Season one of The Leftovers ended with the town of Mapleton literally exploding into a firestorm. The Guilty Remnant (the cult specializing in vows of silence, chain-smoking, and wearing white after Labor Day) had traumatized their hamlet by special-ordering replicas of the local “departed.” The town responded with riots, and the Guilty Remnant’s homes were set ablaze. And while we didn’t uncover every crime committed by Chief of Police Kevin Garvey, Jr. (Justin Theroux), we did learn he’s suffering from an acute case of Tyler Durden disease.
Season two finds some Mapleton picking up stakes and heading to Jarden, Texas, a.k.a. the Jarden of Eden, a.k.a. Miracle, Texas, a town whose claim to fame is its lack of departed former residents. Regina King, always a welcome addition to any cast, appears as a prominent voice in Jarden, which has morphed into a second home for pilgrims seeking answers. Among those visitors are Garvey and his family, along with Christopher Eccleston’s Reverend Jamison.
Of course, you can’t invite a trailer park of desperate souls to your town and not expect some fallout. Cue the somber warnings of lies being fed to the visitors of Jarden, and Garvey’s concern that tourists might be looking for “more than a T-shirt.” From the succession of quick cuts, Rev. Jamison appears to be getting on in Jarden as well as in Mapleton—which is to say, not well at all. He gets silenced, slammed against walls, and thrown into the stocks (take that, Doctor Who). Mistakes are made, guns are drawn, and bodies are uncovered as the tension builds. The Guilty Remnant’s Patti Levine (Ann Dowd) seemingly met her demise in season one; when she appears before Garvey, it’s a good reminder that while you can take the Police Chief out of Crazyville, you can’t take Crazyville out of the Police Chief.
The socio-economic perils of advertising your town as a post-rapture tourist destination will be explained when The Leftovers returns to HBO on October 4.