A Hustler’s Leftover Notes – S3E3

Episode 3 Notes – Crazy Whitefella Thinking 

Summary

This episode focuses exclusively on Kevin Garvey, Sr. and his messianic quest to navigate Australia and prevent a great apocalyptic flood that he said will occur on the 7-year anniversary of the Sudden Departure.

 

Title

Title implies this episode is at least in part about the arrogance of an American outsider who believes in and embraces his messianic delusions at the expense of other people’s feelings and property.

 

Song

Episode opens with the same opening credits to the song, Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode performed by Richard Cheese (lounge singer).

• This song plays to the heart of the matter as we are faced with the question (something that I asked last week) whether Kevin Garvey, Sr. or his son is the messiah.

• This kind of goes with the hotel theme.

• Why is the “cheesy” version of this song used, instead of the original?

 

Recap

• We open on a picture behind Police Chief of Mapleton, Kevin Garvey, Sr. moments after the sudden departure.

• We then transition to Kevin, Sr. driving to a piece of aborigine sacred land as we listen to a conversation on a tape recorder between Kevin, Sr. and his son Kevin in 1981. They are talking about ducks underwater. Kevin is worried that they won’t come back up for air and die. His father assures him they will resurface.

• Kevin then tapes a ritual, presumably to get their song as we find out later. He uses this to perform the ritual on aborigine land. The police catch him. When the police are set to release him, they confiscated his recording equipment. He asks for his tape recorder and the tape, Niagra ’81 back.

o This is the first moment that made me think of the title.

o At this point, I presumed it was so that he could keep a nice memento between him and his son. As we find out later, there is more to it.

o Another major point that needs to be made here is that Kevin, Sr.’s primary obstacle appears to be that Australians are concerned about the rights and the rituals of their native people, and they don’t like outsiders taking liberties with restricted areas to perform stolen rituals.

• After leaving the police station, Kevin, Sr. resumes his mission. We see him marking the map he has of aborigine land and he marks what part of the songline.

• He stops at a post office and asks for the whereabouts of a Christopher Sunday.  

o Funny point here; Kevin says he’s a member of the indigenous community here to convince the postal worker to help him. The postal worker gives him a look. (This made me think of the title as well with the look the postal worker gave Kevin).

o Kevin picks up a package that Matt sent to him about his son, “The Book of Kevin.” He tells the postal worker, that the book in the package is the goddamn sequel to the Bible.

o He reads through it and rips out one page to fold money in and places it in the National Geographic magazine next to a map of Cairo.

o Could the Map of the Nile River going through Cairo correspond to the songline on his map of Australia?

• Kevin reads the Song of Kevin and marks it up in red and is clearly angry that this is about his son and not him. He calls Reverend Matt Jamison. Kevin wants Matt to acknowledge what he is doing to try and save the world and Matt just ignores him and says his son is going to Australia. He basically implies that there will be a flood if he is not successful. As soon as Kevin hangs up, it starts pouring rain.

o Kevin, Sr. believes he was chosen for this mission and that he, not his son is actually the great messiah. He justifies all of his actions as great deeds of self-sacrifice.

o Why does Kevin, Sr. not want his son to go to Australia? Is this because of the potential of a disaster or is he trying to save him from something else, maybe even death?

o When Matt’s wife says she’s going to the park with Noah, I have a feeling that this is the moment she leaves him. Very interesting that the child’s name is Noah, considering the flood story and the arc being built.

• Kevin visits Sharon to find the address for Christopher Sunday. On his way in, he throws the Book of Kevin in the trash. As he’s waiting for Sharon, he sees his wanted for questioning poster. He seduces her by complimenting her painting of a snake. She sees the poster and after a brief encounter steals the address and runs out.

o First reference to snakes in the episode.

• He visits Christopher (Chris) Sunday (Kevin from the totem bush snake). Chris can see he is scared. Kevin then tells Chris is story.

