Spoilers aplenty for the first two seasons of The Leftovers. If you haven’t watched the show, then don’t read on. If that’s the case, then what the hell is wrong with you? Go watch it already, it’s amazing!
Acclaimed drama is on TV every single day across multiple networks and the medium has never been a more competitive and flourishing place. Therefore, in this current television landscape, it’s a big deal to say that a show is the best show on television. But I’m going to say it. The Leftovers is the best show currently on television but its run is coming to an end. In a few short weeks, the third and final season of the show will begin and I’m glad that it’s ending. The show has created its world brilliantly in the first two seasons and it feels like the right time for a conclusion of what should be a contained yet dense narrative. So as my second favourite show of all time concludes – it’s nestled between Mad Men and the X Files – I have a series of hopes for the closing season of the show. Of course, all of these hopes could be dashed in the final season with the writers taking the show to some unknown regions and I’d still love it but based on my thoughts of the first two seasons here is what I want to see in the third:
An ambiguous ending
The Leftovers has never been a straight forward show and so this hope is all but confirmed. I don’t want every tiny thing tied up in a nice bow with every plot point and character given a substantial resolution. Leave it all mysterious so it can be analysed in multiple ways. My favourite episode of the show, and one of my favourite episodes of television ever, is the 8th episode of season 2 ‘International Assassin’ for many, many reasons, one of them being that you can analyse the events of the episode in a multitude of ways. Maybe Kevin did die and did battle with Patti in ‘the other place’ which is some form of afterlife or limbo state or maybe it was all just a hallucination of Kevin’s oxygen-deprived brain. Maybe he and his father are mentally ill or maybe they are indeed being directed towards some unknown higher purpose. The trailers for the third season state an apocalyptic event is coming and that Kevin is the only one who can stop it and I hope we get no definitive answers on whether this is the case or not, only possible ‘evidence’ from unreliable narrators.
No answer for the Sudden Departure
The show seems to be book-ending itself with two apocalyptic events: The Sudden Departure that kicked off the series and the great flood prophesied to wash away the rest of humanity. If the end of the show is left ambiguous then so too should the start. The fact that the characters in the series don’t know what caused the Sudden Departure is what drove so much of the story and created the fractured world they inhabit and giving us an answer would undo all of this. When the first season aired lead writer Damon Lindelof stated we would never find out the truth behind the Sudden Departure and I hope that now we are nearing the end he has stuck to his guns. This is also backed up from the fact that Tom Perrota’s novel, on which the show is based, doesn’t reveal the truth but having said that the book is vastly different from the show and only covered the events of the first season.
Return of Dean
The tobacco chewing, gob hurling, dog shooting Dean was an intriguing part of the first season of the show who allowed the series to explore Kevin’s psyche. There are times in the first season where we are meant to think that Dean is a figment of Kevin’s imagination but it turns out that he was indeed real and helped Kevin kidnap Patti and lead Kevin on his first steps towards his higher purpose. In his final moments on the show it was implied that Dean was hearing voices just like Kevin’s dad and later Kevin in the second season and so either madness attracts or he was being instructed to lead Kevin down a path we have yet to fully understand. Now that the more possibly supernatural/metaphysical/religious aspects of the show were expanded on greatly in the second season it would be cool to see Dean return and find out more about the enigmatic stranger and his penchant for shooting canines.
Return to ‘The Hotel’
The latest trailer seems to all but confirm that we will be returning to ‘The Hotel’ and the brief shot of Kevin in an all-white suit with an American flag pin has me very excited. Could it be that Kevin will now be the President in ‘the other place’ after killing Patti who was running for office when he visited previously. Episode 7 of the upcoming season is directed by Craig Zobel who directed ‘International Assassin’ last season – and the fantastic film Compliance – which could suggest this will be the Hotel episode and with it being titled “The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)” my President theory could ring true. I also hope we see Bill Camp’s character again in the hotel, the guy who met Kevin on the bridge and told him he had to sing karaoke to get home. Could he represent God or an angel the same way Kevin seems to represent Jesus?
Chapter 3 of the increasingly unlucky adventures of Matt Jamison
For me the standout episode of the first season was ‘Two Boats and a Helicopter’ which focused on Matt Jamison just being ridiculously unlucky. First, he loses his church, gets robbed, his wife is in a coma, and has to kill a man leaving him in a dire situation. Next season we get another whole episode dedicated to the character in which he is thrown out of town, accused of raping his wife, his car gets stolen, he gets hit on the head, he has to smash an oar over someone’s back while shouting the name “Brian”, gets washed down a storm drain with his comatose wife and ends the episode naked in some stocks. There is something so cringe-inducing and yet ironically funny about seeing Matt in such situations and I hope we get an episode in the third season which once again sees Matt in such dire straits. The fifth episode of season 3 is called “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World” so it certainly looks promising and I hope the lower episode count of the season (8 instead of 10) doesn’t mean his story will be inter-cut with someone else’s to save time.
What do you want from the third and final season of The Leftovers? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about TV on Twitter @kylebrrtt.