The Leftovers: Season 3 created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta (HBO, Film 44, Warner Bros. Television)
Starring Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Kevin Carrol, Jovan Adepo, and Scott Glenn.
Yin and Yang
The most beautiful aspects of life aren’t necessarily the ones that lead to the most happiness. I’ve always been struck by the symbiotic relationship between elements, to the point where the definition of one exists only as the opposite of another. The classic yin to the yang. Light has meaning only in comparison to darkness. Darkness is an absence of light. The qualities of goodness glean meaning in contrast to elements of evil.
And so it is with happiness. We cherish happiness because we know sorrow and pain. Extending this concept to art forms, the best art ought to elicit these equal and opposite emotions. If art can push you toward sorrow, it can open you to joy.
The Sudden Departure of…
With the mesmerizing series, The Leftovers, Damon Lindelof (of Lost fame) uses the sudden departure—a rapture-like event—to analyze the depth of human emotion around grief and joy.
Having moved beyond the initial scope of its punishing first season in Upstate New York, The Leftovers explores the nature of grief worldwide.
The main characters, Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) remain rooted as the central storyline, but characters established in Season 1 and Season 2 receive their own narratives.
As a character-driven story, the plot tends to take a back seat to the inner lives of these characters as they wrestle with deep questions about faith and the meaning of life. But at a high level, Kevin and Nora travel to Australia on the edge of the 7th anniversary of the great departure. Of course, 7 years represents a significant number for those interested in rapture-related inquiries.
For Nora, Australia represents a possible opportunity of getting shot to another dimension by a rogue nuclear physicist to be with her family again.
For Kevin, Australia means the chance to get away from his demons and an opportunity to find his father, Kevin Garvey, Sr (Scott Glen).
Given a handful of miraculous traits from season’s past, a handful of disciples chase after Kevin, believing they need to be near him on the seven-year anniversary.
Written with exquisite beauty, this final season acts as a continued series of finales, with each character earning a well-deserved stasis in their respective bottle episodes.
But more importantly, The Leftovers explores the dichotomies of life. It forces its viewers to look at the saddest elements of the human experience and to find beauty in the struggle and pursuits toward which we all endeavor. No joke, I cried at the end of each episode this season. With a surrealist flair, The Leftovers unlocked a truth to our shared human experience. Many may have jumped ship after a depressing first season, but the full collection of episodes represents one of the greatest television experiences I have ever encountered.
Verdict: 5 out of 5