‘The Leftovers’ Season 1 Episode 7 Recap: “Solace for Tired Feet”


Is this the episode when The Leftovers finally gives us some answers? Sort of. There are scenes between Kevin Garvey and his father that definitely hints that there are some answers to be found somewhere, but who knows if that will ever happen? What we do know is that, after this, there are only three episodes left in this season and I still have no idea what the hell is ever happening.

Well, that’s a slight exaggeration. There are plenty of things that do make sense. For one, there is Jill’s teenage rebellion that is only amped up by the fact that her life has been increasingly sad and weird for the last few years, with person after person disappearing on her — both emotionally and physically. At the start of the episode, she’s hanging in the woods with her friends playing a game that involves them competing to see who can stay in an empty fridge for the longest — “embracing the great darkness” — and Jill decides to break the record. She barely succeeds but then gets stuck inside when the handle breaks off. It’s sweaty and claustrophobic and just as she’s losing consciousness she’s saved by someone wholly unexpected: her grandfather.

Kevin Garvey Sr., the former chief of police until he had a breakdown and set fire to the town’s library, is the centerpiece of “Solace for Tired Feet.” He broke out of the psychiatric hospital and is causing a stir around Mapleton. The wariness is justified; Garvey Sr. soon wrecks the town’s library and attacks an EMT worker.

Kevin has his hands full this episode, juggling trying to catch his escaped father, trying to sleep with Nora (they’ve been on five dates since last week’s episode), trying to deal with the watchers (especially Meg) who are keeping a close eye on his budding romance while trying to sabotage it, and trying to understand what occurs during those nights when he blacks out. It’s hard not to worry about Kevin ending up like his father. His dreams are getting more disturbing, this time involving a dog in a mailbox and Laurie in his truck. In a flash, he wakes up on his bedroom floor with his bloody hand bandaged up; the vicious dog is tied up and barking nonstop in the backyard. Kevin’s on a rapid decline, as evidenced by these blackouts, the plethora of pills he later flushes down the toilet, and the curious conversations he exchanges with Aimee — I still can’t figure that girl out, either.

To add to the ever-growing mystery on The Leftovers, Garvey Sr.’s appearance is weird as hell. There is a jar buried in the backyard that contains money and a ripped out page from Matt’s newsletter. He spews nonsense, constantly, though I’m sure this will all make sense at some point. He’s also obsessed with an old 1972 issue of National Geographic magazine, hinting that there are some answers there (I haven’t checked out the copy, but I’m sure the Internet is on it). Kevin shoots down the idea and later goes to finally awkwardly consummate his relationship with Nora — their relationship, no matter how doomed it may feel, is one of the few bright spots in this dark drama — but when he arrives back home, there’s another copy of the magazine that Jill had ordered online. Whatever is in that particular issue has to have some sort of connection to the Sudden Departure, right?

To be honest, this is where I’m a little iffy. Lindelof has previously stated that he intended to solve the mystery of the Sudden Departure during the series which is something that the book never concerned itself with. That’s what I liked most about the novel. There was a definite mystery but it didn’t need to be solved; the characters and plotting were so engaging that I truly didn’t care about what had caused these people to disappear. The deviations that the show has taken are all welcome and have, thus far, been satisfying but I’m still apprehensive about what Lindelof and co. will come up with as an explanation.

Seven episodes in and The Leftovers hasn’t been a perfect series so far but it’s been my favorite of the summer. Some episodes have been stunning (in particular, the ones that focus on just one character) and some have been lacking due to iffy plots (there’s a reason I haven’t gone into the Christine stuff from this week) but overall, it’s always been interesting to watch — even if it’s a bit frustrating at times.