140 Million people disappear from around the world without explanation, and the pilot presents the world for those left behind.
Review (with Spoilers)
Whenever HBO decides to stray away from a group of white people dealing with living in whatever city they are in, usually they have an interesting show. Now, with The Leftovers, I must admit I was thinking about The 4400 minus X-Men like powers, among other sci-fi staples. But, thankfully, the show seems more based on what would actually happen if people just disappeared than trying to create some new type of universe where anything can happen. With that said, let’s talk about the specifics of the pilot.
Topic 1: A Family Divided (The Garvey Family)
It seems the main focus of the show is Chief of Police Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) who, after 3 years since what is considered by some to be “The Rapture,” seems to be just sane enough to keep up with what remains of his family and work life. Though, at this point, all that really remains of his family is daughter Jill (Margaret Qualley) who seems distant. Perhaps due to both her brother Tom (Chris Zylka) and mother Laurie (Amy Brenneman) joining cults.
Tom’s cult is under this Black guy named Wayne (Paterson Joseph), who I think claims some sort of power; and then Laurie is under this cult called the Guilty Remnant, talked about below.
Topic 2: Guilty Remnant & Other Cults
As you can imagine, something like people just disappearing opened the doors for religious sects to have a one up on science. But, as with anytime religion is given power, there are those who seek to use those seeking answers to gain power and create cults. One cult is called the Guilty Remnants, of which Laurie is a member, and it is led by Patti (Ann Dowd). Now, with this cult it seems they live their lives in silence while smoking up a storm. Why? Well, that isn’t explained. However, as harmless as the cult mostly is, unfortunately, they use tactics like stalking and agitating the public to the point of warranting violence in order to get their message out. For example, they stalk a young woman named Meg (Liv Tyler) until she eventually joins them, and during the 3rd anniversary of the disappearing, they decide to rally together at a memorial/ statue unveiling and have signs which collectively say “Don’t waste your breath” leading to them getting beat the hell out of until Garvey, and the rest of the police force, step in.
Though, while all this happens, you get to learn why earlier in the episode Kevin seemed to not want Jill there. For while obviously the GR, as they are nicknamed, would show up, I think Kevin didn’t want his daughter seeing his mom look like she was fresh from the asylum, much less deal with how she abandoned them for this cult.
As for the cult Tom is in, well not much is said about them and really they aren’t as easily identifiable as Patti’s. They are somewhere up in the mountains and led by the aforementioned Wayne, but they aren’t some weird rural folk. The place they live in looks like it could be some sort of hotel they took over, with a nice sized pool and everything, and it is rather hard to understand what their beliefs are besides that Wayne has some sort of power. One which even brings a congressman from Texas up to see Wayne, and of course pay a hefty sum of money.
One thing that was hinted to us though is that someone of Wayne’s camp, Christine (Annie Q), is very important when it comes to this future Wayne foresees. As for why? Well, it isn’t made clear. However, Wayne does explicitly tell Tom he better not lay a hand on the girl. Which may be difficult since the two flirt with each other and Tom gets her gummy worms to show she is special to him. But, considering Christine looks as if she is from the privileged life, it makes her being within this cult all the more odder since the majority we meet, I won’t say they look like they were bred in the swamp but, certainly they don’t look like they would normally associate with Christine.
Topic 3: What Lies Ahead?
As of now, honestly, the only interesting bit deals with the two religious cults. What are their purpose, how did they form, and what led the members to join? Outside of that, really the teen angst of Jill reminds me of why I am glad HBO has never really had a teen-focused series; Garvey and his battles with the mayor do nothing to make the show more stimulating; and really, as interesting as the cults are, I just don’t know if this is the type of show I may stick with. For while it has an interesting gimmick of what happens when millions of people disappear, there isn’t really any strong reason to keep you watching. If anything, it is one of those type of shows you may catch because you just got your cable package, with free HBO and Showtime, and you’re bored.
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