film review

The Leftovers S02E01 – Axis Mundi (Season Premiere Review)

Well, that was one strange premiere of the second season of HBO’s The Leftovers.

The Leftovers started off the premiere episode really strange and confusing right from the get-go with what appeared to be some sort of flashback into the caveman days of what we soon find out is the city of Jarden, Texas…the city in which this season will take place. At first is seems as though this scene is completely random, and for the most part it still feels that way, but events start to feel more connected as the episode continues.

So let’s start with that opening scene. I’m not going to lie, my initial reaction was “what the hell am I watching”, with a slightly worse expletive. I was confusedΒ  to say the least. From what I gathered, the viewer was transferred back into the days of cave people where we follow a pregnant woman, who graphically gives birth on her own after an earthquake has caused a landslide that kills the rest of her tribe. The scene turns into a fight for survival and ends on a sadder note…and then we’re transported back to the present day. I’m not yet sure of the significance, but I hope things will start to make more sense as the season continues.

Based on earlier research, I knew that the story line was going to shift gears from the events that took place in the first season. We have now changed location to a town better known as Miracle rather than its actual geographical location in Jarden, Texas. The town is known for its zero departures, meaning that not one member of its population disappeared, hence the new name. We are introduced to a new family of characters that seems perfect in a town that also seems perfect. It is almost even comical at first when the family jokes about finding a cricket that has been annoyingly chirping in a hiding spot within the family’s home, but of course the seemingly lighthearted scenes don’t last for long.

The town of Miracle does a few things differently, that wouldn’t seem normal to us, but it feels as though they have been living like this for a while. None of the civilians seem troubled by what seems to be a homeless man keeping guard of the town in a make-shift guard tower. They seem used to those who come into the town and visit as if it is some sort of tourist attraction. Finally, we are beginning to feel the dark undertones of this series that we have become used to after watching the first season.

We learn that there are earthquakes that seem to plague the town of Miracle on a regular basis, just like the one that killed the cave people at the beginning of the episode. What the meaning is of the earthquakes has yet to have been revealed which seems to be a common story telling device on The Leftovers. It is also hinted multiple times that there is something strange about the water in the town of Miracle, and what the hell was going on with the slaughtering of a goat in the middle of a family restaurant? Nobody seemed to flinch as it was happening, which makes me think that, once again, this is a common occurrence for the people of Miracle. Things are never quite explained. It’s very open to interpretation and there is never really a straight answer. Basically, The Leftovers gives me major Donnie Darko vibes.

It isn’t until about half way through the premiere episode that we begin seeing characters from the first season. We once again meet Matt Jamison and his wife who seem to have newly joined the main church in town. Soon after, we are reunited with Kevin & Jill Garvey as well as Nora Durst. So far, these are the only characters that we are reconnected with from the first season and they aren’t even the main focus of the episode, which I shockingly didn’t mind. The idea of meeting the residents of Miracle first and learning about their lives taught us a lot about the people that live in this mysterious town. It was also great to see their reactions to the new families that move in.

The episode ends with a shocking moment in which Miracle has seemingly experienced its first departure under even stranger circumstances than the initial departures. I’m looking forward to finding out how the town will react after realizing that it isn’t much of a miracle after all.

Although I was a bit skeptical at the beginning of the episode, things started to feel more like the first season about halfway through the episode, which I am happy about. Part of what hooked me on The Leftovers in the first place was how vaguely strange the story line was and they have definitely kept up with that aspect at the start of this season. The Leftovers is a very artistic show, and although many think that moments take place just for the sake of shocking the viewer, I personally do not believe that to be true. I think that there actually is a deeper meaning and that everything was done for a reason.

The soundtrack is still phenomenal and it gives me chills every time, whether it be the musical score or just the song choice used in a particular moment. Overall, this first episode was highly intriguing in the fact that there were absolutely no explanations for all of the strange things that happened throughout the entire duration. I will definitely continue watching this television show even though I know that it isn’t likely I’ll be getting many answers, even if I stick with it until the end.

One thought on “The Leftovers S02E01 – Axis Mundi (Season Premiere Review)

  1. I just finished watching the episode and I am highly confused. There’s so much stuff going on, I don’t even know where to start.
    At first I was very irritated like you, but it does get back to it’s usual vibe after some time. Can’t wait to see more! =)

    PS: I did a post on the first season, maybe you’d like to check it out. http://wp.me/p2DYTl-mK

    Liked by 1 person

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