This past Sunday, The Leftovers finished its second season with a thrilling, emotional finale. The first season proved showrunner Damon Lindelof and his crew were more than capable of bringing ten compelling hours of television, but it’s staggering how much of an improvement this is: The cinematography, the storylines, the visuals. Lindelof is well-known for experimenting and taking chances, and often they don’t quite work as well as they should. Not the case here. One needs to look at episode eight (“International Assasin”) to see an idea that could have sounded stupid on paper have the most captivating execution. For spoilers’ sake, I’m deliberately keeping things a little vague, as it’s something that must be seen to be believed.
This season also had one of the best episodes of any show I’ve ever watched: “No Room at the Inn.” It follows Reverend Matt Johnson as he deals with his catatonic wife Mary. The first season also offered some very compelling episodes with the Reverend, but what made “No Room at the Inn” stand out was its concision: It has a perfect and exact beginning, middle, and end. It’s the perfect episode to show to anyone who hasn’t been watching the series from the beginning. It could be a great short film.
All of the actors brought their A-Game to the show as well. But a real standout was Liv Tyler as Meg, a rebellious member of the Guilty Remnant cult. Just one look in her eyes shows her fierceness, and makes her the kind of character you’ll love to hate. All of the characters, even the onesthe antagonists are empathetic, even sympathetic at times. We perfectly understand their motives and could even side with them. This is a story where even the most righteous characters can act with out most contempt, all to survive or to simply get what they want.
Per Lindelof’s word, it’s a little unclear right now if we’ll get a third season of the show. I really hope we aren’t in need of a real-life Guilty Remnant to remind us that this is a show we should have been watching and shouldn’t have forgotten.