The Leftovers



Christian minister and writer Mary Fairchild states: “Those who believe in a future Rapture regard it to be a sudden and cataclysmic event unlike any other phenomenon in history in which millions of people will disappear without warning. As a result, tragic and unexplained accidents will occur on a wide scale basis, ushering in the tribulation period. Many speculate that non-believers left behind will come to believe in Jesus Christ as a result of the Rapture. Others left behind will remain in disbelief, finding theories to rationalize the bizarre event.” The Leftovers opens with one such event. 2% of the world’s population have vanished without a trace, leaving friends and loved ones to deal with the fallout. This is where the Leftovers begins – a year on from the so-called ‘departure’. Kevin and Nora are at the heart of this story. Their paths cross as a result of the departure. Both are no strangers to pain. Kevin saw a woman disappear out from under him during a sexual tryst; while Nora’s whole family vanished. What follows is people trying to make sense of what happened; this apparent act of random cruelty. Is there some sort of rational explanation? Was it an act of God? People watch TV shows to escape not to think: Damon Lindelof doesn’t give you that luxury. To watch one of his shows is to interrogate the very nature of what it means to be alive. Did Nora actually go across to the other side and see her husband and son? Does it even matter? Maybe the whole point of the show is that people tell themselves whatever they have to make it through life. And that’s what religion is all about to. We can’t possibly know for sure what is out there, but we take faith that we have faith. Just like with religion we are supposed to take a leap of faith in believing Nora. A religious person cannot see the god they believe in, yet they trust in their existence anyway. In not allowing us to see what Nora explains, Lindelof forces us to take that same leap – or not – separating the cynics from the optimists; the believers from those who do not.

Natasha Perkin

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