Tuesday, July 1, 2014

HBO's THE LEFTOVERS PREMIERE RECAP

   " Acceptance, Anger, Denial, Regret, and Depression Collide Head On In HBO'S New Biblical Rapture Themed Show~The Leftovers"


What is the meaning of life?  What would you do if 140,000,000 humans suddenly disappeared without any sense of rhyme or reason?  The pilot picks up in the town of Mapleton,  where more than 100 people were taken up in the rapture, and a sweeping layer of dread and unease has replaced the love and happiness once felt by those affected by the disappearance. Seemingly enough the  kids are blasé — as evidenced by Jill Garvey and her friends’ partying ways and attitudes. Nothing means anything anymore — so what  is the point of caring, anyway? Nothing matters — not even upholding some idea of general joy and appreciation for the life you’re leading and those around you. Why pledge allegiance to anything — let alone the “one nation, under God” whose previous claims of being “indivisible” were clearly anything but. These are just a few themes explored in the pilot.

Elsewhere, the struggle between scientific reasoning and religious miraculous thought create an even bigger divide — with factions of “enlightened” folks popping up everywhere with cult like behavior. First, and perhaps most prominent are The Guilty Remnant — GRs for short — who spend their days completely silent, smoking cigarettes and decked out in all white linen. Laurie Garvey (Jill’s mother) has joined the group for an unspecified reason and is quite passionate, in her wordless way, about the cause. Elsewhere in the world there’s Matt Jamison  who claims prophecies and visions but may also just be insane. Or Wayne, the terrifyingly calm and commanding faith healer/cult leader who’s taken Tom Garvey ) under his unsettling wing.  They believe that they’re on the brink of waking up the world.
All of this is a tumultuous load of a lot for the  main character, Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) — the local police chief — to handle. His family has been torn apart, even though they still remain on earth, in the quest for answers and knowledge. While the rest of his family quietly contemplates the how and the why, even three years later, Kevin must soldier on, protecting stray dogs and generally being the upstanding gentleman, even in the wake of all of this.

And to help manage the rest of the town, who are all so obviously, clearly, still hurting from the unknown — This is one reason, why  the GRs arrival at the Heroes Day celebration got so intensely volatile so fast. With people’s emotional capacity so fraught and frail with fear (as evidenced by Liv Tyler’s Meg Abbott joining the GRs) while simultaneously desiring a “way things were” that will never be again, this new world is hardly brave, but it  certainly boisterous enough to ensure that life on earth is far from ordinary, even if every single day feels exactly that.

The lack of control and feeling of power over their own lives has been made all-too-real — and some people can’t handle that. If there is something more out there, waiting for those who deserve it: why not us? Why them? And now that it’s done: what now? If the wild pack of dogs, long thought an urban legend, are real — does that make us the dogs, or them? Ultimately The Leftovers explores all aspects of grief but also lends itself to give a brief glimpse into what life on earth will be like when The Rapture occurs.

What’d you think of The Leftovers‘ premiere? Let’s discuss in the comments.