I never expected to fall in love with The Leftovers.
I had read the novel which the first season is based on before S1 aired and I found the idea fascinating and the book an intriguing but sometimes a tough read. I was definitely interested to see how the TV show would adapt the story and immediately felt like I had to defend the series because the book offered no answers to the Departure and as a staunch defender of Lost and its finale I knew there was going to be a backlash from viewers eager to take out their frustration on creator Damon Lindelof.
So I was prepared to watch the series and manage other viewers expectations. I know that is an odd thing to do – I wasn’t involved in the show in any way but like I said I loved Lost and I wanted people to know that they shouldn’t expect answers but instead expect a detailed exploration of grief and depression. I know hardly a great pitch for a show.
Anyway the series aired and I began to watch. I respected what the show was trying to do. I really liked the performances especially Carrie Coon and Christopher Eccleston and the Nora and Matt focused episodes. I thought I didn’t feel a deep connection to the series and yet something about it made it compulsive viewing. Even as reviews criticized the show for being depressing and dreary and I often found myself agreeing with this sentiment – I still could not look away. I was definitely finding The Leftovers irresistible.
By the time the season 1 finale happened I realized that I needed this show to come back - the first season may have adapted the book but I wanted more. My need came because of the final few moments of the season. What happens is simple -the feral dog that Kevin had found earlier in the season returns looking for its master – it isn’t wild or dangerous but calm. For the first time the show presented a different perspective. It offered hope. Maybe the world wasn’t completely messed up, maybe if the dogs that went mad after the Departure could get back to normal then perhaps our human characters could as well. With Nora finding a baby on her doorstep and Laurie and Tom escaping their respective cults, the show was finally revealing its true nature. This wasn’t just a story about how terrible everything was but it was a tale of people who desperately wanted to find hope again. They didn’t want to stay broken.
When S2 began and the action moved to a new location, I was fully on board. I wanted to see how the Departure had effected other characters but also The Leftovers started going really weird and incredibly funny. Season 1 definitely had its moments of strangeness but second season opening scene was something else. Everything was getting bizarre and the show was embracing that. Whether it was Kevin losing his mind and talking to a dead person, mysteries like the town of Miracle where no Departures happened or the implication by some scientists that Nora was responsible for the Departure of her family. Things were not normal and the show found humour in the insanity.
Weirdness though only works for me if I care about the characters and increasingly I did. Around this time it became clear that the core of the story was not just Kevin but Nora and her own difficulty in dealing with what had happened and their love story. At the heart of The Leftovers are two damaged people, pretending they don’t believe in miracles or the supernatural and yet at the same time either experiencing it like Kevin or desperately wanting it to be true like Nora. Nora acts cynical about any explanation people come up with for the Departure and yet as season 3 shows she will do anything to see her children again. Meanwhile Kevin repeatedly refuses to believe in anything weird and yet he has died 3 times and been resurrected via a possible trip to the afterlife. They both try to cover up their desires and natures but increasingly it becomes impossible.
By the end of season 2 I was crying as Kevin found his way back to his family and if the show had ended there it would have been an emotionally satisfying conclusion. Yet I’m glad we got one final season to put the characters through emotional hell again, not because I’m sadist but because of the very important message of the show – grief and depression are not easy to get over. There is no one solution for everyone and whilst some people can recover from it relevantly quickly, others spend their lives struggling with it. This may sound like a pessimistic point of view but I think its realistic. The circumstances that these characters find themselves in is like no other, so many criticisms of the show talk about how grim it is but I always ask ‘if 2% of the world’s population suddenly disappeared, wouldn’t you be just a bit messed up by it?’.
As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression throughout my adult life I’ve wished it could just solve itself in a day instead of taking 20 years but the reality is it does take time to deal with your issues. Nora may never get over the disappearance of her loved ones but I do think there is hope that she could, she just has to push herself to the edge in order to realize it. Take Nora’s brother Matt, a devout man who throughout the season lets his faith overtake his life even as life continually kicks him in the face. Eventually Matt finds himself on a Tasmanian Ferry in the middle of a lion inspired orgy (god I love The Leftovers) and faced with a man claiming to be God. Throughout the episode Matt is acting manic, desperate to get to Australia in order to find Kevin who he hopes will stop the apocalypse or a second departure. This confrontation eventually leads Matt to realize his fundamentalist approach to religion has cost him his family. When we see him at the end of the episode a huge relief has washed over him. I don’t think he has lost his faith but instead he has realized that God may never answer him personally, he may not get the answers he needs but that is OK.
