Should I Watch The Leftovers? (Pilot Review)

The Leftovers: Pilot (o1xo1)

Synopsis: We’re introduced to the citizens of Mapleton three years after a “Great Departure” that took two percent of the entire world’s population.

Rating: ★★★★☆

I’ll give you a minute to get all of your LOST jokes out right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait…Okay, are we ready? We’re making this pact not to bring up LOST again in the context of talking about The Leftovers. Pinky promise me so we can get to the good stuff.

Justin Theroux as police chief Kevin Garvey

Justin Theroux as police chief Kevin Garvey

The Leftovers, based on a novel of the same name, stars Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, Christpher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, and you might recognize those twins from Teen Wolf (I don’t know, that’s what I was told), as well as a few other vaguely familiar faces. To explain all of the details of the pilot really takes the mystery out of the series – which is not going to happen any time soon.

The premise of The Leftovers is that two percent of the world vanishes one day. The concept is really that simple: one moment they’re there, the next they are not and the most logical question to ask is why? What happened? Where did they go? The series picks up three years later with these questions still unanswered, while focusing on the small town of Mapleton.

At first, I was surprised that society had soldiered on in such an orderly fashion – school was still going on, there were still police officers – no huge breakdown in society, no new dystopic wasteland was formed in the aftermath, but when you really think about it… two percent, in the grand scheme of things, is not a lot of people. Surely it was enough to affect every person on the planet, everyone had to know someone who vanished, but the stark reality that life goes on was jarring and refreshing at the same time.

Theroux plays Kevin Garvey, the Mapleton chief of police, and those are his real tattoos we see in the pilot. I googled them and yeah, they’re that dumb. But if you can get past those, you also see his butt – it’s a trade-off. Other forces connected to the town include The Guilty Remnant, a cult of people who have taken a vow of silence after the Sudden Departure. We don’t immediately know their goals, but all of their members wear white and smoke nonstop. Another band of followers have rallied behind a mysterious guru named Wayne, who also has little revealed about him in the pilot. The take-no-shit mayor, played by Amanda Warren, is one of my favorite “side characters” to be introduced.

Blabh ahbal

The Guilty Remnants home…

I really think that everyone should watch the pilot and decide for themselves if they want to continue down the rabbit hole of what this show will be. We can start actual plot recaps next week. It’s not a light, easy summer show by any stretch of the imagination, but it takes a blunted look at grief and loss and what happens when we don’t have all the answers. I really hope we never get them, by the way.

The Leftovers is an experiment in watching how people move on from loss, as heart-wrenching and difficult and impossible as that always sounds to those mourning. The why makes you care about the characters, wonder alongside them, but the how do you move forward from that is what is going to keep me invested in the show.

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