Creator of Lost Damon Lindelof explodes back on to our screens with a disturbing drama. The Leftovers, adapted from the Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same title, depicts the aftermath of a worldwide disappearance of two per cent of the population. Scrabbling through religious conspiracies and scientific theory leaves the survivors of the disappearance heartbroken and screaming for answers.
Lindelof is concerned with the unimaginable grief of those left behind in the community of Mapleton, three years down the line, sparing no consideration for viewers desperate to learn the fates of “the departed.” His pilot episode begins with the tears of an infant, and concludes with the shooting of wild dogs, once pets that have “gone primal” after witnessing the inexplicable evaporation of their owners.
The disappearances make sudden orphans and widowers of once ordinary communities, tearing apart lives to leave survivors with a harrowing sense of the pointlessness of their own existence. Lindelof powerfully conveys a spectrum of despair from those who live solely as a reminder of the event, those too distraught to feel anything, those full of rage and those hidden behind a facade of business-as-usual.
As chief of police Kevin Garney (Justin Theroux) tries to maintain order in a broken world, his wife Laurie (Amy Brennerman) has joined the Guilty Remnant, a silent cult of white-clad smokers who refuse to continue with normal life, protesting for others to wake up too.
Although the surviving population are powerless in the recovery of their loved ones, their leaders can manipulate the way that the disappeared are remembered. Mayor Lucy Warburton’s (Amanda Warren) attempts to heroise and honour the absent only fill the holes of this empty society with artificial hope.
As Chief Garvey explains, “Ours is not to reason why.” But that won’t stop us from trying.