The Divine Comedy of Virgil and Kevin

The Divine Comedy of Virgil and Kevin

“You were the lamp that led me from that night/You led me forth to drink Parnassian water/then on the road to God you shed your light.”
—Statius to Virgil, Purgatorio 22.64-65

Written by Dante Aligheri in the 14th Century, The Divine Comedy is an epic poem considered to be one of the most defining pieces of literature about our ideas of hell and the underworld. Drawing heavily from the medieval Christian philosophies and theology of Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, the poem is divided into three sections, which are the three realms of the dead—hell, purgatory, and paradise. In the epic, Dante is guided through the various circles of hell and purgatory before reaching paradise. He has a wise guide throughout the journey. That guide’s name was...Virgil. Of course, it’s no coincidence that this is the name of the man who has offered to guide Kevin into the realms of death to do battle with his “most powerful adversary.” I would suggest that Virgil’s suicide was not a devious act of narcissism but that he killed himself to act as Kevin’s guide to the world that awaited him.

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Noah’s Ark in Miracle?

Noah’s Ark in Miracle?

Season 1 of The Leftovers was filled with animal metaphors and imagery. From dogs to deer, four legged creatures roamed Mapleton and added mystery and intrigue to the story the humans lived out around them. In this week’s episode, Patti Levin certainly had animals on her mind. Out of her mouth we heard “Lucky duck!” and “I was a scaredy cat,” as well as something about “the greatest scapegoat in civilization.” 

Here are some of the other animals we’ve already seen make appearances in Season 2:

Dogs

One of the most jarring images we saw this week was that of a dog dragging its leash behind, the owner nowhere in sight. Patti Levin told a story that featured a similar image. Dogs certainly had a significant role in the first season of The Leftovers. Will they figure in just as importantly this season?

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The Devil in the ‘Off Ramp’ Details

The Devil in the ‘Off Ramp’ Details

In the midst of insanity, we can sometimes miss the particulars right in front of us. In this week’s episode of The Leftovers, “Off Ramp,” we were treated to a full hour of Laurie and Tommy’s story. So many moments of action, mystery, and astonishment played out that you might have missed some of the more subtle specifics the show gave us. Here are a few details I noticed in the episode that—who knows—may or may not have a larger role in future episodes.

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8 Connections to Moses in ‘Axis Mundi’

8 Connections to Moses in ‘Axis Mundi’

In the Season 2 premiere, Erika Murphy tells a humorous story about catching her children, Michael and Evie, flooding the bathroom as kids. She said that when she found them, Evie’s arms were outstretched like Moses. That struck me because, if you look closely, there are several connections to the Biblical figure of Moses in the episode. Here are a handful of examples worth mentioning.

1. The Baby’s Rescue

In Exodus 2:5-6, we learn that Moses is rescued, to be raised by another woman after being sent down the river in a basket. This closely resembles the image of the child in the cavewoman sequence being rescued, to be raised by another woman.

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Three Theories About the 9,261 Spared in Jarden, Texas

Three Theories About the 9,261 Spared in Jarden, Texas

Jaren, Texas, is certainly interesting for many reasons, but mostly because of the 9,261 who were spared from the Sudden Departure. Could there be significance in that total number? I thought possibly so I did a little (kinda crazy) math. Here are three theories I landed on about the number 9,261.

9+2+6+1

The sum is 18, and 18 is the numerical value of the Hebrew word for “life” (chai). It is customary in certain Jewish circles to give gifts and donations in multiples of 18 as a blessing for long life. In ancient Rome, the number could symbolize a blood relative. The number has significance outside of Abrahamic traditions as well. In Hinduism, there are 18 chapters in the Bhagavad Gita, which is contained in the Mahabharata, which has 18 books. The Mahabharata tells the story of the Kurukshetra War, a battle between 18 armies. The war itself lasts for 18 days. Could the number mean the town is a source for life, as Judaism would suggest, or for battle as Hinduism might suggest?

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5 Prodigal Sons in ‘The Prodigal Son Returns’

5 Prodigal Sons in ‘The Prodigal Son Returns’

In the Bible, Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of the prodigal son and his return to his family. The title of the season finale of The Leftovers, “The Prodigal Son Returns,” takes inspiration from this passage. As we’ve seen throughout the series, episode titles potentially contain multiple meanings…or in this case, multiple prodigal sons.

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9 Excellent Reasons to Binge The Leftovers' 9 Episodes Before the Finale

9 Excellent Reasons to Binge The Leftovers' 9 Episodes Before the Finale

It’s time to binge on some Leftovers: On Sunday, Aug. 30, starting at noon, HBO2 will air the first nine episodes the series’ inaugural season back-to-back so that fans can re-watch or new folks can catch-up in advance of the drama’s Sept. 7 season finale. (Of course, you can binge anytime on HBO GO.)

To tee you up before the coming marathon, I assembled nine great reasons (warning: some are a tad cheeky) anyone – everyone! – should go back and watch The Leftovers’ first nine episodes again…or to binge watch and catch up on the show that’s gotten everyone else talking.

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