Then we have Kevin, it takes him three trips to the afterlife (whether its real or just in his head) to realize he is terrified of allowing himself to love Nora and be loved by her. He literally nukes his safe haven so he can’t run away from the real world anyone. He has reached the edge and it looks like he is willing to come back from it.
Now what happens in the finale tonight I have no idea, maybe Nora never finds peace, maybe she keeps pushing herself and can’t reach a resolution that will bring her happiness but I hope she can, even if it takes 20, 30 or 40 years I hope she can.
However the series ends I will remember it for the madness, the unexpected comedy, the music of Max Richter making me cry every damn time. I will remember these characters trying their best to make sense of a situation no one can really handle.
I will remember The Leftovers as one of the best series of its time and I will miss it. But in the words of Lindelof’s other series, its time to remember and let go.
(I ship Symmetra and Junkrat with my entire being and now we have the summoner on his team and now I can’t breathe so I made a short story. Whoops)
Dr. Jamison Junkenstein took a shaky breathe through the cold air of the Black Forest. The Witch of the Wilds sent him to receive a new member of his team. The witch said the creature had powerful magic. Which sounded exactly like what Jamison needed. Though he was a man of science he couldn’t deny the possibilities of magic, especially after meeting the Witch.
“Go to the Black Forest,” the Witch ordered him. “You will find the Summoner in an old abandoned house. But be careful, the Summoner has traps around the house due to years of attackers and attempted murders.”
This sounded fun. Jamison looked through old story books to see what he could find about a Summoner but nothing came up that was useful. This was an experience to learn about this magic. There was a cold fog over the dark dirt and the emerald pines were towering over his head. The sky seemed darker than usual. The cold was biting through his thick lab jacket. How could someone live up here all alone without freezing to death, especially once winter hit.
Jamison stopped in his tracks. There was an old house. The wood was splintered and black with a blanket as a door. Doesn’t even have a door?
“Hello?” he yelled. “I am looking for the Summoner. I was sent here by the Witch of the Wilds, I seek your help.” There was nothing. No sound, no movement, nothing.
Maybe the Summoner worked like the witch. A price. “I was told you have enemies who want to see you dead. If you help me, I can keep you safe. I’m an inventor. I can make it so no one ever even comes into your forest. I just need your assistance.”
All of a sudden, there was an extreme heat. Jamison wiped off the sudden sweat from his forehead. It was freezing just seconds ago…
The fog grouped together and twisted. They got darker. As it gets darker, it got hotter. Two yellow eyes appeared in the fog. A giant black figure was in the fog, Jamison felt the blood leave his face. The creature was huge with a long neck and curled horns on it’s head. There were giant wings on it’s back.
A dragon?! The Witch said nothing about a dragon!
“The Witch of the Wilds sent you…” the dragon said in a distorted voice. “How do you know her?”
“She is helping me overthrow a cruel king,” Jamison yelled, trying with all his strength to keep his voice from shaking. “He has been treating my creations like slaves. I can’t handle this anymore. She helped me make life, we’re going to attack the castle and kill the king. I need your help.”
“If you have the Witch, I assume the Reaper is helping you as well,” the dragon snarled. “Along with your creation, why do you need me as well?”
“I need all the help I can get, Summoner,” Jamison said, putting his hands together. “Please. I need help.”
“Very well, but I will not go in this form,” the dragon said in a stern tone. “I have never been safe in this form, I’ve been condemned since I was born for being what I am. This form is not a weapon to use. It is a curse.”
“I understand,” Jamison said. “And thank you for helping me.”
The dragon’s chest glowed like lava and cracked through the scales of it’s body. Yellow smoke coiled around the dragon. The hot wind blew through Jamisons’s white hair. His eyes had to squint from the bright fire. Then, it cooled. The fog thinned. and the light dimmed. Jamison wiped his eyes and looked at the new form of the dragon.
