Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The New Leftovers

The Leftovers returned to HBO for its second season a week ago - to overwhelmingly positive critical acclaim. Personally, I couldn't quite decide what to make of the first episode, which introduced a cast of new characters and was set in a completely different location. I get it that the material from the original novel on which the series was based had largely been used up. And it was certainly quite a creative turn to take off in such a seemingly different direction. But moving from New York to Texas has no more appeal to me on TV than it would have in real life! And I like stability enough to want to tie together the loose ends of the first season's overwhelmingly sad stories and their bleak characters together, before simply moving on. So I waited for the second episode to air, which presumably would backtrack to where season one left off and take us through the process of getting from New York to Texas.

In Season One, we had to wait until the penultimate episode to see what the characters were like before the Departure changed all their lives. In Season Two we only had to wait for the second episode to pick up where season one left off and find out how the Garveys, et al, ended up in Texas. Picking up where season one left off, with Nora discovering Holy Wayne's baby on Kevin's porch, Kevin and Nora and Jill (and the baby) try to start anew, creating a blended new family unit. that still leaves out a few people. Kevin's father gets discharged from the psychiatric hospital, but plans to relocate (at this age!) to Australia. Since that could have happened without his personal appearance in the episode, I'm guessing he may reappear at some point in the season. Son Tom is still in town, although unknown to Kevin. We see Jill secretly meeting him for lunch and would like to hope they could restore the connection they had when we last saw them together forming a "circuit" on Departure Day. It's unclear just why Tom won't come back, but he clearly resists Jill's wishful thinking that everything is now OK again with Kevin (presumably thanks to Nora). Only when Tom leaves and we see him drive off with their mother do we realize why he won't come home. For all his voices and craziness, Kevin still seems to me less wacky than Laurie, but, of course, she is Tom's real mother, while Kevin is not Tom's true father. But my guess is that they will reappear soon enough.

Jill's assertions that all is OK to the contrary, clearly all is still not well in Garvey-land, starting with inside Kevin's head where Patti's no longer silenced voice still haunts him. He confesses to his family about burying her, but does not reveal the problem he really needs help for, namely the voices that still haunt and torment him.

After having to meet a whole new family in episode one, it was nice to return to our original messed up family. Their trek to Texas confirms what we all already know. You can change your location, but you take your problems with you, and no place is ever really safe.from the demons in one's head and heart.

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