The Leftovers Released Its Season 3 Trailer

by: LGreen

HBO released it’s full trailer for The Leftovers’s third and final season this week. Kevin and the gang have relocated to Australia and will return to our lives April 16–Easter Sunday. Coincidence or clue? Is Kevin the son that will save us all?

The Leftovers Season 2 Finale: Welcome Home

by: LGreen

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In two short seasons, The Leftovers managed to go from TV’s bleakest show to its most hopeful. In tonight’s mesmerizing season finale, The Leftovers hammered home the idea that while horrible things have happened, are happening, and will happen again, we don’t need to understand them; it’ll be okay. Because like Meg said, “family’s everything,” and Kevin is finally fully with his. “I live here now,” he says to Meg. Yes, he does. And it was a long road home.

Leading up to tonight’s episode, I planned on writing about Meg and how she’s one of TV’s  best villains — unassuming and vaguely forgettable — a threat hiding in plain sight. All season long she seemed like the throw-away character, around because she was contractually obligated to be there. Last week’s surprising episode revealed that she’s been climbing the ranks of the GR, determined to bring her rage-filled white-clad brand of terror to Jardin because everyone’s doing just too good a job of moving on.

It should have been clear that a Kevin and Co. vs The Guilty Remnant Showdown, part 2 (mirroring season 1’s finale) was their ultimate endgame. In a season filled with debates on faith, mysterious pies, resurrected birds, afterlife dreamscapes, the real conflict was destined to be very real and very human. It’s October 14 and The Guilty Remnant is here with a plan to stomp out hope everywhere. I never for a second doubted they could and would do it, except in the end, The Leftovers had another twist we didn’t see coming: it ended up not mattering at all. Life goes on and The Guilty Remnant is less important than it thinks it is.

Bridge Fakeout. The moment everyone was waiting for finally happened and it didn’t take long to get there. Evie and her friends reveal themselves to the town, guarding the trailer full of explosives on the bridge. All week there had been three big predictions about what Meg’s big plan was: she’d blow up the bridge to keep people out of Jardin, she’d have the girls show themselves to not be departures, only to kill themselves publicly (as if to say, see you are special after all, but still not immune to horrible things), or she’d create a diversion so the squatters on the other side could storm the town. It made the least sense that she’d destroy the bridge because that wouldn’t terrorize people enough, but with the treat of the girls detonating the explosives, in full view of everyone (with a giant countdown clock!) and with Erika on the bridge too, it seemed like that was truly possible. But it turns out that it really was all a diversion. Erika reveals that the trailer was empty and no threat at all. Everyone seizes the opportunity to force their way across the bridge. The real shock: the camp was already infiltrated with GR members, who were all in on it too.

Kevin dies again. While all this is going on, Kevin’s having another no good very bad day. He goes home to meet with John and confesses that he knew Evie never departed — but that he didn’t remember until he recently died and came back (…long story). John, understandably doesn’t buy it and thinks Kevin’s covering up because his hand print matched the one found on the girls’ car (as we all knew it would). It doesn’t make sense to John why Evie and her friends would just leave. No it doesn’t and nobody really has the answer to that except for Evie. John insists that she was a good girl and loved him. Kevin wisely (and unwisely) suggests that maybe she just didn’t love him. Because that’s the truth and nobody knows it better than Kevin. Sometimes people don’t love you, even when you want them to. Even when they should. And even when they do, they still can hurt you in unimaginable ways. The Leftovers has done a great job of deciding not to answer some of the big mysteries it presents. We may never know what the departure was, how or why it happened–why Jardin was spared, what the earthquakes were, or why Evie cannot or will not love her family. Because the question isn’t Why? It’s What Now?

John is less inclined to debate the metaphysical, however, and after Kevin’s admission, John shoots him and leaves him for dead. Before we could get too worried about him though… everything was also falling apart over at the bridge. Nora is there with the baby and Mary — who woke up! Heyyyyy, Mary!  Matt of course is thrilled — and what a nice surprise to have a character actually rewarded for his faith! I don’t get too used to characters having happy endings, so when things go to Hell, it’s understandable that we should be worried. Matt says they have to cross the bridge and get back into town, so they join the masses. He gets Mary and Nora takes Lilly, but she quickly loses her to a camp crazy lady who’s been harassing her all day, insisting Lilly isn’t her baby. The woman snatches Lilly and runs off. The woman’s insane, but she’s not technically wrong. It’s Nora’s big fear that she doesn’t deserve this new family she’s cobbled together and this is the moment she’s been dreading. I don’t doubt that The Leftovers could subject Nora to another departure of sorts. In this world, it’s the people, not mystical events, you need to fear the most. Nora does eventually find the baby and is helped to safety by Tommy (who finally decided to step up and stop being a follower).

