Like a needle in a haystack….
Somewhere, in the Season 2 premier of HBO’s The Leftovers, called Axis Mundi, there is a story. I make this comment because the season opener kept tossing mysteries at us, one after the other. It wasn’t so much confusing as it was bewildering.
If you recall The Leftovers from last year, we were told that on a particular day, 2% of the world’s population vanished. The people were not killed, or died in the natural sense – they simply vanished from the face of the earth. Season One was located in Mapleton, New York – a suburb of New York City, and the stories we watched, concerned a group of people that remained – The Leftovers.
This season begins in a place that would become Jarden, or Miracle, Texas. The place is called Miracle because, for reasons unknown, this town did not lose any of its population. In short there were no departures.
But when we first ‘arrive’ in this place, we are not in the present, or the near future. We are back in time – so far back, that we are in the pre-historic era – aka the caveman era. In fact the first people we see are asleep in a cave around a fire.
One woman, who happens to be pregnant, gets up during the night to go out for a nocturnal pee. While she is out of the cave, there is an earthquake. Which somehow manages to completely seal off the entrance to the cave. Soon after the woman gives birth to a son. Soon after that, while foraging for food, she hears the baby crying, as a snake is slithering over the baby’s body, and she rushes back. She is able to save the baby, but in the process is bitten by the snake. The snake’s venom is poisonous, and the woman will soon die. But her baby is found alive by another woman.
The location is a pond or watering hole.
In an instant we are brought into the current era, and a number of girls are swimming in the water at this very same location.
1) Why start with the caveman era
2) What was the purpose of the birds which we saw circling in the air in the cavemen period, then we will see another significant bird later in the show, under a strange circumstance.
3) Was the snake symbolic of something?
So we are now in the present. Starting with cavemen and then turning it into the present seemed reminiscent of Kubrick’s 2001 when the ape tossed a bone in the air and it became a space ship.
Now Jarden, Texas takes pride in the fact that there were no departures from this town. In fact the town has taken on some aspects of being a tourist magnet, as well as a shrine of sorts – not unlike Lourdes in France. Busloads of people arrive to take in the town, and hopefully that special something that protected this town from experiencing any ‘departures’ will rub off on these visitors.
And speaking of the town –
4) Who is that man who apparently lives a top a tower in the town square, and why does he live there? Why is he dressed in the biblical era type of clothes?
The town’s people have some unanswered questions hovering around them too –
7) There is a woman dressed in a bridal wedding gown watering her lawn. Why? And how is it that seeing her didn’t seem unusual in the town – except to us?
8) A man drags a live goat into a restaurant, cuts its throat in full view of the people dining there. No one at all reacted…some kind of sacrifice?
9) Is it not strange that both Kevin (the Mapleton Sheriff and his family AND Matt Jamison, the minister from Mapleton both ended up in Jarden – and apparently separately? How did Kevin and Nora hear about the house?
10) A townsman called Isaac apparently has a business going – in exchange for donations, he did readings of people’s’ palms. He predicted a bad thing would happen to John, a local ex-con living there, who is apparently now working for the fire brigade.
11) The firemen arrived a day later and burned down this guy Isaac’s house….
Some strange events seem quite personal –
12) John’s daughter is called Evie short for Evangeline. For reasons not unexplained – she and her friends are seen jogging through the woods totally naked
13) John’s Wife Erika is also a jogger. We follow her on her run, she gets to a point in the woods, and digs a box out of the ground. Inside the box is a small sparrow that flies away.
14) Sheriff Kevin, Nora, and his family are invited to dinner at John and Erika’s. A barbecue. In the after dinner conversation – John reveals that he is a former convict. That captures Kevin’s attention. What was your crime? Attempted Murder. What happened? I think I didn’t try hard enough is the answer…
150) Kevin has a cut on his forehead – what happened?
There’s more going on about town
15) Some one left a pie on John’s front porch. Who did it and why?
16) John’s son is a preacher who is often heard quoting the scriptures, and he goes to visit someone’s home and it seems a bit off?
17) Evie may have epilepsy. On this particular evening she heads out with her friends. By the next morning. none of them have returned home. John and his son drive to the watering hole where Evie and her friends liked to swim – the same watering hole from the caveman era. Only the water has vanished. Where did the water go? Is there some connection between the man in the tower who has a resemblance to Moses and the water?
Have Evie and her friends mysteriously departed?
Did I mention the new earthquake in the modern era (the present)? Seems to have effected John and Erika’s house. But we see no sign of damage and or people out in the street – especially Sheriff Kevin who had moved in right next door.
Yes, I thought last year’s The Leftovers was a strange show to get a handle on. This year they apparently opened up the valves to their fullest extent and what has gushed out is a ton of mysteries, unexplained events, and questions. Which may cause us to scratch our heads as we are supposed to be puzzled – but that is NOT a bad thing.
And one more thing – so far there’s no sign of the silent smokers from last year whose responsibility, at least in Mapleton, was to make sure that no one would ever forget the departed.
Like I said at the beginning – the story for this the second season must be in there somewhere – but for now it seems to remain obscured.