The Guilty Remnant: Suicide Cult or Redeeming Martyrs?


From what we have seen so far of the Guilty Remnant, their motives aren't too clear. To start with, the only thing we know is that they antagonize people and don't speak. If you don't look too closely at what they do, you might be led to believe that they were just another cult, doing strange things like stealing photos or ruining memorial celebrations. At first blush, they could be mistaken for just another hate cult, but I don't think that's the case. Warning: Spoilers below. 

I have a theory though: What if they are suicidal? What if the reason that they act the way they act isn't through some sort of mistaken belief that they can change things? But instead they have a genuine desire to die. They want to antagonize society to the point that people rise up as one and just annihilate them.

First off, they choose their members carefully. They take people that are despondent, and have suffered great loss, but most of all, people who can't get over their grief. The ones like Meg (Liv Tyler) who seem to be walking through a fog, who can't settle back into life like it was before the Departure. They follow Nora, they pursue Rev. Jamison – all people who have lost meaning in their lives since the Departure and just can't seem to move on. They haunt them like chain smoking ghosts, constantly reminding them of what they've lost.

It’s worth looking at the things they've done. They protested at Heroes Day, stole photos, and murdered Gladys. The icing on this cake is what looks to be their ultimate gambit: dressing the dolls up as the Departed and making people think their loved ones are back. If that doesn't encourage violence, nothing will.

We also have to look at what Patti told Kevin. They want this. They expect this. She antagonized him in that cabin, she did everything she could get to him to murder her. She purposefully said everything she could to get him to end her life. Then…then it gets telling. She wants him to understand: how she thinks about it all the time, how she obsesses over the Departure. They've sacrificed everything in the obsession of the Departure, they want to be in her own words, “erased.”

This leads into what happened with Gladys. “The death of 100 stones,” as Patti puts it. The G.R. did this. They killed her – brutally, publicly. They made her an example. They laid the ground work of what they wanted people to do to them. They did it anonymously so as to put it in the public mind that the Guilty Remnant need – and want – to die. Brutally. They did as much as write an instruction manual on how to exterminate them.

Now, as for meaning: Do they do this for good…or for ill?

On one hand, maybe they realize that society as a whole can't move on as long as they are around, that they are the ones who can't move on, that they are quite literally bringing everyone else down. Their deaths will be a communal cleansing of the sadness and loss that the Departure caused.

But there’s another way to look at this: Maybe they don't want people to move on. Maybe they want to cause such a massive atrocity that people will never forget. They want to stir people up to the point that they rise up and just destroy them. Violently tear them apart…like wild dogs. The point being that it will be so horrible and scarring that no one can ever think of anything else again. They want to paint world red with their blood.

Either way, it's a fascinating group, and I can't wait to see how it plays out. I do think that Memorial Day is going to be quite the bloodbath.

MacDonald is a Reddit user. You can join him and others on the fan-created The Leftovers Reddit page.