It's the end of the first season of one of the strangest dramas ever put on television. I was sort of annoyed with The Leftovers for taking a week off and making me wait, but honestly the breather was probably for the best. This remains absolutely brutal television.
This week the final plans of the Guilty Remnant come to fruition, and I'm going to do my best to describe it without giving too much away. Though the group has been largely enigmatic throughout the course of the season, once we get a look behind the terrible psychological damage that the Departure did to these people you realize the awesome power of pain. Not the least of which is its desire to spread and breed.
I remember having a conversation once with a friend about the Westboro Baptist Church and their hateful, hurtful shenanigans. She asked me, "Who do they think they're going to save doing this?" And I told her, "They don't think they're going to save anyone. They don't want to save anyone. They believe the world has ended and this is Hell. They want us to know that we are living in God's wrath right now."
It's clear from the portrayal of the GR that what they feel is not remorse or loss or even grief. What they feel is rage. They are in utter rage at the world for even daring to consider that this post-Departure existence is not Hell. Every attempt to honor the Departed, to move on, or to somehow make any sense of it at all drives them to increasingly cruel reminders of the terrible day three years ago.
After the Reverend Matt comes to the aid of Sheriff Garvey to help get rid of the body of GR leader Patti following her suicide, the two men have a discussion. Matt tells Kevin that Patti must have wanted to hurt Kevin by slashing her own throat, and that the only way that was possible was if Kevin was a good man.
That's the absolute crux of the show. From day one it's made it clear that there is no discernable pattern to who was taken and who was left back. There were terrible people taken, and there were blameless unborn babies. There were good people left behind, and there were horrible people as well.
In the ensuing madness of the GR's final rampage the makers of the show lay bear a truth no one wants to face; there is no amount of goodness that makes someone immune to tragedy. Objectively we all know it, but emotionally some of us simply cannot handle the fact when presented with something like the Great Departure.
And yet, when all the fires are out, and the wounded tended to, the show leaves us with one last glimmer of hope. New life, and the possibility that a future can be found within that new life.
The Leftovers has been renewed for a second season. Let's see just how well that hop holds up with whatever heart wrenching things are in store next year.
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