'The Leftovers' - Reviews

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Episode 3

Ben Lee - Digital Spy - Was episode 3 the finest piece of TV drama in 2014?
Eccleston appears in every scene, and he is absolutely 'fantastic', as the Ninth Doctor would say, breathing life into his character in a grounded and incredibly effective way and delivering one of his best and most human performances to date.

Rotten Tomatoes - podcast

Brenda Cronin - The Wall Street Journal / Speakeasy - Episode 3, 'Two Boats and a Helicopter'
[...] a pitch-perfect Chris Eccleston, who never escalates into caricature even when dappled with dried blood, scars and bruises [...]

Robert Ham - Paste - 'Two Boats and a Helicopter'
Eccleston honors each shade of Jamison's personality through this hour of television so perfectly. He lets loose for only one moment, but otherwise keeps this portrayal from going over the top. The body language is stiff and economical, the facial expressions barely betraying the real emotions going on behind the scenes. And his vocal choices are perfect, coming across as someone who has spent his whole life over-enunciating so as to be understood from the pulpit and shepherding people through life's rough patches. Considering what he endured on screen for the previous 50+ minutes, Eccleston would have been forgiven a few scenery-chewing outbursts, especially at the very last scene. Instead, he stands stock-still, letting us read the terror, anger, and confusion playing behind his eyes.
 Michael M. Grynbaum - The New York Times / ArtsBeat - Into the Dark, With a Cliche or Two
Mr. Eccleston is tremendous as the reverend, a more complex and fully realized character than the stupefied Mapletonians we've met thus far.

Brandon Ambrosino - Vox - 'The Leftovers' third episode is perfect television

Tim Surette - TV.com - Reward and Punishment, for the Reverend and for Us
And it was pretty good, overall, thanks in large part to Christopher Eccleston's magnetic and strong performance. Matt's attempts to save his church became an series of highs and the lowest lows imaginable, and Eccleston wore his character's failures and misfortunes like a ratty old T-shirt covered by a jacket of determination and drive as he plowed through obstacles until he literally couldn't move anymore.

Kelly Braffet - Vulture - Always Bet on Red
And Eccleston is so damn good, his gaunt, sad-bloodhound face battered and held together with steri-strips – his desperation, the strength it takes him to will himself to believe.

Matt Fowler - IGN - Reap of Faith
'Two Boats and a Helicopter' featured a wonderful performance by Eccleston, still echoing the whimsy of that "little boy" who longed for attention.
Rated 10 (Masterpiece; one of the pluses: Eccleston's performance)

Nick Harley - Den of Geek - 'Two Boats and a Helicopter' review
Christopher Eccleston's character stands center stage in this installment, and the talented actor makes the most out of the material, breaking your heart slowly every step of the way.

Kevin Yeoman - Screenrant - A Test For What Comes Next
[...] a fantastic hour of television that is spearheaded by the nuanced work of Christopher Eccleston as Rev. Matt Jamison. [...]

For his part, Eccleston manages to perfectly convey Matt's desperation and anger at potentially losing his church [...]
This week's episode, 'Two Boats and a Helicopter,' treats viewers to a full-length dip into the acid-filled baptismal pool that is Reverend Matt Jamison's life, and Christopher Eccleston's superb performance will make you want to drown yourself in it. 
James Poniewozik - Time - The Leftovers Spins the Wheel of Fortune
Eccleston's stressed-out performance here is commanding top to bottom. Every blow in Matt's life has hammered a spring within him tighter; if you put a mood ring on him, it would probably explode. 

Erin Carlson - Mashable - Starved for Attention
After two so-so episodes, the HBO drama's third installment finally hits a home run with an hour devoted entirely to Rev. Matt Jamison, portrayed by the ferociously talented British actor Christopher Eccleston, who nails a suburban New York accent and pretty much everything else. [...]

Eccleston oozes an unholy blend of desperation, mania and rage during Matt's risk-fueled spree to win big money and quick. 


Jun 30

Kimberly Potts - Yahoo TV - 'The Leftovers' Postmortem: Hang in There, It's About to Get Amazing
And because Episode 3 - don't worry, we're not about to drop any major spoilers on you - is fantastic, one of the best episodes of any TV drama this year.

Titled "Two Boats and a Helicopter," the story plays pinball with your heart and your head, and most definitely your nerves. Focusing on Christopher Eccleston's Reverend Matt Jamison, who was introduced in the premiere, Episode 3 whipsaws between hope and dejection, perfectly meshing heartbreaking backstory and current day events with a big reveal on character connections.