 

Songlines and Christopher Sunday

Kevin, Sr. told his story of how he came to Australia and to the present point in the story to Christopher Sunday, an aborigine who according to Kevin was the only person who knew the song of the last piece of land he needed to complete the songline before the impending flood in several days’ time.

• Kevin tells Christopher Sunday a rambling story of how he came to Australia and the series of events that led him to the present time. He followed the voices to Australia but then did not receive instructions for what to do after. He came across a hippie who convinced him to speak to god through using a hallucinogen named, God’s Tongue. After taking it he woke up 2 weeks later and couldn’t remember any details.

o We can surmise that Kevin, Sr. forgot his conversation with his son when he was at the hotel in season 2, episode 8, entitled International Assassin.

• When Kevin woke up from his trip, he saw Tony, the chicken on television. He then relayed the story of a town in Australia of 14 people that all vanished during the Departure, including the animals. One egg survived and hatched soon after, the chicken named Tony. People like Kevin came from all over to seek Tony’s wisdom because he apparently could help people find what they were looking for. When Kevin asked Tony about his purpose, the chicken pecked at his tape, labeled Niagra ’81. When Kevin listens to the tape, it’s on the part where he is singing “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” to his son to make the rain stop. Reluctantly, Chief sings… and the rain stops. This is where Kevin Garvey, Sr. got his mission from; to stop the impending flood rains he believes will occur on the 7-year anniversary.

• Kevin discussed his trip to Niagra Falls in 1981 with his son after his wife died. His wife gave his son the mic and tape recorder he was carrying. His son taped a number of their conversations about various things they encountered as if he was a reporter.  

o It is apparent that this tape represents more than just his son, but a haunting memory of the hardest part of his life that is bittersweet – losing his wife, coping with pain for both him and his son.

o One of the stories in the 1972 National Geographic that Kevin Garvey, Sr. is infatuated with includes an article, The Spider That Lives Underwater, describing a spider that lives almost it’s entire life underwater. This is also very similar to the part of the tape we listened to during beginning of the episode with the ducks going underwater and then resurfacing. In season 1, Christine woke from a nap and her first words were “Spiders underwater.”

o Is this a reference to what happened to the departed? Are they stuck somewhere and will they eventually resurface? Or conversely, is the rest of surviving humanity the trapped spider?

• Christopher Sunday ironically says that his particular song is meant to end drought by bringing rain.

o Will Kevin, Sr. ultimately cause the very thing he hopes to stop?

• After Kevin’s pitch, Christopher Sunday, gestures toward the ceiling where we see water dripping leaking and then says, “Do you Want to Stop the Flood? Start there.” It is implied that if Kevin fixes the leak, Chris will teach him the song. While Kevin is on the roof, Sharon arrives and starts yelling. Kevin loses his balance and falls on top of Chris.  

o Whether Christopher believes his story or not, or actually cares is not clear. This again references the title.

• While riding in the ambulance to take Christopher Sunday to the hospital, he is kicked out of the ambulance for insulting the EMT. While walking, Kevin comes across a car driving frenetically in the middle of nowhere that stops near him. A man gets out with a container of gasoline and douses the car and himself. When Kevin tries to stop him, the man said “They didn’t take me.” He then asks Kevin, “Would you kill a baby if it would cure cancer.” Kevin says no and then the man says that is exactly what he said. He then lights himself on fire.

o This might be a not so veiled reference to the people that want to see Nora. He literally incinerates himself. Maybe he didn’t meet their requirements and so he lost all hope and reason to live.

• After searching for water in the car, he looks at the sky and says, You can’t stop me asshole.” It then starts pouring rain again. He is able to drink but it ruins his tape.

o What does this symbolize?

• Dying of thirst, Kevin comes upon his totem animal, a snake. He thanks the snake for its sacrifice to the greater good (presumably keeping the messiah alive) as he’s about to kill it for water and sustenance. Once he believes the snake is dead he picks it up and the snake bites him on the arm.

o This moment is very potent because it’s as if Kevin thinks he is doing this incredible deed of self-sacrifice for the good of humanity and everything and everyone in his path is biting back. This scene also runs parallel to the stone age woman getting bit by a snake and dying during Season 2’s prologue.

o Symbolism – Kevin and this woman were both “Snake Bit” – characterized by bad luck or subject to a series of misfortunes. The snake represents Satan.

