I did a little more research on garter snakes today. Apparently, the checkered garter snake is native to the southwest and isn’t near the eastern United States. That first picture I listed in yesterday’s post is likely a checkered garter snake, though, because it directly matches other photos online and I’m wondering if it was someone’s pet or progeny of a pet, as they are supposedly very easy to domesticate even if caught in the wild.
The other photos and the one I fought yesterday morning are likely the eastern garter snake, as the photos match other photos online and variants of the eastern garter snake are often checkered. The wikipedia pages for garter snakes have some interesting information:
They will release a foul-smelling liquid from their butt on to their attackers. This is something that I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post – I could tell it was in a very aggravated mood early on because it released some stench when I first tried to grab it.
They are mildly venomous. This is contrary to what I said in my previous post.
They will strike and bite if provoked and have two large teeth towards the back of their mouth.
So I guess my point of this post is this: In the epic Battle for the Beaven House the morning of July 11, 2017 as I was crouching down repeatedly trying to get the active and aggressive snake while in my underwear, two mildly venomous snakes could easily have touched tips with painful results for me, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
I did not see the snake last night or this morning.
And it was a snake. And I was afraid it was going to bite me.
As I plodded up my dark basement steps after getting up at 5:20am from my deep slumber, a large, shadowy snake-like figure next to my feet suddenly slithered up the steps. It scared me half to death and I quickly realized it was indeed a decent sized snake. It then moved behind a storage box and junk behind the box at the top of my steps.
The next ten minutes saw an epic battle between the snake and I as I tried to round it up to get it out of the house. I ran to get a flashlight, a recycling bin, and a paper towel to grab it with. The dark snake was much more active than the usual snakes around my house and it routinely squared up against me, the flashlight, or the paper towel as I was trying to get it. I was eventually able to grab it somewhere near its head with the paper towel and get it into the recycling bin to take it outside.
I left it in the recycling bin and woke up my wife and daughter to see it if they wanted to see it. I didn’t take any pictures of it because I didn’t want to stay outside looking like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man wearing only boxer briefs. After my shower, I went to check on the snake and to let it go if it was still in the bin and I discovered that I had inadvertently left the front door open as I went to take a shower still only half-awake. The storm door was closed, but there’s a piece of weather stripping that is missing at its bottom. The snake was gone from the bin, so the snake and I may be battling again tonight if it decided to come back in the house.
It turned out to be a checkered garter snake, which are fairly common in my neighborhood. Below are three pics I’ve taken over the years. Lacking venom, they’re harmless and I don’t even know if they have any teeth to sink into people if they wanted to. But damn, it was active and aggressive.
After the first third of the movie, I thought The Void was going to be good, instead it was mediocre-at-best. The Void was originally crowdfunded and has a 73% rating on rotten tomatoes and was certified fresh. The trailers for the film as well as reviews made it out to be a good homage to lower budget 80s Lovecraftian horror and science fiction movies from the likes of John Carpenter.
The movie turned out to be a film that wants to have the feel of a Carpenter film like a cross between Assault on Precinct 13 and The Thing in the first half with the plot of a Clive Barker Hellraiser film in the second half. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come close to living up to any of those films and while the practical effects are great, they are way overused and character development is very light. In fact, I didn’t like a single character in the film, as none of their back stories were adequately explained. Thus, I had zero emotion when something happened to them.
The film was trying to be mysterious or something with the lack of character development, but was then oddly exposition heavy explaining the void in the second half. And the void was referred to as they abyss in the film. If there was a need to title the film The Void to not cause confusion with 1989’s The Abyss from James Cameron, which is what I suspect happened, then the abyss should have been called the void in the film.
Anyway, an honest attempt was made and that counts for something. It is indeed a film that some would like, I suppose it’s just that I’ve seen better homages to 80s films recently with Stranger Things on Netflix and a little-heard-of movie titled Synchronicity, which is a low budget homage to Blade Runner, but with time travel and one that I felt was even better than everyone’s favorite low budget time travel movie, Primer.
