Show: The Leftovers.
Episode: 3,”Off Ramp.”
Written by:Damon Lindelof & Patrick Somerville.
Running Time: 51-58 min.
This was interesting and much needed episode, the third that exists in relative same time as the events that have happened in the previous two episodes, though this time from the point of view of Laurie and Tom. As viewers had been wondering what had happened to those two characters since the end of the last season. This season, it looks like Laurie is out of the cult fully now and is not only talking, but also counseling others in some sort of deprogramming group therapy program and writing a book about her experiences with the Guilty Remnant, while her son infiltrates various cells of the cult and brings one or two of the more dissatisfied members to his mother to help.
One of this episode’s strong points has to be the use of music. There is this sense of frenetic relationship between Laurie and sound in and of self as well as music. Now that she is no longer in a world of relative silence and seclusion from speech, there is this manic embracing on the part of her character both within the digenesis of the episode and the musical score without that reflects her desperate attempts to realign herself back with the world and reject the thoughts and emotional state that made her attracted to the Guilty Remnant, a denial against the end of the world which has already ended according to the cult. This is particularly highlighted in the scenes between Laurie and the Guilty Remnant, such as the transitions between her scenes and the cult where there is less, if any, sound, making during their moments and this sort of loud fast paced drums during hers, making the relationship more poignant through the jarring auditory juxtaposition.
On the narrative end meanwhile, there was perhaps a fair more bit of exposition then I thought should have been used, but they at least relatively explain the exposition as part of the group sessions so that wasn’t too bad. I thought that the flashback moment narrated by the assholish publisher was actually not bad and a good example of how an exposition moment itself can be used as a tool to incite a dramatic emotional moment in the focal character, as well as provide a bit of background, which it does very well here .
The progression of events in the plot was well done, if a little predictable here and there, and there was good climax moments for both mother and son, though the son’s was perhaps not handled quite as well aftermath-wise, as his emotional reaction didn’t seem to quite jive with what the Guilty Remnant did to him (though I suppose they could be waiting for later episodes to flesh that out) he was upset, yes, but didn’t have that quite right level of realistic trauma for being kidnapped, raped, then threatened with being burned to death. The Guilty Remnant however, was rather poignantly highlighted in their contradictory existence as aggressive pacifists during that scene.
Overall, a decent episode with a few weak points but a good use of relationships, both character to character, and character to circumstance/events utilized both inter-personally and through sound, some satisfying drama and action mix, and a titillating ending that leaves you wondering where the story line of these two characters is going to go.