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HBO’s The Leftovers

s1e1-coverSo here I am again, about to trust Damon Lindelof again. Look, I was the biggest Lost fan ever. I completely understand that Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had every right to end Lost how they saw fit. I just happen to hate the choice they made. I also get annoyed by the people who lie to themselves (and they are lying to themselves) when they agree with the finale of Lost and claim that they were watching the show because of the “characters” …Please, all of us were watching Lost because we wanted to know who the F**K was shooting at them from the outrigger, what the goddamn numbers meant, why grumpy pants shot himself before Desmond arrived at the station and a laundry list of other questions that were paramount at the time and then got dismissed or never covered. Other than people who are against gay marriage and people who ride bicycles right in the middle of the busy streets, people who claim they “loved” the last season of Lost are my least favorite people in this world. With all that said I am completely ready to give the Leftovers a big chance. I’m almost done with the book and I really trust HBO, so let’s see what this show is all about!

8 pm:

Just getting a slew of HBO previews before the start of the show…HBO has always been the Heavyweight Champion of Cable, right? The only complaint would be that their late night “adult movies” could be more graphic, like those on Showtime or Cinemax, but that’s a story for another time.

So the show starts with a screaming baby…Is there anything more anxiety-inducing on TV than a screaming baby ? It’s really horrible….And like Keyser Soze the baby is gone along with a grip of other random people, basically my biggest nightmare as a Catholic fearing the Rapture. How shitty would you feel if you weren’t picked? …Especially if you were certain that you would be. I would panic.

We get the guy that I’m assuming will be our star? In the book he’s the mayor, but I guess on this show they made him a cop.

OK…remember a little ways back when I said there is nothing worse than a screaming baby on TV? Well, I think a dog getting shot is worse. I kind of knew it was coming but it’s awful to see. I still haven’t recovered from seeing Old Yeller being taken out by one of the Swiss Family Robinson kids…Thanks, mom, for that childhood trauma.

We next get De Niro’s chick from Heat, Amy Brenneman, smoking in bed for ten seconds…end of scene. I never liked her in Heat. I was openly rooting for her to catch a stray bullet in the movie…God, what is wrong with me?

We get a Kenny Rogers lookalike jumping into a truck with a bag of money…Oh wait, is that the guy from Friday Night Lights? I wonder if Riggins was one of the people chosen in this Rapture? I bet he was, even though he was a brooding hothead at times. God knows he had a heart of gold.

Back to smoking-in-bed Heat lady, living in the Charles Manson summer camp… Everybody is dressed in white and nobody is allowed to talk. I would last two hours, I think. I have horrible handwriting so I would constantly have to rewrite things and would get so flustered I would start shouting and I’ll bet I would get kicked out.

We get our star and sheriff going by a house to talk to the owner of the dog that got capped at the start of this show. She’s not exactly heartbroken about the dead dog. This sheriff looks like Matthew Fox’s little brother. I think at some point during this season, he should grow a beard and shout “We have to go back to the island.”

Back to a blindfolded Kenny Rogers/Friday Night Lights guy and a kid sharing horrible memories.  So this show isn’t going to be a “feel good” type of thing, is it?

Back to the sheriff joining an in-progress meeting for an upcoming parade to celebrate the “departed” that we’re taking from this world. The sheriff is against this whole thing because of the silent people dressed in white known as the Guilty Remnant.

We get a cameo from the director of this episode, Peter Berg. The congressman gets brought to meet a mysterious man and asks this man for help. At the same compound, we go poolside with the son of the sheriff who is flirting with a pretty Asian woman. Is this the playboy mansion of the Rapture world? I know where I’m going if this ever happens.

So far this whole show feels like a 1993 grunge music video…like Runaway Train by Soul Asylum or something.

The other child of the sheriff, his daughter, who already elbowed some girl in the face is now smoking with a friend who is doing her best Meg Ryan When Harry Met Sally impression. Something tells me these girls are going to get into some serious shenanigans.

Back at the Playboy mansion, we get Tom being summoned by Wayne, our Hugh Hefner of the Rapture world…Tom seems rattled.

We get an awkward dinner with the sheriff, his daughter, and her inappropriate friend. Not exactly a Brady Bunch family dinner vibe here tonight, although it would be funny to see Mr. Brady react to these two girls.

Wow.  Liv Tyler is in this and she’s being mad-dogged by two chicks in the white gang staring at her and her man like they just walked into Pelican Bay State Prison.

We go to the high school party next with Jill and her friend, and naturally all the high schoolers look like they’re in their late twenties.

Liv Tyler is with her fiancé, who looks like a poor man’s David Beckham. Has she been in anything in the past ten years? I can’t think of one thing. Let’s just say that her acting is a little rusty…And we’re joined again by the smokers in white. Do they drive or walk everywhere? Since they don’t talk, I guess they have to put up with hearing each other fart all day and night. I’ll bet their group would be a beast to play in charades, though.

