Previously on The Leftovers
If you have seen any of the commercials for season 2 of The Leftovers, you are aware there is a town in Texas that boasts of zero departures.
Well Toto, we definitely aren’t in Mapleton anymore. In fact, the first few minutes of the season have you wondering if we are in the present anymore.
We see a very pregnant native woman lose her cave to a small earthquake before giving birth in the light of the full moon. Survivor Mom bites the umbilical cord and goes on about her survivor way. She and baby seem to be doing fine and Survivor Mom robs a nest for eggs to suck. Unfortunately, you can’t climb a tree with a baby and her newborn is soon joined in its resting spot by a giant rattlesnake. Survivor Mom jumps to her child’s defense and catches a bite in the struggle. Soon, baby is cradled in dead mom’s arms by the bank of a watering hole. Thankfully, another random native woman arrives to pick up Survivor Child and leaves mom to decompose by the watering hole.
If you were wondering WTF you just saw, you aren’t alone. This being The Leftovers, we are used to wondering WTF we just saw. By now, it is also known we don’t always get answers to these WTF moments, so it is best not to dwell too deeply on what happened to Survivor Child.
Soon enough, we are back to present day and hanging with a trio of girls living their G-rated version of Spring Break. They splash in the watering hole, tease a visiting Doctor of Something Nature Related, and bottle a bit of water before driving home with the sounds of loud music and zero chatter.
Just like Pleasantville, the normalcy serves to underline an oddness about the folks in this town. We see everything through the eyes of the Murphy family: John, Erika, Michael, and Evie. On the surface, they appear to be the perfect family, but as time goes on we begin to see that under the facade lies a collection of barely concealed tensions that seem to be related to the survival of the town’s inhabitants.
As pilgriming tourists visit the Miracle Town, we see the appearance of being something special is important, not only to the inhabitants, but to those who see this tiny town as a Mecca in their world of sorrows. With so much pressure to appear blessed, the town seems to have adopted a highly superstitious nature that does not allow anyone to risk their status as The Grateful Saved Ones.
Some people do seem truly happy here, namely our familiar faces from season 1. We encounter Matt and Mary Jamison at church, where Matt is about to reveal something amazing has happened to Mary before the local Reverand cut him off. The Garveys appear towards the end of the episode as new neighbors for the Murphy household. Kevin has a few small WTF moments of his own, but otherwise the blended family seems to have found stability. Even Jill seems to have let go of her overly angsty persona.
Everything about this episode seemed to be leading up to another season of odditities left in the wake of Sudden Departure. The last few minutes changed the entire tone when Evie and her friends fail to return home after their night out. John and Michael go searching and find the girls’ car abandoned and blaring music. John is already begining to panic when Michael calls his attention to the watering hole… which is now empty aside from the fish flopping in the mud.
Overall, this was an outstanding premier. Yes, there were WTF moments, but that is what the show is based on. I feel like Jarden/Miracle, TX already has more likeable characters than Mapleton. The apparent mystery of what happened to Evie and friends is already off to a better start than the What’s With The Creepy Silent People premise of season 1.
Leave your thoughts on the episode in the comments and we’ll read it on our The Leftovers podcast tonight.