Review: HBO’s The Leftovers Episode 8 – “Cairo”

This week’s episode of The Leftovers was the most delirious one yet. This episode gives focus to Kevin Garvey and Nora Durst, and to a lesser extent, Jill Garvey and her friend Aimee, who’s living at her house for whatever reason – perhaps Aimee’s family got taken away or she’s detached from any of her family. She’s always smoking that ganja (many times in public, no less), so perhaps it serves as some kind of coping mechanism for the pain she doesn’t care to speak about.

Nora’s character seems to have done a complete 180 ever since her encounter with the less than savory Holy Wayne. She appears to have actually had her heart soften in thanks to Wayne’s embrace, so perhaps what he does isn’t a scam… then again, the change could have just come from her belief that she could change if she let Wayne hug her and it’s not so much Wayne… at the very least, he’s some kind of actor in this “cure” he performs on whoever pays up. Nevertheless, we don’t see him, Tom or Christine at all this episode.

“Cairo” opens up with cuts between Patti laying out clothing in the GR’s newly acquired church and Kevin going about his routine. We’re then shown a dinner between Nora, Kevin, Jill and Aimee. Seeing Aimee at dinner with them (especially during Kevin’s true introduction between Jill and Nora) makes me think they may have adopted her, but as far as I can recall that has yet to be clarified within the show. There’s tension between Kevin’s daughter and his new girlfriend, but not so tight that you could cut it with a knife. Nora is able to shrug Jill’s passive aggression off with ease, and even embarrasses her. The dinner could be considered slightly uncomfortable to watch, but it definitely could have been much worse. Kevin goes to bed and the next thing you know, he’s in Cairo, New York.

The Leftovers Ep. 8

Kevin blacked out – you have no idea why he’s here and he doesn’t either. The enigmatic, eternally tobacco chewing, dog killing Dean has woken him up. The two haven’t seen in each other in a couple of weeks. Kevin tells Dean that he went to bed and remembers nothing after that. Kevin’s on the edge of going in to hysterics. “Well… apparently, you got out of bed.” Dean recounts running in to Kevin at the bar. After having some drinks, Kevin offers Dean a ride home since Dean gave his truck to Kevin. Dean, seeing Kevin as a friend, goes along with whatever his inebriated self wanted to do. Kevin¬†decided to beat and kidnap a certain someone after she looked at the two of them the wrong way while he was driving back because that’s what a good Samaritan does; he can take a buddy home and can beat any haters down in the streets like a dog. We go back to the woods, and all that’s around them is a shack – no form of civilization in sight.

This episode does a great job of juxtaposing violence (non-physical and physical) and the regret felt after employing whatever form of violence. You also can’t help but feel this sense of helplessness and an anger that stems from that. You essentially only feel helplessness when you’re lonely, and it only matters if you feel lonely – external circumstances may “provide” you people that can take this feeling away, but you first have to realize that they exist and work with them to get rid of this dread. The bursts of violence have brevity but their impact is sonorous. The moments shown within “Cairo” show that anyone can snap, given you drop the correct amount of straws on their back.

This episode and the past episode are rekindling the flame the pilot had sparked within me, so I hope it continues to carry the torch to the finish line and beyond. If the last two episodes are of the same caliber as the previous two, “Two Boats and a Helicopter” and the pilot, I’ll just chalk The Leftovers up to getting a slow start. One last thing I wonder is if Dean is some extension of Kevin’s ego – he said he likes to call himself a guardian angel. I can’t go with the “Jack/Tyler Durden” angle because other characters have acknowledged Dean’s existence. The Leftovers has many twists and turns to go, it looks like.

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