Violet recaps the pilot of HBO’s The Leftovers, which premiered on June 29! In this show, 2% of the world’s population suddenly disappears without a trace, and we follow a few of the survivors that have been left behind. Following the recap, both Violet and Josh share their thoughts about the episode.
Don’t need the episode recap for the pilot of The Leftovers? Click here to jump directly to Violet’s thoughts on the episode!
To see Josh’s thoughts on the Leftovers pilot, click here to get directly there!
Episode Recap of The Leftovers, Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
On October 14, a woman is sitting in her car talking on the phone, when suddenly her baby disappears from his car seat in the back seat. A child cries for his father, who has also vanished. The screen goes black and we hear 911 calls about people disappearing.
Cut to three years later, a man is out on a jog, when he comes across a dog. He carefully approaches it, and has almost pet it, when a man shoots the dog, then drives off in his pickup truck. Elsewhere, a woman wakes up on a floor upon which several other women are sleeping, and everyone is dressed in white. At a high school, morning announcements are said, along with optional prayer time given. Meanwhile, an older man gets into a van with a younger man. The older man has to put a blindfold on while the young man drives them to their destination.
We learn that 2% of the world’s population, or 140 million people, disappeared on October 14, and no one knows how it happened or where they went.
The woman in white sees that her name is not on a “Heroes Day” list, and she complains to the woman in charge – but by writing, not speaking. The woman agrees in writing to let her go.
Kevin Garvey, the jogger, turns out to be Chief of Polic, and brings the dead dog’s tags to its owner. But she doesn’t care because it was her husband’s dog, and he disappeared.
The young man tells the older man, Mr. Witten, that he will soon feel unburdened. It seems they are heading to meet some guy named Wayne.
Kevin shows up late to a meeting, because he was told the wrong time. There they discuss the details of the Heroes Day holiday. Kevin doesn’t like the idea because the G.R. group is going to show up, and he’s afraid someone is going to get hurt. However, Lucy, the mayor, refuses to call off the Heroes Day celebration.
Jill, Kevin’s daughter, is at field hockey practice and gets tripped, so she hits the girl in the mouth. The coach mentions that she knows things have been hard for Jill since her mother went away.
The young man, Tom, reaches his destination and hands over Congressman Witten’s phone before the vehicle is allowed entry into the remote property. Congressman Witten goes into a room with Wayne. Meanwhile, Tom talks up a young girl outside. He gets a phone call from his dad, Kevin, but lets it go to voicemail.
The woman and the others dressed in white pass around some files with people’s pictures.
Jill and her friend Aimee get stoned outside of school and discuss going to a party later on.
Congressman Witten exits his session with Wayne feeling much better. Tom is told to stay there overnight and that Wayne will come to him later to talk to him.
Kevin, Jill, and Aimee have an awkward family dinner. He tells the girls to stay away from Heroes Day. Aimee talks Kevin into letting Jill borrow his car so she can go to the party.
As a couple exits their house, the woman in white and another woman in white stand outside smoking in the street. The two women show up outside the restaurant where the couple goes to eat. The guy goes outside to talk to them, while the women stare at the woman inside. When the couple drives home, the two women in white are sitting there waiting on the curb. The woman yells at them to go away, and hits one.
At the party, teens play Spin the Bottle using an app on a phone. There are actions other than kissing that come up on the phone though. When Jill’s turn comes up, it stops on her friend Max with the instruction “Choke.” They go into a bedroom and she chokes him while he jerks off. As she leaves the house, she runs into a couple of friends, who need some pliers, so she checks her dad’s trunk – and finds the dead dog. The teens take it upon themselves to bury the dogs, and we hear a rumor that there’s a pack of dogs running around that saw their owners disappear and went crazy.
Wayne comes in to visit Tom in the middle of the night, and tells him that Christine is important, and that he needs to protect her – and to keep his hands off of her. Wayne then quotes a Bible verse and tells him that the 3 year grace period is over, and it’s time to get to work.
Kevin is driving at night, and runs into a deer. Then he suddenly wakes up on the floor of his bedroom with a phone call telling him the parade starts in 10 minutes. He goes to Jill’s room, but she’s not there. He goes into the kitchen and finds it ransacked. With no car, he is forced to walk to the parade.
Kevin spots Jill at the Heroes Day event and yells at her. He has no response when she brings up the dead dog. Kevin then has to go to the stage while the mayor makes a speech and unveils a memorial. As Nora Durst, who lost her entire family on October 14, makes a speech, the people dressed in white show up and each hold up a letter, with the message reading “Stop Wasting Your Breath.” Crowd members get angry and a riot breaks out from crowd members attacking the peaceful protestors, and the police, including Kevin, have to use batons to beat them off, then try to hold the angry crowd back.
Later, Kevin is sitting in a bar. On TV we see the various celebrities that disappeared on October 14, including Shaquille O’Neal, Jennifer Lopez, the Pope, and Gary Busey. Kevin talks to the woman from the beginning of the episode whose baby disappeared. He sees the man who shot the dog exit the bar, and tries to chase him, but he drives off in his pickup truck.
