The Leftovers: Season 2 created by Damon Lindelof (Warner Bros. Television)
Starring Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Chris Zylka, Margaret Qualley, Regina King, Kevin Carroll, Jovan Adepo, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Carrie Coon.
*SPOILER ALERT FOR PREVIOUS SEASONS*
So That You Might Believe
What are the parameters of your belief? In a post-modern society, many might not consider belief to be a warranted pursuit. But, in truth, we all believe something. For the rationalist and the naturalist, that faith might connect to scientific pursuits.
For others, belief might correspond with a person—the savior of a certain group, or the benefactor of another.
And many channel belief into an organized religion.
But at its core, faith is required for anything and everything we do, even if it’s as small as a belief that the sun will rise tomorrow. Obviously, it will. Be there’s no guarantee until we see it on the horizon.
These many complicated avenues toward faith provide the bedrock for a stunning second season of The Leftovers.
Unhinged from the cramped environment of Mapleton, New York, the series effectively reboots with a change of scenery.
Enter Jardin, Texas, an anomalous small town in Texas where nobody left in the Sudden Departure. Given such long odds, the town adopts the nickname Miracle and the government bottles this miracle into a National Park which surrounds the town and its residents.
Access to the park is difficult, even more so is gaining residency in this town.
Luckily, Nora (Carrie Coon) is able to sell her Mapleton house for millions to researchers looking to understand the cause of the departure. The three people lost in her home make this listing exceedingly valuable.
With this money, Nora, her boyfriend and lead character Keven (Justin Theroux), his daughter Jill (Margaret Qualley), and their adopted daughter buy a house in Jardin with the influence from Nora’s brother, Matt (Christopher Eccleston) and move in next to the Murphy’s, a compelling family in the community.
The key plotting aspect to the entire season surrounds the disappearance of Murphy’s daughter, Evie (Jasmin Savoy Brown). Does this disappearance shatter the hope for change and the need for safety that Jardin, Texas supposedly provides?
The elegance and enjoyment of Season 2 of The Leftovers resides mainly in the season’s form. Instead of the weekly check in on each character like you would see in Game of Thrones, The Leftovers uses each episode as a small, character-driven story. We bounce around between characters old and new as the narrative weaves itself into a complicated tapestry.
Bolstering this brilliant approach, showrunner Damon Lindelof, removes a page from his Lost playbook and embraces the ambiguity. The Sudden Departure, a clearly supernatural event, creates massive turmoil and opportunity for hucksters to exploit the system. It also provides ample questions about what truly represents the supernatural. What is our warranted belief?
For those that require clear answers, The Leftovers might never exist as the pinnacle of storytelling, but I wholeheartedly recommend this show, especially this second season. For those who have grown up or orbited around any faith tradition, but perhaps most specifically a Christian tradition, this show offers ample questions and critiques of faith, without every truly providing a pure endorsement or condemnation.
Go watch The Leftovers and let’s hope HBO’s gives us more seasons.
Verdict: 5 out of 5