The Leftovers - Season Two:
i wasn't looking forward to watching The Leftovers - Season Two.
i seem to recall that i liked Season One, quite a bit, i think, but it has been a while since the PSE and i watched it, maybe close to two years ago and i couldn't recall much more then a basic sketch of what the fuck was going on.
i put off watching Season Two until damn-near the bottom of my list of television to catch up with and when it finally came time to sit down and get it over with i grumbled my displeasure.
fortunately for me, i was wrong to be so unenthusiastic.
The Leftovers - Season Two is really fucking good.

The Leftovers takes place in a world where around two percent of the Earth's population has spontaneously vanished into thin air one afternoon close to four years previous.
there is no seeming rhyme or reason to the disappearances, with good people, bad people, young, old, happy, sad, all getting raptured at random.
leaving the remaining ninety-eight percent of the population to cope with the loss.
which engenders feelings of loss and sadness but also, feelings of “what the fuck!?!” and “why not me!?!”
The Leftovers is a show about frustration and anger at a world that doesn't make any goddamned sense.
which is a pretty damned good thing to make a show about.
all the characters talk about “the world ending” on the day of the sudden disappearance even though, really, the world can and does get along just fine with the remaining ninety-eight percent of the population.
there is no real civic unrest, no disorder, no anarchy. this is not a post-apocalyptic story in the physical sense.
it is a story about psychological trauma and people having to come to terms with the post-apocalypse within their own heads.

a lot of the way the people in the world of The Leftovers try to deal with the world of grief and rejection and loss they inexplicably find themselves drifting around in is to join different cults.
with religion's promises seemingly born out to be bullshit, who knows what kind of crackpot ideas might now be worth taking a crack at?
which makes for really good TV.

Season Two of The Leftovers sees the main characters from Season One, a family from some small town in New York State, packing up and moving to some other small town in Texas.
this town, Miracle, is noteworthy because it is the municipality with the largest population in the world, close to 10,000, that did not experience one single loss on the day of the Departures.
as such it has become a kind of a mecca for people to flock to, hoping that some of the town's good juju would wear off on them and a national park has been constructed around it to manage it as a tourist attraction.
the main character family decides they want to go live in the town as a way of feeling safe so they pay $3 million dollars for a run down house sight unseen because the father's girlfriend got a bunch of money for her house back in New York because some researchers thought they might be able to learn something about the disappearances from it.
once inside the town the Main Characters meet other townsfolk and settle in, only to find their neighbor's daughter has disappeared.
and the Father, it turns out, was sleepwalking at the spot where they were last seen making him a prime suspect.
all of that happens in the first episode.
the next nine or ten episodes tell different stories about different main charterers that only tangentially intersect with the main narrative of the season.
they are all interesting and explore the world of The Leftovers and all the different kinds of psychological trauma that these people have to deal with, except for one episode, a dream episode, which was fucking retarded.
the main character has to kill himself for some stupid reason and he finds himself in an afterlife that's a hotel where where, ominous things happen and the only way he can get out of it is by pushing a little girl down a well.
the worst part of The Sopranos was the Kevin Finnerty episodes and this was basically that.
whenever TV tries to explore a main character's psyche through dream episodes or shit like that i just get bored out of my mind.
it's character development for lazy people with the veneer of depth.
anyways, by the last few episodes the missing girl turns up again as part of one of the show's cults and they have a plan to storm the gates of Miracle and lead the riffraff an weirdos who camp out outside the gates into the town to destroy everybody's feelings of safety.
the cult, the Guilty Remnant, are antagonistically misanthropic and exist solely to make sure nobody ever gets comfortable ever again.
they are a religion of spite and might very well be the best characters in any mass media, ever.
the Guilty Remnant succeed in their mission, the illusion of safety in Miracle is destroyed and that's the season. the end.

Season Two of The Leftovers, like Season One, was really, really good.
at first it suffers from the problem of being too weird all at once.
shit is happening and it's not clear why and that can be kind of an obnoxious way to tell a story but once you go with it you get used to it and a good amount of things get explained in the end.
a few things remain unexplained and are waived off as mysteries that are implied to be supernatural.
like that whole terrible afterlife hotel episode that got me so cheesed.
those supernatural elements of the show stick in my craw because the whole point of The Leftovers, at least the way i choose to take it, is decidedly un-supernatural.
yeah, weird shit happens in the world but it's not about that, it's about how people deal with that.
so, in that spirit, the unexplained and unexplainable ought to be as limited as a storytelling mechanism as possible.
another problem with The Leftovers is that characters aren't really all that important.
nobody has a favorite character in The Leftovers like they do The Sopranos or Game Of Thrones and you don't get particularly attached to or invested in any of them.
the characters just kind of exist as a conduit for talking about feelings, they are used to convey emotions and that's really it.
but, again, once you just kinda go with it you don't mind.

people with a fair to midlin' understanding of the TITS might think that The Leftovers isn't a show for me.
i am not really the kind of guy to trade in feelings.
i don't navel-gaze and i don't ponder the big mysteries of life.
i may be a crank by temperament but i am happy-go-lucky by disposition.
i am content with myself and my place in the world and i have never felt any need for any kind of existential crisis.
it might be a reasonable guess to assume that because themes of resentment and loss and anger at god don't particularly resonate with me that i would miss the whole point of The Leftovers, but i don't.
i get that the world can be a scary, frustrating place and that it can take its toll on people if they'll let it.
i get that the impulse to take comfort in a god is a thing, even if i don't approve of it myself, and i understand that there exists holes in people's souls that need to be filled in different ways.
or at least i get that that is a story we collectively tell ourselves.
a marketing technique put on by a sinister and timeless alliance of the Churches and psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry and all the people who want to sell you shit.
so, i understand why telling a story about what happens when you take away people's ability to find comfort and meaning in this world is pretty great material.

for being one of the best shows on television, for telling a story not about characters or plot as much as about the human condition, for talking about the way people work in a way that not a lot of television ever attempts to do, but yet, for probably not being a show i would ever care to watch again, Season Two of The Leftovers earns an 8.8/10.

//[ab irato ad astra]
.

September 2017

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