Return Guest. Kevin wakes up in a very familiar hotel room and is apparently back in the Afterlife Holiday Inn. So he’s not really dead. Or at least not yet. Whether this means Kevin can’t be killed or just isn’t ready to go yet isn’t super clear, but he does have a mission. Once again he’s asked to choose an outfit — an identity — to complete the job. He forgoes the assasin’s black suit, opting for his former police uniform. Looks like he’s trying to be his old/true self. No one will give him a clear message of what he’s supposed to do there until he’s forced into a karaoke version of “Homeward Bound”

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound

Home, where my thought’s escaping
Home, where my music’s playing
Home, where my love lies waiting silently for me

Ev’ry day’s an endless stream
Of cigarettes and magazines
And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories
And ev’ry stranger’s face I see reminds me that I long to be

Homeward bound…

1: Justin Theroux is a pretty decent singer and 2: I don’t care that these lyrics are so on the nose, it’s the most honest Kevin’s ever been with himself. His odyssey has always been to find his purpose in this post-departure world, and here it’s never been so simple: he wants to go home.

Once he leaves the hotel and wakes up for real, he encounters Meg. The GR have holed up in the Miracle Visitors Center and though they got what they wanted, they’ve never seemed less threatening as they nap on the floor, more like giant preschoolers than dangerous cult members. Even when they break into the song Evie’s Sunday School sang, what is supposed to be mocking and creepy, just comes off as hollow. The GR doesn’t want anyone to move on, but if you do, you’ve called their bluff and they’re out of moves. Meg assured Tommy she was planning something huge, but this just got a big Meh from me. The saddest part of this scene is watching Evie, sitting off to the side, too young and too angry to realize she’s just a pawn in Meg’s crazy pointless cult. Talk about it all being “pointless”. The joke’s on Evie and she doesn’t even know it. It’s sad and terrifying.

Home Again. Kevin finally makes it into town. The campers have looted main street and a full blown circus/party/orgy is underway. It’s grotesque, but also seems pretty harmless if it’s meant to be the GR’s master plan (we’ve seen them do worse). Kevin and John meet again. They makes their peace. John says he doesn’t “understand what is happening,” but that’s okay because nobody does and that’s what they all share. These are all characters who have been defined for 4 years by the departure: who they lost, what they lost, and what it all means. If season 1 was all about grief, in season 2 they finally start to climb their way out. Miracles do happen in Jardin, just not the ones everyone thought mattered. Kevin returns home to find his entire family there, new and old, all healthy and safe. These are characters who are ready to live again. The Leftovers has never felt so hopeful

Odds and Ends:

  • The season finale feels very much like a series finale. There’s been no word from HBO about bringing it back and as much as I loved this season (it’s by far one of TV’s smartest and visually rich shows), I would be okay if it ended like this. The story feels complete. I don’t know what else these characters would still want or fight for. They got what they want and can all now exit stage left, thank you very much.
  • On that note, this is possibly the only time a pitch perfect season finale could convince a network to not bring a show back.
  • I spent all season trying to figure out if there were clues in all the water imagery. From the wells, to the lake, the bathtub story, I kept thinking there was something I was missing. Nope, just cool rebirth/cleansing imagery, which is fun on its own.
  • Like so many of the big reveals this season, the clue that the explosives trailer was actually empty was there all along! Meg threw an empty grenade on the bus, the bridge fake out was just a bigger scarier version.
  • Shout out to Regina King in this episode. She didn’t have much screen time, but was completely heartbreaking in her scene with Evie. We don’t get why she’d do it either!!!!
  • How The Leftovers ended up being so optimistic is perhaps one of TV’s greatest hat tricks. The lack of cynicism in a show that’s about grief and loss and unimaginable pain is truly a credit to the writing.
  • I never expected Evie of all people to end up being more terrifying than Meg. Perhaps we all fall for the trick of believing she couldn’t be anything other than a nice girl because we don’t want to see it or believe it could happen. But looking back, all the signs were there. Silently wiping the tears off her friend? Stone cold.

 

Where does Wayward Pines Rank among TV’s Creepiest Towns?

by: L Green

Wayward Pines is a weird place, what with their abandoned hospitals, inscrutable rules, and ice cream socials public executions. If I found myself trapped in this Norman Rockwell Hellscape, I’d sure want to leave too. Wayward Pines is definitely one of TV creepiest towns in a long time. But where does it rank overall? Let’s take a look at the nightmarish bergs that have come before.

Home in The X-Files.

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Mulder and Scully only visited Home once (though maybe will again?), but once was more than enough. There we got to meet the Peacocks, the town’s resident inbred, incesty, murderous family of sociopaths. Any town that’s a party to this clan is no bueno in my book.

Creep factor: 3 OMGs and 1 oh, Hell no!

Twin Peaks in Twin Peaks.

twin peaks.jpg

Ah, the gold standard in quaint, but vaguely not-right, towns. Sure Twin Peaks had their share of murders, mysteries, secrets, hallucinations, demons, prostitution, betrayal, treachery, blackmail, and ill-timed dance parties. But all very charming in its own way, no? Plus, doughnuts!

