‘Orange Sticker’: By the Babylon Motel

‘Orange Sticker’: By the Babylon Motel

"By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and cried
as we remembered Zion.
We hung our lyres on willow trees. …
How could we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?"

—Psalm 137

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever."

—Psalm 136

In Edenic Jarden, there's an orange sticker on the houses of those who have been certified as the safe/chosen/spared. Like the Israelites, those who live in Jarden are the Chosen People. But once you get in John Murphy’s pickup truck, cross the mythical bridge out of town and descend through the hostile, murmuring mass of the wannabe citizens of the Miraculous city, it gets…well, we already know Jarden’s not safe, but then there's Babylon. 

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A Look Back: Jill Garvey's Life

A Look Back: Jill Garvey's Life

While Kevin may be getting “rick-rolled” in Sunday’s episode, the hour also focuses on another fascinating character: Jill Garvey, who’s had something of a transformation this season.

In the latest installment of our The Leftovers: A Look Back series, co-creator Damon Lindelof updates us on Jill’s story from Season 1, all of which informs where the teen is in the story now.

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The Cast Breaks Down the Garveys’ Big Move

The Cast Breaks Down the Garveys’ Big Move

The yin to the Season 2 premiere’s yang, the second episode “A Matter of Geography,” documented how the Garvey family went from Mapleton to Miracle. Watching The Leftovers chatted with the show’s cast at the red carpet premiere about the episode’s action, enticing stars Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux and Margaret Qualley weigh in on what’s up with Nora, Kevin, Jill and the Garvey family as a whole.

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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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5 Prodigal Sons in ‘The Prodigal Son Returns’

5 Prodigal Sons in ‘The Prodigal Son Returns’

In the Bible, Luke 15:11-32 tells the story of the prodigal son and his return to his family. The title of the season finale of The Leftovers, “The Prodigal Son Returns,” takes inspiration from this passage. As we’ve seen throughout the series, episode titles potentially contain multiple meanings…or in this case, multiple prodigal sons.

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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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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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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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Director Michelle MacLaren Breaks Down Character Moments From 'Cairo'

A veteran of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, director Michelle MacLaren is no stranger to suspense. Most recently, MacLaren brought her expertise to "Cairo," an episode of The Leftovers she calls "a big turning point and a challenging dramatic piece." The acclaimed director connected with WatchingTheLeftovers.com to discuss her take on the hour's main characters, and how she integrated her interpretation into the episode's aesthetic.

MacLaren goes into greater detail about six notable shots from "Cairo."

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The 3 Abrahams in ‘Cairo’

The 3 Abrahams in ‘Cairo’

Genesis 22 tells the story of God testing Abraham. God’s test consists of Abraham taking his son, Isaac, to Mount Mariah where he is to sacrifice him and then burn his body on an altar. Abraham does as he’s instructed. He makes the journey, lays his son on the altar, and raises a knife to end Isaac’s life. But before he can bring the blade down, an angel grabs Abraham’s hand and stops him from completing the deed. The point of the story is meant to demonstrate Abraham’s commitment to God and his faith.

I saw this scene play out with three different Abrahams and three different commitments in the latest episode of The Leftovers, “Cairo.”

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