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The Leftovers Final Season Promo: The End is Near

17 Feb

A trip to Australia is pretty much all we know about the final season of The Leftovers and this new trailer doesn’t reveal a whole lot more than that. What it does do is ramp up the mystery elements of the series mixing what looks to be some fantasy sequences with ones grounded in reality.
Most of the season 2 cast appears in one way or another with Kevin and Nora at the airport providing the main thread. Nora looks pretty chill going through customs checks with only a flash of her smoking suggesting the tension that is clearly on Kevin’s face; he sure does not look pleased in the final shot.There’s also more religious imagery, Tommy as a police officer, what looks to be an alarm sounding on submarine (how very Lost) and a safety announcement voiceover suggesting the end of the world is nigh. Just your average Leftovers behaviour then. Sadly no Kevin singing for survival this time.
The is one season I am eager to see and not just because Justin Theroux with a beard gives me all the feelings.

The Leftovers returns Sunday, April 16.

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Watch Spike Jonze’s New Kenzo Perfume Ad – Starring Margaret Qualley from The Leftovers

30 Aug

The new Spike Jonze Kenzo World perfume ad has me longing for a couple of things; more music videos directed by Spike Jonze and The Leftovers season 3.

At almost 4-minutes long it plays like some of Jonze’s earlier work such as the video for Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” and “Weapon of Choice” and the star of this ad pulling out some big dance moves is Jill Garvey herself – Margaret Qualley. Moves that come from “Chandelier” choreographer Ryan Heffington.

When it comes to perfume, I don’t tend to wear it very often and the only ones I have are gifts (generally I think a nice smelling moisturizer can do just the trick and with the added bonus of soft skin). This ad also doesn’t tell us anything about the scent, but really what perfume ad does and this is far more preferable to some A-list actor looking deep into the camera and repeating something that is meant to be deep and meaningful.

The packaging is also fantastic.Kenzo WorldThe Leftovers is currently shooting its third and final season in Australia and this is one show I am clamoring for its return. Margaret Qualley’s Jill went from sometimes annoying and surly teen to a character who I wanted to spend more time with. That is a rare thing in dramas like this with The Americans being one of the other shows that gets this balance right.

Qualley also shared this behind the scenes shot and I am in love with this color dress on her.

Spike! @kenzo

A post shared by Margaret Qualley (@margaretqualley) on

 

The original song made for the ad is called “Mutant Brain” and is performed by DJs Sam Spiegel & Ape Drums with vocals by Assassin.

Music Monday: Homeward Bound, Family and the Season Finale of The Leftovers

7 Dec

Justin Theroux is good at many things – no one quite does despair and bewilderment quite like him – plus he is super good looking to boot, but one thing he is not so hot at is singing. This we discovered in his rendition of “Homeward Bound” as he buys his freedom from the hotel limbo nightmare (Part II) in The Leftover’s season 2 finale and the episode benefits from his shaky and far from perfect vocal.

The Leftovers 2.10 KevinWhen Kevin wakes up in that same bathtub and is faced with the same selection of clothes he opts for the uniform he once wore. His mission isn’t to rid himself of Patti this time; instead he needs to find his way back and we don’t have a whole episode to complete this task. Instead things take an even more surreal turn when he gets told that all he needs to do is sing for his freedom like a twisted version of a reality competition. Luckily it isn’t based on how good Kevin is and he crushes the song on a deeper level than talent. Also I get how hard it is to sing along to Simon & Garfunkel because a) I am a terrible singer and b) Simon & Garfunkel are one of my go to writing/reading music choices and I tend to enthusiastically join in at random points.

Instead what this song allows Kevin to do is see flickers of his past from the cigarettes he smokes (being the only thing he shares with the GR), to the issue of National Geographic his father was intent on him reading and then to the images of family when all was not well in “The Garveys at Their Best” prior to the sudden departure (with the lyrics “I’ll play the game and pretend”) and ending on Nora’s smiling face when they decided to really make a go of it at the start of this season. These last two are the most important because they focus on the one thing Kevin realizes he desperately needs and that is family. Patti wanted to destroy the idea of family because the only ones she knew had marginalized her and treated her like shit, but now Patti is gone and Meg has a different opinion on the matter as she tells Tommy that “Family is everything.”

The leftovers 2.10 TommyThe latter helps Tommy with his journey and thereby becomes part of the striking final motif joining the rest of his family at the Garvey/Durst residence while chaos reigns outside. Everyone is searching for something to make them feel okay and while some are better at pretending (see Michael’s story about the truth behind the bathtub incident) Tommy has been bouncing from one ideology to another finding temporary solace. Nothing has stuck, but seeing Nora and Lily in danger on the bridge connects both his pre-departure life and the one which started his journey on looking for a broader meaning in this fucked up world. Tommy has never met Nora before, but he played a vital part in Nora’s decision to stay when he left Christine and Holy Wayne’s baby on his dad’s porch and she was the one who found her. Lily gave hope and the chance for these broken people to connect.

