The Leftovers Review: “Gladys” (Season 1, Episode 5)

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Would Damon Lindelof be a member of the Guilty Remnant? Based on “Gladys,” the misery-loving latest episode of his series The Leftovers, I’d have to say yes. But what is he trying to tell us? That’s as unclear as the motivations of the show’s actual GR members. The Leftovers quickly reached a point of diminishing returns after its enigmatic and atmosphere-heavy pilot, and I know I wouldn’t still be watching if I didn’t have to review the show week after week. And after watching “Gladys,” I have to question whether The Leftovers actually has any purpose other than depressing the hell out of its viewers. The show’s big mystery may never be answered, its characters are all frustrating a-holes and its bleakness appears to be the main attraction. And I’m feeling more than a little fed up with it all.

There’s nothing really new in Mapleton this week, though it’s somewhat surprising that Kevin hasn’t responded to a single suicide yet, with all the soul-crushing wretchedness on display. Mapleton’s residents are on their worst behavior in “Gladys” – the title character (Marceline Hugot), a member of the GR, is dragged into the woods while on her shift, duct-taped to a tree and brutally stoned to death (us lucky viewers get to watch the whole stomach-churning ordeal).

Then, when Kevin attempts to impose a curfew on the town while hunting for the killers, there’s a town-wide rebellion against him, fueled by the Bald Man/Dean, of all people (who by the way is definitely real, seeing as he’s hunting dogs when the other GR members find Gladys’ body, then speaks with Kevin in full view of everyone). Turns out, people don’t care if the GR is being targeted after the stunt they pulled at Christmas. In all likelihood, at least one of Gladys’ assailants is in attendance at the town meeting. For now at least, seeing as Kevin still hasn’t caught the murderers, “it’s open season” on them.

Oh – and Kevin’s also facing dissent in the police department, with Detective Louis Vetello (Wayne Duvall) going around him to contact ATFEC (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives & Cults) agents, the same ones who raided Wayne’s compound back in the second episode. If that wasn’t bad enough, his sanity is also in question, though this week it’s shirts instead of bagels, and his ultimate reclaiming of the AWOL clothing, and hence his marbles, after terrorizing the dry cleaner is a little more troubling for him than prying open the back of a toaster oven.