Archie In ‘Leave The World Behind,’ Explained: Why Did Archie’s Teeth Start To Fall?


The narrative of Leave the World Behind might seem to be a bit abstract in nature, but we believe that Sam Esmail wanted to talk about certain important facets of our society through symbolism and personification. In this article, we will talk about what exactly happened to Archie, what was the reason behind it, and what Sam Esmail wanted to symbolize through his character. We would also try to ascertain the kind of person he was and what it said about him and his generation.

Spoiler Alert

What happened to Archie on the vacation?

The moment Amanda Sandford told her husband, Clay, that they were going on a mini-vacation as she needed some time off, the latter knew that the kids would be very happy with the entire plan. Rose was an inquisitive kid, but Archie looked detached. By looking at him, it felt as if he was indifferent to whatever the plan was. He looked like the kind of guy who didn’t really care what happened to the world as long as he had fun. He was at an age where he liked getting attention from girls, and probably that was the thing that went on in his mind. Also, we noticed that he was not very affectionate towards his sister; he had the bare minimum conversations with her, and whenever she tried to ask or tell him anything, he was least interested in listening to her.

Archie’s behavior was one of the key reasons why Rose felt alone. She felt that her parents didn’t have time for her, and she didn’t share any kind of bond with her brother either. There was a scene in Leave the World Behind that told us exactly how the kids were oblivious to the severity of what was happening in the outside world. The family was sunbathing on the beach when suddenly, they saw a ship terribly close to the shore and not showing any signs of stopping. They stared at it for a moment or two, but then they realized that they would have to run to save their lives. It was not something that happened on a day-to-day basis, but it had no impact whatsoever on the kids. They went inside the pool and started playing, and for a moment, even Amanda was surprised at their apathy and the unconcerned attitude they showed. Archie got interested when Ruth came to their villa, and he took a video of her without her consent.

Archie was obsessed by Ruth, and amidst the apocalypse, that was the only thing he cared about. Rose told Archie about her vision, and she was confused about whether she was hallucinating or if it was happening in reality. She told Archie that she saw a herd of deer at the edge of the woods staring at her and requested that Archie come with her to check the cabin in the woods. Even then, Archie felt that it was a waste of time to be in the woods when he could just be around Ruth. Archie’s unmindfulness could be said to be stereotypical of the people of his generation, and the irony was that when something happened to them, they wanted the world to acknowledge it. In Leave the World Behind, we saw that all of a sudden, Archie’s teeth started falling when he woke up one morning. Nobody knew what happened to him, and everybody started panicking.

Why were Archie’s teeth falling out?

George came to the conclusion that they all would have to take Archie to Danny’s house, as he believed that Danny was the only man who could help them. Danny was the kind of man who was always prepared for an apocalypse, and though some people believed him to be a lunatic, his paranoia actually came to be of some use. Danny saw Archie, and he told them his teeth could be falling as a result of the high-pitched sounds that they had heard a couple of times since the strange thing started happening. He said that a similar sort of anomaly occurred in Cuba, where people wreaked havoc on the place using weapons that used microwaves for destruction. There was a pensive look in George’s eyes as he somehow realized that his worst fears were coming true. Clay, on the other hand, was clueless, as he knew that his son needed immediate medical help and that the pills that Danny gave would just provide temporary relief.

What did the falling teeth symbolize?

Archie’s attitude symbolized the behavior of a society that did nothing and even turned a blind eye to the acts of fascism in their own nation. Such a dispassionate society always believes that just because they are not actively participating in the vendettas of their government, they cannot be blamed for anything. But silence at a time when voicing opinions is of utmost significance makes a person as guilty as if they were conspiring in the crime. Probably, Sam Esmail wanted to show that apathy has its consequences when several lives are destroyed. Such people only wake up when adversity knocks at their doorstep, and probably that’s when they realize that what happened in the past was not right and that they should have spoken against it or at least done something to stop it.

The falling out of Archie’s teeth in Leave the World Behind also showed us how brittle our own moral code of conduct was and how we abandoned it completely in the wake of an imminent threat to our personal beings. It also signified deterioration that could potentially lead to a societal collapse. Society had already turned into a more primitive state, and there was a possibility that if the world kept going in the same direction without any sort of intervention, then it would just be a matter of time before everything got lost in oblivion.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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