Creep factor: 1 million damn good cups of coffee with a slice of pie.

Mapleton in The Leftovers.

Mapleton

Poor beleaguered Mapleton. First all their loved ones vanish, then wild dogs take over, nobody listens to Chief Garvey at all, and then a lurking chain smoking cult moves in to give everyone an extra hard time. And don’t even get me started on this appalling memorial statue.

Creep factor: 4 old cigarettes and 1 No, thank you.

New Otherton in Lost.

lost

Time for a throwback town! Remember the very organized community of Others on Lost (cutely called New Otherton, by Sawyer, the human nickname generator)? Having a maniacal lovestruck nerd as your unwavering dictator is probably no good, but I was always Team Others. They all had jobs and houses, book clubs, and an unusual need to organize and label everything. It could be worse.

Creep factor: a million Dharma labels and a Dharma Shark. When do I move in?

Future NY in Fringe.

observer ny

New York is already a tough place. But jump 20 years to the Orwellian future under Observer rule and things are much harder and much dirtier. You think alternate side of the street parking and the MTA are tough? At least there’s enough oxygen and we’re not all frozen in amber and ruled by bald emotionless geniuses from the future. Yet.

Creep factor: 10 portals to the future worth of See ya.

White Pine Bay from Bates Motel.

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“This is beautiful!” says Norma as she drives along the coast into scenic White Pine Bay. And it is beautiful with lush forests and ocean views and a charming downtown. But the town is run with drug money, fueled by murder, suspicion, greed, and backstabbing. Oh, and then there’s Norman.

Creep factor: 1 basement taxidermy lair and a couple of Nuh uhs. .

Caldwell in The Returned.

the returned

What a quaint little town, nestled comfortably in the Pacific Northwest. Oh and all your dead family members are showing back up!

Creep factor: 1 giant nopetapus

Wayward Pines from Wayward Pines.

wayward pines

So let’s discuss the town in question: Wayward Pines is like Twin Peaks but without the charm. Everyone’s a bit of an oddball, but also super nosy and and all up in everybody else’s business. To be fair, their motto of living in the present, isn’t the worst advice I’ve heard. But nothing says live for today like the looming threat of a public execution.

Creep factor: 1,000 ice cream cones of doom.

Chester’s Mill from Under the Dome.

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Have you heard? Chester’s Mill was a town like any other. But then a pesky dome dropped from the sky and now it’s the thunderdome! Really it only took a couple of weeks before the good people or rural Maine started getting all murdery and setting up a fight club for sport. Seems to me they were just looking for a reason to turn on each other…

Creep factor: 4 severed cows and a dozen mysterious eggs.

Mystic falls from The Vampire Diaries.

mf

Would I want to live in Mystic Falls? Everyone’s either a witch, vampire, werewolf, cursed, trapped, murdered, or doomed. So, no. But I wouldn’t mind visiting–everyone’s so pretty and they throw the best parties!

Creep factor: 1 million beautiful vampire points!

Eagleton from Parks and Recreation.

eagleton

Oh, sorry, Ealgeton isn’t creepy, it just sucks. Eagleton sucks!

Creep factor: shut it, Eagleton. No points for you.

So there you have it. Wayward Pines is slightly less creepy than a town where dead people have shown back up and slightly more creepy than an uber-organized island prison. Good for you, Wayward Pines!

TV’s Best and Worst Mothers, 2015 Edition

By: L Green

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image via HBO

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so it’s that time again to check in with TV’s best and worst moms. A new year and a new crop of great and …less than great moms has sprung up. So who are 2015’s contenders?

Worst: Cersei (Game of Thrones). Cersei really loves her kids, so that’s great. Yay for Cersei! But she also created the soulless turd that was King Joffrey, so… that’s a strike against her. Joffrey is what happens when kids get medals for participation.

Best: Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation). Is Leslie Knope ever on a list for being something other than the very best? Leslie Knope is the reason why macaroni art projects and World’s Best Mom mugs exist. She makes her kids eat broccoli, is a positive role model, and lets them hang out with Andy. Wins all around!

Best: Norma (Bates Motel). Last year Norma graced this list as both the best and the worst. But season 3 Norma is the best Norma. Yeah, she did give Norman an unfortunately blase sex ed lecture, skirting the real issue here, but overall is much improved and far less of an enabler (starting with cleaning out the basement taxidermy lair!). She even sincerely likes Dylan! Get Norma a medal!

Best: Jessica (Fresh off the Boat). Jessica Huang is simply the best. Best mom, best wife, best tutor, real estate agent, theater director, overall winning overachieving no nonsense loveable hardass around. She’ll make you eat Squiddies, but will buy you Lunchables too. That’s love.

