Show: The Leftovers.
Episode: 6, “Lens.”
Written by: Damon Lindelof & Tom Perrotta.
Running Time: 57 min.
In this episode we start to see the fallout of the missing girls and what it might mean as both of the main cast families try to make sense of themselves and each other in the wake of the event.
In this episode, the strength lies in the character dynamic between Nora (Carrie Coon) and Erika (Regina King) as mothers who have lost their children to mysterious circumstances. Erika Dealing with the recent disappearance of her daughter was realistic and fraught with well-developed tension and drama as a figure repressed by the pretend ideal of a loving family out of a sense of guilt that she can’t talk about with her husband due to his intolerance of unusual circumstance/non-normative things. She represents a type of explanation to tragedy that is the more unbelievable, and self-inflicted mentality no matter how ridiculous it may sound to an outsider or doubter in her reasoning, in this case represented by Nora, being aggressive and lashes out at someone who tells her that her belief is wrong.
Nora meanwhile is trying to separate herself from her own tragedy, in no way believing she is at fault for it until she is confronted by the disappearance of the teens within a day of her moving in next door. She believes in the mythos of Miracle, or desperately wishes to, moving her family to the town in an effort to avoid both her past and present problems. The disappearance of the girls forces her into challenging her perceptions and in her anger at the rupture to her own belief, she throws a rock through Erika’s window in a fit of rage.
The beauty of it is that despite the women both containing a certain hard logic to the here and now, they also, contrastly, and hypocritically, have a non-logical belief that drives them. Both emphasize the very real aggression that many people have when their belief systems are challenged, even if they can’t be explained logically to others, a cycle of this particular non-logical based rage coming full circle when Erika returns the favor to Nora’s window when Nora challenges her belief in her fault for her daughter’s disappearance.
The subtext of meaning in this episode was very well couched through Nora and Erika, and applause should be given to the brilliant writers for so well presenting multiple layers of extra social commentary within the overall social commentary, something this show is very well at doing as a hopefully continual running theme.
All in all, a good and interesting episode that utilized its characters, subtext, and themes well, as well as dropping a few little plot bombs to hook viewers into the next episode.