The third and final season of HBO’s The Leftovers debuts on 4.16.17, but I bailed on it soon after the start of season #2 (10.4.15 thru 12.6.15). I half-hated The Leftovers when it began in the summer of ’14. I sensed a certain modest intrigue at first, but the only element I truly enjoyed as the series wore on was the performance of Carrie Coon. In a way The Leftovers was Westworld before Westworld came along — an HBO series that had no real arc or scheme except to keep going and attract watchers. If nothing else it clarified my loathing for all things Damon Lindelof. Needless to add I have absolutely zero interest in season #3, which is set in Australia.
Barrage of complaints from two and a half years ago: “There’s something very, very wrong with the idea of people in a small leafy community acting strange and surly and curiously off-balance because a sudden cataclysmic event has proven beyond a doubt that an absolute cosmic authority rules over all creation.
“After living with uncertainty all their lives about whether or not there might be some kind of scheme or purpose to existence, here is a group of people that suddenly know there’s absolutely a plan or a design of some kind, like something out of the Old Testament only scarier and creepier, and that there’s some kind of all-knowing, all-seeing judgment system that resulted in 2% of the world’s population rising up and into the white light…and this is how they respond?
The Leftovers “is about cosmic malevolence and the utter absence of wonder. A cosmic event of extraordinary significance has occured three years before the series begins, and in the wake of the disappearance of 2% of the world’s population, it seem as if everyone in The Leftovers is saying ‘Wow, we didn’t get chosen…that’s fucked up…this feels bad…I guess we’re all spiritually deficient on some level…shit.’
“And yet no one is saying ‘Wow, the religious wackos were right all along! There is a God and a scheme of some kind…what a mindblower! Bill Maher and Woody Allen and all the great existential philosophers were wrong all along, and…well, even if some of us don’t wind up in paradise, at least we know for the first time in the history of humanity that there really is a plan and a scheme and some kind of order to things. The term intelligent design is no longer a right-wing slogan. It’s obviously real and serious as a heart attack.’
“And yet the scheme is not particularly intelligent. It’s arbitrary and random as fuck. There’s no special moral glow or distinction shared by the departed. They’re just gone. A woman of Indian descent who smokes cigarettes and is having a fast fuck in a motel room with Theroux…she gets taken along with Vladimir Putin, Gary Busey, Jennifer Lopez and the Pope? Along with Carrie Coon‘s husband and two kids? And an unborn fetus in the womb of Amy Brenneman? What the hell for?
“If anything the design is malevolent and perverse. Nothing calculates or balances. Damon Lindelof is a cheap bag of tricks.”