The Leftovers “Crazy Whitefella Thinking” Review (3×03)

30 Apr

“It’s all just a story I told myself. I’ve got to be crazy, haven’t I?”

This week’s episode takes us through several intertwined storylines that are heartbreaking and frustrating in equal measure. I don’t mean frustrating in the sense of weak writing; rather, they’re frustrating as collections of choices and occurrences, frustrating because their subjects make decisions that seemingly get themselves–and others–in more and more trouble. Primarily, we have Kevin Garvey Sr. stumbling his way through Australia, trying to follow what he deems to be signs. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. However, the sheer fact that Garvey Sr. is so hellbent on believing places his storyline smack dab in the middle of the series’s themes.

A tumble off a rooftop, a chicken named Tony, the Itsy Bitsy Spider…all of these lead us toward that powerful final scene in Grace’s home. Played beautifully by Lindsay Duncan, we learn that Grace’s current situation was the product of a similar line of faith-based reasoning. Namely, her children died because of her belief in the Departure, and she killed Australian Kevin because she thought that the Book of Kevin brought her a sign. Watching her tell her story, the camera super close to her face throughout, is intense and devastating. Duncan and Glenn are forces of nature in this episode, their performances adding to an already incredible cast and carrying an episode devoid of most of the series regulars.

A final point: it’s interesting that the episode opens with a discussion about John Hinckley Jr., Taxi Driver, and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. It’s certainly no coincidence: here’s a scenario in which someone latched onto something in the world, eventually being driven to the point of obsession and irrationally believing that this violent action would make things right. Not saying the stories in this series are exactly the same, but there’s an element here of believing that you yourself can make a change. If you simply believe in something greater than yourself, then you can dictate your actions based upon this constructed narrative. It may lead to detrimental consequences, but it sometimes is the only way you can survive.



– “Would you kill a baby if it cured cancer?” “No” is apparently the wrong answer here, and it leads to a guy immolating himself as Garvey Sr. watches in horror.

-The opening credits this week uses Richard Cheese’s cover of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”.

-Mimi Leder’s directing in this episode is phenomenal. The way she and her d.p. shoot the desert is absolutely gorgeous.

Photo credit: The Leftovers, HBO

One Response to “The Leftovers “Crazy Whitefella Thinking” Review (3×03)”

  1. Keith Noakes April 30, 2017 at 10:24 pm #

    My favorite episode of the season so far.

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