"The Leftovers" is a gripping new original HBO drama based on the Tom Perrotta novel of the same name. The show examines the lives of people in small-town Mapleton, New York, after an event dubbed as “The Rapture” suddenly causes 2% of the world’s population to vanish. Spoiler alert for the discussion ahead!
Police Chief Kevin Garvey struggles to maintain order in a town torn apart by grief and uncertainty. Mapleton residents are divided by the uprising of new cults, including The Guilty Remnant and followers of the charismatic “Holy Wayne.”
Though no one in the Garvey home officially vanished as a result of The Rapture, Kevin’s wife Laurie abandons the family to join The Guilty Remnant. Her son, Tom, also jumps ship to become a Holy Wayne follower, leaving both Kevin and their remaining daughter, Jill, broken and confused.
The existence of The Guilty Remnant is an enormous source of tension in town. The first episode depicts an incredibly violent attack on the group by angry citizens. Viewers see that these people, emotionally broken by The Rapture, now operate at previously unimagined levels of brutality as outlets for their grief.
The flip side to the brutality is former town reverend, Matt Jamison. One episode chronicles Jamison’s desperate attempt to purchase his church building, despite acts of violence against him by locals. Jamison behaves almost evilly despite his good intentions. He tortures the loved ones of Rapture victims by publicly outing the departed for their sins. Despite his passionate belief in the greater good of his actions, his behavior does far more harm than good. With so much bubbling hatred surrounding him, his character may meet a violent end.
"The Leftovers" examines the concepts of good and evil while illuminating the gray areas in between. Viewers may hate Laurie for leaving her family, yet she is also kind and fragile. Kevin is an absentee father, but he is also often the only person saving the town from itself. It will be interesting to see how his romance with the shattered Nora will play out. While a new relationship could be good for him, Kevin will likely make a mess as he tends to with the women in his life.
Whether they are breaking into homes on Christmas to steal photos of Rapture victims or creepily stalking people, The Guilty Remnant behaves like an evil entity. Viewers may get a glimpse of the reasoning behind these acts soon, though it will not excuse their actions. While the audience was shocked by the deadly stoning of one cult member, the killer may be closer to The Guilty Remnant group than the townspeople suspect. Holy Wayne and his followers are sure to become even scarier, which will be thrilling to watch. Look for a possible second Rapture or perhaps to learn the cause of the original (or both). "The Leftovers" has built amazing tension and will surely conclude with a shocking season finale!