It’s probably a blessing that The Leftovers is a summer show rather than a fall or winter series because if tonight’s Christmas episode aired in late December, there might be some real public outrage. “B.J and the A.C”—presumably “Baby Jesus and the Anti-Christ”?—depicted the devastating spiritual nadir of the Leftovers, with the town’s Nativity-scene Baby Jesus doll subjected to repeated abuse, even from characters we previously thought sympathetic. But that might not have been the coldest, most soulless act in the episode, since the Guilty Remnant cult demonstrated that they’re M.O. isn’t limited to just passively bearing silent witness to Mapleton’s left-behind. They treated the beleaguered town like Whoville and sent a message to all that’s it’s not a wonderful life and never will be again.
Chief Garvey has had enough of the GR’s games, and he’s poised to raise the stakes. He arranges a sit-down at his HQ with Patti, the cult’s chilly matriarch, and after graciously offering her some coffee, water, or Drano, he asks her to keep her group away from the town’s upcoming holiday gala. Fresh in his mind is the Heroes’ Parade, which resulted in violence after the GR arrived at the park with signs that provoked the people who’d lost relatives. Chief and the police got stuck in the middle, but he now warns her that he won’t protect the GR if they repeat their demonstration at a public event. Chief, though, is dealing from the bottom of the deck, he thinks, because what he really wants is for the GR to show up so he can throw the whole lot in jail once and for all. By specifically asking for Patti’s’ cooperation, he thinks she’s inclined to disobey just to spite him, giving him the opportunity he craves. But beware the poker face of a mute person who only has a poker face.
Chief’s other priority is the missing Baby Jesus, stolen from the community Nativity scene. He couldn’t care less—at first. Aimee and a squirrelly Jill pester him about it, aggravating him even further, but which successfully introduces the symbolism between the missing Baby Jesus and Chief’s missing son, Tommy, who hasn’t been in touch in weeks and is no longer using his old cell phone. When Chief tells the girls that the town will simply replace the missing Jesus with another cheap doll, and Jill protests that that’s cheating because the absent savior is sacred, something maybe clicks in the man who endured Patti shoving “There is no family” in his face. When the mayor sends him on the errand to the toy store to purchase the replacement baby white doll, he can’t go through with it. No matter what it takes, he’s going to find that missing Jesus.
NEXT: Looking for an inn