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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Music Supervisor Liza Richardson Talks ‘Authentic Oldies,’ and Her Favorite Songs From Season 1

Music Supervisor Liza Richardson Talks ‘Authentic Oldies,’ and Her Favorite Songs From Season 1

When it came to The Leftovers' sound, series creator Damon Lindelof had specific direction for music supervisor Liza Richardson. "He encouraged me to go weird and deep and dark," Richardson tells WatchingTheLeftovers.com. Richardson oversaw the song selection for the series, a process she describes as "taking my interpretation of Damon's sensibility, reading the characters, and funneling that through what I think is cool musically." Coupled with Max Richter's score, Richardson's songs created a distinct sound, one that fans responded to all season. 

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Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette…

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette…

The Leftovers is leaving many viewers with more questions than answers. Last Sunday’s episode, “The Garveys at Their Best,” certainly offered some solace for the bewildered by using flashbacks to Oct. 13 and the morning of Oct. 14 three years ago, just before the Departure. But the question of why the Guilty Remnant are incessantly puffing on cigarettes remains an enigma that’s tough to unravel.

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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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6 Callback Details From 'The Garveys at Their Best'

6 Callback Details From 'The Garveys at Their Best'

Last Sunday's flashback episode of The Leftovers pulled back the curtain on the lives of Mapletonians before the Departure. Beyond connecting the dots between characters, the episode referenced plenty of details from earlier installments of the series. Below are a list of several insights – collected by critics and fans alike – compiling elements that throw back to previous episodes.

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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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8 Essential Symbols in ‘The Garveys at Their Best’

8 Essential Symbols in ‘The Garveys at Their Best’

Though completely a flashback, “The Garveys at their Best” was full of symbolism and double meanings – much of concerning events to come. I’ve rounded up what I consider to be eight of the best of those symbols here with some explanation about why they’re so interesting. Note: These are all just observation and speculation, and I have not read the book (and don’t intend to).

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Saint Hubertus: Holy Men, Deer and Dogs

Saint Hubertus: Holy Men, Deer and Dogs

“The Garveys at Their Best” opens with a bit of déjà vu, as Kevin is yet again face-to-face with one of the show’s most intriguing characters: a stag. We are unsure if Kevin keeps happening on the same deer resurrecting itself – or if it’s a different deer each time. Either way, there’s much we can speculate about the significance of the deer. There’s been a good deal of discussion about the role of animals in The Leftovers. What is significant and what isn’t has been debated over and again since the pilot episode. As the season has progressed, I’ve noticed a link between the deer and the dogs seen on the show. That link is Saint Hubertus.

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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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