Back to the high school party which is escalating out of control very quickly as we get a new-aged take on spin-the-bottle as our girl spins and gets “choked” as her task. This leads to her and a boy defacing one of the greatest songs of all time, Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together.

We’re back to Liv Tyler and Beckham driving and encountering the two white stalkers again. This time Liv has had enough of their creepiness and she slaps the  Heat chick right in the face. Liv is clearly gunning for the Emmy this season.

Back at the party, Jill is leaving, but not before being confronted by Mapleton’s Winklevoss twins who discover a dead dog in the back of her dad’s car. They all happily bond while burying it. Who says the human spirit is dead in Mapleton?

We get back to the mysterious Wayne and the sheriff’s son Tom, who is warned to stay away from the pretty girl he was flirting with earlier. Wayne talks in a really creepy way to Tom and rubs foreheads with him, which usually signifies evil craziness. Basically Wayne is c**kblocking Tom…which in a Rapture world seems a little excessive.

OMG… We get the sheriff having a bad dream about killing a deer and then we see horrible tattoos on him…just like Jack in Lost…I swear if we get an awful episode that explains those tattoos like we did in Lost then I am bailing on this show…or at the very least I am going to write a very curt letter to HBO expressing my displeasure on this choice…You have been warned.

Sheriff Kevin prepares for the parade knowing that the party poopers in white are going to show up and ruin everything…like the Tea Party showing up at a pro-marijuana rally or something.

We get the white crew mounting up like the regulators at home base with a cool song playing.

The Sheriff, like a bull in a china shop, shows up at the festival/parade stomping out fun. We get a shot of a priest/minister/churchy-guy played by “that guy from that one thing” screaming about the incident not being the Rapture because people who did bad things were taken, so it couldn’t have been the Rapture, which I guarantee would happen in real life and those of us still here will be really annoyed by that guy.

The  thing starts with a women sharing her story when the Manson white clan shows up with a Hands Across America vibe…except just the opposite as their sign reads “ Stop wasting your time”…a complete buzzkill, and a riot ensues. I always like watching TV/movie riots because if you look in the background, you can always see one of the extras overacting and trying desperately to be seen and it looks really out of place. In this scene, at the 57-minute mark, if you look at the back of the scene, there is a civilian punching a dude in white on the ground only he is punching off to the right of the person and clearly missing with every punch ….You don’t get this type of analysis at other sites…You’re welcome.

Post-riot, the sheriff is winding down at the local pub sharing “Where were you?” stories with the local town MILF, until he spots the dog shooter and tries to stop him from driving off. He fails at this quest but the consolation prize is that he has two overweight people in white smoking and watching him, too. I would be insulted if I didn’t have my own stalkers in this city. I would smoke and twerk without saying anything to see if I could throw them off.

Sheriff Kevin goes to the white castle to… I guess… speak to his wife, Amy Brenneman. He gets the sentence “You’re not welcome here” underlined to hammer home the point and then gets choked out and dragged out of there. It’s been a tough day for the sheriff.

Liv Tyler shows up at the white house and the lady who looks like Mags from Justified speaks for the first time to welcome her. Liv states that she wants to stay there for a couple of weeks. I wonder if it’s like a fraternity where you get hazed and have to drink a fifth of vodka early on to prove your loyalty.

The sheriff confronts the deer from his dream. I guess this is supposed to be a poignant moment. And then a pack of wild dogs shows up and literally tears the deer to pieces as the dog shooter shows up and explains that these “are not our dogs anymore”…It all makes sense…as the new BFFs take out their guns and start shooting.

That ends our first episode.  Overall, it was pretty good. Like I said before, the show is not really a “feel good” type of thing, but you can see some intrigue in it. Like Lost, we are going to get a lot of flashbacks in upcoming episodes parlayed with  questions that we will want answered at some point, so let’s hope this time around that Damon Lindelof is prepared to answer some of them…

Let me know what you thought about the show below in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

  • Guest

    I was positive that the episode was building up to another “disappearance” and that the final scene was going to be one of the characters who we knew disappearing for shock value (I actually thought Tom had disappeared while underwater at the end). But I’m liking the slow burn, and I hope you two continue on with this recap. And like Antonio said, the music is perfect, it made a lot of scenes better than if there had been dialogue instead.

  • susan appleby

    Scott:love you but not this show. I’m not watching, but ill read your recaps and make comments. Shooting the dog did me in. Why would all the dogs go wild? Did they stop producing dog food or something? There is no reason a loss of 2% of the people would create packs of wild dogs.

    God, I hate this horrible, depressing show.

    • Scott Gallagher

      It’s because Locke stopped pushing the buttons ;)

  • meta7gear

    “So here I am again, about to trust Damon Lindelof again.”

    Nice writing man.