You know you’re watching a fantastic show when, 5 episodes before the big finale, it devotes an entire hour to a minor character’s story… and yet you’re still glued to the television, hanging on their every word. It speaks not only to the phenomenal writing, but also to the amazing performance delivered by Scott Glenn, who absolutely kills it as Kevin Sr.

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about this being a Kevin senior-centric episode – but, unlike that godawful TWD episode I keep coming back to, this was fantastic storytelling that was actually fascinating to watch. It answered a few questions (and also proved that dear ol’ Kev’s dad is absolutely bonkers) and the heavily featured dark comedic element functioned almost as a palate cleanser.

Random thoughts:

  • I wasn’t a big fan of the Richard Cheese cover of Personal Jesus in the opening credits, mainly because I adore the original version, but I have to admit it ultimately worked.
  • As with every Leftovers episode, a lot of parallels could be drawn between Kevin Sr’s story and other character arcs: he had to sing in order to prevent the apocalypse, much like his son was required to belt out a tune when he tried to leave the hotel in last year’s finale; his crazy beliefs alienated him from his family, just like pretty much everyone else we’ve seen so far on the Leftovers: Laurie and the entire GR crew, Matt, John, not to mention the Millerite lady in the season premiere cold open.
  • Although we didn’t get much in the way of poignant dialogue this week, the two monologues we did get more than made up for it: Kevin Sr’s convoluted account of the events that led him to knock on Christopher Sunday’s door might have been hilarious at the hands of a less skilled actor, but the delivery was so emotional you almost forgot how insane the entire story was – from the prophetic chicken to the aboriginal song that would prevent the flood.
  • Grace’s story was no less powderful and tragic, but I have to wonder how five kids simply died of exposure somewhere around her property just like that. Nonetheless, I loved the fact that she couldn’t have found a better audience for her story – the way Kevin Sr’s eyes lit up when he told her she found the wrong Kevin was gold.
  • The burning man incident was a bit of a question mark, and I wonder if “they” (the ones who apparently rejected him, causing him to douse himself and his old Beetle in gasoline) were the same organization Nora is about to meet? Either way, I appreciated the biblical reference: burning man in the australian bush… hard not to draw yet another parallel there.
  • What was probably the most important plot point in the episode for me was Kevin Sr’s reaction to Matt’s book. Not the F-bombs he continued to drop throughout the episode, but the fact that nothing about his son’s incredible story arc even seemed to register: not the drowning, not being buried and then rising from the dead three days later, not even getting shot in the chest and surviving the injury. For a guy so sentimental about an old cassette tape of his son pretending to be a news anchor, he seemed completely unfazed and unimpressed by his son’s… adventures that have propelled Kevin Jr into something of a messianic figure amongst his old friends.

I’m interested to see what’s in store for Kevin Sr and Grace now that Nora and Kevin Jr are on their way to Aussie. There’s a lot more to talk about in this episode but I’ll have to come back to it at a later date – I’ve been working through all weekend and I can barely form a coherent sentence right now.