Warning: the following contains massive spoilers for the finale of The Leftovers. Read at your own risk!
The Leftovers finale just aired, and it was the exact opposite of Lost’s finale in many ways. In case you aren’t sure whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’m here to tell you it was a glorious thing. Co-creator Damon Lindelof seems to have learned his lesson from his former show, and delivered an ending this time around that was in no way ambiguous or open to interpretation or worthy of torches. Here’s how The Leftovers ended in a way that made three seasons of waiting so worth it.
To start at the end, which took long time to write, the final scene showed an aged Nora Durst sitting down with aged Kevin Garvey and answered every big question the fans have been wanting to know since Season 1. We learned the departures were indeed living on an alternate Earth, and also learned that while Kevin and the gang’s Earth had lost 2% of the world’s population, the other Earth lost 98%. Compare that pretty explanatory expository capper to the all-around vagueness of Lost, where almost the entire cast of characters (both living and dead) are in a church in some form of afterlife, and then the whole thing ends on a shot of the plane wreckage. While those fans were left questioning whether or not anyone or everyone died in the series-opening crash, The Leftovers‘ fans were given the major answers they’ve wanted since the beginning.
Nearly everything that was up in the air concerning the Departed was answered by Nora and Kevin final-to-viewers conversation. Nora, realizing her family had moved on without her in their population-depleted Earth, returned to her normal existence feeling blessed that they were all okay. A truly meaningful and somewhat sweet way to end things on that front. As well, the reason why none of this has made widespread news is because Nora was the only person who actually wanted to go back to the original Earth.
And it turns out Kevin isn’t actually immortal, either — he has a heart condition — and nothing that happened to him had anything to do with rapture, or religion, or any of that gobbledygook that Matt and others so wanted to believe in. In fact, the whole explanation almost fell in line with that weirdo “parallel Earths theory” that makes people misremember how the Berenstain Bears’ name is spelled, and makes them think Sinbad was in a genie movie.
There are a few unanswered questions, of course, since that’s how life works. How did Kevin get so lucky to avoid death all of those times when he went off to Assassin Land? Did anyone ever answer for the murder of that sheriff beyond that one lady? Was Kevin’s dad really just crazy this whole time like we were told in Season 1? Granted, none of that was as crazy or confusing as a living smoke monster or a lighthouse full of mirrors or hatches with number sequences, so I guess we can ease up on the fact that not every question was answered.
Damon Lindelof said he was unsure of how fans would react to the finale, but something tells me that he had a good idea he’d be taking less heat this time around by making sure he wouldn’t have to deliver an endless cycle of explanations to fans following the ending credits. He had me fooled at first, I’ll admit, as I sat largely confused through the first 50 minutes of an older Nora getting naked, riding bikes, and going to a wedding. I was fully prepared to jump online and write about how these past three seasons were all for naught, but in the end, those final ten minutes truly made the long wait so worthwhile. And now I’m going to reflect on how this finale affects my views on this season, and the series, as a whole.
Do you feel the same way as I did about The Leftovers finale, or are you a little miffed we didn’t see the apocalypse? Let us know in the poll and comments what you thought. Now that the series is over, it’s as good a time as any to check out out summer premiere guide and lock yourself into a new show for the next couple months. You can also check our list of the remaining upcoming finales of popular shows, so you can tune in for the next big show coming to an end.