In the second episode this season Kevin couldn’t quite understand why Nora spent such a vast sum on money on a house she had never seen and Jill was the one who had to point out the obvious – she did it to feel safe. When Tommy bundles Nora and Lily into the Airstream he tells her she is okay and they are safe. Everything she has wanted to feel since October 14, four years ago.

The Leftovers 2.10 NoraBabies aren’t band-aids (and now I’m singing a weird version of “Bad Blood”) and one of the questions which plagued Kevin this season (mostly from Patti, sometimes from Jill) was whether he really loves Nora and Lily or if they are just an attempt to cover up the chaos. Ever since Holy Wayne hugged Nora she has been full steam ahead on the ‘everything is good’ train and Kevin’s Patti revelation coupled with the ‘lens’ theory really shook this whole idea prompting her to flee the house. It’s why she reacted so violently to the radio discussion about the departure and moving on, but she also has her faith renewed in her choices by how panicked/devastated she is when Lily is snatched from her arms. The image of Lily lying unprotected on the bridge is where my stress levels went through the roof as was Nora’s decision to lie down and protect her with her body as the crowd continued to surge forward. But Lily is more than just a concept in helping Nora move on and this confirms just how important she is.

The same can be said for Kevin and while he has never wavered from his position of loving his family this rendition of “Homeward Bound” is like the weirdest test of putting his money where his mouth is. It is an ordeal of a completely different kind to the challenges he has previously faced and he nails it. The tight close ups on his face captures the intense emotions of the song and what it means to Kevin; it’s not just the far from perfect singing which shows a lack of vanity in this performance as there is also snot dripping from his nose. Justin Theroux continues his spectacular portrayal of Kevin’s desperation and desire to be with his family again as his voice cracks on certain words.

The Leftovers 2.10 Kevin singingIt turns out that “Homeward Bound” wasn’t the first choice of song for Kevin to sing as Damon Lindelof tells Alan Sepinwall in this excellent interview that Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” was the original intended track (it is still on the wheel). They couldn’t get the rights and so it fell to Simon & Garfunkel and I agree with Lindelof that this is a better choice. I also love that Justin Theroux pointed out that he can’t sing and still went with it.

Despite losing a fuck tonne of blood (an official measurement) Kevin does indeed make it home and I’m not even going to question the logistics here – maybe there are miracles in Miracle – and his place is far from empty (as John fears his house will be). Panning around the darkened room with the strains of the Leftovers signature theme we first see those he had told to stay (Jill and Laurie), Matt and the now wide awake Mary, followed by Tommy holding Lily still dressed in his all GR white and finally Nora entering the room illuminated by a candle. Kevin has found his way home in all senses of the word. And as with the first season finale we are left with Nora saying the final line of dialogue and a repeated sense of hope even as everything burns up the street.

It is unclear whether The Leftovers will get a third season pickup, but I am so not ready to be done with this crazy fucked up world. Especially if next season has some kind of version of all these characters living under one roof as things sure could get uncomfortable fast. But first Kevin should probably go see a doctor about that hole in his chest.

And for your listening pleasure here is the Simon & Garfunkel version of “Homeward Bound” and sadly HBO has yet to put up the Kevin version.

The Leftovers and Costume Identity in “International Assassin”

24 Nov

The Leftovers took a strange and wonderful trip this week with “International Assassin” as Kevin Garvey experienced something that could be described as purgatory/the afterlife or even a drug induced descent into his psyche. There is no one definitive answer – on this show that is a rare – and your interpretation will vary depending on whether you think Kevin is experiencing a psychotic break or if Patti really is there talking to him. It is an incredibly trippy episode and these kinds of dream state outings can be divisive with some seeing it as an easy way to explore the inner workings of a character/story. I tend to like an existential journey if it is done well and The Leftovers hits all the right notes with their exploration of everything Kevin has been experiencing since this version of Patti came into his life.

Waking up naked in a bathtub essentially being spat up by the water we see Kevin surviving another near drowning. There are also rebirth connotations and the hotel room location further disorientates both Kevin and us as it is nondescript and could essentially be anywhere. The first test Kevin must face is picking an outfit or rather picking an identity with the closet offering up a riddle of sorts “Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” It all sounds very biblical and the presence of religious garb is not surprising, nor is Kevin’s immediate dismissal of this ensemble. Next comes the all white Guilty Remnant signature look and this gets a mere glance; I can see Kevin in the purple robes before he would ever contemplate wearing GR material.

