RE: The Leftovers, Episodes 8 and 9

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Originally posted on my writing blog which was active from 2010 to 2018.

I just finished watching episodes 8 and 9 of HBO’s The Leftovers, and something finally clicked. Yes, I know, I said I wasn’t going to watch more than 4 episodes, but I was intrigued by a television show (and a story) that does nothing but raise questions without ever answering them.

Oh, that crack I made about Lost? Turns out, Leftovers producer Damon Lindelof did write for Lost. No wonder!

Spoilers below if you haven’t seen the show yet. (I don’t recommend it, by the way. Unless the 10th and final episode of the season blows my mind, I just don’t get the point of this show.)









Okay so in episode 8 we got some answers, although of course they only led to more questions. But it was a start! The tide might be turning at last. Guilty Remnant leader Patti explained that the Guilty Remnant believe people have forgotten about the Sudden Departures (the people who disappeared), but the GR want to force people to keep remembering the Departures.

She goes on to reveal that she was behind the brutal stoning of fellow GR Gladys from several episodes back, because in a weird way killing Gladys in a spectacular way makes her death unforgettable. Unlike the Sudden Departures, whose deaths are being forgotten. At least in her mind.

This combined with the other things we saw in episode 8 leads us to the sickening conclusion that the GR plan to do something spectacularly memorable (and bad) on Memorial Day. (Which is “tomorrow” in the show universe.)

I expect it will be one of two things: They are either going to commit mass suicide in front of the town (doesn’t make sense), or they are going to “murder” the dummies of the Departures in a way that nobody will ever forget. Or it might be something else. Who knows. Whatever it is, it’s going to be weird.

The point is that it looked like we were finally going to see some resolutions start to come in. I eagerly started watching episode 9, thinking we would get a tidal wave of answers about what it all means.

Not so much.

Episode 9 is a flashback to the day before the Sudden Departure. We get to see everyone’s lives all happy and content before the Big Day so we can experience the full impact of how miserable everyone is. Well, almost happy. Nobody is really very happy as it turns out, but they at least pretend to be happy on the surface. (You know, like real life.)

So no answers there. Just backstory. Backstory, backstory, and more backstory. We’ll have to wait another week for “Memorial Day.”

But at the end of the episode, when we get to October 14th (Departure Day) from the perspective of the people we’ve come to know as the protagonists, something we haven’t seen before, something occurred to me:

There is something in common between all the people who disappeared: Somebody wanted them to disappear. Someone had a secret desire to be rid of them. Nora was annoyed as crap with the rest of her family and wanted to do something on her own. Kevin probably felt guilty about his fling with a strange woman and wanted that situation to disappear. Laurie was undoubtedly thinking that it was not a good time to be pregnant (also thinking it wasn’t a good time to get a puppy).

Huh? Huh? Even way back at the beginning when that woman’s baby disappeared, the baby was crying and giving mom a headache.

It definitely makes sense that the people left behind would feel guilty about those disappearances. I’m not sure if that warrants the formation of a Guilty Remnant, though.

Anyway, that’s all I have to say about that. I’m actually looking forward to the final episode now to see if I got “it” right. (They probably won’t tell us, though, and the season will end with even more questions unanswered.)

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