The Leftovers “Two Boats and a Helicopter” Review (1×03)

13 Jul

The Leftovers - Episode 1.03 - Two Boats and a Helicopter - Promotional Photo

“My congregation: this morning, we prayed for her.”

“Well, she woke up last night.”

Perhaps no other scene better encapsulates Reverend Matt Jamison’s life right now. He’s a man trying to make sense of a seemingly meaningless life–as the rest of the world is doing–and he’s someone doing so by placing everything in a religious context. Yet, with every twist of fate that befalls him, it seems as if the God he looks up to is leaving him behind in the dust.

That isn’t to say anything specific about religion’s benefits or shortcomings, though; rather, it says more about the people and the world they live in, the coping mechanisms utilized to maintain some semblance of sanity or reality. Matt Jamison, for example, has been pushed to the edge of an emotional precipice, and his church–and, for that matter, his wife, who can be thought of as in a similar, degenerating position–is what he’s holding onto. When someone wants to take it, he’ll do anything to prevent that from happening.

The episode throws him headfirst into a mad scramble to come up with the needed money, and “one step forward, two steps back” applies to his journey throughout. At one moment, he’s gambled $20K and has quadrupled that money. At another, he’s beaten up and the money is stolen. At another, he bashes the thief’s head into the ground. At another, he gets the money back. At another, in an especially cruel twist of fate, the people he helps on his way to deliver the money–followed by him getting a rock thrown at him and causing him to black out for three days–are members of the group that now owns his church.

In essence, this takes desperation and ramps it up even further. He’s already in a fragile state, and you’d think that the level of uncertainty and contradiction present in his life would pave the way toward a rejection of faith; yet, uncertainty is a window through which he searches for any last nugget to service that faith. A baby is baptized, and that event is immediately followed by Jamison stating that “if we can no longer separate the innocent from the guilty, everything that happened to us, all of our suffering, is meaningless.” He needs answers, and he’ll frame them around his religion. He’ll tell his sister–revealed to be Nora–that her wife cheated on him, and he’ll view it as a necessary bit of truth. He’ll call his situation a test, when in reality it is random hardship.

And in the end, he views himself as above the others. As he stares angrily at the Guilty Remnant, the group that took away all he had left, he’s staring at a group that has more in common with him than he could possibly imagine.



-Apologies for the shorter length and substance of the review as compared to my first two; I won’t be able to delve as much into each episode’s events, given I have to cover “The Strain” and “Masters of Sex”. Oh, Sunday night TV. *Shakes head*

-What a performance by Christopher Eccleston. It’s a great idea to focus on one character here, as the first two episodes might’ve been trying to do too much. And, as we know, Lindelof is at his best when narrowing down to singular characters.

-Matt’s the boy he talks about at the beginning of the episode, the one who survived cancer. The idea of reward vs. punishment is an idea he keeps playing out in his mind, and it’s one that applies not only to him, but also to the Departed and the Leftovers.

-Ooh, another “waking up and believing you’re on fire” scenario. Could that mean something?

-That casino is not a casino you’d see in real life.

-Why bet on red? Pigeon, red traffic light, etc. I do that all the time and lose.

-The title of the episode refers to the common religious parable. Here, if you need a refresher:

-Hozier’s “Take Me to Church” is a great choice over the credits.

-So, how are Matt and Garvey connected? We’ll see.

Photo credit: HBO, The Leftovers


3 Responses to “The Leftovers “Two Boats and a Helicopter” Review (1×03)”

  1. disappearingwoman July 14, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    I’m really enjoying this series. I think the writers and actors have done a fantastic job of evoking the emotions and overall eeriness of the world they’re in. Great review!

  2. Pop Eye July 17, 2014 at 4:55 am #

    I thought this was the best episode yet. Brilliant performance by Eccleston.

  3. Matthew Thompson July 18, 2014 at 12:15 am #

    This was the first episode of the show I enjoyed. The singular focus really did help and Eccleston’s performance was very good. I hope when things shift back to the rest of the characters I don’t go back to feeling so indifferent towards the show.

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