In a quite refreshing “when they go low, we go high” moment, CNN used its journalism resources to investigate news that matters to all Americans on Independence Day in a show of moral strength after Trump tweeted that pixelated video of him body slamming CNN.
Yea, right. CNN became the news after tracking down the person who may or may not have made the meme on reddit, found some older possibly anti-Semite stuff and publicly threatened him in an article. How CNN deemed that national newsworthy is beyond virtually anyone on the internet. In a North Korea-like move, the redditor was forced to make an apology to his dear overlords for the posting of a lame meme and has been forced to state he will never do it again.
I haven’t seen the supposedly anti-Semite stuff, but he supposedly put stars of David next to pictures of CNN staff pointing out that CNN was disproportionately Jewish, which really is no different than someone pointing out a place is disproportionately Christian and not that far from noting a place is mostly white.
Not only were CNN’s actions stupid and unethical, they were likely felonious as well.
All of this lit the internet on fire and after the backlash quickly stormed in and those in 4chan and /pol/ announced an immediate war on CNN, CNN then tried to backtrack, of course.
This shouldn’t have to be said, but this stuff is the reason the mainstream media (and by extension, Democrats) lost and are still losing. The left is so obnoxious that the right looks really good in comparison.
How and why is it that someone like Piers Morgan had the most sensible article about the CNN/Trump feud a day before CNN said it was going to dox the guy?
How and why is it that CNN is so low that they make a possible anti-Semite shit-poster with a shit-handle of “HanAssholeSolo” a martyr?
How and why did CNN make Trump look like the mature, older child?
The truth is, CNN hasn’t been a news organization in decades. I formally gave up on CNN and the rest of the mainstream media during the later summer of 1996 when they harassed Richard Jewell for weeks stating he was the Atlanta bomber and that he had a “hero complex.” Everyone knows that’s not true now, but it was still obvious pure obnoxious speculation on the part of CNN (and others) then and it lasted 24/7 for weeks. When the truth came out, it was difficult for me to ever take the mainstream media seriously again and nothing they have done in the mean time has gotten me back.
Prior to that was the obnoxious coverage of the OJ Simpson trial. Somehow in the middle of the already enormously stupid coverage, the media believed that Marcia Clark’s hair style was THE story of our lifetime, and some are STILL pushing that story in modern times.
Shit like this is the reason decent numbers of people turned to independent blogs in the 2000s. For example, for me, I read Anthony Watts’ blog, who is a retired meteorologist, and Steve McIntyre’s blog, who is a Canadian statistician, for insight into “climate change” and “global warming” papers that the mainstream media refused to perform. Meanwhile at the time, places like CNN had their steady “we will all be dead in a decade from global warming” drumbeat going saying anyone even slightly skeptical of that was worse than Hitler. In the early teens, there was shit like gleefully reporting that a shitty youtube video with virtually no views was responsible for the Benghazi terror attack. Today, I’m sure there’s real news out there to be uncovered if news outlets would do their fucking job, but instead we’re stuck watching two toddlers fighting.
Anyway, at least watching CNN implode is fun and more people understanding that the MSM is trash is a positive takeaway, even though the fall of America continues in spectacular and depressing fashion.
P.S. I’ve got a breaking news tip for CNN. I found out that the person who tweeted that meme lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. Go get him, tiger!
I ran into a problem with Netflix in mid-June – it opened fine, but refused to load videos and occasionally it did, but they were either extremely pixelated or completely froze within seconds. All I wanted to do was catch up on the latest available season of Supernatural for a few minutes before going to bed. (Laugh all you want, but it was decent through the first number of seasons and now that it’s up to season 12 and I’ve continued watching it, I may as well see it through til the end, whenever that may be.)
