The New ‘The Leftover’ Opening Credits Say A Lot

by Emily Lackey

I don’t know about you, but I am just as curious about Season 2 of The Leftovers as I am about where all of the people who disappeared in the Departure are. Every time a new clip or trailer comes out, I become obsessed with picking apart every little clue about the new season that I can. So, it’s no surprise that when the opening credits to The Leftovers Season 2 were released on Friday, I watched them over and over again trying to get a sense of what the new season will be like. And, sure enough, there are definitely a few key things I can gather about Season 2 of The Leftovers from the new opening credits.

To begin with, the opening credits are lighter in tone. The heavy, somber music of the Season 1 credits has been replaced with a light fiddles and banjos. The song, performed by Iris Dement, is called “Let the Mystery Be.” And, having listened to the lyrics about a bajillion times — with verses like, "Everybody's wonderin' what and where they all came from/ Everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go when the whole thing's done/ But no one knows for certain and so it's all the same to me/ I think I'll just let the mystery be," — I can tell you that those in the opening credits are more concerned with things like accepting death and not obsessing over the mysteries of life than they are with wallowing in tragedy. Sounds like a nice change of pace and the perfect message for the people left behind after the Departure. B

But do the lighter lyrics and tone mean that Season 2 will be lighter as well, with the “leftovers” beginning to move on? It’s possible. A teaser clip released earlier in the summer revealed that a number of them are migrating to a town in Texas.

The other thing that is clear from the new credits is how present the departed still are for those who have left behind. While “Let the Mystery Be” fiddles on in the background, candid photos appear on the screen, showing families, friends, and loved ones in some of their most fun-loving and intimate moments. But, in each of the photographs, one person has been cut out, leaving behind a silhouette of a select nature scene: the ocean, rain drops on a window, a collection of galaxies. The silhouettes make the missing people stand out even more than the other people in the pictures, which suggests that the departed are still very much present in the new season. Even if there are signs of acceptance and hope.

But, where the departed are or what happened to them is still very much unknown. The nature images that replace them in the opening credits are largely abstract and difficult to make out. Based off this, I feel like we’re not going to get answers about what happened to the departed or where they went in Season 2.

The other telling thing about the nature silhouettes that have replaced the missing people is that they move. While the rest of the image stays static like a photograph, the missing people are replaced by scenes that shift or change in some way. The effect that this has on the image is that, of all the people in the picture, they seem the most “alive.”

See the credits below:

It’s creepy and kind of cool, but it’s also really telling. The biggest takeaways from the opening credits and all of its symbolism, however, are the change in tone, the focus on the missing people, and the possibility of acceptance from the lyrics. Maybe this season will show more characters learning to let go of the past and accept the circumstances of their lives post-Departure for what they were? Either way, this season promises to offer from big changes. Ones that I can’t wait to watch.

Image: HBO (2)