The Leftovers second and possibly final season was an emotional experience. They tread into all forms of loss, and all forms of blame. You see people lash out in anger, and sadness often times leading to violence. However the true meaning of this season, and in essence the true meaning of the show is delightfully simple “Family”. The bonds that hold us together, whether by blood, or love. They can strain, and twist until they almost reach the breaking point. But in the end like an elastic they have a tendency to snap back to you in the most unexpected ways.
The episode opens with a Flashback (as does the previous episode) to the true events of that fateful evening. You see that the trio of girls had made up their minds about this endeavor long ago. They staged another departure in order to send the entire town into a turmoil. They couldn’t handle the lies, and became obsessed with breaking down the beloved community once and for all. You discover that the supernatural is just happen-stance, Kevin waking up at the bottom of the river bed was merely a coincidence.
“I don’t want to remember”
John all but explains why The Guilty Remnant want to destroy Jarden. They don’t have cause to remember about the loss, they only remember the triumph. Despite what they say in the church the emotions aren’t of sorrow, they are joy. The overwhelming happiness on a day that should be shrouded in misery makes them the greatest target. If the Remnant can take out the last bastion of hope, then their numbers will swell. We see the gift from Evangeline finally opened, only to find that its a dead cricket. John is overjoyed thinking the thing that had foolishly bothered him was finally gone, only to find out from his wife that the cricket wasn’t killed at all this was merely one from the wild. It’s stated to be a message about how he can’t let things go. It seems this trait was the one his daughter learnt the most from him. She was unable to face the constant streams of happy people whilst she sat in misery. She couldn’t let go.
“Nora what are you doing here?”
Mary wakes up, a moment entirely unexpected. When you see Mary and Matt reunite its the most optimistic, and happy moments of the entire series. They are reunited and together once more. You even get to figure out what happened that night Mary got pregnant. The Leftovers rarely ever gives a sense of closure, but for two characters true happiness is discovered. Mary’s revival is essential to Nora’s arc as well. She has been obsessed the entire season that she may have been the cause of her families departure. People have been handing her explanation after explanation as to what caused everything. Yet the moment, whoever it is, gives her a cause and she gets angry, not at them but at herself because yet again she got roped into self guilt. Seeing Mary revive herself gives Nora hope, and adds a little bit more happiness to the world. At least there is one man who’s word she can depend on, her brother’s.
“There is no family”
Tom thinks he has the Remnant all figured out, until Meg tells him “Family is everything”. He is once again sent into a confusing world. Tom’s own identity is one of the show’s obsessions, and while he doesn’t really say a lot during the rest of the episode he continues to help people. In the end he helps save the baby he once abandoned. Joining it once again as he sits with his family during the final moments of the episode. Meg drives up into the bridge leading to Jarden, and you are led to believe she plans on blowing the entire bridge up. She is stopped by police, and then the three missing girls walk out of the trailer.
“Why would she do this to us”
Kevin’s palm prints are a match to the one found on the girls vehicle. John, in a sea of desperation, takes him to the dog kennels attempting to wrangle the truth out of Kevin. This is one of the most tense, and well acted scenes I’ve ever seen. Both characters are entirely believable, and Kevin underestimates the depth of John’s obsession. John refuses to believe anything that doesn’t fit into his world view. We see him work and work to remove all of the lies from Jarden. Be it supernatural, or human. He refuses to believe the idea the his daughter could possibly not love him. This refusal to see the way things are leads Kevin to be shot.
“Michael says a few words”
This is the last we get of Michael, who has been one of the series most interesting characters. His faith makes him have a lot in common with Jamison, and his faith is rarely tested. Every test to his faith has been answered with a miracle. However he gives the most meaningful speech of the entire episode when he takes a moment to address the church. He sums of Jarden better than any cult, or ceremony could. Jarden is a town of denial. If a town isn’t hit by a tornado, but drowns in a flood the loss is still felt, and is still the same. Jarden has put itself on a pedestal, and this whole season had characters constantly trying to knock it down. Loss is loss, no matter when or where.
The entire town runs out to watch the missing girls stand in front of a timer counting down the hour. It is a standoff, but Erika is going to see her child and nothing can stop her. They play their entire reunion without dialogue. Instead they focus on the faces of the characters, and the beauty of the score. Every scene is perfectly constructed, with some beautifully cinematography and some truly heartbreaking moments. As the clock counts down and you eagerly await the horrid explosion…nothing happens. There was never a bomb, a potential bomb was just the distraction needed to let guard down at the gates. This tactic was much more effective than the mass of trailer park onlookers finally breaking their way into the peaceful town.
“You pushed a little girl into a well…you don’t wanna sing?”
The episode ends with Kevin Garvey repeating the ritual to revival. He wakes up in the bathtub, and puts on his true suit, his true identity Sheriff Garvey. It’s truly who he is. In order to pass over however he doesn’t have to savagely murder a young girl, no this time all he has to do is sing. Again the show continues to amaze, somehow Garvey singing to a crowd of people stuck in purgatory, and reliving the montage of the moments that truly matter in his life doesn’t feel cheesy. It emotes real, and tragic emotion. The emotions don’t stop there however as when Garvey wakes up, he releases his dog and discovers the town has gone to hell. After a reunion with his dog, his dog decides to run off, down the same bridge everyone else wanted to come across. The sadness on Kevin’s face is evident, but he continues on. We see an entirely sacked and destroyed city now a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. He makes his way into the abandoned hospital where he runs into John. The man who maimed him is also the man who saves him. The two manage to make it back to their homes, and Kevin is reunited with his entire family who has made it back safe. Even if the world is collapsing all around you, there’s still nothing more important than family.
The show that began as one of the most depressing heart-wrenching shows I’ve ever seen ends with a wonderful sense of happiness and joy. Sure failure faced the Garvey’s at every turn, but in the end they still had each other.Is’t that all what we really want in the end?