The director of last night's episode of 'The Leftovers' explains that bizarre opening sequence

Leftovers5finalHBOCavewoman in ‘The Leftovers.’

Warning: Spoilers ahead
HBO’s “The Leftovers” kicked off its second season Sunday night and didn’t hold back on continuing to test its audience with some of the most uncompromising material on TV.

Before catching up with Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and others who survived the “departure,” the show’s creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta take us back to the Stone Age. Literally.

The episode opens with a jarring sequence set during the dawn of man. We watch a pregnant cavewoman who has to fend for himself after an earthquake causes a rock slide that fills up the entrance to the cave where other cave people (presumably her family) were staying; making it impossible for her to get back in and the people inside to get out.

The cavewoman then gives birth. Now with a newborn, she moves on to look for food. Finding a bird’s nest with eggs, she retrieves them, but meanwhile her child encounters a snake. While saving her child the snake bites her.

The cavewoman later dies from the bite and another cavewoman takes the child.

The brook where the cavewoman died then becomes the site of three modern-day girls laughing and jumping into the water as hip-hop music plays in the background.

The director of the episode, Mimi Leder (who is also an executive producer on the show), recalled to Business Insider what her reaction was when she caught wind of this striking origin story of the town that our characters will be in most of this season.

“I was like, ‘What the f–k?'” she told BI with a laugh.

Leder remembers coming into the writers’ room when they were coming up with it.

“The sequence was written out in blue ink on the board,” she recalled. “It had words like ‘cavewoman,’ and ‘baby,’ and ‘birth.’ My mind started spinning, I loved it.”

Leder, who was on a break from directing the show’s finale when she talked to BI, is sure a lot of people watching the sequence will be thinking, as she put it, “What the hell is this?”

But she said there’s more to this sequence than an origin story.

“The opening sequence will resonate throughout the entire season,” she told BI. “And definitely in the finale.”

Leder said the sequence was a challenging one to pull off. Shot in only three days outside of Austin, Texas, there was weeks of preparation, discussing everything from the costume (or lack thereof) and make-up to how it would be shot. Leder decided on keeping the coverage very tight on her cavewoman.

“It was about the cycle of feelings and emotions and I didn’t want to miss a thing,” she said. “I really think the audience will understand what’s going on, while scratching their heads.”

“The Leftovers” air Sundays at 9pm on HBO.

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