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The Leftovers "Gladys" Recap: Lets Get Stoned

1x01_Gladys

Spoilers ahead for the crybabies

Well, if you’re one of the Leftovers viewers who complains “Nothing ever happens!” the opening scene of last night’s episode – Gladys – certainly put an end to that. It was the most aggressive scene I’ve ever watched on television. Perhaps the most gruesome death ever, with only one exception. I let out an audible gasp and I legit felt uncomfortable watching it. But it was riveting stuff. Dialed up the intensity about a thousand notches and, even though I thought it was pretty impossible at this point, things got even more depressing and bleak for Mapleton. We’ll get to some other gruesome TV deaths in a bit but first lets talk about Gladys’ death.

There was a prevailing feeling after last night’s episode that the GR was perhaps behind this murder themselves. The Mystery Man even says it during the town hall. I first felt that could be the case when Laurie had a quick flash of Gladys being stoned. That led me to believe that maybe she was there when the kidnapping and murder took place? That her panic attack was a result of guilt and being overwhelmed by the GR life. The very beginning of the episode showed Make Flowers Patti and Gladys coming to some sort of agreement or decision with a silent nod. Maybe this some sort of sacrifice on Gladys’ behalf? Did the GR do this to themselves as one move in the chess match to make them look like sympathetic victims and the rest of society as barbaric murderers?

It easily could not be. We’ve seen other members of Mapleton throw rocks at the GR before. Maybe this is retaliation after they broke into people’s houses. Maybe Laurie’s panic attack had nothing to do with her being involved. She was jut overwhelmed by the divorce, felt guilty about her daughter, and just saw one of the…rocks…of the Guilty Remnant murdered. Plus she was already back at the house when Patti banged the pots and rallied the rest of the cult to go search for Gladys. This could just flat out be the conflict between the Guilty Remnant and the rest of society coming to a fever pitch. But the nod of agreement in the beginning, Laurie’s panic attack, and the scene with Patti in the diner all kind of led me to believe there may be more going on.

Patti breaking her silence at that breakfast really gave you a look inside the fucked up psyche of the GR. The tale she told about Gladys almost succumbing to the pressures of their movement after her son died – but ultimately committing herself fully to the cause – sounded like your prototypical brainwashing. In a rather creepy and overly emotional speech, she sternly grabs Laurie’s arm, and explains how there life of silence and devotion to their cause is very difficult, and that if there was any doubt, you would be consumed. “Doubt is fire, and fire is going to burn you up until you are but ash.” Then at the end of the episode we see Gladys’ mangled body being shoveled into the furnace. Burned up with no investigation. Gladys turned to ash. Maybe her doubt was too strong – maybe Patti ordered this to happen because she feared Gladys was too weak to continue. Maybe Gladys reaffirmed her devotion and this was the manner in which she showed her commitment. Sacrifice herself in the most horrific, gruesome fashion to help anyone else having doubts about the GR proclaim their faith. After all, we see Liv Tyler finally start ripping cigarettes and fully join the team as a result of her death. Laurie blows her whistle right in the Preacher’s face, signaling her ultimate dedication. If Gladys gave her life – either willingly or otherwise – then she can certainly give up her family. Liv Tyler can give up her fiance and previous life. But the point is that death – whether planned or a conspiracy or just a random act of violence – is acting as a rallying point for the GR. Gladys becomes a martyr for the rest of their members and now the war is truly raging. Patti and the GR vs. Matt and his puny Christian following. Patti, Laurie and the GR vs. Garvey and the rest of the town. There’s no turning back now.

Few other points:

– Laurie running out of the house during Matt’s prayer was an awesome scene. I genuinely thought she was going to turn back. I thought she had enough and was going to give up and return to her family. I 100% thought we were gonna see a face turn. And when she pulled out the whistle and blew it in his face and Patti cried tears of joy it was just as grim and gloomy as it gets. There’s just no hope for her anymore.

– A couple people noticed this as well so I figured I’d mention it: when Garvey gets a phone call from the AFTEC agent as the house alarm was going off, it clearly says his name on his iPhone. When he finally starts talking to him, you again clearly see the iPhone and it says “Unknown.” He also specifically sounds surprised the AFTEC agent never got his messages. Could be nothing, but also could be some more weird Garvey mental shit. Who knows whats real and whats not sometimes with Garvey. Maybe that phone call or those messages he left never happened.

– Who does Garvey fuck first: Aimee or Nora?

– There is only a handful of scenes I can recall that were as aggressive as Gladys’ stoning. I’m not gonna go into too much depth on each of these for spoiler reasons, but these are the other scenes I can recall being like “Whoa. That was intense.”

3. Oberyn vs. The Mountain

Didn’t have nearly the same affect Gladys’s did, because we knew going in to a Game of Thrones trial by combat there was going to be some gruesome shit. But the finale of that fight was so incredible its gotta be up there. There’s about a billion other GoT deaths that could be on here, specifically Khaleesi’s bro getting his golden crown, but the trial by combat ending takes the cake.

2. Walter and Jane in Breaking Bad

Heartbreaking. Other Breaking Bad scenes that were this intense – Gus with the box cutter and Krazy 8 in the basement with the bike lock

1. Damon Pope and Tig in Sons of Anarchy

Still the most fucked up scene I’ve ever watched.