TV

‘The Leftovers’: Why Justin Theroux’s Character Is Basically Jack From ‘Lost’

Minus the tattoo back-story (so far).

In the pilot of his new show “The Leftovers,” it was pretty damn clear that Damon Lindelof wanted to make a clear statement that, no, this isn’t “Lost 2.0.”

The bleaker than bleak tone of that first episode carried over into the second, entitled “Penguin One, Us Zero,” further differentiating itself from the hit ABC show that Lindelof created with J.J. Abrams… But one facet of the show is looking more and more familiar by the week: the main character.

There are plenty of differences between Justin Theroux’s Kevin Garvey and Matthew Fox’s Jack Shepherd, but a few defining characteristics are beginning to line up in interesting ways.

Broken Marriage
The major twist of the pilot revealed that Laurie, the eager recruiter for the Guilty Remnant, was in fact Chief Garvey’s wife, who up until that point was suspected of disappearing with the missing two percent. The distinction showed that there was a different kind of loss within the world of “The Leftovers” and established Garvey as someone whose life shattered into pieces; pieces that are still very much a part of his life.

His drunken visit to the G.R. to bring Laurie home felt similar to Jack’s struggles with Sarah, the woman whose spine he fixed and then married. Their failed marriage and the paranoia around her affair became a defining storyline for Jack pre-crash, and already in “The Leftovers,” we’re seeing the wreckage that Laurie’s departure has left in its wake.

Daddy Issues
For every Jack Shepherd, there has to be a Christian Shepherd, and this week, we were formally introduced to Kevin Garvey Sr. A flashback (in the most literal sense of the phrase) in the pilot suggested that the previous Chief Garvey didn’t handle the disappearance well, and during a visit to his father, Junior experiences the depth of his father’s fall. Throughout “Lost,” Jack struggled living up to the professional legacy of his now damaged father.

Creeping Fear of Insanity
It’s certainly an understatement to say that Chief Garvey Jr. has a few issues to work through, what with his missing son, absentee wife, crazy father, and emotionally lost daughter. But it’s the man in the truck and what he might mean for Garvey’s mental health might be the real problems. No one seems to be able to see Dean, the local neighborhood dog killer, expect for Garvey, not unlike the visage of Christian Shepherd shortly after Flight 815 crashed on the island.

But if John Locke’s words carry over into the world of “The Leftovers,” Garvey shouldn’t have to worry, because “crazy people don’t know they’re going crazy. They think they’re getting saner.”

Writer/editor for MTV. If it involves cowboys, spies, or hitmen, I'm there. All three would be ideal.
@KPSull