‘The Leftovers’ Recap 1×9: ‘The Garveys at Their Best’

Last night’s episode of The Leftovers was two things: A flashback to the day before the Sudden Departure and proof that every character on the show never learned to use their words in elementary school! The episode, somewhat ironically titled “The Garvey’s At Their Best” was full of tense moments that could have easily been eliminated had the characters been able to express their true feelings properly. Because their lives basically went to hell in a hand basket after this day — October 13th — I took the liberty of writing letters to their significant others, expressing for them what they had so much trouble revealing in the hours before their lives got mixed up with the Guilty Remnant.

“Do. Not. Squint.”

Dear Laurie,
The day before the Sudden Departure was a day like any other day. I was on a run that morning and smoking my secret stash of cigs when I saw a deer staring at me in the distance. I made a few squinting faces and the vision vanished so I brushed it off and took a swig of mouth wash before returning home. I knew the second I got in, you would come over to remind me about the damn puppy and I didn’t want to smell like cigarettes because I told you I quit a while back. Anyway, if I’m being totally honest I don’t want a puppy. I know I said I did but that’s because I’m on this show and none of us are any good at expressing ourselves. I think that’s why I squint so much. So, yes, I lied because I knew you wanted a dog but come on Laurie! Puppies are a lot of work and dog-owners are generally thought of as happy people. Do you really think we’re dog people? It’s more me than you, though. I haven’t been happy for a while now and I thought about telling you this morning but you started talking about my dad’s surprise party before I got a chance. I should have just gone with you to get the stupid puppy but I got a call from Tom. He got into trouble last night because he went to meet his biological father but when he got there Michael turned him away. Actually the rat bastard pushed him away so I went to his house and punched the shit out of him because I couldn’t communicate the fact that I was really angry that he exists in the first place.
It also hurts my feelings that you felt the need to tell Tom I’m not his dad. I am his dad. I’m his dad! I need a cigarette. Anyway, I do appreciate you planning that party for my dad. It was beautiful but I just couldn’t focus. I kept looking around the room at all of the happy people wondering why I couldn’t feel what they were feeling. I felt like I was in that Lykke Li music video that Jill is always singing. God, she really does a sing a lot. Do you hate it as much as I do? Anyway sorry, I’m distracted, like I said, I need a cigarette. I think I still try to hide my smoking from you because I desperately need to feel like I’m in control of something in my life. You see, my dad and I spoke after the party and he said that I have no purpose in life, which come to think of it, is probably why I wanted to save the deer that ran into the school building. Oh yeah, you probably don’t know because everything went a little nuts after the Sudden Departure but the deer I saw earlier was running into buildings and destroying property. All of the other officers wanted to shoot it but I suggested a tranquilizer gun so that we could release the little guy back into the woods. And I would have done it, but a very attractive woman hit the deer with her car and then randomly invited me to her hotel room. I told her I was not a good guy and I think she liked that so we had sex. Which I didn’t even have time to feel bad about because she also vanished. But this time I didn’t squint my eyes so I have no idea how it happened. I might be losing my mind. I hope you see now why this has been so difficult for me to explain.
Your husband,

“If the stranger I’m sleeping with vanishes in thin air does it still count as cheating?” – Kevin

“You suck.”- Laurie

Dear Kevin,
I know I said I wanted a dog but it’s really because I’m pregnant. I didn’t want to tell you because you have been very distant lately and I’m pretty sure you don’t want a dog but I thought it would help. I know now that it was because you’re unhappy, which sucks because I thought we were happy. We have a really cool, modern looking house and our kids almost never flirt with each other anymore! Maybe that’s just because Tom has been away at college… I’m sorry I told him about Michael but you know how I feel about lying. Anyway, I too have been pretty unhappy. It started when I went to work today and spoke with crazy-ass Patti. She was really worried that the world was going to end but like most women getting out of  breakup, I told her she was nuts and that she could probably benefit from chocolate ice cream and a few General Hospital reruns. That always used to perk me up when I was single. Well, I didn’t actually tell her to do that because as it turns out, you’re not the only one who has trouble saying what you mean.  Actually, she kind of caught me off guard with all of her “Something bad is going to happen” talk and implied that I was hiding something. I told her everything was ok in my life and tried to convince her she was feeling anxious about her recent breakup. She wouldn’t have it and kept telling me the world was going to end “for real this time.” I should probably up her meds. Then I went to the breeder and played with the dogs. I thought it would cheer me up but it made me feel worse. When you didn’t show up I cried A) because I’m pregnant and B) because I’m pregnant, so I left and decided we shouldn’t get a dog. You can’t be bothered to show up to our appointment with the breeder, let alone put any effort into hiding the fact that you’re smoking again. You smell like an ashtray Kevin. Honestly, how are we supposed to bring another baby into this world like this? Shit, now I need a cigarette. Anyway, I met with the doctor the next day and cried again when I saw our baby but what happened next is kind of a blur. One minute I’m listening to our baby’s heart beat but then there were these loud screams from the next room. I looked back at the monitor and the baby was gone! Nothing. I don’t understand how this happened but it kind of makes me want to find Patti and make her my leader…

“Stop. We’re related!” – Jill

Dear Tom,
I still don’t know how the rest of our classmates mysteriously disappeared but that is not why I’m writing you this letter. I’m writing to ask you to please stop flirting with me. I know you just found out that Michael is your dad but we still have the same mom so our kids would probably still have more arms than I’m comfortable with.

“God my family sucks whoa wait where’d they go?”

Dear World,
 Hi it’s me Nora. I’m really pissed off again.
The day before the Sudden Departure was supposed to be great. It was supposed to be the day I took back my life! I had a job interview, I wore my nice skirt! I was finally going to get away from my terrible children. I know they’re cute but they’re so demanding. “I’m hungry Mommy” blah, blah. I really meant what I said during my interview with Lucy, “I want to use my brain for something other than figuring out which juice box is certified organic.” I’m going to be really honest here and say all of the things I can’t actually say because society deems hating your loving children and handsome husband unacceptable but I’ve been holding a lot of stuff in. A lot of stuff. You know sometimes I don’t even buy organic juice? That’s right. And why do kids always have to drink juice? Orange juice is the reason my daughter spilled that cup –that I told her to hold with TWO hands!– on my iPhone when Lucy was calling. She was probably calling to tell me I got the job! Though that may be because I could read between the lines and figured out that Lucy and Kevin Garvey Sr. are totally hooking up. Good! At least someone is getting laid. Use protection. That’s all I have to say, or you’ll end up with juice-chugging demons vying for every moment of your time. But hell, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard for me if my husband was ever around to help. He’s totally having an affair but I would never confront him about it because I have a REALLY HARD TIME EXPRESSING MYSELF! I wonder if Kevin has any cigarettes left. Anyway, I was really at my wit’s end that morning and then, in an instant, they were gone. All of them. One minute they’re eating breakfast, the next, nothing. It was kind the best moment of my life.
But still pissed,
‘The Leftovers’ Recap 1×9: ‘The Garveys at Their Best’