The Leftovers -- Season 1
#01 "Pilot" #05 "Gladys" #09 "The Garveys At Their Best"
#02 "Penguin One, Us Zero" #06 "Guest" #10 "The Prodigal Son Returns"
#03 "Two Boats and a Helicopter" #07 "Solace for Tired Feet"
#04 "B.J. and the A.C." #08 "Cairo" Season 2 >>

Two Boats and a Helicopter

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Air dateJuly 13, 2014

Running time54:47

Production code4X5703

Written byDamon Lindelof & Jacqueline Hoyt

Directed byKeith Gordon
Matt Jamison
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Images (43)

"Two Boats and a Helicopter" is the third episode of Season 1, and overall the third produced hour of The Leftovers. It originally aired on July 13, 2014.


In the face of dwindling church attendance and threats on his life, Reverend Matt Jamison continues to preach his gospel: that many who disappeared in the Departure were sinners and not saints. Matt’s campaign is detoured when he learns he may lose the church to foreclosure, forcing him to launch a desperate, last-minute plan to come up with the cash to keep it.



Recurring ThemesEdit

  • Animals: Matt encounters pigeons on three different occasions: one pigeon on the front step of his church; two pigeons inside the casino, on a roulette table; and three pigeons on top of a red traffic light.
  • Dreams: After getting hit with a rock, Matt has a series of dreams, mixed with past memories. These include being in his father’s church as a child; his leukemia diagnosis; the burning of his house and the death of his parents; his and his wife's car accident on October 14th; having sex with Mary, who then turns into Gladys and Laurie.
  • The Bible: Matt is inspired by a painting of Job. The painting depicts a passage from Job 2:8 after Job has been afflicted with sores to test his faith. 

Cultural ReferencesEdit

Trivia Edit

  • The title of the episode refers to an old joke about a man standing on the roof of his house during a flood. He refuses three rescue attempts, saying he is confident God will save him. After he drowns and goes to Heaven, he chastises God for letting him down. God says, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter!”
  • The HBO feature 'Making The Leftovers' shows a brief piece of deleted dialogue from the baptism scene, with Matt and Craig discussing the Departure.
  • The entire Loved Ones commercial, seen in part in this episode, was released online:
  • Continuing Kevin Senior’s passion for peanut butter, he hid Matt’s money in a Jif jar. Kevin Junior brought him Peter Pan brand peanut butter in “Penguin One, Us Zero.”
  • Matt’s second roulette spin lands on 23, one of the Numbers from Damon Lindelof’s prior series Lost.
  • The Hudson-on-Hastings train station is visible behind Matt as he climbs the hill to the church at the end of the episode.

Book to Show Edit

  • With this episode, the show begins to expand on the character of Matt, who only appears twice in the book.
  • In the book, Matt preached at Zion Bible Church until he took a leave of absence due to a breakdown. Bible Churches typically do not subscribe to any particular denomination of Christianity. In the show, he owns Our Savior Episcopal Church. Notably, Bible Churches often emphasize the Rapture in their teachings, whereas the Episcopal church does not.
  • The guy beating Matt up likely comes from a passage in the book noting that “total strangers sometimes found it necessary to punch him in the face.”
  • There is no indication in the book that Kevin’s family had any relationship with Matt.
  • In the book, Nora and Matt are not siblings. Nora has multiple siblings in the book, including a sister named Karen who attended Matt’s church and introduces Nora to Matt after Nora’s family departs. Matt is extremely supportive of Nora during her grieving, and Nora retains a soft spot for Matt subsequently despite her objections to his newsletter. 
  • The photo on Nora's fridge depicts the Dursts with a dog. In the book, she mentions during her Heroes' Day speech that the family had a dog named Woody.  
  • In the book, Nora's mother is alive and well, whereas on the show, both her parents died in a fire when she was seven.  
  • The sequence in Nora’s kitchen is a loose adaptation of the end of the fifth chapter of the book, “Blue Ribbon,” when Matt gives Nora the latest issue of his newsletter, revealing Doug’s affair with the kids’ preschool teacher Kylie Mannheim (which he says he held back publishing until after Nora's Heroes’ Day speech). On the show, in contrast, he tells her about the affair but promises to never publish. In the book, Matt "rescued" Kylie's broken laptop from the trash and used his "recently acquired data recovery skills" to find emails, photo chats, and text messages, whereas on the show, Matt seems less tech savvy and relies on ATM records, sparing Nora having to read Doug and Kylie's correspondence as in the book.
  • As an Easter egg, a notebook is seen on Nora’s kitchen counter, which contains two entries Nora writes in the book about her ongoing marathon of her son’s favorite show, SpongeBob Squarepants (although the two entries depicted side by side on the show were written years apart in the book).
  • The Loved Ones bereavement figures are an invention of the show, but the infomercial is reminiscent of a manipulative Departure-inspired infomercial for “Miracle Spotters” in the book.
  • In the book, Matt and his (unnamed) wife have three children. Matt’s wife suffering from paralysis due to a Departure-related accident is an invention of the show. In the book, Matt takes up the cause of Rapture Denial simply because he believes he should have been “first in line” for the Rapture, and his wife and kids subsequently abandon him after he becomes obsessed with his newsletter.
  • Laurie stalking the Garveys' backyard at night is an invention of the show. In the book, it is said that she had figured out over the summer that "it was better to leave well enough alone, to avoid unnecessary encounters with the people you'd left behind, to not keep poking at that sore tooth with the tip of your tongue. Not because you didn't love them anymore, but because you did, and because that love was useless now, just another dull ache in your phantom limb."
  • While the car crash that causes Mary's paralysis is not based on any specific event in the book, it is likely inspired by a passage that mentions highway pileups, train wrecks and small plane crashes resulting from departed drivers/operators.

Music Edit

  • "Illuminations/Clouds" by Max Richter (Matt performs a baptism)
  • "A Blessing" by Max Richter (Matt bathes Mary)
  • "Love Will Keep Us Together" by Captain & Tenille (montage of Matt returning from casino; playing in Matt's car)
  • "Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed," a nineteenth century Christian hymn composed by Isaac Watts, is sung by the congregation in Matt's dream
  • "November" by Max Richter, from his 2002 album Memoryhouse (Matt learns the G.R. bought his church, and sees Patti)
  • "Take Me to Church" by Hozier (end credits)

Goofs Edit

  • The hymn board says “Epiphany,” a Christian feast day which always occurs after Christmas. However, the following episode clearly takes place before Christmas but after this episode.
  • On Monday, Matt is seen putting up numbers on the hymn board for the following week. However, they are the same numbers that had already been up for the prior day’s service.
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