Worst: Frankie (The Middle). I get it. Working and raising three kids is hard. And Frankie tries. Sort of. But she also forgets about her kids, is actively disinterested in many of their activities and makes them eat dinner in lawn chairs. On the plus side, she really loves them. But Brick is still a weirdo and you should have better results by the third go around.

Worst: Barb (American Crime). Felicity Huffman as Barb is great. Barb, herself? Less great. She’s very dedicated to getting justice for her son, but it’s looking like she might have raised a sociopath. She has one son left and is a bit of a nightmare to him too. Sorry, Barb, you’re the worst.

Best: Nora Durst (The Leftovers). Of course Nora Durst is the best mom, because Nora Durst is awesome. She’s even willing to tolerate the Chief’s annoying kids, take in the weirdo prophet’s abandoned baby, and spends time bonding with her creepy fake children dummies. Nora Durst: patron saint of selflessness.

Worst: Laurie (The Leftovers). …and then there’s Laurie, The Leftover’s worst character in a gaggle of already terrible characters. She abandoned her kids to join a cult so she can skulk around town in her winter whites, terrorizing everyone else and making a mockery of their grief. And then, as if that’s not already horrible, she’s throws out the Cry for Help Christmas gift from her own daughter. Cold.

Worst: Mrs. Schmidt (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt). We never meet Kimmy’s mom, which is why she’s the worst. Your daughter is rescued from a cult’s underground bunker after 15 years and you’re a no show? Unacceptable.

Worst: Sammi (Shameless). Sammi is the worst everything–daughter, sibling, girlfriend, neighbor, citizen, advice-giver, human being, and especially mother. Advising your special needs 13 year-old-son on how to win over prison guards and carving a mini Charles Manson-esque tattoo into his forehead has to be a new low on Shameless. Most of the mothers on that show are at least vaguely trying to not mess their kids up.

Best: Cookie (Empire). Do not get in between Cookie and her sons. Don’t do it. DON’T DO IT. Nothing stops Cookie from protecting her boys. Not prison, not Lucious, not even Courtney Love.

Worst: Cherry (The Affair). You forgot about Cherry, didn’t you? The Affair seems like a long time ago, but Cherry’s ice cold guilt trip to Alison about Gabriel’s death is still horrifying. Cherry’s also a liar and a hypocrite, but those are just bonus points.

13 TV Themed Halloween Costumes

by: L Green

Just a year ago, Breaking Bad was everyone’s go-to show for TV-inspired Halloween costumes. Walt and his meth empire are now just memories, but there’s still plenty of inspiration to go around. Whether you’re a Halloween junkie or just looking for a quick costume to throw together, we’ve got you covered. Here are 13 Halloween costumes to let your inner TV-Junkie shine.

1. Bette and Dot (American Horror Story: Freak Show)

not BFFs

not BFFs

No need for a partner for this AHS-inspired costume. All you need is you and… you. Create a life-sized picture of your head and securely attached it to your shoulder. Use a two-dimensional image–or three-dimensional if you’re feeling crafty! Just make sure one of you is a little grouchier than the other. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to argue with yourself a bit.

2. Daenarys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)

Daenyrus, Leaning in.

Daenarys, Leaning in.

Don’t feel like having your own image attached to your shoulder for an entire night? Understandable–just substitute with dragons. Also, Daenarys is much sexier than Bette and/or Dot (sorry, girls), so this will cover your sexy Halloween costume requirement, if that’s your thing. But remember, Halloween is a family holiday–make sure you go with the fully-clothed version of Daenarys. Or for a truly modern update, put her in a power suit, dragons and all!

3. Rosita (The Walking Dead)

Heyyy!

Heyyy!

While we’re on the subject of sexy Halloween costumes, Rosita from The Walking Dead was created more or less for this reason. It’s at least two years into the zombie apocalypse, but Rosita is still finding the time to accessorize! Short shorts, boots, oversized earrings, a sassy attitude–ladies and gentlemen, here’s your Sexy Zombie Apocalypse Survivor Costume!

4. Carol (The Walking Dead)

Carol's got stuff to do.

Carol’s got stuff to do.

Rosita might be all sass, but Carol is all business. A Carol costume is the perfect throwback to classic Halloween gore, with just the right amount of badassness. All you need is a table cloth covered in fake zombie blood and guts, some Rambo-like zombie war paint, and steely look of determination.

5. The butchers (The Walking Dead)

Gross.

Gross.

Really anyone on The Walking Dead would make a great costume (except Bob because he’s boring). But few characters have been as scary as the “butchers” in the season 4 premiere (“No Sanctuary”). Find yourself some dirty clothes, a clear apron, and a baseball bat and you’re all set. But be prepared for everyone at your Halloween party to steer clear of you.

6. Grieving Mellie (Scandal)

Mellie does what she wants.

Mellie does what she wants.

