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The Leftovers recap: 'Cairo'

Chief Garvey starts to get some answers while Meg breaks GR rules.

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Paul Schiraldi/HBO

The Leftovers

TV Show
Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
run date:
Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston
Current Status:
In Season

“You’re just going to have to batten down the hatches and finish what you started here, my friend.” —Patti, to Kevin

After seven careful to the point of being tedious Leftovers episodes alienated some of the show’s audience for a stubborn dearth of answers, “Cairo”—pronounced KAY-row—was an avalanche of information. More clues from the 1972 cover of National Geographic? Check. Gladys’ murder? Solved. Kevin’s missing white police shirts? Found. Aimee’s uncomfortably close relationship with Kevin? Addressed, though not necessarily resolved. Plus, crucial members of the Guilty Remnant just couldn’t keep their mouths shut for once, giving us insight into the big plans they have for Mapleton on Memorial Day.

Kevin and Patti were destined to collide, judging by the opening sequence, which captures them both preparing for a special event. Kevin is peacefully cooking a chicken dinner for Nora and the girls, slicing the vegetables, setting the table just so; Patti is meticulously laying out outfits on the floor of the church while cradling a thick binder, titled M.D.—Memorial Day, most likely. The spiritual “I’ve Been ‘Buked and I’ve Been Scorned” binds their tasks together, with the haunting final lyric, “There is trouble all over this world.”

Kevin and Nora are in love. Did you see his look of bliss as he got the kitchen ready to host the closest thing he’s had to a family dinner since Laurie bolted? Nora is walking on a similar cloud. She doesn’t even seem to mind the staking outside of her home by the GRs, the same ladies she previously hosed down and who now are carefully recording her daily comings and goings. But the actual dinner deflates some of their joy. It’s a tense table, though Aimee wasn’t the primary troublemaker. If she is having a stealth relationship with Blackout Kevin, she did a great job of hiding any petty feelings of jealousy. Part of me just assumed that she had lost a family member or two in the Departure—forcing her to crash with the Garveys—but her question about Nora’s job with the government agency implied that she couldn’t quite relate to that questionnaire experience. So, what exactly is Aimee’s deal at home?

Instead, it’s Jill who clearly isn’t comfortable with her father and Nora’s coziness, as they giggle about dogs’ names. Her idea of dinner conversation is asking about Nora’s gun—the one she and Aimee know she carries in her purse. Nora says she doesn’t need it anymore and proves it by letting Jill search her bag.

So, no, the ladies didn’t quite hit it off right away. Outside afterward, a calm Nora brushes it off and reassures Kevin, “It’ll get better.” “How?” he asks, before they kiss. “I don’t know, but it will.” Well, sure, if you can afford $1,000 hugs from Holy Wayne.

Previously, Kevin and the TV audience were both in the dark about his mysterious blackouts, leaving us all to speculate about those dead dogs, his bite wound, and whatever happened to his kitchen. Finally, we got to see what really happens when he closes his eyes: basically, we have a Tyler Durden situation. This time, Kevin goes to sleep in his own bed, but wakes up in the front seat of his truck in the woods. Dean the dog-killer is along for their latest mission, and taped to a chair inside the dilapidated cabin is a battered and bloodied Patti, the head GR.

What a marvelous performance from Justin Theroux as the ground shifts beneath his feet, his eyes going all terrified school-boy like Edward Norton at his eureka moment in Fight Club. He has no recollection of any of this. Dean is incredulous at Kevin’s claims of ignorance—assaulting and kidnapping Patti was Blackout Kevin’s idea after she gave him a dirty look as the two drunken men drove home from the bar. Last time they had such a crazy night together, Kevin brought home that barking dog to win a bet, says Dean. If Kevin can rehabilitate the pooch, Dean will stop shooting man’s former best friends, but if he fails, Dean wins $1. (It’s a Duke & Duke special.) That was the same night that Kevin “dreamed” about the wild dog in the mailbox, the pile of GR corpses with plastic bags over their heads, and the police scanner that—as one observant recap reader pointed out—crackled “Cairo” right before he opened the front door. This time, they knocked Patti unconscious and brought her to Cairo, New York—the Garveys’ old retreat—to treat her like a wild dog. Cairo is crucial—for reasons yet to be clearly explained—because it’s also mentioned on the cover of the National Geographic that Kevin’s father is obsessed with giving him.

NEXT: Jill asks Aimee the big DILF question