Does Jill Garvey Join The GR In 'The Leftovers' Book? Not Quite The Same Way She Does On The Show
The most recent episode of HBO's The Leftovers ended with quite the shocker: After a whole season of resenting her mother Laurie for abandoning her to join a cult, Jill Garvey joins the Guilty Remnant. She packs up, leaves her father's home, and joins her mother's cult. This was quite a surprise for those new to the world of the series as well as to those who've read Tom Perrotta's novel The Leftovers , since that's something that never happened in the show's source material. Having Jill move in with the Guilty Remnant is perhaps the biggest departure so far in an adaptation that's been chock-full of major changes.
This departure is particularly surprising because it's a decision Jill comes this close to making in the novel, although she ultimately changes her mind. So what does happen to Jill in the books, if she doesn't become a member of the GR? Is it possible that this turn of events is simply a detour for HBO's version of the character before course correcting Jill closer to her counterpart on the page? And why did show-Jill even join the Guilty Remnant in the first place? Is it because she actually believes in the cult's tenets? Or does she have an ulterior motive that will be revealed later on?
Of all the Garveys, Jill is perhaps the one who has survived the most intact in the course of adapting Perrotta's novel from the page to the screen (until the whole GR fiasco, of course). In the book, she's also a disaffected teenager upset by the abandonment of her mother and older brother who takes out her anger on her father and skips school at the urging of her rebellious friend Aimee. But all of that behavior changes one night when Jill leaves a party and walks home alone through a railyard. She stumbles across the corpse of a murdered Guilty Remnant member, an event that shakes her to her core. (Like Gladys on the show, this man had been killed by the Guilty Remnant as a sacrifice, although neither Jill nor anyone else outside of the GR knew the truth.)
Shortly after this shocking occurrence, Jill happens to run into one of her old teachers, Ms. Maffey, who's now a GR member. Maffey uses the offer of helping Jill with her schoolwork to invite the young Garvey to a Guilty Remnant sleepover. Excited by the idea of seeing her mother again, Jill packs her bag and leaves for the compound without telling her father — just like on the show. However, unlike the HBO version, Jill is interrupted on her way to the sleepover by the Frost twins, one of whom (Scott) has been trying in vain to catch Jill's eye for months. Scott and his brother Adam invite Jill over to their place... and for once she says "yes."
The last time we see Jill, she's sitting in the Frosts' basement, watching the twins play ping pong. She reflects that "there was nowhere else she'd rather be," and ponders what she'll offer Ms. Moffey as an excuse for her no-show: "I ran into some friends, she could write. Or: There's this cute boy, and I think he likes me. Or even: I forgot what it feels like to be happy."
It's hard to imagine show-Jill being content simply watching Scott and Adam play table tennis, but it's still quite a leap to actually turn the character into a GR recruit. Does she, like them, truly believe that she's "a living reminder of God's awesome power?" It doesn't really seem like apathetic Jill believes in much of anything, so it's difficult to picture her feeling at home with the GR's many rules and fervent fanaticism. Does she just want to see her mother again, like her book counterpart? That's possible, although this version of Jill seems too resentful of Laurie to give up her entire life to be with her. Is she infiltrating the Guilty Remnant with some intention of passing along important information about them to her police chief father? Probably not likely, although you never can tell with rebellious Jill.
Since this is such a huge departure from Perrotta's version of the character, we'll just have to wait to see what showrunner Damon Lindelof has in store for Jill Garvey. But judging by the way things are headed going into The Leftovers Season 1's final two episodes, it probably won't be anything good.
Image: Paul Schiraldi/HBO (3)