Matt really does end up getting into brawls next to cars, doesn’t he? Pretty sure he got robbed or robbed someone in a casino parking lot when he was trying to save the church.
Anyway, the episode opens with the 50 First Dates-esque routine Matt has been going through with his wife, Mary, in hopes that she’ll wake up again. They leave to go get her a brain scan, where Matt drops his phone in the toilet and in other news, Mary is pregnant. The imaging tech who delivers the news seems a little nonchalant, given that he assumes Matt raped his wife, and, short of a miracle, that’s pretty much what has to have happened. I suppose Matt lucked out that he didn’t call the police right then.
Matt’s luck runs out pretty quickly, however, because he decides to stop and help someone stuck on side of the road AKA always a bad idea when you’re in a TV show or movie. Matt gets clanged over the head with a wrench and his and Mary’s wristbands are stolen. Mary wakes Matt up, telling him they have to get back to Miracle, which iswhen we have to wonder whether these moments are real or imagined by Matt. Given the way The Leftovers has been functioning, let’s assume it’s real. That’s also more comfortable then the show having us follow and sympathize with a particularly persistent rapist.
Matt tries to get back into Miracle but has a tough time getting through the uber-DMV. After a fight with the biggest jerk in a bow tie, Matt has to be bailed out by Kevin and John. John is pretty deductive, figuring out exactly what happened with Matt (or what he says happened). Matt says that he won’t lie, despite John’s warnings. Little does Matt know that John burns houses down for that sort of magic talk.
Anyway, they’re kicked back out into the wilderness camp of weird people doing weird things and hippie girls filling HBO’s boob quota. Matt passes a naked guy in a stockade, but the only way to free him is to take his place. Some Swedish guy will take him into Miracle for a thousand dollars, so Matt is off to make money the old fashioned way: hitting a guy with a paddle while he shouts out “Brian.” Oh, but first he has to prove he’s a man of God by telling a stranger what his favorite Bible book is and, of course, it’s Job. Of course. And Captain Ahab’s is probably the story of Jonah.
It’s another case of the “one thing too weird” that The Leftovers does. It would be weird enough if he just had to hit the guy with a paddle. Why does he have to shout “Brian?” It feels forced.
Whatever. When they do get back into town with Nora’s help, they find that the guy who stole their wristbands hit a goat and his car flipped over, so he’s dead now. It feels like a little bit of a cheat. Breaking Bad would have made Walter kill the guy AND his kid with science because it was all about forcing those hard choices with science. Still, it works for The Leftovers, since it’s clearly trying to be a sort of modern day Bible story. There are consistently subtle, unpredictable miracle-related occurrences, so I can roll with it.
Matt leaves town for a while, mostly to do some time in the stockade. A great moment for all the Whovians who were wondering which Doctor would get naked first.
Why is he in the stockade exactly? Does he feel like he did something wrong? Is he trying to bank favors by repenting in advance, knowing nothing can happen without giving proper sacrifice? Who knows?! Maybe we’ll see!
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