The Leftovers: ‘Axis Mundi’ Season Premiere Review

Do You Believe In Miracles?

“See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone but always pursue what is good. For one another and for all.” -Michael Murphy

The Leftovers returned for its second season with the premiere episode, titled Axis Mundi, and it did not disappoint. From the very beginning of the episode I was captured, not only by the scenery, but by the mystery that surrounds it. The episode began with a flashback to the caveman days and I was immediately drawn in by this particular story. What is the deal with this woman who fell victim to a deadly snake bite after giving birth and how is it connected to present day Miracle, Texas?

One reason I have so much love for The Leftovers is its ability to tell a great story. The music, the scenery, the characters and the mystery all add elements to the tone of the series. It’s almost brilliant in a way and the series definitely embraces this with every minute. We caught our first glimpses of Miracle in the premiere and I already want to know everything there is to know about this small Texas town.

And how about that new opening title sequence? I know some people really disliked it but I absolutely embrace this change. I think it was the perfect way to set the tone for a brand new season and a brand new story. Even the song, Let The Mystery Be by Iris Dement, fits perfectly. How appropriate and fitting are these lyrics: “Everybody is wondering what and where they all came from, everybody is worrying about where they’re going to go when the whole thing’s done, no one knows for certain so it’s all the same to me, think I’ll just let the mystery be.” I absolutely loved everything about it…it was original, creative, new and fresh and I cannot think of a better way to start the season. Check out the new intro below:

So let the mystery be and enjoy the review, fellow departed.

The Jarden of Eden

The opening scene of Axis Mundi totally grabbed my attention from the second it all started. We focus on a woman who is clearly pregnant and obviously living in a time before housing developments existed because her people are totally living in a cave.

In The Days of the Cavemen

And don’t even think of asking me what this was all about because I have no f’ing clue. All I know is that I loved every minute of it. The pregnant woman, let’s call her Eve, heads out of the cave and all of a sudden there is some kind of earthquake which leads to her people becoming trapped in said cave.

Landslide

She’s alone and going into labor and they went into way too much detail about just how gross childbirth actually is.

Eve heads off into the forest to forage for food, these are most likely hunters and gatherers after all, and while eating a delectable meal of twigs and berries, her baby is attacked by a snake. Well, not really attacked since the snake is literally just slithering it’s way through the forest and happens to slither its way over the baby.

babys-new-rattle

This leads to Eve attacking the snake in the most gruesome way possible. That’s right, she grabs the snake and bashes its face into the ground. Unfortunately, she was bit in the process and since these are the caveman days, I don’t think anti-venom is available yet. So she ends up passing away from the poison and is forced to leave her baby behind with no chance of survival. Luckily, however, the baby is found by a random Indian woman and I already have a million questions.

 The Last of the Mohicans

Obviously there must be some significance to this child. It was born in the same watering hole that now makes up part of Miracle, Texas. The same earthquakes that caused the landslide and blocked the entrance to the cave are still happening hundreds of years later so what are the connections here? I am already super curious to find out and so should you. Welcome to the Jarden of Eden.

The Jarden of Eden

Meet The Murphy’s

We meet up with a new family for Season 2, the Murphy’s, and they are busy playing Jenga on John, loving husband and father of two children. No I did not make this up, it actually happened.

Tipsy Tower

It’s also worth mentioning that John is really pissed off about a cricket that has gone into hiding. I’m not sure if there is any significance to this but it does come up again later.

We get to follow Michael Murphy, the son, on a bike ride through town and the mystery thickens very quickly. He rides past a display case where the road has been cracked. We know this town experiences earthquakes from time to time but what is the significance of this and why is it in a display case? Seems like a road hazard to me.

Cracks in the Road

I absolutely love the over-arching departure mystery and even though we will probably never get any answers as to what this departure actually was, it really makes you think and form your own theories and conclusions as to what happened. I thoroughly enjoyed the premiere as it continued to add clues about Miracle and the so-called rapture. Keep doing your thing, show! There was even a woman watering her lawn in her wedding dress! WTF!

