The Leftovers: “Cairo” Review
Note: The following review goes into detail about the episode. SPOILER ALERT!
I spoke briefly last week about how everything was coming along nicely on The Leftovers and felt things may be about to escalate, but I wasn’t really expecting the level of escalation we got here in “Cairo.” Deaths, surprising revelations, and several shocking character choices were peppered throughout the episode while ongoing storylines were further improved upon. This was a superb way to follow up the recent announcement of the show getting renewed, and with a couple of episodes left in the first season it perfectly set us up for the coming weeks.
For the people worried that we wouldn’t get enough answers on this show, one very big question did get answered: Kevin is losing his mind. There have been several signs pointing to this over the course of the season but in an earth-shattering moment for Kevin, he learned just how far he had slipped. After waking up outside a cabin with Dean, he learned that he had violently abducted Patti and dragged her off to a cabin in the woods. While this was a massive moment on its own, Kevin finding those shirts he had lost earlier in the season rather eerily nailed to trees in the woods upped the ante considerably. Up until now we had only had suspicions, but this pretty much confirmed that Kevin had been having regular blackouts and doing some pretty strange things, and hanging out with Dean a lot.
From the moment we saw Patti tied to that chair, something drastic obviously had to happen. Either Patti or Dean had to die, or Kevin would have to confess or else Patti would land both of them in hot water with the law. In the end following a scuffle between Kevin and Dean, it appeared as if Kevin would take the confession option, but Patti had other ideas. Martyrdom appears to be the route forward with the Guilty Remnant, and Patti taking her own life is just another triumph for the cause. Amongst the mayhem we also had a confession from Patti that she was behind the murder of Gladys, although considering there wasn’t much of a punch to this announcement and with it coming during a time where she was trying to provoke Kevin, I have my doubts over this claim’s validity.
One of the most interesting things to come out of Kevin’s trip to the woods was the chance to spend more time with Dean. He seemed all too ready to go along with a crazed Kevin’s plan and even tried to murder Patti himself. That wasn’t what stood out to me the most though, with a tiny, open to interpretation moment setting my mind into speculation mode. Right after Kevin and Dean’s fight, there was a moment where he said a few words as he was leaving the cabin. Taking the moment into context, he could have possibly been talking to Patti, but that’s not what it seemed like to me. In my eyes, Dean was responding to the voice of someone we couldn’t see nor hear, just like Kevin’s father. Earlier in the season, Kevin Sr. mentioned that someone was being sent to help Kevin, and here we had Dean referring to himself as a “guardian angel.” It’s a completely ambiguous moment that could be nothing, or it could end up being a pivotal moment in the series.
Outside of the Kevin drama, there was plenty else going on. The Guilty Remnant got a lot of screen time as Laurie dealt with an outburst from Meg, and the GR moved forward with the next phase of their plan. Having Jamison target the GR by revealing information about them and their families is a smart way for the story to move forward, as it raises the stakes on their rivalry. Seeing Meg violently snap was interesting to watch, but there’s still something about her character that isn’t clicking for me. Perhaps it was the ease at which she gave into the lifestyle, but I can’t shake the feeling that she is working against the GR is some way.
Of course at this stage everybody in the whole damn world should soon be working against the GR because their latest project is downright despicable. Stealing those photos of departed family members was bad enough, but now we have learned that they stole them so they could whip up a batch of those life-like “loved ones” bodies. We can only assume at this stage that they’ll be putting on some sort of public display or, even worse, placing these “loved ones” back in their real life counterpart’s homes. Considering the amount of misery on display on this show, this is one of the most dastardly plans I’ve ever seen, and I’ll now be completely rooting for the GR’s hopefully horrible demise. The town’s backlash to this will be monumentally severe, so the stakes have been raised even higher again.
The Guilty Remnant look set to see their ranks grow a little more first however, with Jill walking through their door at the end of the episode. Jill had an interesting week that started with a rather awkward dinner with Kevin and Nora and quickly progressed to her breaking into Nora’s house to prove she had a gun. From the very first moment we met her, Jill has been acting out. Her decision to join the GR seems to me to be her latest, drastic cry for attention. She clearly misses her mother but also hates her for leaving, so seeing them interacting together for a prolonged period holds a lot of promise.
I asked for escalation and The Leftovers duly delivered. There have been a few good surprises on the series so far but the demise of Patti mixed with Jill joining the GR and Kevin’s massively deteriorating mental health are all game-changing turns that will keep us guessing going into the final couple of episodes of the season. The Leftovers has introduced us to a group of characters and has steadily built them up while crafting a story around them spread over an extended period of time. Now that all of the pieces are in place, we’re beginning to benefit from a cracking finish to the season. Long may it continue.
What’s up with Dean? Is he hearing voices too or was he simply talking to Patti? Let us know in the comments below.
*We do not comment on anything relating to previews for the next episode and beyond.
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I really want to know why the Guilty Remnant smokes! -john
It’s to symbolize that they only live in the now. They could die, or vanish rather, at any second. So it’s a big f*** you to that and to those who have hope for a normal, long-lasting life.
Yeah that makes a lot of sense — so why don’t they talk? -john
Hi Chris. First of all thanks for reading and commenting! Now as for your question about why they don’t talk, well I think it’s open to interpretation really. My opinion on the matter is that perhaps they’re guilty about how they lived before “the Departure” so they may feel they’ve lost the right to speak in a way. The GR seem to feel that if they weren’t guilty of great sin then they wouldn’t have been left behind after “the Departure”, so not speaking may be a sort of penance.
I could be completely wrong about that though, which is one of the reasons why I’m a big fan of the show, everyone can have their own theories about different parts of the show.
That makes sense. Have you read the book? It was a book first, right?
It was indeed a book first but I haven’t had the pleasure of reading it yet. At the moment I’ll probably just stick to watching the show as I’m enjoying being nearly completely clueless about what is happening!
I’m with ya! I hate reading the books to shows first. Although with True Blood I’m told the show strays pretty far from the books. But i hear both endings were letdowns. I gave up on True Blood two seasons before it ended. But that Leftovers looks awesome! -chris