The Leftovers “AXIS MUNDI” [2.1] | A
For a show that reveals so little, a lot is said. HBO’s The Leftovers season 2 opens up with a powerful, often mesmerizing, first episode. As “Axis Mundi” begins we watch an extended opening of Jarden, Texas during the time of the first settlers. The show unveils what I assume are the themes of not only season 2 but The Leftovers series arch; unknown disturbances, loss, hope, poisoning [both literal and figurative], death, and new life.
After season 1 used up all the source material from Tom Perrotta’s novel, the creators of HBO’s TV show had to extend into new territory. Show creators Mr. Perrotta and Damon Lindelof, along with writers for episode 1 Jacqueline Hoyt, did a wonderful job of moving the show’s plot from Mapleton, NY to a fresh location. Much like the central characters of the Garvey family this new beginning in Jarden, Texas is nothing short of a miracle. It is fitting then that season 2’s new setting is,in fact, nicknamed “Miracle, TX” a town of 9,261 souls spared during the October 14 rapture. The occurrence was so unique that the town of Jarden is a home to the Miracle National Park which has in turn created an odd tourist destination to lost souls, the grieving, and like the audience – those seeking answers to the rapture. This tourism has fostered a culture of capitalism gone astray as buses pull into an encampment of pop-up tents offering trinkets, souvenirs, and false hope.
The Leftover brings a familiar director, Mimi Leder, who helmed last season’s gems “Gladys” [1.5], “Solace for Tired Feet” [1.7], and “The Prodigal Son Returns [1.10].” Her direction on “Axis Mundi” [axis mundi referring to the “cosmic axis” or “world axis” is a philosophical connection between Heaven and Earth] is wonderful, her wide setting shots inter-cut with very personal close-ups are powerful and create the emotional connection that makes “Axis Mundi” an episode that stays with the viewer without understanding why.
The choice to begin episode 1 with the town’s residents and introduce the Murphy family makes perfect sense with the new setting. The episode 2 preview leads us to believe that we will get a clearer picture of how the Garvey family made its way to Jarden. Setting the table in episode 1 was a strong choice, both creatively and for the story. Continuing the trend from season 1, the creators prove that the story is greater than the modern day TV need to hold it’s audience’s hand. Going nearly 40 minutes before a familiar face appears, in the form of Rev. Matt Jamison and his wife, is a direct message to anybody that needs to be walked through The Leftovers – nobody is here to help you. The Murphy family, and Jarden, TX are quickly established within the time frame allotted. The family and setting are both confident, mysterious, and more streamlined than any introduction season 1 offered.
We look forward to the rest of the season 2 and hope you stick along and help understand this crazy ride.
- Eddie Winslow is back! Darius McCrary from Family Matters fame is back as as [possible] palm reader. He does some great scene work with what was given to him. Look forward to seeing his character grow and get filled in.
- What was with the scene of Evy Murphy [Jasmin Savoy Brown] & friends running through the woods naked!?
- Lesson learned: When the sign says not to take the water – you don’t take the f’in water. Its punishable by rapture.
- Thoughts on the new title sequence?