It's almost a standalone episode, in fact, award-worthy for Eccleston's performance, and for a story that draws you in and makes you forget you might have been thinking about breaking up with the series after the somber beginning.

Alan Yuhas - The Guardian - Intense, Unpredictable, Occasionally Brilliant
There are some recognizable tropes [...], and a handful of much more interesting characters: a pastor on a quest (Christopher Eccleston), [...]. These four characters are well acted and for the most part well written. An episode devoted to Eccleston's character manages to be captivating, moving and inevitable all at once, and is a fantastic sign for what the series could be.


Jun 29

Linda Ge - Up & Comers - 'The Leftovers' Is a Mysterious, Tense Character Study
Episode three, a somewhat jarring stand-alone story solely following the story of the town's doggedly persistent pastor, is also surprisingly the show's strongest thus far. Credit must be paid to Christopher Eccelston [sic], who takes his character Matt Jaminson [sic] through a wide range of roller coaster emotions and life events over the course of 24 hours as he fights to save his church. It's almost a shame the story will probably return mostly to the Garveys, because Jaminson himself could be a completely watchable show on his own, with all the shades of a grey of a complicated man trying desperately to do what he believes is right but pushed increasingly to the edge.
Vicki Hyman - New Jersey - Apocalypse How?
The strongest episode so far is the third, which focuses on a minister played by the dynamite Eccleston ('Doctor Who,' 'Thor: The Dark World'). He's tending to a shrinking flock - shrinking in no small part because the Rev. Matt Jamison's sideline is obsessively digging up dirt on the departed to prove that they weren't reaped by God for their goodness. (Again, a tactic seldom appreciated by the rest of the town.) It's the most narratively focused, and I hope there's more of that going forward.

Bruce R. Miller - Sioux City Journal - 'The Leftovers' Poses Many 'Huh, What?' Questions

Joanne Ostrow - The Denver Post - HBO Serves Up 'The Leftovers' Drama, a Frustrating Challenge
[...] Christopher Eccleston is suitably creepy as the reverend who thinks he knows what the Departure was and is intent on revealing the negative traits of those who are gone.

Darwyn Carson - Leonard Maltin/Indiewire - The Premiere of HBO's 'The Leftovers': What's Not to Like…?

Jun 27  

Chris Vognar - Dallas News/Guide Live - Picking up the post-rapture pieces in HBO's 'The Leftovers'
But I appreciate some quiet audacity in my pop culture, and I'm generally inclined to get behind a show that plays with big ideas: faith, doubt, regret, community, isolation.

These notions come together best in the person of Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston), a priest who takes the Sudden Departure as a spiritual and personal affront. He publishes a newsletter detailing the crimes and misdemeanors of the disappeared and asks explicitly: Why would these people receive the call? What kind of God would rapture these cretins? Eccleston plays Jamison with a spooky sense of sympathy and a desperate need for certainty. Episode 3 is his show, and it's the most focused of the early batch.

Kristi Turnquist - Oregon Live - New HBO drama 'The Leftovers' adds to TV's gathering gloom
Also affecting is the work of Amy Brenneman as a member of the Guilty Remnant, and British actor Christopher Eccelston as a clergyman who finds his faith tested.
It's worth sticking it out through 'The Leftovers' third episode, which focuses almost exclusively on Matt, the preacher with a penchant for airing Departures' dirty laundry. Eccleston's performance, for which he's adopted an American accent and a much deeper voice, is one-note in the first two episodes, but when he steps into the spotlight, he's able to add nuance and shading to a character who to that point has just seemed like a lunatic annoyance.

Robert Lloyd - LA Times - Artful 'Leftovers' on HBO Leaves Viewers Wanting More
The performances, including "Ninth Doctor" Christopher Eccleston as a minister dedicated to proving that this was not the Rapture, are notable throughout.

Ryan Leas - The Concourse/Deadspin - HBO's Majestically Bleak The Leftovers Finds God Everywhere, and Nowhere

Sara Smith - The Wichita Eagle - Mostly great, 'The Leftovers' fascinates, depresses and confuses
But the Rev. Jamison, portrayed with explosive desperation by Eccleston ('Doctor Who'), is trying to suffocate his private tragedy with his cruelty. He's clinging to the concept of himself as a righteous man [...]

Jun 26 

Jesse Tigges - ColumbusAlive - 'The Leftovers' Is Intriguing
Mystery and character-based drama abounds. And, most importantly, these are characters the audience will quickly invest in - especially a top-notch Theroux and Eccleston, but nearly all are interesting.

