No matter how much the creators of The Leftovers try to convince is that the show isn’t essentially Lost, the comparisons invite themselves. Mysterious central event? Check. Science vs. faith debate? Check. Created by Damon Lindelof? Yep, it’s a really obvious parallel, so if you thought you were being original with that thought, well, think again. However, Lindelof recently defended the originality of his new show – adapted from a 2011 novel by Tom Perotta – by saying: “"The things that turn me on turn me on. I think if I thought too much about why I was doing it, I would talk myself out of it.”

Justin Theroux
Justin Theroux in The Leftovers.

So there’s your answer. The Leftovers is less keen than Lost to reveal the mystery, but in general, if you enjoyed Lost for any other reason than the *cough* resolution (we’re guessing you did), then The Leftovers should be right up your alley.

Meanwhile, on this week’s episode (commencing spoilery spoilers of spoilerdom after this sentence) the story moved away from the Garveys, to focus on morally questionable Rev. Matt Jamison. It was about time to see more of Christopher Eccleston in action anyway. It turns out the Rev was affected by the Departure in several different, really unpleasant ways. His wife was severely injured, when the couple collided with a car, whose driver had vanished. Now, with his congregation dwindling (mass disappearances and turmoil don’t tend to work wonders for people’s faith), he is struggling to pay his wife’s medical care and the bank forecloses on the deed to his church and sells it to the Guilty Remnant. 

More: Will HBO's The Leftovers Suffer From Lost's Dreadful Ending?

But Rev. Matt is a doer, not a talker and he isn’t about to take this all lying down. Ends, means, etc. As Eccleston tells TV Guide: There's a huge ego there, but perhaps there's a huge ego there in a man of God who will stand at a pulpit in the first place. […] I think that he has many secrets, even from himself. There are huge areas of denial. I think a key part of this series is the guilty secrets that people carry, and I think that there's a whole area in Matt about his actual relationship to God — what he demonstrates and what the fact is — which is hidden deep within him.”

More: The Leftovers Makes A Solid, If Not Controversial Start

Throughout the series we will get to see the Rev. become increasingly desperate, but he always keeps pushing through, which is an aspect of the character Eccleston is excited to work with: “How do you survive sudden loss? How do you survive trauma? Human beings go forward, and we're examining that. We do it with crutches and we do it with neuroses, but these people are not throwing themselves off buildings. These people are trying to make sense and trying to live. There's great courage in that, I think.”


The Leftovers airs Sunday at 10/9c on HBO.