Usually leftovers refer to some food that is left
after a meal that can be used again to create some other meal. Not so in this case. This is sci-fi/horror.
The first episode opens with an exhausted busy mom in a shopping center laundry trying to handle some business situation and talking on the phone while doing her laundry. Meanwhile, her baby is screaming at the top of his lungs annoying everybody in the laundromat the whole time. Lugging laundry and her screaming baby back to her car, she is still busy on the phone.
You want to say to her so badly. Get off the phone, lady. Did you bring a bottle or pacifier? Check to see if the baby is wet. Things that might ease his nerves as well as her own. It appears that she doesn’t notice the baby until the baby stops crying in his child safety seat, because the baby is no longer there. She finally puts down the phone and gets back out of the car screaming the baby’s name, like the infant has been playing a game with her and is going to come running out because she’s calling him.
In her hysterics, she doesn’t notice a little boy who is
calling for his father after he sees that the cart rolling next to him is no
longer being pushed by his father.
At the same time, a car accident occurs on the street nearby
and a family in one car is hit by a car with no driver.
People in the shopping center look up to see a plane
crashing in a nearby neighborhood.
This is how The Leftovers begins. According to the fictional news, 2% or 140
million people (men, women, children, enfants of all races and ethnicities)
have disappeared all over the world.
Cut to three years later and people are still wondering
if it was the biblical Rapture—Christ’s return for good people to leave the
damned behind? A great many people
disagreed. Christ could not possibly have
picked their aunt, grandpa, child, mother or father, for that matter—not those
doozies! Any number of other reasons
are suggested like radiation, time travel, other dimensions, aliens, etc.
The performances by diverse actors, special effects and
the music are amazing. Justin Theroux (formerly
Mulholland Drive, The Spy Who Dumped Me) plays the confused police chief, Kevin
Garvey, whose predecessor (his father) goes nuts. Amy Brenneman (former NYPD Blue, Judging Amy)
plays his therapist wife, Laurie Garvey, who joins a cult after losing a baby
she saw on an ultrasound on the day of the “departing”. Christopher Eccleston (formerly Dr. Who, in Thor:
The Dark World, etc.) plays the minister Matt Jamison who tries to help all the
factions and loses himself in the attempts.
Chris Zylka (formerly Secret Circle, Freaks of Nature) plays the sheriff’s
adopted son who joins a different cult than his mother. Margaret Qualley plays
the sister Jill Garvey who can’t even enjoy hanging around with other young
people her age because of the missing. Veteran
actor Scott Glenn (formerly Urban Cowboy, The Right Stuff, Silverado, etc.) plays
the former sheriff and father, Kevin Garvey, Sr. who hears voices and is in a
mental facility on disability.
The Leftovers is a wild intense ride from beginning to
end. Just when you think, this episode
will probably end the series—hold on little grasshopper—it continues. If you miss one episode, you won’t know what
the hell is going on. The characters
are doing unbelievable things to make some sense out of what has happened to
Although this is not the first show or movie with this
plot idea, this one is outrageously serious.
Factions pop up all over the place—those against remembering the
missing, those trying to forget the missing, those who don’t know what to do, those
who are scarred mentally and/or emotionally, and those who try to take
advantage of others’ losses.
Just about everything you see will be used in a later episode
so watch closely. Bottomline: everyone was already damaged before the
worldwide disappearances. The “departures”
just nudged the meter up to critical mass.
The series was created by Damon Lindelof and Tom
Perrotta based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name. Mimi Leder (On the Basis of Sex, Pay It
Forward, Deep Impact, The Peacemaker, etc.) was the director.
Since I’m not one to keep up with any series after the
first couple of episodes, I borrowed all three seasons on DVD from my public
library and binge-watched them a couple of times.
Written by Rosa L. Griffin