The Leftovers 2.08 KevinMore time is spent perusing the uniform he used to wear, but this is not who he is anymore and he left that version of himself back in Mapleton. Kevin was always the reluctant police chief and while he is drawn toward this idea of order it is not the right look for wherever this place is.

The Leftovers 2.08 Kevin GarveyIt is also not very incognito and there are responsibilities that come with wearing this uniform; one of those isn’t killing the woman who has been plaguing your earthy existence. The black suit doesn’t come with the same set of pre-conceived notions, even if Kevin later finds out that it makes him the international assassin of the episode title (*drink*). It could mean one of many things and people wear black suits for various reasons; the other three outfits have specific roles and right now Kevin is pretty lost other than the mission at hand to vanquish his tormentor. Because Kevin isn’t privy to the secrets of this universe we are thrust into this same level of bewilderment as he is and Justin Theroux is nailing the desperation of these many WTF moments in what continues to be new and devastating ways; it isn’t just down to his magical and super expressive eyebrows either.

There is another Damon Lindelof show that springs to mind where this episode is concerned and that protagonist was wearing something very similar when we first met him; Jack Shephard is no international assassin.

Lost Jack ShepherdHe picked well and luckily this is a very quick drying suit after he took a swim to save what turned out to be a young Patti. Bonus points for being the perfect fit and woah does Jack’s suit look 90s level of baggy in comparison.

The LeftoversOverall it is probably best he didn’t go for his old uniform as things don’t look so good for this person (maybe the version of Kevin who went for the police chief look) who walked by Kevin later in the episode.

The Leftovers 2.08 policeAnd for those (like me) who were slightly disappointed that Kevin didn’t take a walk down clothing memory lane this is for you.

Kevin GarveyAt least those aviators have made the leap from Mapleton to Jarden.

Earlier this season I wrote about Nora’s change of look, while Kevin pretty much stayed the same other than losing his uniform and along with it some of his power/control. Not that this uniform protected him from the crazy back home – remember the dry cleaning incident and all of his shirts hanging in the woods?! In fact his handcuffs are now part of his daily routine to stop his sleepwalking rather than being part of his job. Plus he has put himself in danger thanks to the handcuffs when he stopped by the fire station to get them removed; now John (the self appointed man in charge) has his hand print which will place him at the scene of his daughter’s disappearance and there is no way John is going to believe any of Kevin’s sleepwalking reasoning.

The Leftovers 2.08 wellPatti dies for a second time with Kevin at her side and unlike the first version where she took her own life and he embraced her as she died, the embrace comes first and is followed by Kevin drowning her at the bottom of the well. It is all he can do to save himself and complete his mission (the suit did the trick), but what we don’t know is what got whispered in his ear Lost in Translation style on the bridge. What it comes down to is not killing an enemy, but understanding who Patti was and why the sudden departure gave her a twisted new lease of life. Who knew a story about Jeopardy could be this devastating and explain so much about a character’s journey.

The warning that he will be forever changed is incredibly foreboding and no matter whether this is all in Kevin’s head or if he has experienced a version of the afterlife he is going to have a hard time explaining exactly what he has been through. Especially as we definitely saw him clawing his way out of the very real Jarden ground.

New Town, New Wardrobe for Nora on The Leftovers

13 Oct

When somebody joins the Guilty Remnant on The Leftovers they must leave the trappings of their old life behind including the clothes they used to wear. Nora’s change of costuming and the way she wears her hair when they move from Mapleton to Miracle (or rather Jarden, Texas)is less dramatic, but noticeable nonetheless.

In season one the most memorable item from Nora’s wardrobe is her denim jacket because it is the boldest color she wears; everything else is in the neutral wheelhouse with plenty of grey, navy, beige and black. In fact her Mapleton costuming is pretty similar to Kevin’s in that he doesn’t tend to stray from this color palette either – throw in some white tees for Kevin – and their instant connection can been seen on both a surface and deeper level. Cut to Miracle and the change is apparent; Nora’s suddenly wearing a whole lot of red and pink and Kevin is still in the same tees and undone button down shirts.

The Leftovers 2.02 Nora and KevinKevin and Nora haven’t taken the traditional route toward moving in together and it is what you might call rushed. Before they had even been on a date Nora suggested they take a trip together and this idea of getting away from the town which holds so many bad memories was planted long before Kevin’s dad recommended the same course of action. Kevin also warned Nora before their first date that he is pretty fucked up and these two have been very forthcoming in the secrets they share. The fantastic confession scene at the start of this week’s episode “A Matter of Geography” is indicative of why the Kevin and Nora relationship works; even after they’ve revealed the parts they are ashamed of they still want to make a go of it.