It was annoying, but nothing to start getting pissed about. But it lasted for a couple of weeks where I couldn’t access it and at that point I was annoyed enough that I opened a chat with Netflix. My kids hadn’t reported any problems (but they aren’t reliable indicators) and there weren’t widespread problems being reported on the internet when I was having issues. Regardless, my opening was terse to get Netflix’s attention, even though I wasn’t sure what was going on:
“Long time customer here (check my account). I haven’t been able to stream reliably for a couple weeks. It is not me; it is you. I say that with absolute certainty. A refund for this month would go a long way in avoiding me cancelling Netflix altogether.”
At first, I thought I started chatting with a bot, but that feeling changed mid-way through the conversation, as it seemed like more natural troubleshooting was taking place. The representative (“Oscar”) eventually took me to fast.com, which is Netflix’s own speed test, and I was getting 24 Kbps. That’s Kilobits per second, not Megabits per second. So that was the problem.
But that only raised more questions. I pay for 75Mbps/75Mbps and I had done a ton of third-party speed tests over the previous two weeks and all were in the 75/75 range and slightly higher in the 80s. I even did one before opening the chat with Netflix and did one immediately after I got the 24Kbps reading from Netflix.
My thoughts turned towards Verizon Fios and the possibility of them throttling Netflix bandwidth and this wouldn’t be the first time I’ve heard of that. I could go to amazon prime video or youtube and stream without issue, even while on the chat with Netflix. So, that seemed like the culprit. I told Oscar I would contact Verizon and he ended the chat with:
“Sounds like a plan! I can assure you that will definitely correct it. Have a great night! And one more thing, if you wouldn’t mind, please stay online for a one question survey.”
So the “I can assure you that will definitely correct it” statement made it seem as though Netflix had probably seen this problem before. I went to bed and figured I would call Fios the next time I went to watch Netflix.
So, of course, the next time I went to watch Netflix, it streamed without issue and fast.com tested in the 80s. This was after two straight weeks of not being able to watch Netflix. The next evening was the same. This pointed the finger back at Netflix. Had Oscar put in a ticket to fix me later knowing that the problem was on their end but put the blame on Fios?
That wouldn’t be the first time something like that has happened to me. Back in 2003, I worked for the slimiest company in my career and I had an issue with a particular server and I believed it had somehow dropped out of DNS, as I could access it via IP without issue. Since an app needed to access it via server name, I called the corporate HQ help desk. I explained the situation and I heard the guy perform a few mouse clicks, type a few things on a keyboard and then say “There’s nothing wrong. Can you check again?” His voice was accusatory like I was a moron. Except I already knew it was fixed because I had a ping -t going and saw it start resolving as soon as the keyboard clicks ended.
Then on the third night post-chat, the issue was back and I was testing at 14 Kbps on fast.com, 80 Mbps everywhere else. So I pulled out my phone, went to fast.com and it tested at 80 Mbps. Went back to my Surface Book, tested it and It tested at 14 Kbps again. So what the fuck is going on? I bounced my Surface Book and all of the sudden it was testing at 80 Mbps on fast.com and streamed Netflix without issue.
So rebooting the Surface Book did the trick, but that doesn’t explain anything. I turn my Surface Book off during the day and at the times I had gone to access Netflix, it had only been on for a couple of hours with minimal usage. The Surface Book wireless network, even though I had not had a problem with it, was one of the original major issues with the Surface Book as it was apparently a crapfest of random shit happening until the problems were largely resolved with driver updates in April, 2016, just before I got my Surface Book. Is that the issue and why did it crop up now? A clue may be the fact that my Surface Book received its security updates (but no driver updates) on June 13, which seems very close to when the problems started.
So at the time of this writing, Netflix continues to have problems, I suppose Fios could be throttling me, my Surface Book is probably a factor in this, and Windows updates may be playing a role. But why would the problems only be with Netflix? I may be cancelling my Netflix subscription. If I happen to figure out that it’s not them, I’ll provide an update at that time.
