Was Meg’s (Liv Tyler) plan as spectacular as she probably imagines? The absence of a bomb wasn’t the aggressive release we were expecting … But was it effective? As much of a symbolic target as the bridge is, the action wouldn’t have been aligned with the Guilty Remnant’s ethos. Why destroy a symbol when you could destroy the entire belief system? The Guilty Remnants gained access, so the whole thing was staged as a diversion. Nihilism incarnate has infiltrated a gated spiritual enclave manifested by burning tires, a drunk chick in stocks quaffing cheap Mexican beer, and a lonely dude in the tower of Jarden overlooking the general anarchy. Not to mention, Meg and Evie snidely singing Miracle’s anthem in front of Kevin (Justin Theroux) and the bloody hole in his stomach. Symbolically, Megan has attained her intended martyrdom, and a new antithesis has moved in. Yet the finale fades out to promise. But what does Kevin’s reintegration with his family speak to what The Leftover’s is trying to say? Read More
Purgatory as a hotel makes sense in The Leftovers because it’s a transient place where souls are coming and departing. Kevin is stuck in a Hilton version of Hotel California without the pink champagne and colitas but where water erases former identities prepping new tabula rasa souls for the next life to come. But it also serves as a recognizable plot device seen in other shows such as the “Sopranos,” “Mad Men,” and “Boardwalk Empire” to name a few, when characters need a reality check usually framed within some sort of alternate sphere. They inhabit another life role as a reflection of their current one. But faith versus empiricism or spirituality versus cognition continue to dual in The Leftovers, setting up Kevin (Justin Theroux) with an introspective nightmare—staged as a spiritual trial or psychological dream? Let’s just call it a perga-dream. But it still sets him up in a world where he still possesses free will. Read More
The leftovers are departing. Laurie’s (Amy Brenneman) analysis of Kevin’s (Justin Theroux) Patti (Ann Dowd) manifestations summarizes the premise of the show. Everyone’s in Miracle, but all that’s really left is “us.” Scientific and religious theories compete for answers, but people prefer to believe in divine speculations versus more down to earth truths because it’s easier. Kevin chooses Virgil’s back door over Laurie’s more empirical advice to seek psychiatric help. Before he slugs the Patti antidote, he frames up Garvey Sr.’s advice to listen to the voices. But Garvey Sr. meant that the answers aren’t in what the voices instructed but rather that they initiated the journey to healing, permitting him to face himself. Overt symbolism aside, Kevin frees himself from the cuffs because Patti wasn’t in the way. Laurie, a woman of science, admits she chose a faith-based alternative, all of which have been commoditized like a resource in a boom town—or like a Comic Con for L. Ron Hubbard’s. Read More
The Leftover’s episodes are structured like a novel composed of chapters devoted to certain character’s POV. It’s a more intimate and thorough experience of perception, the only thing we have to understand but the only thing we need to experience the mystery of The Leftovers. In season one, the audience viewed from a distance, in the shadows, but in two, it’s being pulled closer to the whisper, as more analyses are offered and random acts are answered—none of which will ultimately and directly piece the grand departure together. If definitive answers are eventually offered, I don’t want to hear them. That’s the beauty of The Leftovers, a complex ecosystem of coping. Science and rationality are being stripped of its empirical confidence, and the only thing society is left with is the power and moreover, fortitude, of perception. Read More
Matt (Christopher Eccleston) is one of, if not the most, nuanced character in the series because he struggles more than any other character in holding onto a conviction, and in the context of The Leftover’s absurdist carnival, he has the most to lose. For this, I could watch the entire drama unfold from his perspective. Two of the most satisfying pieces of schadenfreude in the franchise have involved the doubting minister because he’s a whipping boy that hasn’t kneeled despite his moral assassinations at times. Read More
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