A woman? The dragon was tall and graceful. Her scales her dark purple and orange. Her lips were dark like the night sky. There were lines of light through her arms and chest. Her wings were now on her waist and around her like a dress. But what really drew in his attention was her arm. It was missing. Jamison looked down at his own missing arm, now replaced by a prosthetic he made.
“You’re staring at me,” she said. “I can never look like a human, that is beyond mt power. Beauty is nothing but a wish to me.”
“Are you kidding!?” Jamison said, getting exciting. “You’re extraordinary! You’re wings, your horns, your scales,you’’re brilliant, you’re gorgeous!”
He threw out his arms in his excitement. He’s meeting a dragon, a real dragon! Who wouldn’t be ecstatic right now?
The Summoner’s face glowed orange, like she was blushing. Jamison’s words echoed in his head and he felt his cheeks turn pink.
“I have been called many things,” she said. “Beautiful, let alone gorgeous, are not the first thing people think of when they see me. My mother committed a crime against a witch, not the Witch of the Wilds, but another one. She called her a freak and a monster. So the Witch decided to make my mother a monster. But the magic didn’t affect her… she was pregnant. So I got cursed. I was born and the village called me a demon, a spawn of Lucifer. My mother was called a witch and burned. But when they attacked, the Witch of the Wilds saved me. But she couldn’t save all of me.” She gestured to her arm. Or lack of.
Jamison had a hand against his chin in thought. “I can make you an arm.”
“You what?” she said.
Jamison held up his fake arm. “I can make you an arm.”
“Why are you so kind to me?” she asked. “I’m a monster.”
“Trust me, love,” Jamison said, his face getting dark. “The only monsters in this realm is humans.”
The exiled Junker duo has returned to Junkertown, where they have captured the Queen’s base and taken the throne. King Junkrat capture’s someone who caught his eye long ago and makes them his personal toy.
Kisses because Everything Hurts Including being loved by you but you’re the only thing that makes it feel better.
SFW - FEMALE READER
You winced when you watched the tall man slump against the rusty metal wall, he held his side and just laughed as he stumbled over, his fake leg had been kicked pretty hard and failed to support his weight. You managed to catch him before he hit the floor, gently helping him sit down.
“Fuckin’ bogan’s thinkin’ they can keep ME out” He laughed louder and looked over at the hatch just across from where you both were sitting in the dirt and dead grass.
“Rat…” you gave him a little scowl.
He shrugged off the tone in your voice and rubbed the blood that slipped down either side of his mouth on the back of his dirty glove and made a point of banging the tin he was perched against hard.
“Ya hear me? I will fuckin’ get me own back, fuck the queen.. when I’m done with ya I’ll be ‘aving allah Junkertown eatin’ out the palm of me ‘and…. King Jamison Fawke’s tha first!” the wild laughs shook his body, he winced, one amber eye closing as he laughs caused his broken ribs to rattle.
“Jamie…” you sighed and took his flesh hand holding it.
He would never let on but being banned from Junkertown was killing him and he just wanted back in so bad. He had tried to sneak in through one of the drainage systems and smelt worse then normal for his troubles… He frowned, bushy brows knitted in both emotional distress and the fact he’d just had the shit kicked out of him.
“Let’s get back to Roadies yeah? I’ll cook the rest of that roo we have yeah? I managed to steal some honey from one of the travlers the other week.. I can make it taste really good…” you offered and smiled when his grubby hand pressed against your cheek.
“Sure, sounds good.. I’m done wastin’ me time with those cunts anyway…” he stood as best as he could, using you for balance.
“You’ll make a great queen darl’” he smiled softly and leaned down to kiss you on the lips despite the split in his own.
Okay, so what I was trying to do was ‘Thank’ the Mercy that was healing me (because it’s just common courtesy to thank your healers) and instead I accidentally hit the 'Emote’ icon and ended up taunting Torbjorn and his turret.
……..I have never laughed so hard before in my entire life.
I battled with myself in whether or not I should post this picture but how I look at it is that I’m blessed my little man is still here with us. Ezekiel King Jamison Junior entered this world way earlier than expected but he is fighting and he is a soldier. With everything going on he is another added motivation to be strong and make it through the hard shit that lies ahead of my. Keep fighting lil man daddy loves you 💪🏾