That’s it. I quit. No more.
For weeks, I’ve stuck it out with The Leftovers, which many critics (including me) have described as one of the bleakest, most brutal, most depressing dramas on television. But it wasn’t until Sunday’s episode, “Gladys,” that I decided I’d had enough. I refuse to watch another minute of this show.
It wasn’t just that a woman (the Gladys of the title, played by Marceline Hugot) got stoned to death in the episode. I’ve seen worse on my all-time favorite show, Breaking Bad. What I objected to wasn’t the violence. It was the unnecessarily aggressive way the scene played out.
Gladys doesn’t just get hit with a rock. She gets hit thirteen times. First, you see her get hit in the face, ripping a gash on her cheek. Then the camera angle changes, and you see her head backlit by flashlights, illuminating the blood that sprays upward from her soft, grey-blonde hair. Then you see her in profile, as the stone smacks into her forehead and her neck snaps back like a crash-test dummy’s. There’s another whiplash shot. More face-smashing. More blood-spurting. Until her mouth bends into a sad-clown grimace. Her head hangs limp. You can actually hear bones and cartilage getting pulverized. The hard thwack of the first hit slowly gives way to a sickeningly soft thunk. There’s the unmistakable sound of blood dripping onto the ground. Then it’s gushing. Then it’s pouring down.
That’s when she gets hit again.
Now she’s bleeding from the hair. The nose. The mouth. Thunk. Her glasses are crushed. Thunk. Her mouth hangs agape. Thunk. Finally, Gladys, who has taken a vow of silence, starts begging. “Don’t.” she says. “Please. Don’t. Please don’t. Please. Please don’t. Don’t. Please. Stop. Please.” (Or something like that. It’s hard to understand her with all of that blood in her mouth.) Thunk.
And then it’s over. But it’s not really over. It’s not enough that Gladys is dead. Later in the episode, we’re treated to a close-up view of the corpse, still tied to that tree. Then a flashback replays the murder as it’s imagined by Laurie (Amy Brenneman), who is Gladys’s vigilance partner in a cult called The Guilty Remnant. The closing scene even revisits Gladys’s dead body, as it’s being cremated. There’s a close-up of her caved-in face as it disappears into the fire. READ FULL STORY