“Do I have to say something crazy now?”
Whether or not there are miracles in Miracle, one certainly happened on HBO this year. Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta took major risks when designing The Leftovers‘ beautiful and absurd second season, but they all worked out in the show’s favor.
Watching The Leftovers takes effort – and a lot of it. The small mysteries, unusual storytelling and general strangeness makes for some tough viewing. It’s a divisive show that takes the viewer on an unexpected journey in every episode. But unlike some of Lindelof’s other work, including the first season of this show (which, despite its faults, still made it onto my 2014 list), Season 2 delivers on all fronts.
The move from Mapleton, New York to Jarden, Texas meant we had to leave some beloved characters behind (farewell, mysterious dog-man), but it also introduced us to a brave new world filled with great mystery. The home of the Murphy’s, who never experienced the Sudden Departure but still suffered losses of their own, is so rich with detail that it feels like a real place.
The questions raised in season 2 are fascinating, and incredibly satisfying when finally paid off. Every episode is a surprise because Lindelof has, once again, managed to spin a complex tale that’s both unpredictable and irresistible to watch. There’s no magic tricks or cheats; the clues are all there, and no one can accuse the creator of LOST of not planning ahead this time.
If nothing else, the show is even more thrilling to watch a second time. It hits hard, with phenomenal actors improving on the already stellar scripts. With Season 2, The Leftovers somehow manages to feel more focused, more consistent and more mind-blowing than before. Let’s just pray the third and final season will not leave us disappointed!