Let’s switch gears! It’s Scandal time! Sure everyone wants to be Olivia Pope, but sorry, you don’t get to be. And like Cyrus says, being Olivia Pope probably isn’t really that much fun anyway. You know what’s more fun? Grieving Mellie! You get to wear sweatpants, and Uggs, AND a robe if you feel like it! Plus you get to eat chips and fried chicken and anything else you want while you say whatever the Hell you want and do whatever you want. This is my dream.

7. Don Draper (Mad Men)

Hey, girl.

Hey girl.

Don Draper is so overlooked lately. But you’ll miss him when he’s gone, so it’s now or never! This is the perfect costume for someone who doesn’t care all that much but still wants a lot of attention. All you need is a great suit, a cigarette and/or martini, and a smug look. Easy.

8. Ichabod Crane (Sleepy Hollow)

So formal.

So formal.

Sleepy Hollow is basically Halloween in overdrive. Almost everyone and everything can be turned into a costume. But who wouldn’t want to be fussy, yet sassy, yet sexy Ichabod Crane? Good thing military coats are still pretty popular. Just grab one, dust it up a bit, throw on some boots and a puffy shirt and you’re good to go! Also, you might want to bring a thesaurus along to any parties. Guy’s got some vocabulary on him!

9. King Joffrey (Game of Thrones)

1

uh oh.

2

Bye.

Purple-faced dying Joffrey or Already-Dead-Nosebleed Joffrey–both are pretty good. It all depends on what effect you’re going for.

10. Eleanor (The Bridge)

shady.

shady.

Make sure you’re covered from head to toe in the ugliest clothes you can find. Speak in riddles and carry a large ledger around with you. And acorns for a snack.

11. A GR member (The Leftovers)

ugh. these guys.

ugh. these guys.

Break out the winter whites! Everyone’s neighborhood cult is a great place to start for a costume. You can do pristine new-member white. Or angry mob-bloody white. Or gather all your friends and recreate the whole gang! Create your own GR message!

Gang's all here.

Gang’s all here.

12. Norma and Norman (Bates Motel)

well dressed, but awkward.

well dressed, but awkward.

Great for couples! And you’ll both get to be so well dressed! Only one of you has to be “the Mom”. Ugh… never mind.

13. Noah and Alison (The Affair)

what is happening with these two?

what is happening with these two?

Also good for couples! And easy to do! All you need is a casual t-shirt, button down shirt, and a sweet, but sassy sun dress. Then halfway through the night change your look in a subtle but intriguing way. That’s an Affair joke, you guys.

Bonus!

Carrie (Homeland)

For the truly lazy or last-minute costume, just throw on some black pants and a t-shirt and give your hair an awesome blow out. Somewhere at your party, dump a redheaded baby doll on a table or in the corner or something and immediately ignore it. When people ask “Whose baby is this?” just shrug and say “Not mine.”

Bonus Bonus!

The Dome (Under the Dome)

I’d just love to see this done.

 

Happy Halloween, everyone!

The Best, Worst, and Craziest Moments of The Leftovers Finale

by: L Green (also follow Green TV on twitter @Greenie_TV)

image via HBO

image via HBO

The Leftovers wrapped up its first season on Sunday–an hour-long TV equivalent of a swift kick to the soft part of your soul. It was relentlessly bleak except for the briefest glimmer of hope right in the nick of time. The Chief dealt with the Patti situation, the GR rolled out their grotesque master plan, and there were reunions all over the place (in more ways than one). But details, details–what were the best, wost, and craziest moments of “The Prodigal Son Returns”? Let’s discuss (spoilers, obviously):

Matt Jamieson to the rescue: Remember how the Chief maybe/probably kidnapped and tortured Patti in a remote cabin over in Cairo, New York before she killed herself? Even weirder is when the town preacher drives to the rescue. Matt pulled up ready to work–a shovel in one hand and a bible in the other. Friendship, the Matt Jamieson way.

The Chief’s creeptastic dream: The Chief has dream that he’s locked in a psychiatric hospital with his dad. First you think it’s really happening–shocking! Then you realize he’s still probably losing his mind–awful! Then Patti shows up and gets a little cozy with the Chief–horrendous! Never have we been so happy to say It was only a dream.

“Talk!”: Jill doesn’t so much as join the GR as insist that Laurie finally pay attention to her. After watching her mom scribble nonsense onto that damn notepad, Jill writes her own message to her mom: Talk! Thank you, Jill! — Sincerely, everybody.

“Do you need help?”: We’re so accustomed to everyone being terrible on The Leftovers that when the random parking lot guy asked Tommy if he needed help, I was fully prepared for something awful to happen. I was waiting for the Lord of the Flies gang of children to sneak up on him, a pack of wild dogs to fall from the sky, an anvil to drop on his head–something! Nope, just a nice person asking if someone needed something. Still can’t believe it.

Christine dumps the baby: This was basically going to happen eventually, but once Christine realized she wasn’t special at all–just a naive fool with an unwanted baby, it was inevitable. But how much more can Tommy take?! He should have taken Parking Lot Guy’s offer of help and gotten out of there.

