On tonight’s series premiere of The Leftovers, Chief of Police Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and his town of Mapleton, N.Y. struggle to move on three years after the “Sudden Departure,” an event where 2 percent of the world’s population disappeared without reason.
— The Leftovers (@TheLeftoversHBO) April 7, 2014
The town prepares for its first Heroes Day to remember the departed, but not everyone agrees on how to memorialize the day of October 14. Read on to see how Garvey handles protecting the town and dealing with his separated family.
1. 2 Percent of the World’s Population Disappears
A mother’s baby disappears from his car seat. A child’s father disappears pushing a shopping cart. The mother and the child both yell out for their lost ones, but they have simply vanished into thin air.
— The Leftovers (@TheLeftoversHBO) April 21, 2014
Three years later, the world and Mapleton prepare to remember the day of the departure, October 14. On his daily run, Garvey comes across a stray dog. He calls it over, but a man down the street shoots the dog dead before Garvey can make contact with the canine. The police chief learns the dog belonged to a man who disappeared.
Across town his estranged wife Laurie (Amy Brenneman) wakes up at the home of The Guilty Remnant (GR) cult. She sleeps in a room with communal beds and lights up a smoke when she awakes. She quickly flashes back on a school yard fight.
At the local high school, Garvey’s daughter Jill (Margaret Qualley) sits in homeroom listening to the morning announcements. They end with the Pledge of Allegiance (no one stands) and a moment of silence to ask for mercy. Later at field hockey practice, she elbows her teammate in the nose and refers to her as a c*** to the girls’ coach.
Garvey’s son Tom (Chris Zylka) sits in a van outside an old BBQ restaurant off a dirt road. He picks up the Texas Congressman Witten (or did Buddy Garrity run for office?) and takes him to see a man who can help Witten forget his feelings of burden. Tom reveals he looked at colleges in Texas, but dropped out of school because he “didn’t see the point” (witnessing two kids jump off a building may have influenced that decision).
2. Laurie Wants to Join the Guilty Remnant at Heroes Day
Mapleton’s Mayor Lucy Warburton holds a meeting to plan for the town’s first Heroes Day. They’re calling the event “Heroes Day” because no one would attend “We Don’t Know What the Fuck Happened Day.” Garvey thinks the parade and ceremony will only invite the Guilty Remnant to show up and cause a disturbance like they did at the recent Homecoming high school football game. Mayor Lucy refuses to call off the event though.
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The Guilty Remnant leader Patti doesn’t put Laurie on the list to attend the Heroes Day event the next day. Since they don’t speak, Laurie has to ask permission by writing back and forth on a pad of paper. Patty grants her request. Laurie then gets her following assignment to look after a woman named Meg.
Meg and her fiance are planning their wedding, but Meg doesn’t seem to into it. When Laurie and her GR partner show up outside the restaurant the couple are eating at, the fiance asks them to leave. The women do, but are standing outside Meg’s home when the couple arrive back.
3. The Garvey Kids Have Given Up on the Future
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While Congressmen Witten meets with “Holy Wayne,” Tom sneaks down to the compound pool to see Christine, one of the young and beautiful Asian women hanging around. He brings her a bag of gummy worms and tells her about the latest episode of The Bachelor (because people are still obsessed with reality TV after the departure).
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Tom thinks he’ll take Witten home, but he’s informed that Wayne wants to speak with him later and he needs to stay. Later that night, Holy Wayne asks Tom to protect Christine, but warns him to keep his hands off her. She’s important, very important. The hugging-healer also predicts “some bad shit is coming.” Wayne son’s, who departed, has spoken to him in a dream and a grace period of three years for those who remained is up on the anniversary.
— The Leftovers (@TheLeftoversHBO) June 27, 2014
Back in Mapleton, Tom’s sister Jill attends a party with her friend Aimee. It’s not exactly the small get together Aimee said it would be. A house full of teenagers are drinking, doing drugs and having sex all over. Aimee and Jill join an extreme version of “spin the bottle” using another kid’s phone. Jill’s crush Nick spins “fuck” but the arrow lands on Aimee. She tells Jill she won’t do it but Jill tells her to go ahead. When it’s Jill’s turn, she spins “choke” and lands on a kid named Max.
The two go into a small bedroom that belonged to the party host’s little sister, who departed. They make some awkward small talk and then undress down to their underwear. Laying in the child’s bed, Jill chokes Mark while he masturbates.
Jill leaves immediately after and meets up with twin brothers Adam and Scott Frost. They’ve lost their keys and need a flashlight. Jill offers to get a flare out of the trunk of her dad’s car, which she drove to the party, but when she opens it, she finds the dead dog he picked up earlier. The three of them drive to an abandoned overlook and bury the dog.
4. The Guilty Remnant Provoke a Nasty Response
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Just like Garvey predicted, the Guilty Remnant show up at the Heroes Day festivities. During a speech by Nora Durst, who lost her husband and two kids during the “Sudden Departure,” Garvey and her spot the cult followers marching down the hill on the north side of the park. The white-clad members stop and hold up signs that spell out “Stop Wasting Your Breath.” People are not happy, and charge at them with fists up.
Garvey tries to call his patrol officers to create a line between the two groups, but he’s too late. The Guilty Remnant members stand there and take the abuse of the frustrated townspeople who punch, kick and throw bottles.
The police chief finally gets his officers to hold the line against the angry townspeople. He even helps his wife Laurie, beaten down, off the ground but quickly releases her back to her people.
5. Meg Comes to the Guilty Remnant
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Later that night, Garvey goes to find Laurie at the Guilty Remnant homes. A male member stands guard outside the house. Garvey knocks the guy out and yells for his wife to come out. When she appears, he asks her to take a walk and just come home with him. Group leader Patti wants Garvey gone and writes her request on on her pad of paper. To emphasize, she underlines it. He finally gives up and leaves.
Perhaps the reason for the Guilty Remnant following people is to recruit new members. Laurie’s person Meg shows up soon after Garvey leaves with her bags packed. She asks Patti if she can stay with the group for a couple days. Patti speaks for the first time to says she can stay as long as she wants, and that would be the last time they would speak.
On his way home, Garvey runs across a deer he saw earlier and that he thinks is following him. The deer also may have wrecked his kitchen. He gets out of the car to face the deer, but then a pack of wild dogs run past him and tear the deer apart. The man who shot the dog earlier arrives on the scene and the two of them together shoot all the dogs down.