Don’t have HBO? Never fear. Here’s the entire season of “The Leftovers” in four paragraphs.
“The Leftovers,” a show that sounds like a sitcom about family dinners, is a disturbing David Lynch-ish drama about the aftermath of the most boring apocalypse ever; no zombies, incurable viruses, or natural disasters, just a lot of people vanishing in one big Star Treck-beam moment. The details matter little to the central plot. Suffice it to say that dad walked out for a pack of cigarettes and we’re dealing with our abandonment issues. “The Departed” (people who got beamed) include cool people like Michael Jordan and Bill Clinton, but a lot of jerks, too. There’s a lot of debate over whether “the departed” went to heaven or hell. Creepy Priest Guy (Christopher Eccleston) believes they were punished, but we, the viewers, understand that death has no rhyme or reason…I guess.
Three years later, Cults have replaced Pilates and Yoga as the new thing. The most popular cult, the Guilty Remnants, recruit members stalker-style and instead of wearing yoga pants and developing nice muscle definition, dress in white and smoke cigarettes. Chief Of Police, aka, Super Hot Cop (Justin Theroux), has sympathy for the GR because his ex-wife Former Therapist Who Reminds Me Of My Last Shrink (Amy Brenneman) joined the GR because, as we come to understand, she was always too It’s-All-Good-I’m-Really-In-Denial (hence, being a therapist) and his daughter may be next.
Super Hot Cop keeps blanking out from his drug and alcohol addiction and doing things like accidentally sleeping with his teenaged daughter’s best friend. WHOOPS. Super Hot Cops’ Son (Chris Zylka) has joined a different cult and is assigned to protect the Asian Pregnant Girlfriend (Annie Q.) of Sadistic Leader/World Savior (Paterson Joseph) who also has a gift for removing emotional pain. (More paradox!) She’s actually one of many impregnated Asian girls by Sadistic Leader/World Savior because Asian women can’t get a break on TV. Her baby turns out to be a girl which she leaves in a public bathroom because Chinese girl babies also can’t even get a break on TV.
Super Hot Cop gets together with Lady Who Lost Her Whole Family (Carrie Coon) and they find some momentary happiness before he goes into a fugue state and kidnaps the Also Sadistic Leader of The Guilty Remnants (Ann Dowd) to torture her. Then she kills herself by sticking a shard of glass into her throat because the Guilty Remnants don’t do anything half-assed. The GR demonstrates this when they enact the last stage of their evil master plan of recreating the last moments of The Departed’s life with terrifying mannequins and dredging up the past AGAIN. There’s no one to direct your anger towards, but maybe that’s the point. The townspeople go into white people riot-mode and light the GR apartment complex on fire. Super Hot Cop saves his daughter, who tried to join the GR when she realized that cult-members at the very least have more company, from the dramatic fire. The next day, Lady Who Lost Her Whole Family adopts Chinese baby. The End.
The acting is as good as the story is confusing. Or rather the real plot vanished more than the people. We never learn what really happened, but we tolerate the mystery of life and death…right?