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‘The Leftovers’ recap, Episode 7: ‘Solace for Tired Feet’

Margaret Qualley as Jill in “The Leftovers” (Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

The Garvey clan is back in the spotlight again this week (extended family members, too), so it’s time to zoom in on the most dysfunctional family ever.

It all starts as Jill is participating in yet another dumb teenage ritual — her friends are locking each other in a refrigerator in the woods to see who can last the longest without oxygen. Fun! Jill is convinced that she can win the game and she does. Tiny problem: When it’s time to let her out for air, the handle breaks. The teens all start screaming, as does Jill, until she starts to slip off into unconsciousness.

Just as the teens are all starting to really panic, someone swoops in and bursts open the door. Jill thinks she’s dreaming because when she looks up, she sees her grandfather, Kevin Garvey Sr. That can’t be, right? Isn’t he in a mental hospital due to some unspecified breakdown? Oh, but it’s real — Kevin Sr. tells Jill not to tell her dad that she saw him, and scurries off into the woods.

It’s terrible timing for Kevin Jr. simply because he finally seems somewhat less miserable — he’s been out on five dates with Nora Durst, and that’s the magic number because she invites him back to her place after dinner. Kevin’s pretty nervous and it doesn’t help that when they arrive, two members of the Guilty Remnant are waiting for them outside Nora’s house (including Meg, a full-fledged cult member at this point). Kevin starts screaming at them to leave, but Nora has a better option as she simply turns on the hose at full blast and soaks them both.

While Kevin’s delighted to see Nora get the better of the GR, the interaction kills the mood. Nora’s not quite ready to hop into bed anymore. But that’s fine because Kevin finds out about his father’s escape. That sends Kevin into chief of police mode, and tells his team to make finding his dad a top priority. We get a bit of backstory about Kevin Sr.’s breakdown: Once the chief of police himself, he started exhibiting erratic behavior and burned down the library and hurt people before he was committed. Kevin reminds everyone he’s dangerous and tells them to find him no matter what.

Scott Glenn as Kevin Garvey Sr. in “The Leftovers.” (Paul Schiraldi/HBO)

That’s when things get weird: After a quick trip to Mayor Lucy’s house to confirm his father isn’t there (what’s up with his father and the mayor?), Kevin goes home to bed. Maybe. He wakes up when some dogs are outside and the Creepy Dog Shooter Guy urges him to come help put them down. So Kevin walks outside but then sees his son, Tom, in a vision, so maybe he’s dreaming? It’s all unclear as Kevin wakes up on the floor, but finds out that he has a bloody hand because he brought a vicious dog home at some point the previous night. The dog is now tied up in his backyard.

Kevin has no memory of bringing the dog back and pretends it was all part of his plan. Neither Aimee nor Jill buy his story, but whatever — it’s time to track down his father. Looks like his dad hit the library the previous night, looking for something mysterious, and in the process, trashed the place and beat up a cop.

Luckily, Kevin doesn’t have to wait too long to find out where his father went. Kevin Sr. heads to his old house, now his son’s home. He runs into Jill, who is somewhat intrigued to see her grandfather and invites him inside for some food, but is also concerned given her own father’s warnings. However, they share a sweet bonding moment as she opens the fridge (“Try not to get trapped in there,” Grandpa deadpans) and Grandpa asks her for $200 and some tranquilizers.

Jill comes to her senses (well, after she gives him some pills) and calls Kevin, who comes to rescue his father immediately. Kevin Sr. recognizes his defeat and stands up, snapping his own handcuffs on himself and allowing his son to drive him to jail. The two start bickering as Kevin tries to figure out what his dad is up to. All of a sudden, Kevin has to slam on the brakes when he runs into a Guilty Remnant rally in the middle of the street — his father takes the opportunity to get out of the car and run away. Kevin leaps out of the car to follow, knocking over GR members in his path, but his dad is just too fast.

Furious, Kevin arrives home to Aimee, who declined to go out with Jill and her friends because she would rather watch bad TV and eat ice cream. Aimee confronts Kevin about the fact that he clearly doesn’t remember bringing a loud, barking dog home the previous night — implying he’s probably taking a few too many of those tranquilizers himself. Kevin snaps at Aimee (basically saying that if she wants to keep living as a rent-free houseguest, she better stop asking questions) but still goes upstairs and throws all the pills in the trash, and gives the dog some raw meat so it will finally be quiet.

