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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The Leftovers Season 2: 5 Juicy Details (And More!) Revealed

The Leftovers Season 2: 5 Juicy Details (And More!) Revealed

At the 2015 Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday in Los Angeles, details about the upcoming season of The Leftovers trickled out. Co-creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta appeared on stage with cast members Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon and new season regular Regina King to take questions from television reporters.

In top-line summary, to kick off Season 2, Kevin and Jill Garvey—along with Nora and the baby she found abandoned on the Garveys’ doorstep—move to Jarden, Texas, a town remarkable for its zero departures. Also in town are Matt and Mary Jamison, looking for a miracle of their own.

According to an on-the-scene report from The Hollywood Reporter, Lindelof stressed that Season 2 is not a reboot but rather “the next chapter.” Lindelof stood by the tone of the first season, reported USA Today. “We always want the show to feel authentic,” he told the crowd. “We wanted to ground the world. [It] may have felt bleak and despairing, but to us it felt honest.” The showrunner maintained his sense of humor, joking at one point about wanting “to tape Season 2 before a live studio audience—we wanted to opt in for a laugh track.”

All jokes aside, Lindelof suggested a more positive current running through the new season, which was announced as premiering Oct. 4. “It was important to us that the characters didn't want to feel that way,” Lindelof said, according to USA Today. “The idea of people wanting to feel better, particularly this family, [they] wouldn't want to stay in the places they were, either geographically or emotionally.”

So—apart from the change in scenery—what else can you expect from the new season? Here are five juicy bits Lindelof and Co. revealed during the panel discussion.

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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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 Different Ways The Leftovers Challenges Our Sense of Purpose

Different Ways The Leftovers Challenges Our Sense of Purpose

Like a vacuum that implodes an object, the Departure seems to have crushed the details of each character, hardening them into more simplified shapes in keeping with whatever in them responds to their truest purpose. Prior to Episode 9, we saw the aftermath of several years of Post-Rapture Tribulation – Kevin Jr. seems to be coming apart psychologically, Patti was driven to suicide as a rhetorical device, Jill has joined the G.R., while Laurie ascends its ranks. Each of the main characters have been explored, and we finally got to see an informative glimpse into where they came from, revealing that the Rapture wasn’t the story of who disappeared (as Matt stubbornly insists), but what purpose they served in the next stage for those who remained. The show illustrates – in a more speculatively humanist, less dogmatically Christian way – a society, conspicuously similar to our own, that was already ripe for an unraveling.

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Multitasking Ourselves to Oblivion: The Parasitic Smartphones in The Leftovers

Multitasking Ourselves to Oblivion: The Parasitic Smartphones in The Leftovers

Objects – both symbolic and useful – play important roles in The Leftovers. For example, Kevin’s shirts illustrate the life he lives during his fugue states. The G.R.’s cigarettes suggest both the ridiculous circumstances of a commodity culture they resist and the willingness of the group to bodily self-destruct as a means of meditation. The National Geographic from Kevin Garvey, Sr. is a treasure trove of referential possibilities. Symbols and object relations are everywhere in the show and create a rich subtext operating concurrently with the rest of the story. They provide a kind of pastiche of references that, read together within the context of the show, provide a secondary narrative layer that might provide clues about what the show is trying to convey.

One such object that makes a conspicuous appearance throughout the season is the cell phone. It plays an important role in the lives of characters both before and after the Departure and suggests changing relationships between people, people and objects, and people and society. It shows up as a presence, lurking here and there as a distraction, a lifeline, or a doorway to an individual set of experiences that are simultaneously inclusionary (drawing individuals into relationships with vast, invisible communities) and exclusionary (in the way it supplants real relationships between people, families, and communities). It’s a timely subject, and one that the show treats in interesting ways.

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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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10 Things We Now Know About the Garveys

10 Things We Now Know About the Garveys

“The Garveys at Their Best” rewarded viewers in so many ways that it was easy to lose count: Motivations were revealed. Mysteries were explained. The nature of relationships came to light. While we could examine nearly every significant resident of the Mapleton community, the insight we were given into the Garvey family is perhaps most fascinating.

Below are the 10 things we now know about the Garveys that I found particularly interesting.

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