Each week following episodes of season two of The Leftovers, Sophie Gilbert and Spencer Kornhaber will discuss new characters, old visitors, and whether smoking really is the best way to express profound nihilism.
Gilbert: I’m getting a little bit worried about where this story is going. We’re six episodes in, with only four more to go, and the plot is only the slightest bit further along than it was at the end of the season opener, when Evie and her friends disappeared from a running car. You could argue that last season was similarly character-focused and plot-averse, maybe, except that it had to introduce basically everyone AND explore their own individual breakdowns AND set up the conflict between the town and the Guilty Remnant AND create a whole universe in which everyone and their grandmother was dealing with the Departure in myriad screwed-up ways. The second season has similarly introduced a wealth of new people and new breakdowns, but it almost feels saturated—I’m longing for more Kevin/Jill/Laurie (even Meg, who’s only had a single scene) and less of Miracle and its goat-sacrificing, wedding dress-wearing congregants.
I kept thinking about what you said last week about Matt Jamison and Job, Spencer, and it occurred to me this week that maybe the show is asking Job’s question on a much grander scale: Why do people suffer? If there is a kind and loving God, why does he allow such unquantifiable cruelty and desolation to happen on Earth? My working theory is that everyone on the show is exploring this question to some extent, faced with an inexplicable random act that defies each and all of the paradigms humans have created to try and understand the world. Which is cool and all, but it’s still ultimately a television show with a story to tell, so it’d be nice if they’d get to that part sooner or later.