Narrative Structure: No Room at the Inn

In Season 2, episode 5 of The Leftovers, an episode titled “No Room at the Inn” Reverend Matt Jamison takes his vegetative wife Mary outside of Miracle, Texas to seek answers about her condition. But their lives take a dangerous detour when Matt is barred from returning to town. Matt races to get Mary back into Miracle while struggling to keep her safe from desperate spiritualists who are squatting just outside Miracle’s gates.

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Miracle, Texas is a special town where not one person vanished the day of “The Great Departure.” Matt Jamison, a former citizen of Mapleton, New York moved down to Miracle after he heard that just being in that town could help cure his wife from her vegetative state. On the first night they arrived in town, his wife Mary awoke from her disabled state and the two had a great, happy night. The next morning Matt woke up to a once again vegetative Mary. She has remained in that same state since.

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In the opening scene, Matt repeats the same actions every day in an attempt to create the night in which Mark “woke up.” He watches the video of her nightly sleep patterns with his bowl of cereal I the morning. He then turns on his stereo to the song “Let Your Love Flow” by Bellamy Brothers and takes care of his wife’s needs. The song accompanies Matt throughout his repetitive days, always stopping when he says goodnight and I love you to Mary. The music starts again when Matt turns on his stereo after his morning bowl of cereal. The music demonstrates the fact that Matt’s days are completely repetitive, the lyrics also describe what Matt must do to get his wife back. The opening credits start as soon as the music stops and Matt says “I love you, goodnight” to Mary.

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Since Matt’s days are almost all exactly the same, this puts him in a state of equilibrium. Although his reason for repetitiveness is because of disequilibrium from Mary’s injury and current state. Matt needs to take Mary to a hospital in Dallas for updates on her condition. While at the hospital the doctors inform him that Mary’s brain functions have not improved but there is interesting new information, Mary is pregnant. Apparently Mary was considered infertile up this point, even before her accident the day of The Great Departure.

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On their way back from the hospital, Matt and Mary happen across a broken down car on side of the highway near Jarden (Miracle). Being the Good Samaritan that he is, Matt pulls over to lend a hand to the unlucky travelers. Matt gets out of his car and the guy who was broken down notices that Matt and Mary have wristbands needed to get into Miracle’s gated fences. The man then beats Matt with a tire iron, breaks his hand and steals both Mary and his wrist bands. The man gives his young son a wristband and the two drive away toward Jarden. In a foggy concussion like state Matt hears Mary tell him to get them back to Miracle or else she and the baby will not survive. Matt then spends the rest of the episode trying to get them back into the Miracle town of Jarden.

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Matt wheels Mary all the way back to Miracle, as he grows closer he walks past a large group of people who camp outside of the gates of Miracle because they believe the place has special powers or qualities to it. One of these people, a tall Scandinavian man with a samurai bun named Almer offers them a back passage into Jarden for the price of $500. Since Matt had no money he had ask for a loan from an old Episcopalian woman who would only pay him if she hit this fat ginger over the back as hard as he could with a paddle while simultaneously yelling “Brian.” The Reverend is hesitant at first, giving the man a couple soft hits, he then gives into the pressure of the situation and hits the ginger man as hard as he can, screams Brian and then receives his money. Almer takes the money and shows Matt and Mary to an old drainage pipe. Almer tells Matt to go on through and he will be in Miracle at the end of the tunnel. Matt begins to walk to Miracle when it starts to rain heavily, water builds up quick with the tunnel and ultimately flushes Matt and Mary out. They have exhausted all their means of getting back into Jarden. Matt starts to try to find another way back in.

As Matt is walking Mary about the streets leading into Jarden, they happen upon a car wreck. Apparently a tribe of goats tried crossing the street as a car was driving by, the car tried to stop but flipped in the process. The driver was killed on impact. Matt wandered on to the scene as emergency personnel were arriving. He then noticed that the wrecked car was the same one he had seen before. The driver was the man who assaulted him and took his Miracle entry bands. Matt walks over to the woods and sees the man’s young son hiding behind a tree. Matt realizes that he could not blame the child for what had happened that day so instead of taking the wristband from him he hands the boy over to the Miracle authorities who are on the scene. He also takes back the wristband from the dead man in the car and gives it to Mary so she too could get back into Miracle. Matt arranges that Mary will stay with and be taken care of by his sister Nora, a new citizen to Miracle and girlfriend of none other than Kevin Garvey.

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Matt walks back to stay with the villagers living outside the gates of Miracle. He takes the place of a man repenting for his sins in a RV top guillotine, the only way to free someone else from this guillotine is to take their place so he did. This speaks to Matt’s nature as a man of god, he saved his wife and child’s life, the life of a young boy, and relieved a hurting man of his suffrage by putting himself on the line.

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