‘The Leftovers’ Returns: The 5 Things You Need to Know

The Leftovers
Van Redin/HBO

Fall TV Preview 2015More upheaval is in store on The Leftovers in Season 2. It’s been four years since 2 percent of the world’s population mysteriously vanished, and the Garvey family, led by police chief Kevin (Justin Theroux), is ready for a new beginning. Here are five things to know about the HBO drama’s return.

1. There’s more hope. The first season put the characters through the wringer as they attempted to come to terms with their bleak new reality in the post-departure world. “The second season is really about them trying to start over,” executive producer Damon Lindelof says. “Nobody wants to be miserable, and there’s something very interesting about watching people try to reinvent themselves for a better life.”

2. The Garveys are heading south. Kevin, daughter Jill (Margaret Qualley) and girlfriend Nora (Carrie Coon) pack up their lives in Mapleton, New York, and move to the small Texas town of Jarden, which the locals have dubbed “Miracle” because it didn’t lose any residents in the departure. “Only 2 percent [of the entire population] disappeared, so there had to be places where nobody left,” Lindelof explains. “We thought, what would happen in that place? How would the scientific community treat it? How would the people who lived there treat it? It’s like witnessing a holy city at Year One.”

RELATED: Check Out New and Returning Fall Shows

3. Fresh faces are introduced. The Garveys have new neighbors, the Murphys, led by fireman John (Kevin Carroll) and doctor Erika (Regina King). “Erika seems pretty straightforward, but she’s riddled with secrets,” King hints. “The town depends on her and her family in very odd ways.”

4. Kevin and Nora’s relationship grows. After finding a baby on their doorstep, Kevin and Nora, who were bound together by tragedy last season, saw their courtship rapidly escalate. “They became a de facto family without doing any of the things a family should do before they incorporate,” Lindelof says. “We find two people who are deeply connected and in love with each other, but now they’ve got to go back and show their work.”

5. The Guilty Remnant is near. The silent cult that wreaked havoc in Season 1 is still very much a factor. “If the Guilty Remnant is a movement that has just begun, then it’s undergoing a certain level of transformation now, as all religions and cults must, in order to legitimize itself,” says Lindelof, who warns that Kevin’s ex-wife and Remnant member Laurie (Amy Brenneman) is also still out there. “She’s searching for the comfort and meaning she was looking for in the Guilty Remnant but did not find.”

The Leftovers, returns Sunday, Oct. 4, 9/8c, HBO