The Leftovers Season 2 Blu-ray Review
The first season of HBO’s The Leftovers (click the link to read my review of the first season) genuinely surprised me with how good it was. But I knew that I was one of the few critics that really liked it so I wasn’t surprised when the second season took a drastic 90 degree turn and completely changed things up. For most people, this was a good thing, but I found it hard to get used to at first because in many ways, the second season is a completely new show. But once it got going, I ended up liking the second season just as much as the first.
The second season finds Kevin (Theroux), Nora (Coon), Jill (Margaret Qualley) and their newly adopted baby boy on their way to Jarden, TX. We learn that Jarden is famous because it’s the only city in the world that had zero departures. Nora is convinced that geography had something to do with the departure and so she was determined to move somewhere safer. When the family arrives in Jarden, they meet Erika and John Murphy (Regina King and Kevin Carroll). Shortly after their arrival, the Murphy’s daughter disappears under mysterious circumstances. Meanwhile, Kevin is still seeing Patti (Ann Dowd), who of course died in the first season.
When I say the show took a 90 degree turn, I meant it. Everything has changed and that becomes very obvious with the song used in the opening credits. Even the first episode is a warning shot to those expecting more of the same as the first episode only features the Murphy’s and is completely void of anyone from the first season. Although I did really like the first season, the change in direction was nothing short of brilliant as it allowed the showrunners to not only introduce new characters, but to dive into an aspect of the story they didn’t get to in the first season. The Guilty Remnant is barely an afterthought now and although the disappearance of three girls is the big mystery of the season, the real intrigue falls back on Kevin’s visions. The show constantly alludes to the idea that Kevin has some supernatural ability, but the audience is left guessing as to what that might mean.
The weakest character is still Matt (Christopher Eccleston) and his big drama this season is his belief that Jarden can cure his disabled wife Mary (Janel Moloney). I appreciate the different take on the departure, but I found his story distracting from more interesting stories going on at the same time. I was also disappointed in the last couple of episodes as I thought they were a bit of a letdown in terms of spectacle and drama, at least when compared to the first season. But those are minor complaints for an otherwise outstanding season of television.
I get the impression from HBO that The Leftovers wasn’t the rousing success they hoped it would be and maybe it’s the subject matter or the ambiguity that permeates through every episode that scared audiences off. It’s disappointing to me that the third season will be its last because I don’t know of any other show that could deliver an episode like the eighth episode of season two. It was completely out there, but it was also completely fascinating. But in many ways, this is a show that could easily jump the shark at any moment, so maybe we should be thankful it will conclude with a third season.
Video: Each episode looks incredible on Blu-ray
Audio: The audio is fine.
Unfortunately, there are no special features included on this set.