A major international news story broke this past week: a mysterious new land mass has risen from the Atlantic ocean overnight in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. Full of old shipwrecks and whale bones, it’s a very dangerous place to get to because sharks and stingrays constantly circle it. Few are fortunate enough to get to it after a long voyage at sea and many rugged explorers have nearly perished in their attempts. But for those who do make it, untold treasures await.
At least that’s what the mainstream media wants you to believe. Except that it’s a sandbar just off of Cape Point on Hatteras Island near Buxton, NC and arguably part of the point itself.
First, the articles:
It’s in the Bermuda Triangle according to the Mirror
Sharks and stingrays surround the island according to many articles.
A number of news sources use the term “land mass” for the sandbar including National Geographic
Next, what the island really is. As the featured title image above shows, Chad Koczera took a photo with his drone (great shot!) towards the end of May of a sand bar that had formed off of Cape Point on Hatteras Island near Buxton, NC. At some point over the month of June, the story of this “new island” got legs, no doubt at least partly because it’s a great photo. Fortunately for us in this day and age, we have google earth with historical satellite photos so that we can take a look at Cape Point through time and determine if this is indeed a “new island” or not.
In the animated gif below, that starts with a satellite image of the point in February, 2017 and then tracks back in time to February, 1993, one can see the “island” beginning to form this past February. I’ve placed a red line just below the island and all that was needed at this point was for currents to bring in a few more inches of sand for the island to form. As the gif tracks back, you will see that Cape Point is in a constant state of flux with the point sometimes pointing towards the southwest as currents push it that way and as opposed towards the current southeast. More importantly, the point often extends to the red line south of the island as recently as 2014 and 2011. In 2006, the point extended south of the red line and in 2005, a sandbar suspiciously similar to the current sandbar was forming well south of the red line and current sandbar just after the 2004 photo showed virtually no point at all.
It’s not difficult to conclude that the sand in the shallow water of that area is constantly morphing as the currents do with it as they please. In fact, it’s basic earth science that coastlines are in a constant state of change, especially barrier islands (this was ninth grade when I was 14 years old in my school system, but others may be earlier). As for the reason this “island” forming is news, I believe the mainstream media has long-since tricked itself and others into believing coastlines are static as part of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming theory, which states we are all going to die from rising coast lines, among other things, and that without the industrial revolution, coastlines would be static (which has always been laughably stupid). It’s also is telling that if someone takes a nice photograph (in this case of the sandbar from the drone), the media will then build a fantastic story around it (without any sort of payment to the photog, I’m sure).
All of that having been said, many of the articles mention that it is simply a sandbar and that officials believe it could disappear at any time, but that is often at the end of the article after the average reader with the attention span of a 1.5 year old has long since moved on to the next bullshit article. I also have to give credit to the Huffington Post, which specifically reported someone stating the island is not a result of “climate change.” This is shocking for the HP, actually, but perhaps they note this because it’s new beach and not erosion taking place?
But some of the fantastic elements of this story show how bad media has become. The Mirror article can easily be thrown out as straight up tabloid nonsense (even though certainly some will believe it), but other articles probably aren’t thrown out as nonsense in people’s minds and those are fake news. The articles that mention shipwrecks and whale bones on this island are straight up fiction (and yet another embarrassment for fake news BBC), but a small amount of knowledge and research of the OBX shows how this information made its way into the article(s). The Diamond Shoals area of the OBX has long caused shipwrecks in the OBX area and research shows that Cape Point is considered the beginning of the Diamond Shoals area. As for the “whale bones”, the entrance to the Outer Banks by vehicle is known as “Whalebone Junction.” It’s called this because a businessman put a whale skeleton that had washed up south of Oregon Inlet at his gas station there and essentially renamed what was called “the junction” to Whalebone Junction. The whale bones aren’t there anymore.