Or rather it shows how Nora and Kevin are fundamentally different as he thinks his secret will be the bomb that blows this whole thing up and she sees it as a sign they can be okay. Kevin repeatedly hits the self-destruct button throughout this episode beyond this confession scene; he digs up Patti’s body and then purposefully gets pulled over by state police and then he reacts in rage to the state of the new house. Full disclosure is not an easy prospect even for the most transparent of relationships; Kevin’s secret is far bigger, but we don’t know how much Nora has told Kevin about the theory the MIT researchers have about why some people disappeared and that it might happen again.

Jill gets it and it is a matter of feeling safe which is why Nora has gone all in on this property and place. For Kevin, Miracle is no different from Mapleton as his demons have followed him here. And by demons I mean Patti and her presence is just as strong. Secrets can eat away at you and this one is doing just that and his spiraling takes him to an almost deadly place when he wakes up half drowned in a body of water that is no longer there with a cinder block tided to his ankle. Patti is there to keep him company much to his dismay.

He has told Nora so much, but this secret is just too big and I think he is probably scared what might happen if he reveals this humdinger. There is a certain element of denial he can maintain if he keeps it to himself and yet headphones and loud music can only drown out so much. The season 2 artwork puts the focus on this couple and actually points in part to Kevin’s new ankle accessory; he is reaching for Nora and there is a push/pull between his mystical darkness and her new found optimism. From what we have seen in the way of Nora’s reactions to Kevin’s secrets I think she will be able to handle this and the more he tries to deal with it alone, the worse it will get for everyone involved.

The Leftovers 2.02 KevinAll the trappings of Kevin’s old life are still there; the restlessness, secrecy and look of panic etched across his face. Nora does bring out some calm and this union could be soothing if he would only tell her what the fuck is going on.

They’ve made a pretty big commitment to each other and the child they have adopted, but even that was not smooth sailing thanks to a broken washing machine. Kevin doesn’t have much luck with household appliances this week. But they look pretty complementary costuming wise in their appointment and they are both emphatic about their relationship status. Yes, Nora sounded far more convincing.

Also this baby is the most adorable.

The Leftovers 2.02 Nora, Kevin and LilyNora has worn her hair straight for pretty much the entire run, all with the exception of the pre-departure episode “The Garveys At Their Best.”

The Leftovers 1.09 NoraSo it is significant that she has returned to this look when moving to a new town where they don’t know what happened to her family and now she has a new one.

The Leftovers 2.02 pieBetween the waves and the injection of red and pink tones into her costuming Nora’s look has been softened and moves away from her business wear styling from season 1. She is embracing motherhood and there is added femininity to her attire. Especially when she is holding both Lily and a freshly baked pie.

The Leftovers 2.02 Kevin, Nora, Jill and LilyNora isn’t all floaty skirts and dresses and it is worth noting there is some mirroring of Jill in the scene above wearing a vest (red once again) and jeans. Carrie Coon discussed Nora’s relationship with Jill in this wonderful Vox interview mentioning how Nora “wants to be cool! She wants to be the best pal” and this is evident here. Jill has moved from the dreaded annoying teen position to someone I want to spend more time with and part of this is down to dialing down her antagonism levels.

There is now a certain kinship between Jill and Nora; instead of eye rolling her way through her dad and Nora’s confessions Jill instead cracked a joke showing acceptance. The chemistry between these three actors is excellent and there is a strong sense of salvation in this second chance. Potential issues could occur down the road, but at this point Jill has Nora’s back because Jill knows what a good thing her dad has got despite the peeling wallpaper and lack of lights. So Kevin, please don’t fuck this up.

One item I hope Nora has brought with her to Miracle is her perfect hat for spying and head protection is vital in a hotter climate.

The Leftovers 2.02 Nora hatShopping montages and throwing out old clothes were absent so everything we see Nora wearing in Miracle could have been in the suitcases she already had packed ready for her escape. Plus there are items such as her denim jacket and penchant for wearing necklaces that have made the transition.

This isn’t Nora removing herself completely from her old life, instead this style change is indicative of a new location and embracing the family she is now part of. For Kevin despite the changes that have taken place there is still this firm grip he can’t shake so items such as his aviators and Apple earbuds are a vital shield. Plus those glasses do look really good.

The Leftovers 2.02 Kevin aviatorsFor the Guilty Remnant the white uniform is their way of shedding any kind of connection to their past and any form of personal identity. Nora’s costuming/hair evolution points back to the past as well as welcoming her present; it is why she is so desperate to get away from the town that took her first family to a place where there were no departures. Red is a powerful color and adds weight to the idea that Nora is the heart of this family unit while also showing the gulf which grows as a result of Kevin’s big dark secret.

Jill’s words to her father are worth repeating “Please don’t fuck this up.” Even if we know he’s gonna.

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