Episode 2 of HBO's "The Leftovers" digs a bit deeper into the psyche of those left behind from the rapture-like event shown in the pilot.
The people in this small Mapleton town cope with this disaster by acting out in bizarre ways. Would an actual rapture cause those left behind to stop speaking completely, see things that aren't there and use sympathy as a means of getting ahead? Or would it be the beginning of Armageddon as many dispensationalists believe it would?
Kevin Garvey, the show's main protagonist, bottles up most of his negative emotions caused by his son and wife who defected to cult groups after the incident. He hallucinates, fights toasters and seeks advice from a father who was thrown in a nursing home for hearing voices.
Garvey's daughter Jill and friend Aimee encounter the gun-toting Nora Durst at a coffee house. Her behavior, while in sync with everyone else who is coping with the loss, seems to fascinate the girls. The pilot showed us the environment these girls now live in,
Out West, Garvey's son Tom murders a man while defending Christine, a valued disciple to the mysterious Wayne. Their camp was raided by some sort SWAT team and now the three of them are all on the run. Wayne, though, seems like some kind of false prophet or healer.
The Guilty Remnant is probably the most interesting group on the show, but also the hardest to watch, since they only communicate by writing notes on paper. The converted Laurie Garvey is given a task that involves having Meg chop down a tree with an axe in order to assimilate her into the group. TGR exhibits extremely strange behavior like chain smoking and their vow of silence.
The second episode of "The Leftovers" gives no new explanation as to any of the characters' issues, but solidifies them all a bit more in the minds of viewers. Garvey, who seemed to have it together in the first episode, could be hallucinating frequently. His father, Kevin Sr., appears to be a voice of reason during a visit, but the unstable old man may hint at what his son's future will look like.
There are a lot of stories to follow, but "The Leftovers" still lacks a central character or theme that fans can root for. Nora's storyline added little to the shock value, Wayne's cultlike following and healing powers are themes already seen in shows like "The Following," and much of this episode lacked the originality and spark of the pilot. In the actual rapture, there would probably be more than a few people turning to and against religion. However, the writers play it safe, largely avoiding that confrontation.
With the obvious parallels to the biblical rapture present in the show, one question believers might ask is why a loving God would do such a thing? Unfortunately, "The Leftovers" largely ignores this question so far, even though it used a religious painting in the opening credits of episode 2 and has concepts inspired by dispensationalist theology. Acknowledging this could make the show more interesting.