"The Leftovers" episode 2, "Penguin One, Us Zero," continues the show's slow unraveling of the mystery surrounding the Sudden Departure. In the second episode, viewers learned more about the main characters and main factions as well as a few of the town's inhabitants.
Holy Wayne's Mission
"The Leftovers" episode 2, "Penguin One, Us Zero," begins with some background on Wayne, including that he claims to have a healing hug and lost a child during the Sudden Departure. While "The Leftovers" premiere established the central mystery, the Guilty Remnant and the town of Mapleton, "Penguin One, Us Zero" answers a few questions surrounding the town and its inhabitants. But with every bit of information, there are new questions and little mysteries.
As for Wayne, he apparently has a healing gift and can hug the pain away and, after the Sudden Departure, has no shortage of clients. The raid that kicks off the episode leaves many dead, but Wayne is long gone. Tom shoots a cop to protect Christine, and the two run off to meet Wayne at an abandoned gas station. While Tom refuses his gift, I'm interested to see how the show portrays Wayne's healing hug.
The episode sets up a new storyline, Tom and Christine's road trip, while adding another bit of intrigue. First, there is the mysterious lady driving Wayne around. And he says Christine is very important, but what does that mean?
Dogs and Bagels
Garvey has a strange dream involving his daughter's friend Aimee and Dean. The "mystery man," as he is referred to by the therapist, continues to kill dogs, and he's an unconventional ally to the chief of police.
In the beginning of "Penguin One, Us Zero," no one has seen this man other than Garvey, and the pickup mysteriously appears in Garvey's driveway along with another dead dog. Dennis remains skeptical about the whole ordeal, and who can blame him?
At the Guilty Remnant pledge house, Garvey finds Meg and tells her fiance about her whereabouts and what he thinks of the Guilty Remnant. According to Garvey, the group wants to remind people about the Sudden Departure but they also want to recruit.
As we learn, Dean is real, as Jill interacts with him, and he definitely likes hunting dogs. But it's unclear what, if anything, that has to do with the larger story. Garvey also gets some reassurance from his father, the former chief of police. His father had a breakdown, but he's not so crazy and is able to know things from the voices in his head. Whoever "they" are is another mystery that will be explored. The final scene could also be linked to Garvey's dream, which included Aimee and Dean.
Garvey's missing bagel is a fun throwaway that later serves as a way to ground the chief of police. From nearly destroying the toaster to asking the mayor if she stole it, Garvey does the practical thing at the end and unscrews the back of the toaster and finds the burnt remains of his bagel.
The Guilty Remnant Pledges Get Hazed
While the Guilty Remnant may not be a cult they do have a larger motive that has yet to be revealed. In the episode, the group act a bit like a frat or sorority, with the pledges undergoing to some minor hazing and tough love. Meg has to chop down a tree and give up pieces of her past.
Laurie is in charge of Meg's initiation, and things are not going so well. Patti fears Meg will leave at least long enough to chop down that tree.
Nora Has a Gun
Nora Durst, the woman who lost her family during the Sudden Departure, has a gun and a job. Aimee and Jill follow her around as she works on a claim benefit interview. Nora is an interesting character in this episode as she takes advantage of her status within the community, and there is more to her story than a simple sympathetic survivor arc.
During the interview of the Patterson family, Nora has to ask some weird questions. Of the 150 questions Nora has to ask, some of the topics include food allergies, traveling to Brazil, cooking, speaking more than one language, and having more than 20 sexual partners.
I'm still intrigued by "The Leftovers," but I can see fans getting restless over the lack of answers as well as the slow pace of the story. The Sudden Departure is a great hook and the show has a solid cast, with Justin Theroux anchoring the show. While there may be only a few answers, being patient with a show can pay off.