Review by Lauryn Angel
Season one of The Leftovers ended with Mapleton in chaos, so it seems fitting that the first episode of season two shifts its focus to a seemingly more peaceful place. We are introduced to the town of Jarden, Texas, dubbed “Miracle” due to the fact that it had zero departures. A national park has been built around the town, and visitors are strictly regulated. The episode introduces the Murphy family, which provides a stark contrast to the Garvey family. John Murphy (Kevin Carroll) is a fire-fighter; his wife Erika (Regina King) is a therapist. There are two children – Michael (Jovan Adepo), the eldest, and Evie (Jasmine Savoy Brown). The town has its quirky characters, but seems to be a peaceful place – mostly. When we follow John Murphy through his day we get a glimpse of a darker side of town life that will hopefully be explored in later episodes.
The first episode is more than half over before we see a familiar face. Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston) has come to town to take over church services while the local pastor undergoes surgery. It’s not long before we discover that Kevin (Justin Theroux), Jill (Margaret Qualley), Nora (Carrie Coon), and the baby have decided to follow Matt. While the Garveys remain on the sidelines in the first episode, the next few episodes explore their lives after the riotous events of season one.
Season two’s shift of focus to Miracle reflects the sense of hope that the transplanted Mapletonians – Nora especially – have of rebuilding their lives. There’s a sense of a fresh start in a place that was unaffected by the events of the Sudden Departure of October 14, 2011. However, it’s very clear to the viewer, if not to the Garveys, that something is not quite right in Jarden, an uneasy feeling intensified by the suggestion of more departures.
Later episodes unfold as a series of flashbacks for Kevin, Nora, and Jill, intertwined with their current narrative in Jarden. The series also follows Laurie (Amy Brenneman) and Tom (Chris Zyllka) in their attempts to “save” members of the Guilty Remnant. Meg (Liv Tyler) makes a brief appearance in episode four that suggests she has taken over as the GR’s leader, and that perhaps the group’s agenda has changed.
Season two appears to once again offer both its characters and viewers more questions than answers, but writers Damon Lindelof and Jacqueline Hoyt make those questions intriguing enough to keep us watching. One can only hope the eventual payoff is more satisfying than that of Lindelof’s work on Lost.
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