Then episode three hits, and the movement slows ever so slightly. Dedicated entirely to Reverend Jamison, the episode harks back to Lindelof's 'Lost' flashback-version of character development, spending the entire time with one man and his purposeful, but less compelling plight. It's not that Jamison's issues aren't pressing or that Christopher Eccleston's performance is lacking (it's pretty superb, as are everyone else's). But it's a come down after the brilliant interweaving of arcs from episodes one and two, and an illustration of Berg's influence on the show. It's the first hour not to be directed by the EP, and replacement Keith Gordon doesn't mimic his style well, if at all. Gone are many of the off-balance shots and visual urgency, replaced by an audibly louder score and heightened acting to help maintain the pre-established tone. It works, and fits, but feels as close to a filler episode as you can get in a 10-episode season.

'The Leftovers' is serialized, but not really. Its stunning third episode, for instance, works almost as a very short feature film. Following its plot requires only the most cursory knowledge of the show's premise. Even without that, the travails of its central character, the Rev. Matt Jamison (played by Christopher Eccleston) as a walking wound that God can't help pouring salt into, would be so universal as to be immediately understandable to anyone.

Celia Wren - Commonweal - 'The Leftovers' on HBO

Maureen Ryan - Huffington Post - A 'Lost' Producer Goes To The Dark Side
A lot of the life of Maplewood cleric Matt Jamison strikes me as uninspired Locke outtakes, and Christopher Eccleston's attempt at an American accent for the role doesn't help.

Jun 25 

Tim Goodman - The Hollywood Reporter - 'The Leftovers'
Highlighting the religious part of the story is Rev. Matt Jamison (Chris Eccleston, who, like most of this cast, is just marvelous in every frame). Reverend Jamison is not just a true believer, he thinks it's important to point out all the flaws - deep, life-destroying flaws - of locals who were taken. The nondeserving taint the deserving, he believes. With residents already losing their faith and abandoning religion after the departure, Reverend Jamison doesn't help his cause by denigrating the dead. As a character, however, he underscores the bigger themes of transformation that Perrotta and Lindelof are getting at. When we learn his backstory, Jamison seems less crazy, more kind, and thus his journey is more intriguing (because, yes, it has a lot of references to larger mysteries that are in play - pieces that may help solve the puzzle for viewers).

James Poniewozik - Time - 'The Leftovers' Hurts, So Good
Then comes the fantastic third episode, which follows Mapleton pastor Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston) through a crisis of faith, all through a story as neatly and twistily crafted as a Twilight Zone episode. 

And as Matt, the minister handing out all the fliers about the sins of the departed, Christopher Eccleston is a marvel of cheerful perseverance in the face of overwhelming anger and mockery.

Andy Greenwald - Grantland - Lost in Translation
The outstanding third episode, 'Two Boats and a Helicopter,' tracks the downfall, spiritual and otherwise, of the town pastor, played with flickering defiance by the great British actor Christopher Eccleston, while the fifth (HBO did not make the fourth available to critics) concerns the ripples caused by a heinous hate crime. Both made me deeply uncomfortable, even nauseated in spots. They tugged at a part of me that I'd rather remain untouched, poked holes in the thin slip of emotional insulation necessary to wake up every day hoping for the best instead of curling up in a ball and imagining the worst.

Rob Owen - Community Voices/Post Gazette - 'The Leftovers' Comes to HBO
'The Leftovers' is at its best in its third episode, which focuses entirely on the Rev. Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston, 'Doctor Who'), who launches a campaign of shame that suggest many of those who disappeared during the rapture were sinners not saints. In episode three he gets detoured by attempts to save his church, which is up for foreclosure. It's an hour that homes in on Jamison and his plight but it also ties together a few threads, including the revelation that Nora is his sister. But is this tight-focus episode an anomaly or will it become a routine format change for 'The Leftovers'?

Jun 24  

Richard Lawson - Vanity Fair - 'The Leftovers' Is Dark and Intriguing, For Now
Similarly, we don't know if a Job-like priest (Christopher Eccleston, sporting a shaky American accent) who has visions and epiphanies is losing his mind or is connected to a higher power.

Jun 12 

Hank Stuever - The Washington Post - A Biblical Event Leaves a Sorrowful Mystery
The third episode, centered on an Episcopal preacher (Christopher Eccleston as the Rev. Matt Jamison) who has alienated his congregation with his post-departure ravings, is delivered like a sermon: It's about gambling and greed, with a dramatic tension that builds toward a moment of karma. It's the first hint of what sort of tapestry that Lindelof and Perrotta hope to weave.

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