The GR brings back the departed: Their plan has been clear for some time, though their motives are still a bit murky. Patti says nobody has the right to move on and these replicas are reminders of Mapleton’s selfishness. Then again, Patti was crazy, so maybe they were really trying to help everyone move on by letting them say goodbye? (ehhh…. it didn’t really work out that way, so probably not.)

Silent Scream: I don’t know what was worse, watching Nora brush her teeth upstairs, knowing that the horrific dummies of her family were waiting for her at the kitchen table, or actually seeing it. Nora’s barely keeping it together and just under the surface of is some scary, primal grief. In a completely silent scene, we only see her reaction–imagining what it sounds like is probably worse than anything they could actually show.

Meg: Not really a moment, more of a general statement. “She was robbed of her grief” was such a profound assessment of Meg’s rage and sorrow and something I often think about. What does it mean to lose someone important to only you when the rest of the world is busy mourning everyone else? Apparently you will develop a crippling toxic bitterness that leaves you like Meg: bloody, angry, fearless, and indifferent to humanity. Remember in the pilot when she was engaged and wore pearls? Pearls!

Wayne knows what he’s doing: The only thing weirder than Wayne showing up in a bathroom stall in the same diner as the Chief, slowly bleeding to death, is everything else about Wayne. He grants the Chief one last wish, to prove that he wasn’t a fraud. We assume the wish is to have his family back–so well done, Wayne, you magnificent creeper!

Mapleton runs amuck: Nora took the ‘return’ of her family better than most Mapletonians. They took to the streets beating any GR member they could find and burning their house to the ground. This is the small town mayhem of Stephen King’s dreams. The image of the elderly couple lovingly throwing the replica of their adult Downs Syndrome son on the fire will haunt you for days.

The crazy dog returns: I still don’t know what dogs mean on The Leftovers, but they sure mean something!

The Prodigal Son Returns: No, not Tommy–The Chief. He once wanted to run away from his family and now he wants them back. He may not have the same family, but he’s got the next best thing–a new one. One that includes Nora (maybe?)

“Look what I found.” The Leftovers is dark. And bleak. And unforgiving. It is grief personified. But what happens when you stop trying for the life you lost? You find a new one. Just like that. Just like Nora did when she wasn’t even looking. “Look what I found.” Yes, Nora, you found Holy Wayne’s very important baby that was left by Tommy after a series of events that made him cross paths with you. A two-second breath of fresh air to usher in a whole new chapter for season 2.

Season 2. When we do this all over again. See you then!

 

The Leftovers Made Us Feel all the Feels

by: L Green (also follow Green TV on twitter @Greenie_TV)

Paul Schiraldi

Paul Schiraldi

The Leftovers disappears from our lives tonight, not to return till next season. To say that this show works at a slow boil is an understatement–it wasn’t until halfway through this season that I actually cared about anyone other than the Chief. Where I once was tempted to write The Leftovers off as “sad people being sad” or ‘terrible people being terrible,” now I’m actually interested in what happens to everyone (basically), having relentlessly seen them at their worst and briefly at their best. Yes, it happened–I finally care. I really care.

Think back to the opening scene of the pilot–one of the best of the series–that moment where the departed all disappear, life before and life after presented in the briefest of moments (Baby Sam!!!). It’s that moment where everyone’s lives change irrevocably forever that was so haunting about the very concept of The Leftovers. Since then it’s been a slow slog of grief, selfishness, acting out, and bad intentions. And that’s not even including anything that’s going down with the GR, your friendly neighborhood cult.

Just when you think you can’t take enough of watching people you don’t really like very much being relentlessly awful to each other, The Leftovers blindsided us with, can it be–happiness? Or if not actual happiness, the healing that could lead to it. It was a gamble taking their time getting there, but a gamble that paid off.

Thank God for Nora Durst–the character mostly responsible for turning things around for The Leftovers. She decided it was time to move on, bought some rice cakes, and felt better–and finally so did we. She’s seeing the Chief, is totally unruffled by Jill’s moodiness, and is all-around awesome. It seems like things really are going to get better. But then came the Chief’s showdown with Patti, the GR’s ultimate plan to mess with Mapleton, and whatever antics Jill is pulling. As if that’s not all bad enough, The Leftovers took a step back last week and gave us one more flashback to when things were good–when life was normal.

The Garveys At Their Best was just that–at their best–not perfect and not all that happy. But they were unhappy in normal ways. How do you fix a broken marriage when the whole world falls apart? How do you become a normal adult when all the adults around you have lost their minds? The series’s penultimate episode was like a breath of fresh air and a punch to the gut at the same time. Everyone’s lives were ruined one way or another on that day and the episode served as a reminder that no amount of rice cakes and good intentions can fix a world that broken. But for the first time since the pilot, I’m really hoping Mapleton can pull it off.

