As if The Leftovers wasn't already an often-jarring viewing experience, last night it made the unusual decision of airing a Christmas episode in July. And I don't mean just an episode set at Christmas, this was an honest-to-goodness Christmas episode, about family and community and all that jazz, with a "missing baby Jesus doll!" B-plot to boot, which must have been used in an episode of 7th Heaven at some point. After the gripping left turn of last week's Reverend Matt-centric adventure, "B.J. and the A.C." felt like a serious comedown, but had enough weird imagery and unsettling moments to keep me wriggling on the line.
"B.J. and the A.C." was evidence of just how slowly things are moving, since the main plotlines were Kevin's estrangement from Laurie since she joined the Guilty Remnant, and Tom's confusion over Christine's importance to Holy Wayne's cult and whether she's the real deal. This is stuff that maybe could have been covered in the first episode. But it's only now that we're getting some actual plot detail on Kevin and Laurie's split—turns out Tom is a kid from a previous relationship, that Kevin cheated at some unspecified time, that Laurie abruptly left six months ago but doesn't hold him responsible, and that she's just now asking for a divorce.
The silent Guilty Remnant act might get tiresome at some point, but four episodes in it's still pretty powerful and creepy to watch Kevin have one-way conversations with Laurie (whose divorce request he rejects) and Patti (Ann Dowd, who's exuding exactly the kind of bored, detached confidence you expect from this kind of character). Still, Damon Lindelof knows we need a little development on the whole silence end, and after three weeks of generally being a hard-ass, Laurie gets a moment of humanity as she struggles to retrieve a personalized lighter her daughter gave her for Christmas, which she threw in a storm drain to make a point for still-on-the-fence Meg.