The Leftovers Review: “Two Boats And A Helicopter” (Season 1, Episode 3)

The Leftovers - Episode 1.03 - Two Boats and a Helicopter 2

After his printer breaks down, Matt goes out, only to see two Guilty Remnant members standing there watching him, their teeth chattering in the cold. He dumps a pile of used clothing at their feet and tells them to tell Patti that she’s wasting her time. “I’ve made it this far,” he says. “I’m not gonna turn around now.” As he gets in the car, the bank calls again, and Matt accidentally picks up. Reluctantly, he agrees to meet the guy.

At the bank, Matt gets bad news. Someone’s put an offer forward on the church, and now he’s being pushed out. “I’ve been trying to tell you for at least two weeks now,” the man says. “You always knew something like this could happen once you stopped making payments and we were forced to foreclose.” He finds out that he needs to deliver $135,001 (just a little over what the other buyer is paying) by the next day in order to get his name back on the deed. Mid-conversation, he takes a call from his house about his wife Mary (Janel Moloney). It’s the live-in nurse, who tells him to pick something up on the way home.

Later, he meets Nora at her house, who invites him in for tea. He asks her for the money but assures her that it’s a loan. A bold-faced lie, to be sure. “I hate coming to you,” he says, “But this is our family church.” Ohhhh. Now it makes sense. Nora is Matt’s sister – their parents died in a fire when they were younger, and Nora took her departed husband’s last name (Durst), which is why it took this long to figure out their relationship. She tearfully reminds him that her money came from her husband and was for her children. “I’m sorry,” he says. “You’re right, I shouldn’t have asked, I just… didn’t know where to go.” She asks him to stop making his paper in exchange for the money. “I can’t do that,” he begins. “People need to hear the-” Nora explodes, yelling, “People need to punch you in the face!”

She reminds him of a past accident and something to do with a judge. “People called you crazy behind your back and I defended you because I knew you were in pain, but then you decided it was your calling, like you were personally selected by God!” He tells her not to use that word, and she gets even angrier. “What do you believe in, Matt? Do you know where my family went? Do you know what it was?” He replies, “It was a test,” and she laughs. “Not for what came before,” he insists, “But for what came after. It was a test for what comes now.” She tells him that he’s failing it. He recoils as if stung.

Nora tells him that she loves him but he needs to stop what he’s doing. “It’s not making things better, maybe it’s time to let it go,” she says of his papers and his church. She’s not angry now – she’s comforting him. He’s furious, though, and drops a bombshell. “Doug was having an affair,” he hisses. She looks up, horrified. “The kids’ pre-school teacher, they usually did it at her apartment, but a couple of times he brought her to the Plaza, in the city. He was smart enough to use cash, but I have the receipts from the ATM in their lobby. It’s the one story I will never publish,” he tells her as she begins to cry, moan and laugh hysterically, obviously in shock. As she stares off into space, he leaves.

At home, he sees the live-in nurse, who tells him she can’t do her work anymore if he can’t pay her. Upstairs, his wife Mary is catatonic. We get the sense this is the status quo. He bathes her, and she doesn’t move a muscle. In bed, Matt cries and prays, “Help me.” He thinks he sees something while looking up, but a knock at the door distracts him. It’s Roxanne the nurse, who insists nights are over-time. He says he’s figured out how to pay her in full and will do so when he gets back.

Armed with a shovel, Matt goes to Kevin’s house, only to find Laurie outside, clad in GR white. Kevin’s dad left something for me, he tells her. She writes down “Please don’t tell him I was here,” then departs. Inside the garage (or is it a barn? Can’t tell in the dark), Matt digs and finds a Jif peanut butter jar stuffed with cash. It’s accompanied by a flyer of a local judge that Matt put together, exposing the judge for taking bribes. On the back, “K.G.” (Kevin Garney, Sr.) has written, “Rev – you deserve this.” Turns out, it does pay to be a muck-raker.