“People want to feel better,” the Chief tells us. Now more than ever, I’m hoping they can. Fingers crossed, you guys.

Additional Thoughts

  • There’s been much ado about that gun in Nora Durst’s handbag. The rules dictate that a gun that prominent has to go off at some point. So who’s getting shot?
  • Before Patti’s dramatic exit, she gave a long-winded speech about how no one has the right to move on, etc., and that’s why they’re there–to remind people. I’m still not 100% understanding Laurie’s motivation for joining up. Other than being just generally messed up about losing a baby you didn’t want in the first place. If that’s the guilt motivating her, I’m not fully getting that from her.
  • Wow, that’s some mess you got yourself in there, Chief. Is there any chance the police just won’t care about Patti and we can forget the whole thing ever happened?
  • Patti asked Laurie if she was ready. Ready for what????

 

The Most Depressing Moments of The Leftovers

by: L Green

Paul Schiraldi

Paul Schiraldi

Spoilers below for The Leftovers

On the Leftovers, the bleakest show in TV, sad is a relative term. After 2% of the world’s population mysteriously vanishes, most people are probably at least a little bit down most of the time. What’s the difference between a depressing day and a regular day anymore? For the sad residents of sad Mapleton, is it possible to be even sadder? Justin Theroux’s super sad eyes would suggest, “yes”. So for the saddest people in the saddest town on the saddest show, what are the saddest moments of all? Probably these:

 

less than comforting

less than comforting

  1. The Heroes Day Memorial Statue. That’s the best you can do, Mapleton? How is anyone going to feel better having to look a horrific statue every day of a mother reaching for her baby that’s being mysteriously sucked up into the sky? No wonder none of you are getting any better. (On the flip side, this statue is also hilarious in a totally messed up way.)
  2. Meg Joins the GR. Oh no! They got Liv Tyler! Even though she’s super normal and pretty and has a real life going on and great hair, Meg decides to leave it all behind and join this group of lurking, disheveled weirdoes that everyone hates. If it happens to her, it could happen to anyone. Super depressing.
  3. Nobody listens to Chief Garvey. Man, talk about being underappreciated. The one person in town who actually cares about anything nobody actually listens to. You deserve what you get, Mapleton!
  4. “They’re not our dogs anymore”. Having roving packs of feral dogs that once belonged to the mysteriously departed is a nice touch of realism for The Leftovers. It makes sense that it would happen. But when I think of wild dogs, I think of legitimately wild dogs—gross ones that no one would want in the first place. Not Border Collies and Bichons. Luckily we haven’t had to see a feral Labradoodle yet. I couldn’t handle that.
  5. All the high school students are messed up. On one hand, good for them! These kids know how to throw a party! College should be no problem for them. On the other hand, these kids really know how to throw a party. Angsty, miserable, bitter beyond their years, these are kids that aren’t holding out for a better future. Threatening to shoot a Baby Jesus doll with a flaming arrow shouldn’t be the least sketchy thing you do at a party.
  6. The Baby Jesus Doll. While we’re on the topic, everything about this storyline should give you the sads. First of all, the doll is one of a 100 sold at a discount store, made by the toy company “Afforda”. Sort of a heavy-handed analogy of hollow religious consumerism or something like that. But when the Baby Jesus goes missing, everyone is really annoyed until it’s found and then they don’t care at all. What the Hell, Mapleton?? What more do you want from Kevin Garvey? Leave it to Pastor Jamieson to save the day by having a spare Baby Jesus that he can loan out. Very nice, but also depressing. You have two of the things that nobody cares at all about.
  7. Everything about Matt Jamieson. Where to start? Every hates him because he ruins the nice cozy memories they all have of their departed loved ones. Sure, he’s right that most of them were jerks, but really, is that your place, Matt? Then we find out that his severely disabled wife was hurt in an accident as a direct result of people being raptured from their cars on the road. No wonder he’s bitter. So when everyone talks about those they lost on October 13, they don’t really mean him, even though he’s lost as much as everyone. Then he loses his church to the GR weirdoes as a direct result of trying to help them. Those jerks! All kinds of sad going on here.
  8. Lori has Meg read her divorce letter to the Chief. Why is everyone so hard on Kevin Garvey???? Use your words, Lori!
  9. “Don’t forget me”. It’s depressing enough that GR claim their chain smoking nonsense is a supposed expression of their faith, but Jill knows that the only way to make her mom think of her is to stamp a message on a lighter—as a Christmas present! That Lori just throws out on her way home. This is not the stuff of O’Henry.
  10. The GR steals everyone’s family photos. What the Hell is your problem, GR??? In some kind of twisted modern-day take on the Grinch, while the whole town is at a Christmas pageant, the GR breaks into their homes and steal their family photos right out from under them, leaving nothing but empty frames behind. Be big oddballs your own time, you big lurkers, but stay out of people’s homes. At the very least, don’t then wonder why one of you gets a bunch of rocks thrown at your face the next day.
  11. Raptured Celebrities. The cast of Perfect Strangers, Gary Busey, and the Old Pope (not the cool new Pope) were all raptured. The most depressing part… all the Kardashians are still here.

