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The Dangerous, Sprawling Implications of 'The Leftovers' Great 'Perfect Strangers' Conspiracy

By Vivian Kane | Miscellaneous | October 5, 2015 |

By Vivian Kane | Miscellaneous | October 5, 2015 |

Last night’s season two premiere of The Leftovers left us with a lot of questions. A LOT. If you had unanswered questions leftover (HA!) from season one, the show’s shift of location to the weird as hell town of Miracle only piled on more. But in between cavewomen, goat slaughters, and disappearing epileptic teenagers, there was one mystery that looms above all the rest.


If you don’t recognize the name Mark Linn-Baker, it’s because you probably know him by a different name: Larry Appleton, cousin to Balki Bartokomous on Perfect Strangers. Back in season one of The Leftovers, we learned about some of the real-world celebrities that had been raptured. Among those were, oddly enough, the entire cast of Perfect Strangers. Balki, Cousin Larry, Mary Anne and Jennifer were all part of the 2% of the Earth’s population that was suddenly no more. OR WERE THEY??


In last night’s episode, we saw, via a background TV news segment, that Linn-Baker had actually faked his departure, and is living in Chihuahua, Mexico.


You may think that this is just a fun throwaway joke, maybe because Damon Lindelof has previously said Baker came in to audition for a role on the show, unaware that he himself had actually already been written off of it. But I think that’s what they WANT us to think! What if there’s something much more sinister at the heart of this scandal? Why would this man fake his own rapture? Sure, his career has wound down a bit (although, really, he seems to be doing very well in his theatre credits). Was he in financial trouble? Personal turmoil? Did he maybe just dream of living in a world where he was recognized as an artist and as a man and not just “Cousin Larry”? Did he make a split-second decision to take advantage of this international tragedy and start fresh? Or what if he didn’t act alone? If one Perfect Stranger is still alive, couldn’t all of them be? Is this an I Know What You Did Last Summer-type blood pact of buried secrets and salacious cover-ups? Who else is still out there? Gary Busey? Salmon Rushdie? Nora’s husband? JLo???

Damon Lindelof, if you don’t return to the Perfect Strangers Departure Scandal again this season, or— better yet— devote all of season three to this mystery, then I just don’t know what I’m watching for.