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.
The goat’s sacrifice in random places parallels Matt’s former tedious regimen with Mary—along with other superstitious routines we know exist. Everyone is holding on, and as science places a theory on the table, a religious answer is served. Nora (Carrie Coon) is accused by doctors to be a “lens,” a medium for a particular demon as the cause for her suffering and the departures around her. But “lensing” also has a scientific explanation as George shares—someone that emits ultraviolet rays causing people to lift into the air. Nora’s vexation with this incident is synchronous with Erika’s (Regina King) spiritual codependency on the bird, losing its wings on the third dead one exhumed—three, being on the third day Christ resurrected, but the bird duds probably signal an omen to come.
Both women don’t have an innate aversion towards each other, they’re just threatened by one another. Erika, like John, is exasperated by all the shibboleth and feels the town needs a reality check, while Nora is denying the possibility of a second departure. Thus, Nora’s reaction to the obtrusive scientist in the beginning is only incidental, and like a lens, it truly reflects her blame towards Erika in disrupting the salvation Nora wanted in Miracle—like a rock being thrown in the window out of nowhere. As for the scientific premise itself, nobody wants to be told that he or she could be a lens, or in other words, that one could have factually caused others to disappear layering guilt on top of existential confusion. The nature of the theory itself is naturally going to disrupt a balance.
As with other theses surely existing in the background, are they helping to explain the event and to provide clarity or are they inadvertently creating more despair? The Leftover’s entire flux is in contradiction. Even George Brevity’s position with the Department of Sudden Departures and the questionnaire’s new algorithm isn’t designed to tease out another occurrence but to disprove it. Scientific and religious hypotheses are presented to try and understand the event, while another is proposed to deny it.
But Kevin (Justin Theroux) can’t ignore his Patti complex even around Nora. I think Patti (Ann Dowd) will force him to unearth her body in the coming episodes, as he faces some kind of internal monologue, which I’m not aware of. I’m really eager to see the standoff because so far, Kevin is the most elusive leading character. He always has this chronic, perplexed look on his face, but the substance of it isn’t as tangible as other characters. Does Kevin want to tap out? If so, start letting me in on the secret. I’m rooting for Patti.