A drunk Kevin shows up at the house of the people who wear white clothes, looking for Lorrie. It turns out she is the woman in white that the episode has been focusing on, and she is his wife. He punches a guy to get to her, and he pleads with her to come home before he is apprehended. Then he drives home. Right after he leaves, a taxi drives up and Meg gets out. She is the woman from the couple that the white clothed people were following. Meg asks to stay a couple of nights. The leader, Patti, breaks her silence to introduce herself and Lorrie to Meg, though tells her they won’t speak to each other again.
Kevin, driving, screeches to a halt when he sees a deer standing in the middle of the road. He slowly approaches it, but a large pack of dogs runs up and ravenously slay the deer. Just then, the man in the pickup truck drives up and tells Kevin “They are not our dogs, not anymore.” Together, they shoot the dogs.
Violet’s Thoughts on Season 1 Episode 1 of The Leftovers: Pilot
I feel like most people are calling this “The Rapture show,” but is it really the Rapture? The idea is mentioned in the show, but mostly to debunk the theory that it’s the Rapture, with people pointing out that some of the people who disappeared on October 14 were not good people. Indeed, we are shown a montage toward the end of the episode where we see what celebrities disappeared that day, some of which the general population probably would not consider exceptionally “good.” For three years they’ve been trying to figure out what happened, but science has not come up with an explanation. Will we find out by the end of this season what it was?
For the most part, I felt the episode was pretty slow – and pretty weird. However, I must admit that I am already invested in the characters. Like I’m sure the show wanted you to assume, I had thought that Kevin’s wife/Jill’s mother had disappeared on October 14. Instead, she had gone to join the G.R. cult. What is their deal anyway? How did they start, and how and why does one decide to become a member? How exactly do they recruit? We saw them looking at files with people’s pictures, and some paperwork. Do they target people who seem troubled, and then just stalk them until that person breaks down and checks out the G.R.? Why don’t they talk? Why do they all smoke? Why did Meg decide to go to the G.R.? What’s her back story?
What’s the deal with the dogs? Would the dog that Kevin approached have been a nice dog had it not been shot, or would it have attacked Kevin? Are all of the dogs gone? Are there no more pet dogs? And what was the deal with the deer? Does Kevin have some sort of psychic power? Was his kitchen really ransacked, or did he just imagine that? Did the deer do it, or a burglar?
What’s up with this Wayne guy anyway? Does he have real powers, or are people just desperate to believe that he does, and that they can so easily unburden themselves?
So many questions, and now I have to continue watching this show to get the answers!
Also, it was cool to see “Buddy Garrity” from Friday Night Lights, and to see the Ninth Doctor himself, Christopher Eccleston!
Josh’s Thoughts: The Leftovers, Season 1 Episode 1: Pilot
My first thought when I finished the first episode of The Leftovers was “only 2% of the world’s population has disappeared?” I guess this is a pretty large number of people, but I also feel that there are diseases which have wiped out much more than 2% of the population. But then I continue my train of thought and realize this: If a disease wipes out 15% of the worlds population, that is a ton of people, and life would change dramatically, but also, this can at least be explained through science. As the episode tells us, science can’t explain why these people disappeared. I find it really interesting that the show has specifically not explained why the people have disappeared. When I first heard of the show, I assumed it was the Rapture that caused the disappearance, but leaving the explanation unanswered leaves the question up to the imagination of both the viewers of the show and the characters within it. We see this begin with the characters right away, as many of them turn to religion in various ways–cults and scripture.
What is even more interesting is people trying to deny the religious aspect to the disappearances. We see some people try to say, “So-and-so was a terrible person, this can’t be the Rapture!” So what else could it be? Aliens could be an answer. Some sort of cosmic anomaly perhaps? Something in “space-time” went haywire? I guess the question I have for the show is this–will viewers/characters in the show ever find out what the reason for the disappearance is?
Not knowing why the people have disappeared, whether they believe it was the Rapture or not, has to at least put the thought in a person’s mind. Does this turn people that may ordinarily be good into someone who is evil? Think about this: If you truly thought the Rapture happened, and you were still on Earth, wouldn’t you begin to convince yourself you must be evil? Therefore you would begin make decisions which reflect that train of thought? Then looking at it from another angle–maybe some people who do not flip to “evil” may try to save themselves. They would turn to religion–and even cults if they thought there was a chance that they would be saved. Then I am sure there is the third crowd–the ones that become apathetic to life, and “robot” through life.
So far the character that has really intrigued me (and obviously was meant to), is the police chief, Kevin. I really am looking forward to figuring out his deal.
While the episode seemed a little slow, I think I will be into this show for the long haul. Being very analytically and scientifically minded in nature, I am really looking forward to the research done to find out what happened to these people. I hope that storyline is developed, and we aren’t left with, “Well, what happened, happened!” I need answers!
Scenes from The Leftovers, Season 1 Episode 2: Penguin One, Us Zero
Here are scenes from the next episode of The Leftovers, titled Penguin One, Us Zero: