‘The Leftovers’ Recap: Episode 2 – Tom Gets A Mission, Kevin’s Sanity Is Questioned

In the troubled town of Mapleton, people began to suspect Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) was losing his mind, while his daughter, Jill Garvey (Margaret Qualley), began stirring up trouble. Over at the Guilty Remnant (the group of smokers in white), Laurie Garvey (Amy Brenneman) struggled converting new recruit Meg (Liv Tyler), and somewhere on the road, Tom Garvey (Chris Zylka) was given a mission from Holy Wayne (Paterson Joseph).

Here’s our recap of “The Leftovers,” Season 1, Episode 2 – “Penguin One, Us Zero.”

Tom Garvey & The Raid On Holy Wayne’s Camp: Wayne Henry Gilchrest Jr., aka Holy Wayne, has become a problem. In the three years since The Sudden Departure, he’s made a name for himself by claiming to be able to “hug the pain” out of people. His “skill” has made him powerful friends, but his weakness — a penchant for Asian teenage girls — nearly got him convicted on statutory charges in Philadelphia. Two unnamed officers discussing the case note he escaped by fleeing, but now, the FBI has been given a tip on how to find him: Wayne set up shop in Nevada. Cut to a raid on Wayne’s ranch. A team of men with guns storm the property, shooting everyone but the teenage girls. One of the men corners Christine (the girl Tom gave the gummy worms to in the premiere), and demands she tell him where Wayne is. Tom quickly comes to her rescue, shooting the man. “I’m sorry. She’s important,” he tells the dying man. Tom grabs Christine and they run for it.

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Kevin Garvey’s Sanity Is Questioned: After a weird dream involving Aimee (his daughter’s friend), the dog-shooting man with chewing tobacco and the woods, Kevin wakes up to find his neighbor has started a fire in the backyard. The man was burning the clothes of a relative who disappeared three years ago. Kevin puts the fire out, but his own fence is torched.

At work, Kevin’s day gets worse as he sits on a couch next to an inflatable penguin, discussing with a therapist that night when he made a drunken visit to the Guilty Remnant, pleading with Laurie to come home. Kevin tries to change the subject by asking about the penguin. “I work with a lot of kids. They use it for aggression,” the therapist explains. Moving on, the therapist asks Kevin about the “mystery” man he shot the dogs with. “Why do you keep calling him a mystery man?” Kevin asks, angrily. The therapist says it is because no one else saw him.

READ: ‘The Leftovers’ Recap, Episode 1 — Heroes Day

Laurie Garvey Begins Training Meg At The GR: After a breakfast of pancakes, Meg heads into the woods with the silent Laurie, who is carrying an axe. When they reach a certain spot, Laurie leans the axe against a tree. “You want me to cut it down? I thought you were bringing me out here to kill me or something,” Meg says, before picking up the axe and hacking the tree.

Jill Garvey & Aimee Develop An Interest In Nora Durst: After passing preacher Matt (Christopher Eccleston), who is handing out more fliers suggesting the departed weren’t special, Jill stumbles her way through the coffee shop, tripping over the purse of Heroes Day speaker Nora (who lost her whole family that day). As the bag spills open, Jill spots a handgun inside, and tells Aimee (Emily Meade) about it once the teens take a seat. From a few tables away, the girls watch as Nora (Carrie Coon) knocks her mug off the table (on purpose). As it breaks on to the floor, an angry barista comes over, but when he sees it was poor Nora who “accidentally” broke the cup, he lets it go. As Nora leaves, Jill and Aimee decide to follow her, taking the twins – Scott and Adam (Charlie and Max Carver) – along for the ride.

Laurie & Meg Continue Initiation: Seeing Meg exhausted from chopping, Laurie hands her some water. “So, what? The tree is supposed to symbolize my old life or something?” Meg asks. Laurie takes a drag from her cigarette. “You know, you guys are running a pretty sh***y cult if you can’t even join,” Meg says. “Not A Cult,” Laurie writes on her pad of paper. Frustrated, Meg gives up on chopping and complains about GR pancake breakfasts and tree chopping. Laurie responds by writing, “Okay.”

Wayne Comes Out Of Hiding: At a gas station Tom and Christine wait. Nervous over what he found inside (a dead clerk), Tom calls the one person he knows can help — his dad, Kevin Garvey, whose phone is off. As Tom hangs up, a car pulls up – it’s Holy Wayne. Christine runs and jumps on him.

Suspicion Over Kevin’s Mental State Grows: He calls Tom back, but it’s too late. Kevin leaves a message and hangs up, turning his attention to Officer Dennis. They can’t find the truck of the mystery man, Dennis says. Kevin shrugs it off and the two go about their business, knocking on the door of the GR. Patti, Laurie’s supervisor, answers. Inside, Kevin meets Meg, whose hands are soaking in a bowl of cold water. She tells the officers she is there of her own free will, but before he leaves, Kevin slides over his business card. “If you ever want to talk, there are resources available to you. Feel free to call me, night or day,” he says. Patti watches as Meg slides the card off the table and into her lap. Angered, she storms over to Laurie, who is in another room. “She’s going to leave!” Patti writes, adding, “U R 2 Easy On Her.” Laurie suggests (again, by writing) that Meg isn’t strong enough yet. “Cut Her Loose,” Patti replies.