• Kevin finds a cross on his path and leans up against it almost like a Christ-figure. He sees a blur of someone coming toward him on a horse.

• He wakes up in a nice house with an IV and a dog next to him. He calls Matt Jamison and Matt gets upset with him. Kevin then walks outside and sees a number of people building a ship (an Arc), using wood from the church.

• After looking through her photos, he falls asleep. He then wakes up later and goes outside to see them kill a local police chief with the name of Kevin. They shoot him with a dart and he wakes up alone with Grace in the room.

 

Grace’s Story

Grace tells her story. She was in town when the departure occurred. The phone lines were down and she wasn’t able to return home immediately. When she arrived home, her husband and kids were all gone. Grace assumed they had all departed because she thought it was the Rapture. Sometime afterward, the remains of her children were found. They had apparently tried to find help when their father disappeared and ended up dying because of the harsh climate conditions. When Grace found Kevin on the cross where her children died with a page from the Book of Kevin in Kevin, Sr.’s hand she felt it was a sign from God. She took the literal meaning and thought that a police chief named Kevin was the messiah, which tragically ended in his death. She thought this would allow her to talk to her children one last time. “I thought God was sending a message just for me.” – PERSONAL JESUS. (It’s just a stupid story and I believed).

o This is great commentary on how people often extract different meaning from passages in the bible or other historical/religious texts to justify their actions. This also shows the power of belief and the devastating effect of the Departure on people thoughts and actions.

Questions

• The two Kevins: If there is a messiah figure in this story, is it Kevin, Sr., Kevin or something else entirely? He says at the end to Grace, “You just got the wrong Kevin.”

• Is Kevin, Grace’s personal Jesus?

• Story of Abraham – Reference to Kevin, Jr. dying?

 

Special Notes

• Background to Kevin, Sr.’s mission to complete the Songline – Within the animist belief system of Indigenous Australians, a songline, also called dreaming track, is one of the paths across the land (or sometimes the sky) which mark the route followed by localized “creator-beings” during the Dreamtime. The paths of the songlines are recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance, and painting. A knowledgeable person is able to navigate across the land by repeating the words of the song, which describe the location of landmarks, waterholes, and other natural phenomena. In some cases, the paths of the creator-beings are said to be evident from their marks, on the land, such as large depressions in the land which are said to be their footprints. By singing the songs in the appropriate sequence, indigenous people could navigate vast distances, often travelling through the deserts of Australia’s interior. The continent of Australia contains an extensive system of songlines, some of which are of a few kilometres, whilst others traverse hundreds of kilometres through lands of many different indigenous peoples — peoples who may speak markedly different languages and have different cultural traditions. Since a songline can span the lands of several different language groups, different parts of the song are said to be in those different languages. Languages are not a barrier because the melodic contour of the song describes the nature of the land over which the song passes. The rhythm is what is crucial to understanding the song. Traditional Aboriginal people regard all land as sacred, and the songs must be continually sung to keep the land “alive”.

 

Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus Lyrics

Your own personal Jesus

Someone to hear your prayers

Someone who cares

Your own personal Jesus

Someone to hear your prayers

Someone who’s there

 

Feeling unknown

And you’re all alone

Flesh and bone

By the telephone

Lift up the receiver

I’ll make you a believer

 

Take second best

Put me to the test

Things on your chest

You need to confess

I will deliver

You know i’m a forgiver

 

Reach out and touch faith

Reach out and touch faith

 

Your own personal Jesus…

Feeling unknown

And you’re all alone

Flesh and bone

By the telephone

Lift up the receiver

I’ll make you a believer

 

I will deliver

You know I’m a forgiver

 

Reach out and touch faith

Your own personal Jesus

Reach out and touch faith

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