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The Leftovers: Everything Is Broken

For my money, The Leftovers is currently the best thing on television.

Last week was an examination of Father Matt (Christopher Eccleston) and just how strange and far his fall from grace since the Great Departure was. It was television at its best, and I was a little scared to return to the show proper after it. How could it be topped?

The theme this week is what it means to be broken. The overall theme of the show is that the disappearance of just 2 percent of the world's population apparently at random was enough to fatally damage every aspect of civilization as we know it. Not immediately, but the cumulative affect is akin to when someone just doesn't maintain his or her car. Eventually, the wear and tear adds up.

The big player this week is the ever-widening cult of the Guilty Remnants. They continue on a terrifying path of recruitment and on their particular spiritual mission. Though not much has been revealed, this week a bigger part of their mind-set is shown.

After sending a token number to protest a fundraising event and get arrested, the foot soldiers start entering the houses of people. Armed with sharp objects, they don't kill the sleeping occupants, but instead begin systematically removing pictures of people lost in the departure. One by one they cull the photos and leave the empty frames.

It's a kick in the stomach as you come to the greater realization of the purpose of the mysterious cult. They honestly believe that we are all wasting our times remembering the people that were spirited away. Indeed, living on itself is pointless. As the town of Mapleton tries to heal itself by fetishizing, memorializing and remembering the lost, the GR are there to point out the truth we can't face.

They.

Are.

GONE.

No amount of libraries, schools or scholarships founded in their name will change that.

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In other news, the self-destruction of Jill Garvey gets a lot more screentime this week, and Margaret Qualley once again proves she might be this generation's Claire Danes/Angela Chase. Nothing will ever more accurately show you what the coming paradigm shifts will be like better than a teenage girl antagonist. Teenage girls understand the world with a sharpness none of the rest of us will ever be able to comprehend, but for God's sake don't tell them that. There will be no living with them.

We follow Jill as she gives her estranged cultist mom a Christmas present, steals the baby Jesus from the town manger and ultimately fails to burn it. She, like most of the characters, is broken in her own special way. Yet, weirdly, she seems to be the only one who actually sees a way out of the pain.

By snottily living through it. It's better than going mad, I suppose.

Jef has a new story, a tale of headless strippers and The Rolling Stones, available now in Broken Mirrors, Fractured Minds. You can also connect with him on Facebook.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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