As for the sharks and stingrays angle other articles take, yes, I’m sure sharks and stingrays are there, as they are everywhere in the Atlantic Ocean, but I doubt there’s any more there than at any other spot and I haven’t heard of any of the shell collectors getting eaten by sharks or stung by stingrays. As for it being a “land mass”, yes, I suppose it’s technically true, but I personally wouldn’t call a temporary sandbar a land mass.
I hate to have to use the term “debunked” because that’s what every global warming alarmist has used for any argument on the skeptic’s side since the mid-2000s and is way overused, but I believe the animated gif I made debunks the new island story. Looking at the satellite imagery and putting on my critical thinking cap, I believe that sandbar is simply a part of the point itself and within a few months the island will indeed “disappear” by joining the point to the north resulting in an elongated north-south oriented point seen in some of the satellite images before the currents take the point towards the southwest again before starting the whole cycle over. Or perhaps the seas will rise up and suddenly swallow us all as the current paradigm of climate science states.
A couple of weeks ago during a sleepless period of the night, I thought about the series finale of The Leftovers. Something about that episode, specifically Nora’s story, bugged me in the back of my mind. As was stated numerous times after the show ended, Nora’s story was purposefully told via monologue with no visual depictions of the alternate reality so that viewers could decide for themselves if Nora Durst was telling the truth or not.
Her story, even if true, left a whole lot of unanswered questions and enormous plot holes. That’s why I said my initial reaction to the finale was “mildly disappointing.” But there was something else about her story that simply didn’t add up. I put hardly any thought to it at all, but about a week after the episode, it came to me that the time in her story simply doesn’t add up. And when I say time, I mean the actual time of day in her story.
I ended my subscription to HBO Now so I couldn’t revisit the episodes to determine the actual time the departure took place on October 14, 2011. But, the timestamp on Laura Garvey’s ultrasound says 2:23pm. This can be seen in the video here and is also verified by the Leftovers Wiki. In Nora Durst’s story, she says she met a man who was in the local grocery store when every person in it suddenly disappeared. The problem is that this was in Australia and during the middle of the night if it occurred on the same time across the world, which I assume it did. It doesn’t matter what part of Australia she was in when she was departed or teleported over to the alternate reality because it would have been the 4:00am hour over towards Melbourne and Sydney on the east coast (the most likely spot she was at) or the 2:00 hour over towards Perth on the west coast.
The man stating he was at the grocery store and everyone disappearing is rather suspect given that the local grocery store was likely not open at that time and if it was, very few people would have been in it. Of course, the man could have been lying, but frankly, I would have thought better care would have been taken with the writers to take this discrepancy into account.
Maybe my logic is off here and I initially thought it may have been because Nora departs or teleports during the middle of the afternoon and she would indeed be teleported to the same spot in Australia in the alternate reality at the same time in the afternoon, but as I recall, she stated she walked a long time until she found the only inhabited house and that man told her about the grocery store on the day of the departure seven years earlier. Brief research of severalarticles seem to corroborate my memory. Another article mentions that Grace, the woman Kevin Sr. meets in Australia, said that she was in the grocery store when the departure happened. So maybe I’m forgetting or not getting a key aspect of the departure? Like I said, I can’t re-watch it and I don’t feel like looking up any of the transcripts online. I guess I have to let the mystery be.
I got around to seeing Wonder Woman today on Father’s Day and it’s as good as the majority of the reviews stated it is. I found it to be the best DC Comics movie since The Dark Knight, and that’s very good company.
The story is good, the characters are fleshed out enough and it’s an entertaining summer movie. Gal Gadot makes Wonder Woman her own in this film and her quality performance is not surprising. I had first seen her in the Fifth Fast and Furious movie and knew then that she was one to watch. When she was cast as Wonder Woman in Batman V Superman, I was not concerned whereas some others were. Her performance proved me right.
Chris Pine is good, as usual, as is the supporting cast (both in the beginning on Themyscira and in the last half of the movie in the WWI fighting. There’s some great actors and actresses in the bunch, so that was not surprising as well.
