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.
Tommy gave fans a lot to look at this week. And while my wife didn’t seem to notice, I was interested in the details of his tattoos. We can recall that his father also has a penchant for interesting ink. Are Tommy’s tats just wallpaper or do they have deeper significance? Are they artifacts from his time with Holy Wayne? One tattoo appears to be a key on his arm. Another appears to say “5050.” Will his new followers find as much meaning in them as I have? And finally, are Tommy’s powers legitimate as Wayne’s appeared to be or is he the latest post-Departure false prophet? Those tattoos seem to highlight just how many mysteries now surround Tommy.
As Tommy brings Guilty Remnant members to Laurie’s recovery program, we caught a glimpse of a business also operating in her building. They appeared to be selling Departure insurance—and business was booming. Since no one anticipated the first departure, we can assume the people in that room were not handling claims but instead selling future policies. The men from MIT mentioned the possibility of a second Departure while sitting in Nora’s kitchen. Is this yet another sign that we will see a second Departure this season? Evie’s disappearance already has us considering this possibility.
While Laurie was meeting with the publishers about her manuscript, Guilty, Patrick Johansen’s name was brought up. As was mentioned, Johansen was the author of a book called What’s Next. He appeared in the Season 1 episode, Guest, speaking about his book at a convention for those who lost family and friends in the Departure. It was briefly mentioned that Johansen lost four family members and had visited Holy Wayne, who had taken his pain away. An entire industry had arisen around survivors of the Departure. Laurie’s reaction to the publisher leads us to believe that she holds this industry with the same contempt she holds for the Guilty Remnant. Will Laurie take aim at the Departure industry with similar fury? Will Patrick Johansen somehow play into this? Or are her energies now completely focused on giving former Guilty Remnant members something to fill the hole in their lives through her son Tommy?
Just before Tommy clicks off the TV, we hear a news anchor say, “The man identified as David…” We also see images of a cave. Could this be a reference to David Burton? The man who lives in the tall tower above Jarden had asked Michael to send a letter to David Burton in Australia. We also know that Kevin Garvey, Sr., is headed to Australia to start over. This episode gave us just a bit more about Burton when the publisher Laurie was meeting with mentioned the wing nut in Australia who went to the other side and now can’t die. Does this suggest that Burton will claim to have been taken in the Departure and later returned? When will we get the full story on this intriguing character?
Like most fans, I was thrilled to see Liv Tyler return to The Leftovers this season. And like most fans my jaw hit the floor when, 60 seconds after Meg’s reappearance, she was sexually assaulting Tommy. Was her purpose to simply take revenge on her former mentor, Laurie? Or was something much more sinister at play? The most fascinating detail for me regarding Meg, however, was that her standing in the Guilty Remnant has greatly risen. She travels separately from the rest of the group, who all appear to be doing her bidding. She is also at a level where she occasionally speaks, much like Patti Levin would, when the moment is right. Did this detail suggest she is now in high leadership of the Guilty Remnant?