Tag Archives: HBO

Tea & Review: The Leftovers – It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World

Included in every season of The Leftovers, nestled within the grand, cosmically surreal narrative of the series proper, are more intimate stories dealing with the minutiae of the central characters’ lives. The most consistent and consistently entertaining of these have been focused on everyone’s favorite religious zealot, Matt Jameson (Christopher Eccleston), with each installment adding more depth to the preacher while testing bringing his faith to the brink of oblivion.

Season One’s “Two Boats and a Helicopter” was structured almost as a dark joke, placing Matt in the midst of a series of misfortunes as he battled the Guilty Remnant and tried to raise funds for his Church, ultimately losing almost everything. But still, his faith remained strong.

Season Two’s “No Room at the Inn” was more harrowing than wry, turning Matt into a sort of martyr figure taking on the burdens of the outcasts living outside Jarden, Texas. And though all signs pointed to him having become dangerously delusional, he was vindicated by the end of the season, his faith never wavering.

And now, with “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World,” his personal arc has finally reached its climax.

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Tea & Review: The Leftovers – G’Day Melbourne

Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) have never made a whole lot of sense as a couple, which is why their pairing on The Leftovers made perfect sense. Apart from their shared rejection of any sort of divine explanation for the Sudden Departure, they were never established to have a whole lot in common. They were just two people who were able to find some release in each other with the understanding that they were both too damaged to really come back from whatever losses they had incurred in the past.

So when their relationship seems to fall apart in “G’Day Melbourne,” the dissolution is both heartbreaking and a completely natural result of everything that preceded it. Their paths became intertwined for a while, and now a variety of factors have seen fit to untangle them.

But before I get ahead of myself, let’s recall how we got here.

After the events of “Don’t Be Ridiculous,” Kevin and Nora head to Australia so that Nora can expose the people claiming to be able to induce departures for the frauds she believes they are. At least, this is what she has told Kevin. In fact, we don’t know if this is simply a lie she’s telling to hide the fact that she’s willing to risk death to be with her children again.

After an uneventful flight, the couple arrives in Melbourne and, after checking into their hotel, almost immediately go their separate ways. The remainder of the episode sees them embarking on parallel adventures which leave them both feeling more alone than ever.

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Tea & Review: The Leftovers – Don’t Be Ridiculous

Throughout The Leftovers, Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) has been portrayed as the central character most obviously affected by the Sudden Departure. While others have had more minor losses or been affected by the event in more indirect ways, Nora lost perhaps the most important people in her life: her husband and two children.

In fact, her loss was so profound that she has been contacted and harassed by researchers and conspiracy theorists who believe that people like her are focal points for whatever force caused two percent of the world’s population to disappear.

Early in Season One, Nora was hiring prostitutes to shoot her in the chest while she wore a bulletproof vest, clearly an odd coping mechanism that enabled her to feel the nebulous pain of loss in a more concrete way.

Later, after being hugged by Holy Wayne, she seemed to get over this fixation.

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‘Girls’ in the Friendzone

When I was in high school, all my girlfriends and I would have DVD marathons of Sex and the City. We thought it was the most “relatable” show on TV as we struggled with boyfriends and the garden variety of school issues. We’d see ourselves in the various characters. I was unofficially dubbed Carrie because we were both writers. But I preferred being  Miranda for her sharp tongue and wit.

By the end of the Sex and the City, I really hated Carried. I thought she made some horrible life decisions. It really angered me that this was supposed to be the mirror that reflected our own lives. When in truth it did quite the opposite.

We were teenagers in the Bay Area. Some of us had jobs. Some of us were artists. We didn’t buy expensive shoes. Our social gatherings never rotated around brunch.

The closest thing we had to that was Lovejoy’s teahouse on Church street in San Francisco.

By the time GIRLS came around in 2012, I was intrigued. I was drawn in under the assumption that this was a “realistic” version of what I had missed in Sex and the City. My hopes were that GIRLS was delivering a version of life turned to art that I had only seen in shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

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Tea & Review: The Leftovers – The Book of Kevin

“You’re home.”

These are the words that close out the second season of HBO’s The Leftovers, spoken by Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) to her partner Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) when he returns to his half-makeshift family after coming back from the dead in a town about to succumb to the chaos engendered by the Guilty Remnant.

Both seasons of The Leftovers thus far, but especially Season Two, have been at least partially about how great tragedies turn disparate groups of people into families, and how the idea of home hinges around those families.

Obviously, this isn’t a profoundly new idea; its novelty and beauty is in its context. The characters on this show exist in a world torn apart by inexplicable loss—loss that we in the real world may not be able to fathom—and have managed to find love and companionship despite this.

But is it sustainable?

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Westworld is Not the New Westeros

I didn’t write about last week’s Westworld. Reason being, I wasn’t sure what to say. We’ve been stuck in this weird loop of questions: “What’s happening? Why is it happening? Who are these people?”

Despite my fascination with the series, I’ve grown a little frustrated. While the writers and producers have sprinkled hints of the “awakening” of the hosts, I’m finding that by episode four the plot is taking far too much of its sweet time. There are only ten episodes in this series after all.

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Westworld: Episode 2 – Chestnut

Warning! Spoilers! 

When we last left off in Westworld things were a little bit – up in the air?

We had thoroughly gone through several days of many of the “host” characters.

Dolores: the farmer’s daughter.

Teddy: Dolores’ (former?) lover. He gets killed a lot.

Abernathy: Dolores’ father who is pulled from a storyline after it becomes apparent that the upgrade has caused him to have less than normal host-like reactions.

Dolores is violently raped by one of the park’s visitors (played by Ed Helms) who in search of a different, hidden storyline somewhere within the Westworld Park. We’re not entirely sure what his deal is.

At the end of the previous episode, is comes to light that an update to the software has caused the hosts to act strangely. But now, now we come to realize that the many different ‘storylines’ the hosts have lived are now rising to the surface as actual memories and causing them to gain self-awareness.

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Westworld: When Software Updates Go Awry

Editor’s Note: Warning – Spoilers! 

I had little to no idea what Westworld was original, aside some a scatter of HBO related ads. But what I did hear of it: sci-fi, western immediately put me off a little.

What, so is this gonna be HBO doing their version of Joss Whedon’s Firefly?

By all accounts of the first episode, those fears were quickly dispelled.

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