I should have known.
There were no explanations. No resolutions. No whys or wherefores. No way to tell if my theory was correct or not. The story just reached a convenient stopping place (sort of) and the season ended, all questions left up in the air. The only thing that we found out was what the Guilty Remnant had been up to.
It occurred to me that by leaving out an explanation for why the people disappeared, we the audience are left in the same position as the characters in the show. After all, they don’t know why the people disappeared either. Although I would swear that at some point (or points) during the season I was convinced that there was an explanation that someone knew. Maybe not someone in town, but somebody somewhere.
One other thing occurred to me after reading a couple of commentaries about the finale: I get the impression that the creators of the show (or rather, I suppose, the author of the book) was trying to put modern man into a situation where he’s confronted with something that is undeniably similar to a miracle of Biblical proportions. The audience was never shown The Departure on camera, so it’s impossible for us to guess what happened, but I suspect a supernatural rather than scientific explanation. The opening credits certainly implies a Biblical apocalypse.
I ruled out a scientific explanation, by the way, because of the evidence given to us, or lack thereof. We’ve not been told of any “pops” or disturbances in airflow which would occur if a person physically vanished and left a vacuum behind. There was no residue of any kind. The peoples’ clothes went with them, suggesting to me that there was some kind of intelligence behind the disappearances. (The body-snatchers knew how to grab a person and his clothes, but not the chair he was sitting on or any part of the floor he was standing on.) These things are pretty strong indicators of a supernatural explanation to me. If that weren’t enough, the scientists in the Congressional Hearing in the first episode concluded that they had no idea what happened–that all but rules out a natural phenomenon. Someone would have come up with a theory to explain the evidence if there had been any.
All of which is probably way too much over-thinking of the show. But since they didn’t provide any answers, I have to do for them.
The biggest thing that The Leftovers achieved was reminding me how much I miss the Ninth Doctor.