 

The Fascinating Strangeness of The Leftovers

by: L Green

 

Paul Schiraldi

Paul Schiraldi

It’s been a week since The Leftovers premiered on HBO–kicking off a ten-episode first season based on Tom Perrotta’s novel by the same name.

Surely you’ve heard by now, especially if you’re reading this, that The Leftovers centers around the lives of an everyday suburban town, regular people coming to terms with the very irregular disappearance of 10% of the world’s population three years earlier. Is it the Rapture? Something more sinister? Where did they all go? And will they ever come back? Will it happen again? Nobody knows.

The Leftover does a nice job of incorporating the expected beats of a national tragedy–the initial panic, the acceptance, the canonization of those who were lost–without directly commenting on it. It’s neither a satire nor judgment. It’s merely truthful. Therein lays the tragedy of The Leftovers and the source of its lingering sadness, It’s about a grief and anger non one knows how to deal with because no one can define it.

As expected, characters trade stories about where they were and what they were doing on the day “they left”–October 14. (Whether they’re telling the truth is another matter entirely.) It’s akin to the real life “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” or, obviously, more recently “Where were you on September 11?” There’s a national commonality when we all lose something together, which rings true. Even over on CBS’s Under the Dome, it’s only been two weeks, but still citizens reminisce on the newly coined “Dome Day”.

The lack of answers as to why they lost who they lost is the heart of The Leftovers. For as much as they are all in this together, everyone’s loss is very much their own. With no reason as to why, no common enemy to rally against, the characters are lost. Much as been made about the Leftovers being the anti-Lost–a sort of manufactured redemption story for Damon Lindelof not dropping the ball on the ending of this one. It’s a ridiculous concept of misremembered history because for as many people who didn’t like the ending of Lost, a lot did. You can’t create disappointment where there isn’t initially passion, so it’s not like Lost was anything close to a failure. Also, I doubt HBO passes out scripted series so writers can work out their issues.

If anything, The Leftovers is the anti-Six Feet Under, a family drama about the business of grief and the literal business of grief. It was truthful in its assessment of how we largely react to death–fear it, avoid it, confront it only when necessary, then move on from it. It opened up a discussion of the reality of death and the necessity of grief–all with a razor sharp sense of humor.

In The Leftovers, the crucial “moving on” stage breaks down because no one knows what they’re moving on from or towards. The world is turned upside down, so if anything, there’s a casual abandon for planning for the future or investing in tomorrow.

Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux), Mapleton’s police chief is stubbornly hanging onto a semblance of his old life, going to work, insisting on family dinners and curfews while his family is a mess. When the mayor insists on the Heroes Day Parade (a celebration of the “heroes” they lost on October 14–a rather loose and saccharine use of the term), Garvey argues that no one is ready to feel better; they’re ready to explode, and there are no heroes. He mostly holds onto the past by denying a rose-colored future.

Of course, Garvey’s loss, as we find out is not because he lost his wife on October 14. Rather, she left on her own accord to join GR (The Guilty Remnants) a local non-speaking possible cult with, thus far, no known motives other than to silently terrorize the town.

Garvey’s personal drama and family problems (that wasn’t his wife he was with in the flashback to October 14, right?) are playing out against the larger trajectory of the world’s loss. How can you care about what anyone else is going through when you have your own problems that no one else can possibly understand? The Leftovers gives a new meaning to the concept of alone together.

Another reason why The Leftovers shouldn’t be considered the anti-Lost: on Lost, the characters knew who they were and who they wanted to be. A shared disaster gave everyone a second chance. Here, a shared disaster is ruining everyone in million different ways–if they’ll let it. Watching flawed characters find redemption is one thing, watching every day characters fight against slowly unraveling is entirely another. Lost was a fantasy because who could ever really relate to fugitive Kate or conman Sawyer? Presumably, not many. But watching a regular person in a town like yours lose their whole world from forces they can’t control or understand? A million ways more terrifying.

Additional thoughts:

  • I find the Guilty Remnants “cult’s” refusal to speak more tedious than mysterious and would like a little more insight into how they operate before they run the risk of being tuned out as a two-dimensional subplot.
  • I do enjoy, however, the constant cigarette smoking as a display of GR’s faith. If anything is a statement about living with abandon for today, it’s institutionalized chain smoking, no matter what they’re calling it.
  • The moments of dark humor were some of the best, including the list of who was lost–notably Gary Busey and Pope Benedict (not the new cool pope). Hopefully, The Leftovers will take a page out of The Sopranos and Six Feet playbook and up the dark humor.
  • And this is neither here nor there, but does anyone else keep accidentally calling The Leftovers “The Departed”?? That’s driving me crazy.