The film is also apolitical, something that is very refreshing in this day and age. Men and women are treated as equals in the film and that must drive modern (third wave) feminists nuts. Articles that try to inject politics into the film are simply there to get clicks from their respective audiences and an article I read complaining that the USA is nowhere to be found in the movie when Wonder Woman is an American character, while true, is stupid in its complaint and there to get clicks too.
The actual majority of the complaints about the film I saw was that the villains are not that great. I think these reviewers (and there seemed to be a bunch of them) missed the obvious point (IMO) that the actual villain in the movie is war itself (or “Ares” to Wonder Woman). The horrors of war are adequately depicted in this movie so I found it to be a good villain.
I was concerned about the color palette of the film going into it, as the muted tones in the previous recent DC Comics movies from Zach Snyder is still in use in this movie by Patty Jenkins. The muted tones work well in London and the WWI fighting and provided a nice contrast to the brightness of Princess Diana’s home shown at the beginning of the film.
At 141 minutes, the length reminds me of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but unlike GGV2, the movie does not feel that long and did not feel as though sections should have been cut. The extra length is due to the Themyscira origins story, a necessary and great section of the film, and that was tightly edited as well.
My only real complaint about the film is the CGI-heavy ending, but it’s a minor complaint and all superhero movies and virtually all action movies do that anyway.
A couple of additional notes:
Wonder Woman raises the bar for Justice League coming out in later November. I previously had lower expectations for the movie, but hopefully Snyder has learned from his two previous DC Comics outings as well as from Jenkins in Wonder Woman because now I assume the expectations are high from most everyone.
Wonder Woman is also responsible for the internet giving us one of the better memes of the past year. Whoever made this after the first trailer came out is quite the funnyman:
I always liked the rainbow flag, also known as the gay pride flag. I don’t know how the rainbow flag was supposed to be interpreted, but to me, the rainbow colors represented inclusiveness for all people, regardless of race, in a nation where identity politics around race often takes a center stage. It seemed like a straightforward flag with virtually no political message at face value. Now we have this abomination from the city of Philadelphia:
The purpose of the black and brown stripes are to “promote inclusivity,” something that I honestly thought the rainbow flag already did. It comes after a year of racial tensions inside a Philly “gayborhood” because one of the gay nightclub owners was recorded saying the n-word repeatedly. So I don’t need my thinking cap on to determine that the black and brown stripes are there to represent black and brown people, even though I’ve never actually seen a person really, truly colored black. Given that red and yellow stripes were already there, that gives one stripe of the major “color” groups unrepresented for those who view everything through a racial lens: white. A friend in archaeology once described himself as so white he was actually translucent, so I would argue that both a white and translucent stripe are needed given the brown and black stripes.
But we all know hell will freeze over before that happens. In fact, people on the left who read this blog post now have their pitchforks out to stab my obviously racist ass, even though I consider myself to be far from it. That’s what the left’s identity politics has done – anyone who disagrees with anyone on the left in any way for any reason is automatically a racist worse than Hitler. Plus, I’m inherently racist, by definition, regardless of what I say or do just by being white according to the left. In my mind, the rejection of the left’s bullshit identity politics are high up on the list of reasons why a clown like Trump won the Presidential election, not far behind the number 1 reason of the DNC nominating an even bigger clown like Hillary Clinton as the competition.
This identity politics has caused quite the expansion of the LGB acronym over the past several years. At some point it became LGBT and I assume the T stands for transgender. Then it became LGBTQ, then LGBTQIA and at that point some people started shortening it to LGB+ or LGBT+. I even see LGBTQIAPK as an acronym and I readily admit I have no clue what the letters stand for starting with Q, nor that I will take the five seconds to look it up. There’s even “cis” or “CIS” (I have no idea if it’s an acronym or not), which contextual clues lead me to believe is an insult to be hurled at straight white males like me. But, really, I have no clue. Whatever happened to unity? Why are Democrats purposely dividing everyone? This division by Democrats is the reason why that predominantly gay neighborhood in Philadelphia is referred to as a “gayborhood.” Why can’t it simply be called a neighborhood like any other neighborhood?
