Dean (you know, the one with the dog in the mailbox). Likewise, his conversation with Patti moments before she killed herself was shockingly similar to the one he had with his demented father at the diner in “Solace for Tired Feet”. Like his father, Patti kept alluding to the fact that Kevin plays a larger role in the Departure (or its aftermath) than even he can understand. That his dreams seem to be equal parts delusion and premonition adds credence to this idea, but who the f*ck knows for sure.
Last night’s episode also revealed that, yes, Patti did have Gladys killed as part of the GR’s ongoing quest to force people to “remember” the events of October 14th, and that Laurie is likely the next one in line to die for such a cause. A U-haul full of body-sized packages, however, seems to indicate that the Guilty Remnant is either a) planning to commit mass suicide or b) planning a rally that involves all the possessions they have stolen from the townspeople.
The photos, the clothes, the body-sized packages — methinks that the GR has ordered a truckload of those fake corpses produced by Marcus to sneak the fake corpses back into the homes of those who lost someone in The Departure. We know that it will happen on Memorial Day, as loud-mouthed Meg — who we learned lost her mother the day before the Departure (hooray character development!) — couldn’t help but spill the beans. She also hinted that Nora would be on the receiving end of the worst of whatever they have planned. Poor, sardonic, sexy Nora.
Oh yes, there was also a half-baked plot involving Kevin’s daughter Jill this week, wherein she took Nora to task for carrying a gun, then after finding that she no longer carried it, broke into her house to find that she was still in possession of it. Oh yes, and she also got into a heated argument with Aimee revolving around whether or not Aimee had sex with her father, which resulted in Aimee moving out. Personally, I think the bite mark on Kevin’s hand relates back to some kinky sex he had with Aimee during one of his blackouts, but again, who. the. f*ck. knows.
Perhaps because Jill is written like every brooding sitcom teen ever, I continuously find myself identifying more with the twins who hang out with her than Jill herself. “So the gun means that, like, people can never get over what happened?” one of the twins tries to explain while searching Nora’s home, which as close to a meaning in Jill’s B-plot as I could come to this week.
That the episode ended with Jill coming face-to-face with her mother in the GR headquarters is an interesting turn for an otherwise uninteresting character, and the fallout from this plot (should Jill decide to join the GR) will no doubt be the push that sends her father over the edge. Kevin is going to be facing a lot more than a potential murder charge in Mapleton, and being that the only thing that kept him from converting to his father’s dark side was his commitment to Jill, we are probably in store for a complete character implosion upon his return.
One can only hope.