Something is amiss with the animals in Mapleton.
Just to recap from the premiere: The town’s dogs are roving around in feral packs. And Kevin experiences a series of stag sightings: One (possibly taxidermied?) outside Mrs. Tunney’s house, one in his dream, and yet another in the street before it's ferociously attacked by a pack of dogs. And don’t forget: Kevin’s kitchen was smashed up by something... with hooves?
So, what’s up with the animals? “There does seem to be some sort of hiccup or disturbance in the way that animals, particularly dogs, are behaving in the wake of the Sudden Departure," says series co-creator Damon Lindelof. “I think that the natural world is represented by animals. We’re trying to use the animals to kind of play into this idea of are the animals in on a secret that we’re not?”
According to the Frost twins, Mapleton's residents believe some dogs went wild because they were present when someone "poofed." Lindelof believes that logic can apply to people too: “The thinking is the same thing is going to happen to us humans because we’re not equipped to deal with this event. It’s just going to make us insane." So consider them a cautionary tale: "We are just this close. We are still going to the supermarket and buying our food, but if something like this were to happen again, we would be running down the aisles, looting the place," says Lindelof. "So this idea of feeling like insanity is always just right around the corner raises the palpable tension.”
As for the stags, Justin Theroux theorizes that animals may reflect his character, Kevin Garvey. “In some sense, the stag has to be some kind of – for lack of a better word – spirit animal,” Theroux muses. “Something that represents strength and grace and survival. I don’t know what it means in a larger sense for the show, but there is something spiritual afoot.”