The Leftovers: “Penguin One, Us Zero” Review

Kevin’s mental state becomes unclear while Meg continues her initiation into the Guilty Remnants.


Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!

If you manage to slip a very humorous Wire reference into your show, you’re doing something right. Other than referencing one of the best television shows of all time, “Penguin One, Us Zero” continued our look into the miserable lives of the inhabitants of Mapleton.

We’ve been shown two “cults” on the show so far, and after seeing a bit more of Wayne in action I think we have a clear winner of the creepiness award. The Guilty Remnants aren’t exactly the most heart-warming bunch, but I’d take chain smoking and a vow of silence over a huggy leader who makes out with corpses. Seriously creepy as hell, I don’t blame Tom at all for not wanting to reciprocate that offered hug. I still don’t have a clue what Wayne’s whole deal is though. He clearly holds huge sway over his devoted followers but whether this is truly because of some supernatural grief counselling technique or not remains to be seen.

The opening attack on Wayne’s compound was a well put together action scene that also helped to highlight another way the world has changed since “the disappearance.” The flippant way the two FBI agents discussed Wayne’s cult and came to the decision to raid the compound was a little startling to see, as was the behavior of the agent who had Christine at gunpoint. Tom shooting the agent in the neck was also a bit of a shock as he didn’t seem as hardcore as the other disciples, although this seemed to be done more to keep Christine safe than out of some sort of loyalty to Wayne. It was interesting to see that Tom’s first reaction to everything going to hell was to call his father, but for now the two will be remaining apart.


Kevin went through the emotional wringer again a bit this week as he found himself questioning his own sanity. With everyone around him doubting his story about the mysterious hunter in the wake of the dog shootings, Kevin was obviously beginning to wonder whether he was going down the same path the previous chief of police, his father Kevin Sr., went down years before. I must say though that after meeting Kevin Sr. this week that there has to be some doubt about whether he is in fact crazy. He seemed to have his wits about him here for the majority of his solitary scene, and even when he was talking to a voice only he could here, it seemed like something else could be going on. This voice allegedly told him that someone had been sent to help Kevin out so that could possibly be who the mysterious man with a penchant for shooting dogs is.

Kevin has gone full tilt at the Guilty Remnants following the events of the pilot. He’s cataloging each member as they sign up for the cult, along with informing their family members of their whereabouts. This leads him to cross paths with Meg, who hasn’t reached the whole “no talking, yes smoking” phase of Guilty Remnants membership. Meg finds herself tasked with chopping down trees with an axe and has to give up a personal item every day until she has none left. Her interactions with Laurie were quite telling as Laurie didn’t want to push her too hard to give up her attachment to her old life, while also revealing she still remembers what it was like in her time with Kevin.


The other main plotline of the week centred around a curious Jill and Aimee following Nora Durst while she set about her day job. Nora seems like a very interesting character already in the limited time we’ve spent with her. Having her whole family taken from her during the event three years ago has changed her, and she now finds herself carrying a gun and breaking coffee cups on purpose. Most interestingly she has a job interviewing family members of the people who have disappeared so she can determine whether they are eligible for a grant. Something about it just doesn’t seem right to me however, and I’m wondering whether we’ll find out there’s a whole other reason behind these evaluations she’s carrying out.


The Leftovers has had a steady start and after two episodes there’s been a steady foundation laid out. We’ve mainly had a lot of character work so far so I’m wondering whether we’ll now begin to see some more elements of the mystery be explored in the coming weeks. The central focus here this week was Kevin’s sanity and to be honest, I still feel like Chief Garvey’s mental state is still up in the air a little. We got to finally see someone other than Kevin acknowledge the hunter’s existence this week but the way it was handled was far from definitive. This along with the reappearance of his burnt bagel will have set Kevin’s mind at ease for now, but I have a feeling his troubles are only really getting started.

Are you disturbed by Wayne? Who’s the crazy one in this show? Share all your thoughts in the comments below?


*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode.
About Michael Spring (159 Articles)
Michael Spring is a staff writer for If he's not playing Metal Gear or watching some excellent TV show, he's more than likely asleep. For some witty banter and the occasional rant about football, you can follow him @OldSnake24 on Twitter

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