While outside, Kevin stumbles upon a clue, as the dog did some digging in the yard — thousands of dollars wrapped up in the peanut butter jar. It’s the same cash that Reverend Matt used to gamble at the casino a few episodes back, and there’s a note from Kevin Sr. in there. Kevin angrily calls up the reverend and tells him that if his father is hiding somewhere, he needs to know — Matt reluctantly says yeah, maybe he does know where his father is. Eventually, he tells Kevin to meet them at a diner.

Kevin meets his father at a diner, which proceeds to be the most confusing scene of the episode, if not the entire season. Kevin’s father tells him, “I wanted to keep you out of this. … I tried to change their minds, but they wouldn’t stop.” He then hands Kevin a May 1972 copy of National Geographic magazine.

Uh – okay. “What am I supposed to do with this?” Kevin asks, speaking for us all. His father then proceeds to talk a lot of gibberish, saying things like “You need to accept it” and “I know you think I’m crazy, but I’m not” and “The whistle blew three years ago and you cannot hide anymore” and “Your services are being requested. … This is your purpose. This is your invitation.”

The only person more confused than us is Kevin, who bluntly tells his dad he’s talking crazy. “Where did you go, Dad?” he asks. His father then hits him hard across the face and starts yelling, tearing pages from the magazine until he’s dragged away to a jail cell.

Shaking his head, Kevin goes to see his father in jail to see if he can make any more sense. His father doesn’t elaborate on his previous vague messages but instead just says “I’m not going to let you off that easy, son.”

So, no questions answered. On the bright side, Kevin decides that he’s finally ready to be with Nora, so he goes right to her house where they basically tear their clothes off immediately. Later, as they cuddle in bed, Kevin says, “I think I might be going crazy.” Nora isn’t bothered by this at all. “Well, my friend,” she says. “You’ve come to the right place.” (How did they suddenly become the most functional couple on this show?)

Feeling better, Kevin heads home — only to be confronted with a copy of the National Geographic magazine on his kitchen table. Turns out, Jill saw it written down on a piece of paper that her grandfather dropped, so she ordered it for him. As the dog barks in the backyard, Kevin throws away the magazine … only to slowly try to fish it out of the trash later. Hmmmm.

As for the other Garveys, Tom is pretty much doing terribly. He and Christine are living in squalor. Christine is eight months pregnant with Holy Wayne’s baby and very ill, but somehow that’s not the worst of his problems. He gets a call from the horrible Wayne, who orders Tom to take $3,000 (he has $6,000 out of the cash that Wayne gave him) and tape it underneath a mailbox across town. Tom does this because at this point, he still worships Wayne for some reason.

Tom watches carefully to see who picks up the money. It winds up being a random guy, whom Tom follows back to his house and bursts in, demanding to see Wayne. Except, oh wait, Wayne’s not there — instead, it’s the guy and another young, Asian girl. Who is also pregnant. With Wayne’s baby.

Stunned, Tom and the random dude sit down and try to process this new information and wonder how many other young girls Wayne got pregnant. Eventually, they just start laughing at the absurdity of the situation/awfulness of their lives. “There’s gotta be a reason he didn’t tell us about each other,” the other guy speculates. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the other girl comes out shooting a gun, crying and demanding to see Chistine. “He said it would be my baby. He’s the only one,” she sobs, managing to shoot Tom’s hand in the process.

Tom runs out of the house, bleeding, still horrified at everything. His cell phone rings, and knowing it could only be Wayne, he throws it against a wall and it shatters in a million pieces. Good for Tom!

Only, that may have been a bad idea. When he arrives back at his apartment, Christine isn’t in the bed. Nope, she’s in the bathtub, because she just gave birth — to a healthy baby girl. Wayne will be so thrilled. (Except probably not.)

Oh, and as for the other Garvey? Laurie only gets a bit of screentime in this episode, as she runs into Jill on the street. She’s also told, courtesy of Meg, that Kevin is now sleeping with Nora.

Confronted with this upsetting new fact about her ex-husband, Laurie only has a one-word response — she scrawls it on a piece of paper and holds up to Meg’s face:



Episode 6: Nora’s day out

Episode 5: Nothing like a grisly murder to kick things off

Episode 4: Who had the most miserable Christmas?

Episode 3: The most interesting character? Not one of the main ones

Episode 2: Only two breakdowns, and that’s impressive

Episode 1: After a Sudden Departure, things are grim

Emily Yahr covers pop culture and entertainment for the Post. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyYahr.

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