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 the missing.
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