Photo cred: pausethescreen.com
For some time, I’ve been back and forth in regards to following this show. From its beginning trailers and such, it’s a very interesting conception of a show; almost 2% of the world’s population disappearing all of a sudden, with the story following a small town’s struggle to overcome this happening three years later. The great Damon Lindelof hoisting this show’s sail, in addition to writing the pilot and having another talented person in Peter Berg directing this looks good on paper. Then again, maybe most of us can’t trust Lindelof after the series finale of Lost depending on who you ask? From multiple people I have heard both positive and negative aspects coming out of this show. Either that the story was just boring or that the actors’ performances were superb. I finally caved in to see for myself. One of the first directing choices I liked done by Berg to start was the small montage of audio 9-11 phone calls all at once informing of this mysterious and sudden disappearances before these normal people’s very eyes. No crazy camera shots, no overacting by numerous to have watch, just the sound of these frantic people with a black screen present. This makes you listen and by doing so, he has already captured your attention by using only just one of the two senses you need to watch television (unless you smell, taste or touch your TV). The episode as a whole was well shot, as I especially enjoyed the very short flashbacks by several characters in this pilot when talking or thinking of an event relatable or part of the conversation, showing what they’re saying is either probably true or probably false. My only fear is if Lindelof doesn’t pick up on those cut scenes, where we see Kevin having sex with his wife supposedly on October 14, or even with his son Tom witnessing the people committing suicide at his college, he’s losing out on potential. Although the latter may not have much to do with the plot going forward, it’s interesting to see as a viewer how characters start, evolve, and end up during the course of a season to its (or their) end. Let me just add as well I’d be disappointed if they killed off Tom’s character so quickly. Chris Zylka did a good job in the short time he had, not portraying the typical small town young guy who is brash and idiotic where by the time the episode is over, the audience won’t care for him. He may be someone who doesn’t know who he himself is or maybe he does. Clearly that is up to him, but I’d like to see more of him coming up. He and his father’s relationship is what I am definitely interested in, since we saw the dynamic of Jill and Kevin’s relationship throughout the episode. Both Justin Theroux and Margaret Qualley did outstanding in their roles, I very much so enjoyed their performances. The main theme seen is acceptance where although Jill looks to accept what has happened to her mother as her father Kevin seems to have accepted it but both haven’t. An interesting writing choice I liked how the high school students could not care less about the Pledge of Allegiance (which is evident from my personal perspective seeing other kids in my high school) but then seeing them go onto the floor to pray for those lost. To me, I always like the little aspects of an episode, heavily for me focusing on three components: Writing/Directing, performance, and story. I especially thought the performance as a whole was great by the actors, with the writing/directing as well as story were good in general. The whole time of figuring out who these people in white who do not speak during the episode lost my interest until the end with the fight. I guessed by the middle of the episode that one of the women in white was Kevin’s wife, which is an intriguing thought. The main story sees that there have been many who disappeared suddenly on October 14, where it looks as if Jill’s mother was one of those and not one of the people in white. That changes circumstances for the story going forward. I wish there were more hints to show who Laurie was and even though I had a good feeling she was Kevin’s wife, it was a good reveal. The ending confused me a bit as again it referenced to the beginning which I liked, but what I got out of it I suppose was how Kevin wants to make it seem he hasn’t changed much since this event happened and his wife left to be with the people in white. Whether he wants to admit it or not, he has and we see that he did when it came to the dogs. Theroux did an excellent job though in that and in many other scenes.
To finish, this pilot was good as a whole. What I liked was the way it started made it seem like it already had its characters established and there really was not much confusion to me, that this show just picked up somewhere randomly which is true, as we just saw October 14, and then three years later. The writing was a bit questionable for some parts as well as the story with both at times a bit unnecessary for viewers to continue watching so some of the choices made to me were ones I personally did not see interesting. Performances though, again, were great and especially by Theroux and Qualley. Lindelof did a good job in regards to starting this show fresh besides a few things here and there while Berg did excellent in directing this. I knew from the start this show is more about those who did not disappear, as it is called “The Leftovers.” In Kevin’s case, he feels as if his wife was one who disappeared as she is with the people in white and does not talk now. Kevin is one of these “leftovers” but for different reasons. Yeah, we may find out how and why these people disappeared but we may not. I don’t think we need to find out because more importantly the story is about those were left behind, and see their reactions and how they act with those gone. This is something for me that I need to watch more to get a better sense but for now, it has left a good mark for me.
- The decision for Meg to stay with the people in white didn’t make sense to me too much as I didn’t have much thought for her or her future to be husband, but seeing the woman in charge of this group finally talk was surprising.
- Again for me, I saw it as at first the ones who departed were those in white. But clearly I was wrong.
- In addition, it was well done the moments of the parade and the music overtaking the rest of the sound as it showed the people in white preparing to go lift their signs up.
- The decision of having Sam’s mother appear near the end of the episode I liked where the only other time you saw her was in the beginning.
- I do like how (and hope) it isn’t just focused on Kevin and his family for the rest of the season but the screen time for his character was just right as I am definitely interested in those other few who are affected by this event.
- Seeing even just a little bit of Christopher Eccleston’s character was great as his performance as the Doctor in “Doctor Who” is entertaining and great to watch. So I am hoping as well his character in this becomes a key part in this show as Eccleston is one good actor.