All of the October 14 Departures in One Beautiful Video

"What is incomprehensible is what is hardest. We cannot support it. We fear the unexplainable like emptiness." —French-Canadian poet and author Louise Bouchard

In The Leftovers on October 14, two percent of the world's population disappeared. Nobody knows why and where they went. This brief event changed the world's conception of life. From that day on, nothing was ever under control.

To show the reactions of all the people who experienced this chaotic event chronologically, I created one unique video with all the departures from Season 1.

Watch it after the jump.

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A Leftovers Treasure Hunt: My Trips to Lockhart, Texas

A Leftovers Treasure Hunt: My Trips to Lockhart, Texas

We almost missed our chance. My wife, Caroline, and I had several trips planned to Austin from our home in Houston over successive weekends this summer and fall. After finding out the new Leftovers season was being shot in Texas, we knew we had to find the location and snoop around. A glimpse of that so-weird-it-looks-like-a-special-effect courthouse that figures so prominently in the trailers and a little Google-fu later, we had located “Jarden”: We needed to go to Lockhart, Texas. This is the story of that trip.

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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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‘Orange Sticker’: By the Babylon Motel

‘Orange Sticker’: By the Babylon Motel

"By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and cried
as we remembered Zion.
We hung our lyres on willow trees. …
How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?"

—Psalm 137

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever."

—Psalm 136

In Edenic Jarden, there's an orange sticker on the houses of those who have been certified as the safe/chosen/spared. Like the Israelites, those who live in Jarden are the Chosen People. But once you get in John Murphy’s pickup truck, cross the mythical bridge out of town and descend through the hostile, murmuring mass of the wannabe citizens of the Miraculous city, it gets…well, we already know Jarden’s not safe, but then there's Babylon. 

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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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Boom! The Visual and Lyrical Poetry of the New Season 2 Opening Credits

As the new opening credits rolled during The Leftovers Season 2 premiere, did you do a double-check to make sure you were actually watching The Leftovers? And then check the dial yet again after the first two minutes of the episode as a gestational cavewoman meandered on the screen? 

Then… You. Are. Not. Alone. The ironic music + montage of cryptic snapshots = what the hell???

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The Secrets Garden: Axis Mundi

The Secrets Garden: Axis Mundi

Watching the Season 2 premiere, I see again a major theme returning from Season 1: secrets, secret-keeping and truth-telling.

Police Chief Kevin Garvey and his family spend Season 1 navigating the post-Sudden Departure world. Those “leftover” in idyllic Mapleton must decide whether to face what they are keeping secret from each other and themselves: their losses, their mistakes, their hidden guilt. Kevin is burdened with what he cannot admit or accept about his marriage and children, his fears and his spiraling violence. But we’ve seen in The Leftovers world that what is denied will return; what is buried will be unearthed.

In the Season 2 premiere, we travel to Jarden, Texas, a new Eden—jardin is Spanish for “garden”—in Miracle National Park. No one was taken from here Oct. 14, and now it’s a holy place to which pilgrims travel from around the world, looking for hope and safety.

The episode is titled “Axis Mundi.” By definition, an Axis Mundi is a world-center, where people go to encounter the gods, hear from oracles and find healing and transcendence. But there is spiritual gravity in such place: The Buddha’s Bodhi Tree, the Navajo Canyon de Chelly, Mount Sinai, Jesus’ dying hill in Jerusalem are “thin spaces,” to use the Celtic term, and the energy in thin spaces both energizes the soul and strips away attachment and illusion. Flawed human beings can’t stay in Eden. The earth under Jarden is quaking, as it did with the Adam-less Eve in the episode’s prologue. And things are already disappearing: children—and swimming holes.

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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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Is Nora Okay? And 6 More Character-Focused Questions Before Season 2

Is Nora Okay? And 6 More Character-Focused Questions Before Season 2

After the finale of the first season of The Leftovers, you probably had to catch your breath. The Guilty Remnant’s grand gesture went beyond the scope of their previous hijinks to an inhuman level of cruelty. Kevin’s last-second rescue of Jill was in no way a sure thing. Tom’s abandonment of Wayne’s baby and her subsequent discovery by an escaping Nora gave viewers, at long last, something positive to carry them into the hiatus with some hope for the future.

Fast-forward to now. The second season is about to start and we’ve seen a teaser and two trailers. Last season left me wondering: How will our characters carry on? We’ve been given fleeting glimpses, but below I’m sharing some questions I’m looking forward to having answered about six of the main characters this coming season. For fun, I’ll even make wild, unsubstantiated guesses about what may come, based purely on the three minutes or so of footage I’ve seen thanks to the trailers. Remember, these are just guesses.

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The Calculus of Miracles and the Machinery of Power: Interconnectivity in The Leftovers

The Calculus of Miracles and the Machinery of Power: Interconnectivity in The Leftovers

The science fiction author, Ursula K. Le Guin, once remarked that science fiction “isn’t prescriptive; it’s descriptive,” meaning that, in spite of the fantastic future settings and plot machinations of the genre, it nevertheless remains an allegorized description of the present moment from which the author writes. From this perspective, The Leftovers (a kind of speculative fiction) isn’t only offering what might be under the circumstances of a historical collision with profoundly large forces, but what is if viewed through a speculative lens.

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