Warning: this article contains spoilers.
HBO’s newest drama is one of their ballsiest. From showrunner Damon Lindelof (co-creator of “Lost”) comes “The Leftovers,” a show all about what would happen if a bunch of people vanished into thin air. Based off the novel of the same name by Tom Perotta, the show follows the small town of Mapleton, New York and picks up just three years after 2 percent of the world’s population disappeared without a trace. Centering on the town sheriff, his family and several other characters, the show’s first season was an excellent character piece and full of reasons to keep on watching.
This past Sunday, the finale aired at 10 pm and brought the freshman season to a close. Following what may have been the best episode of the season, “The Garveys at Their Best,” the season finale “The Prodigal Son Returns” picked up with Garvey in a hole (figuratively). Patty had just killed herself in front of him and he’s stuck with (actual) blood on his hands. Who comes to the rescue? None other than Reverend Matt, helping him bury the body and clean himself up.
After a very worrisome series of dreams and a deadly encounter between Wayne and Kevin in a diner bathroom, the episode ultimately resulted in a very rewarding climax to the season. The Guilty Remnant took it to a whole new level, causing riots to break out everywhere. Tommy returned to his mother after dropping off Wayne’s baby on his father’s doorstep, Garvey rescued Jill from the fires of the GR and on their way home found their dog, calm and loving. And Nora, after a slight suicide scare, finally found a family to live for.
Where does this leave us? Well, it all comes down to the final moments of Wayne’s life, when Kevin found him wounded in the bathroom. He told Kevin to make a wish, and without saying anything, he did. As Wayne fell, we could only assume what Kevin wished for. However, by the end of the episode, maybe it came true: his daughter came back to him and is finally looking up to him, the GR is in pieces, Nora is happy and Tommy is back (somewhat). Could it be that Wayne was never a fraud, or is this just a freak coincidence? Either way, Garvey and his newfound family will be on top next season, with his ex-wife and stepson on the run.
Where will the show go next? That’s uncertain. Although with Tommy back and the GR broken, a Garvey family reunion seems unlikely. The stone-cold look that Kevin gave Laurie as he pulled Jill from the fire says it all. There’s no going back. It would be great to see Tommy reunited with his sister and stepdad, but he’ll have to choose a side.
Also, let’s hope next season sees a lot more of Christopher Eccleston’s Matt Jamison and a lot less Liv Tyler as Meg Abbott. While the latter provided some great scenes, her character was unreasonable and aggravating. Eccleston’s character very well may be the heart of the show. His character-centered episode early in the season (“Two Boats and a Helicopter”) is what hooked a lot of viewers and it would be great to see him take a bigger part in the show.
As for the answer to the big question, that remains to be seen. However, this reviewer has his theories. As the show was advertised with the tag-line “grace period is over,” maybe it really is. It is said that the rapture is followed by three years of peace, then several years of hell on earth. Whether or not the show is headed down that road is up in the air, but let’s not count it out.
By no means is “The Leftovers” a perfect show. It can be stressful, depressing and straight up crazy. But in today’s TV business, that’s exactly what we could use. No anti-heroes, no swords and no nerds; just a bunch of normal people dealing with an abnormal situation.
Speakeasy Verdict: A-
Did the season finale leave you wanting to join the GR or was the season worth the watch? Tweet at us @Speakeasymag!