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Tag Archives: Damon Lindelof

Music Monday: The Leftovers and the End of the World

29 May

There is no other show that has the ability to make me tear up at the sound of a few bars of music quite as easily as The Leftovers. Max Richter’s score is the number cause of my best Claire Danes chin quiver impression and this has been out in full force during this last season.

This isn’t to take away from the acting or the writing as I was a full ugly crying mess before “Dona Nobis Pacem 1” kicked in during the impromptu therapy session between Laurie and Nora in last week’s episode “Certified,” but there are few tracks that can conjure this kind of reaction later on when the music has been separated from the scene. In fact the only other track I can think of that has done this recently is The Gloaming’s “Allistrum’s March” from Fleabag.One of the things the score does best on The Leftovers is reach deep into your soul while also recalling previous scenes that have used these pieces of music; a cue to remember. Some of these are themes are for certain characters or emphasizing aspects such as Kevin’s internal struggle. Or in the case of every time Kevin crosses over to the other side the use of Verdi’s “Va, pensiero” signals the bizarro world aspects and the mission at hand.Blending contemporary with classic and genres across the board could become incoherent, but like a lot of things that makes The Leftovers so special the variety of song choices works because you don’t know what you’re going to get next. It might be trampolining to the Wu-Tang Clan or A-ha’s “Take on Me” becoming a poignant reminder of all that has been lost and might be found. Or it could be Max Richter’s score giving your tear ducts a cathartic workout.

Season 3 also saw a shift in how the opening credits music has operated with a song of the week instead of the typical one song. “The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)” dove back into the well using the original theme from season 1 causing me to burst out laughing quickly followed by tears. Aka The Leftovers way; the absurdity levels of aspects like penis scanners coupled with Justin Theroux’s ability to crush me with his eyebrow emotions was off the scale this week.  Instead of using the score during the dramatic double Kevin surgery as blood spattered all over the tailored to perfection white suit – so much boot envy too – music supervisor Liza Richardson opted for The Beach Boys classic “God Only Knows.” In an interview with Alan Sepinwall, Richardson talks about using a song that has connotations with another show (in this case Big Love) and ultimately this was a showrunner decision:

“I find that my show runners in general don’t usually care about that. Whenever I see something scripted or they request a song, I always look it up to see where it’s been used before. I would rather a song have sort of a fresh use, so I always warn them and say, “Oh this has been used in this, this, this, and this. Are you sure you want to go there?” I find that usually they don’t care. It doesn’t matter. There’s so much TV out there, everybody has a unique experience of it.”

It is a fascinating interview and includes how they landed on which Wu-Tang Clan track to use, the Kevin karaoke moment and what songs missed the cut for one reason or another.Bringing me to the final credits track choice from the penultimate episode of The Leftovers and this is a strength of many HBO shows. It is also one I have discussed on numerous occasions in relation to why this final song of an episode is so important.

Here it plays out after Kevin Sr. has asked the most rom-com movie question of them all – “Now what?” – and there is a definite leaning into these romantic elements as we hit the final stretch. The opening scene of “The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)” flashes back to when things between Kevin and Nora were good; they’re sharing a candle lit bubble bath while talking about what they would like to happen to their remains after they die.

Not the most romantic conversation per se, but there is tenderness, intimacy and dark humor here that gives weight to why Kevin and Nora are the OTP of The Leftovers world. Damon Lindelof has described this show as a love story with these two characters at its heart and my shipper loving heart is hoping they find their way back to each other. Even if the final scene of the season 3 premiere suggests something far bleaker.

Kevin spends his time chasing Nora or the idea of her at least when he is in this alt-universe; she is the image that keeps flashing up and there’s even the untitled romance novel he has written that concludes he is to blame for the end of their relationship. Is this “The Book of Nora” that the title of the finale alludes to? He’s removed one heart in another world, but does this mean he can save himself, his relationship and the small circle of broken souls who have put so much faith in him?

The grand question of “Now what?” for Kevin Sr. has nothing to do with his son’s ex, but as the strains of Patty Duke’s “The End of the World” plays over this rooftop chat it is all I can think about.

Everything looks the same, but the internal struggle continues.

With just one episode left can Kevin et al find some semblance of peace?

Bonus Leftovers content via Instagram and director/producer Mimi Leder shared a couple of delights.

Mind bending Spectacular!!!

A post shared by Mimi Leder (@mimi.leder) on

Alt-American Gothic

The most BRILLIANT cast. EVER!!!

A post shared by Mimi Leder (@mimi.leder) on

The second time I’ve used this in a week – much to my dismay – but #SquadGoals. And yes I am coveting Carrie Coon’s striped top, because of course.

And for all your Leftovers season 3 playlist needs:

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The Leftovers Season 3 Premiere Red Carpet

5 Apr

April is a busy TV month and my most anticipated returning show is The Leftovers, which is back for one final season. The HBO promotional machine is doing some great work including several teasers and key art which does a good job of following on from the imagery used for the previous two seasons. Plus this time Kevin is not alone in his rage or grasping for a hand he can’t quite reach.

The premiere took place last night in LA and a lot of the cast were in attendance. Plus some expected famous dates and one that was maybe a bit of surprise.The ladies of The Leftovers (minus Liv Tyler and Janel Moloney) in a fun mix of styles, color and pattern. Love the color and shimmer of Carrie Coon’s frock and this is my favorite look from this group.

Margaret Qualley’s jacket is a dream, but I would definitely chop off the sheer portion of her frock and turn it into a Cher from tribute. That Calvin Klein dress is very much on point for the current ’90s nostalgia boom. Jasmin Savoy Brown gets the lipstick win and Amy Brenneman is serving great drama.And the dudes with various shades of grey, Justin Theroux doing his skinny/black suit thing and Kevin Carroll adding both pattern and color. I applaud Carroll’s effort to do something different, but the suit needs to be slightly more fitted and he could take some tie width lessons from Theroux. Jovan Adepo gets the grey suit win.And the creatives with Mimi Leder (I will always think of E.R. when I see her name), Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta joined by Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon.In unexpected celebrity at this premiere news because I didn’t realize they were dating; I give you Paris Hilton. And Chris Zylka matched his tie to her dress. I wonder if she watches the show.  This is quintessential Jen and Justin red carpet attire, it is fine but also nothing to get excited about. Got to give Jennifer Aniston the pocket point bonus though and Justin Theroux gives great slightly raised eyebrow always.

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.

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