TV - The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 2

The Leftovers

Nate McKenzie with his thoughts on The Leftovers second episode...

Episode 2 begins with a conversation between FBI agents about Wayne Gilchrest, the cult guru with the ability to take emotional pain from others via a healing hug, and their case against him regarding his actions within the cult he has organised. The FBI raids Wayne's compound but Tom, the son of protagonist Kevin Garvey, and Christine, one of Wayne's underage concubines, escape together.

Following that, Kevin wakes up to find his daughter's friend, Aimee, hovering over him in his bed. Awkward and wildly inappropriate to say the least, but I feel that we can expect a lot of this dynamic throughout the season. She tells him to follow her and we cut to both of them walking in a snowy woods in their underthings until they meet up with the mysterious dog killer, as he is taking aim at what looks like Kevin's wife. There is a gunshot and Kevin's feet are on fire. Then, predictably, Kevin wakes up. It was all a dream. He is actually Bob Newhart. And the season is over. Goodnight.

Obviously that's not true - this season is just getting started. It has quickly wrapped me up in the enigmatic narrative and this episode continues the steep incline towards... who knows where; but I am on board for the ride. Although the pacing of this episode feels slow, it does so without making you want to get up and check the fridge.

This episode is more about the rising exposition of the season as a whole, with more connections between the characters being divulged. We are introduced to Kevin's father, who is in a mental hospital, and meet his father's girlfriend; Crazy Dog Killer stops by Kevin's house for a beer; Laurie tests Meg; and Jill and Aimee essentially try their hand at kidnapping and stalking after discovering a delicious factoid about Nora.

A major aspect of this show (and many other shows) that is under appreciated is the musical ambiance. While writing, I am listening to the score, specifically the last few scenes, and the violins are absolutely enchanting. The multiple layers to each musical piece used in the episodes set such a perfect mood for the interwoven story lines. Max Richter is superbly precise in his composition and choices.

However, despite all of the strong qualities of this show as a whole, I feel that this episode was more of a step sideways, rather than forward or backward, from the pilot. It was neither great nor terrible. I want to not rate it highly but I really like Liv Tyler and I loved Paterson Joseph in Survivors so I wont condemn it.

In all seriousness, the episode does entice. If you can watch this one episode and not want to finish the season and learn the truth behind all the mystery then this genre is simply not your cup of tea.

When a TV show sets the stage as well as The Leftovers has, I expect big things for future episodes. As long as the final episode doesn't reveal that all of the Departed are on an island with Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, I think I'll be pleased and safe from causing harm to myself. Until then.

Image - IMDb.