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The Leftovers “Ten Thirteen” Review (2×09)

30 Nov

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“It’s pointless.”

How appropriate. The show returns to this knock knock joke from the beginning of the season in “Ten Thirteen”, this time telling it in a Meg context as she sits on a bench with Evie. It’s a dumb joke that also plays as a nihilistic statement, as an encapsulation of many of the storylines of the show. It’s the central statement of Meg’s storyline, one that has become increasingly prominent as time has progressed.

And as it has progressed, Liv Tyler has become better and better, her character going from softer and kinder to steelier and more callous. I don’t know if I completely buy the character shift–although if you think about it, it’s not too drastic–but there’s no doubt that Tyler’s performance is yet another to add to the show’s growing Emmy consideration list. On the topic of the shift, regardless of my feelings about it, it’s also clear that the very point of the storyline is both how Meg may have and may not have changed. The episode fills in more of her backstory, focusing on the day when she was snorting coke in the bathroom as her mother died at the restaurant table just outside. It also covers a fairly long period of time for her in order to set up what should be a (literally) explosive season finale.

The idea with Meg is that she’s not a huge fan of the way the GR goes about things, nor is she a fan of Jarden being labeled a “Miracle” town. Life is just pointless, she believes. It’s a joke. What she wants is essentially for war to break out, for things to go beyond all that “mysterious bullshit” and descend into chaos. It’s a terrifying turn–how about that school bus scene?–played extremely well by Tyler, and it’s an interesting extension and counterpoint to the GR philosophy.

One of the most important scenes of the episode involves Meg and Isaac early on, the latter telling the former the cold, hard truth: “No matter what I say, you’re going to be disappointed because it’s not going to fix what’s broken on the inside.” As much as the show is about how we deal with loss and uncertainty in a post-Departure world, it’s also about how we cope in everyday life. It’s not like the Departure fundamentally changed who everyone was. Sure, there are some elements of that throughout the series that we see. However, what we keep coming back to is the idea that loss and uncertainty are inherent in the life experience.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-More cool music choices this week: When In Rome’s “The Promise”, Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)”, and Olivia Newton John’s “Magic”.

-Any connections between Tommy and Darren?

-Predictions and/or hopes for next week?

-Apologies for the late review. I had something going on until around midnight last night, so I didn’t get to write until this morning.

Photo credit: The Leftovers, HBO

 

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2 Responses to “The Leftovers “Ten Thirteen” Review (2×09)”

  1. JustMeMike November 30, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    Been reading your reviews of this series since it began. Last year I wrote about the show on occasion but ultimately abandoned the show, at least in terms of blogging about it ,while I continued to watch it.

    I have reached a conclusion of sorts as to what is (for me) the most troublesome aspects of the show. And that is the sometimes disconnectedness of the episodes. I realize that there is a grand plan, and that while we will never be given an explanation of the Departures – we will get either a resolution or an apocalyptic season ender for the Guilty Remnant.

    Wondering if you would care to comment about the disconnects that I feel – one week it is about Murphy’s, then Kevin, then Matt the minister, then Amy Brenneman, then the Ann Dowd character and so forth.

    Also wondering why you said so little about Evie this week. When she and her two friends disappeared it was easy enough to list the possibilities:

    1) they were crime victims
    2) they were new departures
    3) they simply tired of the small town life and ran away –

    I never considered that they would either be captives of the GR, or had chosen on their own to join the GR. But the show kept them from our view, and even let out a clue which for some inexplicable reason went no where – Kevin’s handprint on their car.There was another clue as well – the girl all smoked and didn’t speak in the car – but most likely that went by unnoticed by most (including me).

    Then this week – they bring back Evie, Meg, and Isaac.

    You did make two excellent points – The knock-knock joke with the punch line being
    It’s pointless…and second Isaac’s statement that whatever it is that I tell you, you’re not going to like it.

    I wonder if those two items are the show runner’s way of telling us that what ever it is that we are expecting (in the show) we’re not going to like it… and it will prove to be pointless.

    If so, what does that say about us – watching a show for two seasons that ends up being pointless…and dissatisfying.

    • polarbears16 November 30, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

      Excellent points, Mike. Reading over my review, I now realize that I didn’t talk much about Evie, you’re right. I did have thoughts about the final revelation’s role in the story, though. There’s an interesting idea here because them not disappearing suggests that Miracle may in fact be “miraculous”; yet, there’s also the GR and their philosophy to take into account here. It’s definitely an intriguing reveal that I forgot about writing about in depth. My bad for sure. Thanks for mentioning it.

      Yeah, I guess I can definitely feel the disconnected element of it all. I do really like individual episodes and feel those are consistently strong, but I do get your problems with this. I wouldn’t call the show-watching experience pointless, as I’ve come into this expecting not to get too many answers (“let the mystery be”, as the theme says). We have received more answers than I expected to begin with, though.

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