'The Leftovers' Star Emily Meade Is About To Have a Huge Episode
We're now five episodes into The Leftovers' first season, which means we've officially made it halfway through. Considering how difficult it is to stomach this (extremely well-crafted, powerfully written) show every week, if you've gotten this far, you deserve some congratulations. As we've quickly come to learn, The Leftovers hasn't been afraid to get very dark very quickly. In this week's coming episode, "Solace for Tired Feet," we'll learn more about Emily Meade's character Aimee, a girl who has adjusted to post-Sudden Departure Life in a very TV-version-of-a-delinquent-teenager sort of way. Amid all the End Times misery, Aimee's brief scenes have been some of the few less-than-dismal moments of the show.
If you're like me, you've come to appreciate The Leftovers ' increasingly morbid mythology, which now includes multiple cults, savage dogs, one stoning, and disappearing bagels. The bleak tone and violent, gut-wrenching visuals that characterize showrunners Tom Perotta and Damon Lindelof's vision of a rapture do serve a purpose: they make us queasy, even upset, to give the audience some insight into what life in the post-Sudden Departure world feels like.
But even considering all the sorrow and brutality we've seen so far, the moral corruption of our Broken Man protagonist Chief Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) is bound to sting a bit. Promos for "Solace for Tired Feet" hint that Kevin and Aimee may finally consummate their obvious — and obviously forbidden — attraction to each other. And it seems this time it will be real, not just in Kevin's fever dreams. A tryst between these two and its potential fallout would certainly be Meade's biggest plot lines this season. (Well, now that her search for hand cream has concluded.)
But as for the actress behind the role, The Leftovers is by far Meade's longest TV role to date, though she's been a working actress since 2006. She has appeared in multiple iterations of Law and Order, and she played the early 20th century prostitute Pearl in two episodes of Boardwalk Empire. Meade didn't stick around too long on that show, because Pearl's dream of becoming an actress was dashed after one of Charlie Sheridan's (Frank Shattuck) goons knifed her in the face. Horribly disfigured, Pearl took a bunch of opium and then shot herself. That story sounds almost grisly enough to be considered one of The Leftovers' lighter subplots. Meade also appeared in one episode of Fringe, where she played a future version of Olivia's (Anna Torv) niece, Ella Dunham.
Still, Meade has had far more roles in film than she has on television. One of her first gigs in a major studio movie came in 2010, when she starred in the ensemble drama Twelve opposite Keifer Sutherland, Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, and Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent). Meade played a high schooler who becomes addicted to the film's titular drug, a cocktail composed of 12 substances created by 50 Cent's character.
(This trailer sort of makes you wonder how Fiddy would feel about the Sudden Departure, doesn't it? The people need to know.)
Meade continued her streak of dark roles with another 2010 movie, horror master Wes Craven's My Soul to Take, in which she played Fang, the daughter of a schizophrenic serial killer. Other horror directors took notice, and Meade was cast in two small 2011 thrillers, Trespass and Silver Tongues. But by the following year, she graduated to more complex indie material, including a bit part in Mike Birbiglia's acclaimed Sleepwalk with Me, as well as roles in Bluebird and Gimme Shelter, starring Vanessa Hudgens. She scored a part in her biggest movie yet earlier this year, playing the small role of Christy in That Awkward Moment , a Zac Efron sex comedy that came out in January.
Meade has built her career primarily on thrillers, and The Leftovers is currently putting out some of the best creepy stuff on television. We still don't know much about Aimee's backstory (or why she spells her name so differently), but Meade has dropped some hints in interviews. She says Aimee relies on the Garveys to give her a sense of stability and family, because her mother isn't around and her stepdad is "abusive in one way or another." If breakfast with the Garveys is the most stability this girl has in her life, her future isn't looking too bright. Which puts her in exactly the same miserable boat as every other Leftovers character.
Images: Paul Schiraldi/HBO (2); Total Sports Blog