Looks Great! Now overlay black and brown or else you’re a RACIST like HItler!
Every once in a while, I read a comment from someone on the right stating something to the effect of “Reminder: Trump is the first POTUS to be pro-gay rights prior to holding office.” I laugh because it’s funny and it’s funny because it’s true and it’s true because no prior Democratic (or Republican) president was pro-gay rights when entering office. They hypocrisy of Democrats has always been on full display when it comes to gay rights, just as it is with many other politically hot items. That’s why a member of the oh-so-inclusive gay community got himself recorded saying the n-word repeatedly. (And yea, I’m making an assumption that the club owner who said the n-word multiple times is a democrat. I believe there are republicans who are gay, but the mainstream media has really, really wanted me to believe otherwise for nearly the past decade.)
The hypocrisy is so bad that it would almost be like LGBTQIAPKMNOHJCDEFHJRSUVWXYZ rights champion Steny Hoyer from right here in massively liberal Maryland (with a lesbian daughter), who chanted “Shame! Shame! Shame!” on Republican voters who switched their vote on a pro-LGBTQIAPKMNOHJCDEFHJRSUVWXYZ amendment in 2016 and thereby not allowing it to pass, turning out to have voted “yea” in 1996’s DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), an act that defined marriage as being only legitimate between a man and a woman.
Anyway, I’m not seeing any information on whether or not the Philadelphia version of the rainbow flag will become the official flag of the gay rights movement, but if there’s one thing that America has been consistent with the past thirty years, it’s dividing and compartmentalizing things more and more. So I suspect it will happen. And don’t get me started on the left’s unimaginable defense of sharia law; that’s a topic for another day.
If you have not seen The Leftovers, I don’t believe that I spoil much, but I suggest not reading this review if you absolutely have to watch something not knowing anything about it beyond the general plot synopsis.
Too often, The Leftovers has contrived sequences and the characters do frustrating things. Some of this can be chalked up to events and actions occurring in a post-rapture world, although it’s never specifically stated it was a rapture that took place in the years prior, suddenly vanishing 2% of the world’s population, until season 3 and only then it was conjecture from an overly religious character. And that was part of my issue with The Leftovers from the beginning – it just assumes that you think the sudden vanishing was the rapture and not something else. But even though the show assumes rapture, it tries to explore it from a scientific standpoint briefly at times (and nothing ever comes of that). As for me if 2% of the world’s population suddenly disappeared, I would first think that we’re living in a virtual reality and the 2% were deleted, either accidentally or intentionally, and if accidentally then we’re living in a dead-end timeline before everything gets restored. If intentionally,well, shit.
As I mentioned before, season 1 of the Leftovers was just good enough to continue watching. A cult known as the Guilty Remnant (GR) played a prominent role in season 1 and this was probably its weakest subplot in the whole series. Why these people act the way they do and how they are able to recruit so many members is never adequately explained. The show simply assumes that the viewer is to understand that people would act this way in a post-rapture world. But is that the way some people would act? It’s a take it or leave it scenario and taking it is a large stretch. They all dress in white, they all chain smoke, and all have taken a vow of silence and do not speak. So, they communicate by writing things down on notepads all the time and this gets pretty tedious at times given that they’re always communicating by writing when they’re not supposed to be communicating. As to why they do all this, it’s not explained. They are able to recruit a few new members by standing outside their houses silently stalking them. And that’s all it takes to recruit new members. Lame. They also do things like break into everybody’s houses and take their family photos and nobody bats an eye, then later when they do something equally lame, everybody in town completely and totally loses their shit.
