Uncertainty & Stories All the Way Down: On the Beauty & Brilliance of HBO’s “The Leftovers”

In “The Leftovers,” knowing and identity come from the stories we tell on the personal, societal, and cosmic planes and the ways those stories intersect and resonate. Life is competing narratives of sense without resolve.

So, yes, this essay has spoilers. But what’s a spoiler, exactly? And do they matter? “The Leftovers” is an odd beast that is at once highly expressive, leading with affect, sentiment, and feelings. In fact, its affective intensity is downright relentless even, or especially, as it’s inflected by strong, incongruous music choices.