"Off Ramp" is the third episode of Season 2, and overall the thirteenth produced hour of The Leftovers. It originally aired on October 18, 2015.

Analysis Edit

Recurring Themes Edit

Cultural References Edit

  • Viktor calls Laurie Dr. Ruth.
  • Kyle watches the 1956 Looney Tunes cartoon “Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z.” A different Road Runner & Coyote cartoon was previously featured in the Pilot.

Trivia Edit

  • This is the first episode not to feature Matt and Nora. Kevin appears only in archive footage. As of this episode, no character has appeared in every episode in new footage.
  • Amy Brenneman feels that Laurie is playing a game of chicken with the G.R. members she runs over, hoping that putting them in physical risk will make them wake up the way the fire woke Laurie up.[1]
  • The use of Maxence Cyrin’s cover of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” was meant to call back to the use of the original version in “A Matter of Geography,” tying Kevin and Laurie together (the use of the original in that earlier episode had in turn been a reference to Fight Club). The TV series Mr. Robot used the Maxence Cyrin cover, also referencing Fight Club’s use of the original recording, in an episode that aired August 29, 2015. After seeing the Mr. Robot episode, the Leftovers producers ultimately decided that, having already edited both sequences to the respective versions of the song, they were committed to using them, not minding if people incorrectly viewed the use of this cover as a Mr. Robot tribute.[2]
  • Laurie tells the G.R. members, “You are not welcome here,” just as Patti told Kevin in the Pilot.
  • When Tom comes home, the TV is reporting on David Burton’s supposed resurrection.
  • According to the script, the Young Woman Tom unsuccessfully tries to rescue in the G.R. New Rochelle house is filling out multiple credit card applications, presumably to benefit the organization.[3]
  • There is a credit for Zooey Greif as “Waiter.” The only other acting role listed on IMDb for Greif is Pentico in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused. His role in this episode seems to have been largely cut: only his hands are seen, de-boning Susan’s fish.
  • When Laurie talks to Peter Benedetto, one of the book covers displayed behind her is called Save Yourself, by Dr. John Paino. John Paino is the production designer on the show. Another book, Departure 3.0 (from the award-winning author of Departure 2.0), is about how to prepare for the next Departure. The cover of What’s Next from “Guest” is also seen.
  • Peter Benedetto’s complaint that Laurie does not explain the G.R.’s motivations serves as meta-commentary on many of the criticisms of season one’s treatment of the G.R.

Book to Show Edit

  • The whiteboard in the Hackensack G.R. house says, “God’s judgment is upon us.” This is the show’s first overt reference to the fact that the book G.R. has a Christian eschatological belief that the Departure was in fact the Rapture. The phrase is reminiscent of the business card the G.R. hands out in the novel: "We stand before you as living reminders of God's awesome power. His judgment is upon us."
  • The video of Wayne in the early days that Laurie watches on what appears to be YouTube is similar in spirit to Wayne’s early “lectures” in the book, with Wayne explaining his gift before inviting people to hug him. In the book, his early talks take place mostly in churches, followed by an increasing emphasis on college campuses. In the book, Wayne’s celebrity increases after a clip of him posted on YouTube goes viral. Wayne says his catch phrase from the book, “I can take it” (which ultimately ends up on T-shirts he sells reading, “Give me your pain” / “I can take it”).
  • Joan’s monologue in the group therapy session bemoaning the fake dinnertime small talk with her husband is somewhat reminiscent of Nora trying to relearn the art of small talk in the book chapter “The Best Chair in the World” (“There was nothing to it, Nora thought. You just kept babbling, piling one inane remark on top of another. The trick was to sound like you were interested, even if you weren’t. You had to be careful about that”).
  • The G.R. taking Howard's watch is likely inspired by the book passage where Laurie notes that Watchers do not wear watches: "a gesture meant to convey the idea that time was irrelevant to a Watcher, that you had to empty yourself of expectations and sit quietly for however long it took." It is unclear if the book's G.R. has an organization-wide ban on watches, or if this policy is simply for Watchers while on duty.
  • The book cover for Departure 3.0, displayed in Peter Benedetto’s office, shows a pair of empty shoes with smoke rising from them. This is the same concept as the original cover of the novel The Leftovers.

Music Edit

  • "Figure Eights" by Max Roach & Buddy Rich (opening montage of Laurie's activities; plays again later when she breaks into Viktor's house)
  • L'Arlésienne Suite No. 2: III. Menuet, composed by Georges Bizet, unknown recording (group therapy ambient music)
  • "Storybook" by Max Richter (Laurie speaks to Susan on her first night out of the G.R.)
  • "Where Is My Mind" by Maxence Cyril (second Laurie/Tom montage)
  • "Spoiler" by Hyper (music Laurie blasts in her car)
  • "Leave Your Love (Justin Faux Remix)" by Young Summer (ambient music when Laurie tries on the suit)
  • "Cocktail Lullaby" by Greencastle Homer (ambient music when Susan and Glenn are at dinner)
  • "November" by Max Richter (Susan drives into a truck)
  • "A Blessing" by Max Richter (final scene; Tom tells the group about his “power”)
  • "Jesus I'm Calling" by Tangle Eye (end credits)

References Edit

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