Also, subplots are brought up, then dead-ended. A couple from season 1 included characters I mentioned in a previous post. The dog-killer states that the leftover dogs are a danger and Kevin helps kill them in his sleep walking, then Kevin later adopts one. That’s it. So are the leftover dogs a danger, or what? How do they figure into the rapture? The other subplot included Aimee, who was living with Kevin and Jill. The reason she was living with them was never explained and at one point there was an odd sexual tension in one scene between Aimee and Kevin. Nothing was ever done with this tension except to have Jill accuse Aimee of fucking her dad (which wasn’t true) to have a fallout occur between the two and get rid of Aimee from the series. The whole thing was pointless and odder still because Aimee is presumably an underage character (she’s in high school) even though the actress is obviously in her 20s. The scene with the odd sexual tension occurs because Aimee appears in the kitchen wearing a see-through shirt. I don’t know current laws with television, but this could be considered child pornography even though the actress is in her 20s because it’s a portrayal of a bare-breasted female child in a semi-sexual manner. But again, the whole thing was pointless, so I don’t know why they did any of it.
But for all of my problems with The Leftovers, the performances from the actors and actresses are top-notch. Justin Theroux (playing Kevin Garvey) and Carrie Coon (playing Nora Durst) carry the show. Other supporting actors are great as well – Christopher Eccleston playing Matt Jamison, Kevin Carroll as John Murphy, and Regina King as Erika Murphy, to name a few. The fantastic Scott Glenn plays a supporting role too and one of my favorite episodes, Season 3’s Crazy Whitefella Thinking, featured him prominently (as the crazy whitefella). It’s these performances and stellar episodes every once in a while that kept me coming back. Season 2’s International Assassin episode is another example of great storytelling from all involved and Season 1’s Guest is the episode that really got me into the show. These three episodes all had something in common – they focused on a singular character and his or her journey. This is where The Leftovers is at its strongest and it’s engrossing.
Then, just like that, Crazy Whitefella Thinking gets followed by an episode that is one big contrived and cliched mess. Going into the last four episodes of the series, I gave The Leftovers a C+ in my mind with the final episodes being capable of raising it up to a B or B- level or dropping it down to a C. Would the final episodes be strong ones focused on a Garvey or would they go the more likely route of jumping back and forth through different characters to tie up the character arcs? But why bother doing that when so many other things haven’t been tied up? Will I be really upset by the ending like so many were who took Lost seriously?
I’m happy to say that season 3 episodes 5, 6, and 7 all largely focused on a singular character and each was successively better than the previous. Episode 5’s It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World seemed odd with the lion sex party (you would have to watch it), then Episode 6’s Certified allowed Amy Brenneman (who plays Laurie) to shine brightly despite an episode nearly devoid of plot. I felt her acting talent was largely wasted until this episode. Then came The Most Powerful Man in the World (and his Twin Brother), a brilliant episode and largely a sequel to Season 2’s International Assassin, also from the same director (Craig Zobel, who also co-founded Homestar Runner!). This penultimate episode is every bit as good as International Assassin and has one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen on the small or big screen in quite some time.
Before I get to the series finale, I have to say that I read up a bit on the many theories online about the show. While some seem like they could be legit and others are pretty far out there, I came across one written during the first season stating they felt the series was largely a study in depression. In fact, I got the feeling that’s what the show was about before I even saw that article. That’s probably why I don’t like it quite as much as others – as a largely depressed person, I crave a little more escapist entertainment than what The Leftovers has to offer. My understanding is that the first season was loosely based on the book (which I have not read), then season 2 and 3 was not. Season 2 is where The Leftovers got significantly better, probably because the creators and writers were able to take the characters and ideas and write their own material directly for a visual format. But they still kept the depression theme at times, especially given what takes place in Certified during the third season.
As for the series finale, it was mildly disappointing and again, reminded me of Lost. There’s even a reference to Lost early in the episode. I’m not going to say anything else about it.
The strength of the latter half of season 3 earns it an increase in grade from C+, but the series finale prevents it from getting a full B and results in a B-.