Wedding Hose?

We also find out that Miracle, Texas has had zero departures and is also subject to minor earthquakes. A green bus arrives with some brand new visitors to Miracle and once again this show is going balls to the wall. These ‘tourists’, if you wanna call them that, head out into the market to purchase trinkets and souvenirs from the locals. Some of the tourists have come to pray but I don’t think praying is going to bring back your loved ones from the rapture.

Meanwhile, John (the guy they were playing Jenga on) meets up with a priest, appropriately named Isaac, and they have a discussion about fire codes and building permits. John, however, really wants a reading from the priest and I’m already super curious about how this so-called reading is going to play out. Apparently this priest reads people by using finger paint and the person’s hand print. Shit gets serious though when the Priest sees something unpleasant in John’s future. He informs John that something bad is going to happen and this is obviously not an ideal situation if you believe in this kinda thing. Chances are if you live in Miracle, Texas, you should absolutely believe and I have a bad feeling that a shit storm is coming John’s way.

Finger Paint Your Fortune

John doesn’t buy it and calls out the Priest, thinking it’s all bullshit but as we know, it’s definitely going to mean something going forward. It’s also revealed that John is a firefighter and also an asshole because he takes his crew straight to Isaac’s house and proceeds to kick down the door…all because he thinks poor Isaac is a huge liar. Not only that, but instead of fighting fires, John decides that he would rather start one.

Fire Starter

Since it’s probably not a good idea to get caught for arson, John and his boys then proceed to put out the fire they started in order to cover up their crime. Isaac also ends up going through the front window so they can make it look like he was trying to escape the fire.

"I don't have any fire insurance."

He’s taken to the hospital where Erika, John’s wife, is taking care of his cuts and scrapes but Isaac is not backing down and warns her about the impending disaster that’s headed toward her husband.

Things get even crazier when Erika heads out into the forest and digs up a box which is housing a small bird. Wait, WHAT!? I have no idea what she was doing with this or why it was there but there must be some significance to the bird in the box. Could this be connected with the bird we saw during the flashback to the caveman days? Something to think about.

Free Bird

We also catch up with Yvette, the Murphy’s daughter, and she’s singing in a choir preaching about the town of Miracle. We also see her running naked through the woods  with a friend and it was all really weird. Maybe this scene was actually a flash into the future ? It’s quite possible considering what happened at the end of the episode.

the-bare-necessities

Moving On

After the events of season one, we knew that a lot of the residents of Mapleton, New York would have to find a way to move on. The Guilty Remnant was left in disarray after they returned people’s loved ones in the form of stuffed animals. One of the individuals who appears to be trying to move on is Matt Jamison, the local reverend, who is now living in Miracle, Texas with his wife Mary. He doesn’t reveal too much but the question remains: why did he come to Miracle, Texas?

Meanwhile, the Murphy’s have settled down for a nice family brunch until this random dude ruins it for everyone.

Fresh Meat

What in the fuck just happened? Did that guy just slaughter a goat in the middle of the restaurant while everyone was enjoying their meal? Something is definitely not right about this town but at least we know where to go for the freshest damn meat in the country!

Also returning was our good friend Mark Linn-Baker who played Larry on Perfect Strangers, a real-life ’80s sitcom, and it looks as though he actually faked his own departure and ran away to Mexico. This was just an awesome shout-out to last season as the series cemented the fact that the Perfect Strangers stars were part of the 2% that vanished. It was only fitting to see Mark return on camera getting busted.

Perfect Strangers

I’m pretty sure that is actually Mark Linn-Baker too. Classic stuff and I love the connection to last season. I kind of even hope they explore this fake departure situation a little further.

John takes a quick break from binge-watching Perfect Strangers on Netflix and he ends up dropping a spoon down the garbage disposal and decides that the best solution to the problem is stick his hand right down the thing. Isaac only warned you that something bad was going to happen so no big deal, right? Nope because his son, Michael, is easily able to retrieve the spoon before John loses his hand. After Isaac’s warning, it’s obvious that John is flirting with fate and trying to disprove his finger painting fortune but this is The Leftovers so something bad is definitely going to happen.

