The Horror Honeys: The Leftovers, S2: Do We Ever Really Know What's Happening?

The Leftovers, S2: Do We Ever Really Know What's Happening?

A Season 2 Review with Revenge Honey Linnie

The Leftovers (2014 - )

I feel like Sci-Honey Katie and I spent the last three months CONSTANTLY shoving HBO's The Leftovers down people's throats and you know what? I'm glad. As someone who thought the first season was the gold standard of melancholy television drama, season two did something I would have previously thought was impossible.

It not only improved upon the first season by leaps and bounds, but it balanced the S1 melancholy with moments of such hopeful beauty that I spent many an episode in tears.

The Leftovers is absolutely the best show you're probably not watching, and now that S2 has ended, you don't have a single excuse for that to remain the case...

SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven't watched "I Live Here Now," stop here, go forth, and binge.

Season 2 of The Leftovers has been a true emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end. Our whole cast moved to a new location, Jardin, Texas, the one town in the world that didn't experience a single departure. Now known as Miracle, the town is very particular about who they allow to move there, but Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) has an in: her brother Matt (Christopher Eccleston) and his wife Mary (Janel Maloney) are residents. So Nora buys a house for her, new boyfriend Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and his daughter Jill (Margaret Qualley). But of course, things aren't going to remain idyllic in Jardin, because Kevin can't shake the specter of cult leader Patty Levin (Ann Dowd) and a new faction of The Guilty Remnant, lead by Meg (Liv Tyler) seems to be powering up.

Every episode of S2 was, from beginning to end, flawlessly written by showrunner Damon Lindelof and his staff. I can say without hesitation that The Leftovers is the most intelligent, thoughtful, and elegantly written show currently airing on television. Each episode would offer a different perspective on a character or situation (this was never more true than in "International Assassin," which I vote as one of the most fascinatingly strange and wonderful hours of TV in television history), but you were never confused or frustrated. Unlike with Lost, you can feel that Lindelof and his team had a plan, especially now that they were off Tom Perrotta's book, and each week, the series crackled and flowed with expectation and excitement.

One thing I was most enamored of this season was how well all of the female characters on The Leftovers were written. In Episode 6, titled "Lens," we were treated to two of the best performances I have seen in some time, in which two women simply sat at a table and talked to each other. Carrie Coon and Regina King are both phenomenal actresses, and in this episode, we saw them express the pain and heartache of their characters through the simplest of means. Liv Tyler, Amy Brenneman, Janel Maloney (who literally doesn't speak a word through almost the entire series), along with King and Coon, are all amazing actresses, and The Leftovers has given them a platform above and beyond anything I have seen on TV.

While Justin Theroux has been a powerhouse of a leading man all season, especially in "International Assassin," "I Live Here Now" is where we finally see his emotional side, and it's wonderful. The finale manages to once again isolate Theroux's Kevin in an unthinkable situation, and force him to fight his way back out. But this time, it's through karaoke and perhaps the best use ever of "Homeward Bound" by Simon and Garfunkel. However, what we also get through Kevin in the finale is one of The Leftover's most hopeful, touching, and wonderful moments in the entirety of both seasons. If by some horrible twist of fate, HBO loses their minds and chooses to end The Leftovers here, the finale of Season 2 leaves us with a rare glimpse of hope for the Garvey family. And that is more than any fan of Lindelof's show can ask for.

So whatever happens, thank you The Leftovers, for a Season 2 in which I spent almost every episode like this:


Season Two Rating: 5 Jardin parties out of 5

Both seasons of The Leftovers are available on HBOGo and HBONow!