Director Carl Franklin Discusses 5 Big Moments From ‘Off Ramp’

The third episode of The Leftovers’ second season took fans back to Mapleton to catch up with Laurie, Tom and Meg. Watching The Leftovers caught up with director Carl Franklin to discuss some of the episode’s most memorable moments.

Laurie Sees Red

“When Laurie sees the spec on the window, I wanted to see her mania, so viewers think she’s going crazy and being a little obsessive-compulsive,” Franklin says. “We shot interior and exterior [of the car], but when we went outside looking in, it was to hold her in the same shot as the spec of blood. That was a practical decision, and I certainly wanted to shoot from our main character’s point of view.”

Meg’s Mysterious Introduction

Explains Franklin of this moment: “I like to play with focus and either have a character come out of the mystery into sharp focus or walk away from us and go into the mystery and out of focus. It was scripted that when Meg comes into the back of the van, you don’t know who she is— we achieved that note by blowing her out a bit.”

Laurie’s Outburst

Franklin says this is his favorite scene. “There was a lot of discussion about calibrating the performance,” he says. Franklin and actor Amy Brenneman debated “how to structure how much to reveal of the anger brewing inside, the anger that Susan identified early on that Laurie’s denying. How much of that we could mask without giving away too much to the audience?”

Franklin loves this scene’s payoff. “I loved the way it built and I loved when she choked him,” Franklin says, “It went along with the kind of surprise anger that was boiling underneath.”

Laurie’s Hit and Run

“Of course you worry safety and timing, but the scene went beautifully,” Franklin says of the G.R. hit and run. “That’s not computer generated. That’s stunt players timing, taking the hit and going up to the hood of the car.”

As for Laurie, Franklin discussed the character’s intentions with Brenneman. “We didn’t want it to appear that she was trying to kill them,” Franklin explains. “That’s why we have her revving up the engine to give them an opportunity to get them out of the way. She’s challenging the G.R. and trying to best them. That was very important to her—to exercise some power over them—because they had taken her power away from her.”

Tom’s Big Reveal

“I really like the last scene,” Franklin says. “There are strong religious overtones to the show, and so that was one of the things we did here with Tom; he’s suddenly in this Christ-like pose. You see light against the window. I love the religious connotations of that scene. It’s an anatomy of a creation of religion—certainly a religion, if not religion period.”