John later finds a baked apple pie on his doorstep and sees the new neighbors are moving in. And guess who those new neighbors are? THE GARVEY’S! They’re calling Miracle their new home and I can’t wait to find out why they are in town!

"Hey sup"

John ends up taking the mystery pie to the neighbors, possibly because he thinks it might be poisoned, and ends up meeting Nora Durst (played by the sensational Carrie Coon). Let the questions begin because I have no idea how Nora ended up with the Garvey’s or what happened to Laurie or their son Tom. It appears they didn’t come along for the move.

Jill Garvey is back in the fold too and she does some bonding with Yvette and Michael at the Murphy’s BBQ to celebrate John’s birthday. I suppose it somewhat makes sense that the Garvey’s have moved to Miracle since Matt Jamison is also Nora’s brother so I’d guess he was the one that told Nora to get her butt to the Jarden of Eden.

Kevin and John are making small talk and I think it might be worth noting that Kevin was infatuated with the Murphy’s couch as he lets us know they used to have one just like it.

The Mystery Couch

Later at dinner, John is joking around about his time in prison but he’s actually not joking because he spent 6 years locked away. This probably explains the sociopathic behavior he was displaying earlier when he burned down Isaac’s place.

Then shit gets absolutely crazy. We have yet another earthquake in the middle of the night, only this one is much bigger than the last. John and Erika immediately run to check on their kids but it looks like their daughter Yvette is gone. At this point, I’m absolutely losing my mind because it appears we may have a second departure on our hands. In fact, her friends Taylor and Violet are also missing and I’m guessing they’re back at the ole watering hole they like to frequent which also happens to be where our cave woman died from her snake bite earlier.

John and Michael head over and find a deserted car with the music playing and the doors locked. It also has Yvette’s cell phone inside. What is even more strange is that the water has completely disappeared from said watering hole.

Brain Drain

So where in god’s name did the girls and the water go? Obviously the earthquake has something to do with it, not to mention the fact that the watering hole is the same place where that cave woman died hundreds of years ago. There is obviously some connection between what happened to her way back in the day and what happened to Yvie and her friends. Maybe that scene where Yvie and her friend are running naked through the forest has something to do with what happened here? It’s definitely possible given how random that entire scene was.

And how about that ending? Simply perfect having Erika sitting alone in the dining room and a cricket chirping as we go to credits. That was pretty much the exact same thing that happened to me…sitting alone in silence as I attempt to unravel what I just witnessed.

Cricket Noises

That was an epic start to the season. It was a bit odd for the premiere to not focus on any of the main characters from the previous season but it appears this strategy completely paid off big time. We got to meet the entire Murphy clan and we were introduced to the brand new town of Miracle, Texas. Personally, I loved it all. And I hope you did too.

Let’s debate! What do you think happened to those 2% who vanished? What is so special about Miracle, Texas and why did this town have no departures? Where in the hell did Yvie and her friends go? What is with all of earthquakes and the cave woman at the beginning? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LIKES IT
Mikey Likes It

The season two premiere was everything I wanted it to be. We have so many new mysteries surrounding the departure and I cannot wait to find out how this unravels. The flashback at the very beginning of the episode was the perfect way to reel us in and get our attention and I really want to know how the cave woman’s death at the ole watering hole and her baby play a role in the story. I highly doubt this was some random scene they decided to include for no reason.

I also loved how they reintroduced our favorites from last season. Even though Kevin, Jill, Nora and Matt didn’t have a major role in the premiere, the writers effectively focused their attention on the Murphy’s and on Miracle, the town with zero departures. How is that even possible, I still don’t know but Mikey is absolutely loving this series and it looks like season two has set the bar high.

They even brought back the amazing and emotional soundtrack from Max Richter which made the first season so mysterious and dark. I’ve embedded it below so feel free and have a listen if you dare.

Lastly, check out the promo for next week’s all-new Leftovers, titled A Matter of Geography. As always, thanks for reading 🙂