Jill & Aimee Spy On Nora; Nora’s Job Is Revealed: The four teens follow Nora to a house – The Pattersons — where Nora is there about “departure benefit” money. Inside, Nora asks the elderly couple a series of odd questions about their son – whether he went to Brazil, had more than 20 sexual partners or if he spoke more than one language — so she can release the funds. The distraught parents reveal their son had Down Syndrome and answer “no” to all her questions. Nora apologizes, but continues with a lengthy question list.

Outside, Jill dares Aimee to peek in Nora’s car, and she does, taking some candy from the glove compartment. Out to cause trouble, Jill begins honking the Prius horn. Aimee bolts from Nora’s vehicle and the four teens drive off just as Nora comes out of the house.

Kevin Meets Meg’s Fiance & Signs He’s Losing It Continue: At the station, Kevin identifies Meg and asks Dennis to invite her fiance in for a talk. Mayor Lucy (Amanda Warren) walks in and cuts to the chase. Lucy wants to know about Kevin’s drunken visit to the GR and shooting dogs. He can’t be doing things like that. “Want a bagel?” Kevin asks, popping a bagel into the industrial toaster. “Kevin, I need you to stop pissing on the GR’s front porch, okay?” she asks. Kevin agrees, but is slightly distracted as his bagel has disappeared. Before she leaves, Lucy says she’ll be visiting someone that night. “Tell him I said, hi,” Kevin replies. Once Lucy’s gone, Kevin unplugs and shakes the toaster. Did the bagel really disappear?

A short while later, Darren (Bill Heck), Meg’s fiance, comes into the station. “Megan’s with the Guilty Remnant. I’m assuming they’ve been following Megan for some time now,” Kevin says. “They want to remind people of what happened. But what do they want? They want to recruit,” he adds, suggesting Meg’s on the fence and Darren could convince her to come home. But he won’t. Darren put off their wedding for three years and Meg snuck off in the middle of the night to join the GR. Furious, Darren storms out. It’s good timing. Dennis is calling. He found the mystery man’s truck. “Where?” Kevin asks. “It’s, uh, in your driveway,” Dennis replies. “I’ll just say we found it abandoned a couple blocks from here,” Dennis says later, trying to protect his chief who arrives on the scene. “It’s not my truck, Dennis. Someone else put it here,” Kevin says.

Tom Gets A Mission: “They didn’t come to arrest me. They open fired before they even got to the house,” Wayne tells Tom. Wayne knows Tom killed the armed man back at the ranch to protect Christine, and after acknowledging that, he gives Tom a mission — to take care of Christine. Wayne gives the pair a wad of cash and a cell phone and leaves.

Laurie Tells Meg About Kevin: Laurie’s keeping up the GR practice of taking away Meg’s personal items, when Meg protests. “Can we have just one night where I don’t have to give you any of my stuff?” Meg pleads. “Surrender,” Laurie writes back. Meg suggests Laurie doesn’t remember what it’s like to care about anything, when Laurie shares her secret. “I heard you met my husband today,” Laurie writes. “The hot cop? And you’re here?” Meg asks, shocked. “I remember,” Laurie writes. Finally, Meg seems like she’s ready to surrender. “I don’t want to feel this way anymore,” she says.

Kevin’s Mystery Friend Returns: Back at home, a man knocks on Kevin’s door – it’s the chewing tobacco guy. He won’t give Kevin his name, but he brought beer over. Jill and Aimee arrive home and brush past the mystery man (finally, other people see him) and head inside. “I found another pack,” the man says. “I saw ‘em slinking around the elementary school.” Sundown tomorrow is when he wants Kevin to meet him. As the man walks away, Kevin tells him to take his truck with him. “No, it’s all yours. I’m done with it.”

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Later that night, Kevin heads to a mental care facility with a jar of peanut butter and a plastic spoon. Inside, he spots Mayor Lucy sitting with a man – his dad, Kevin Sr. Lucy gets up, kisses Kevin Sr. on the lips and exchanges pleasantries with Kevin Jr. on her way out. “Hey, did you steal my bagel this morning?” Kevin asks her. She didn’t. Sitting down with his dad, the two men have a heart to heart. Kevin Sr. suggests his son show some vulnerability. Kevin Jr. tells his dad how Jill and Tom are, then he asks his dad about how “it” (his mental break) started. Kevin Sr. brushes it off and asks about shooting dogs, and then stops. “Will you please shut up? No, no I’m not gonna tell him,” Kevin Sr. says, looking at an empty space. Kevin Jr. is disturbed by the incident until his father says something else that resonates. “Someone came to see you? They said they sent… or are sending somebody to help you,” the dad tells his son. “Help me with what?” Kevin Jr. asks. His dad shrugs. “I don’t know. But whatever it is, you might want to keep it to yourself.”

Back at the precinct, Kevin grabs the toaster, puts it on the table and unscrews it. He pries out the bagel.

Laurie & Meg’s New Chapter Begins: An angry Patti walks into the sleeping area and kicks Laurie’s bedding. “She’s Gone,” reads Patti’s sign. Laurie looks crushed, but she needn’t be. Meg is in the woods, chopping at the tree.

“The Leftovers” airs Sunday nights at 10 PM ET/PT on HBO.

-- Jolie Lash

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