REVIEW – The Leftovers: Season 3, Episode 7

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Take this thing out of me. – Assassin Kevin Garvey

Why? – President Kevin Garvey

So we can’t ever come back here again. – Assassin Kevin Garvey

I don’t even know where to begin. The Leftovers accomplished a major feat last week in how Laurie exited the series, and this week chose to take us down a rabbit hole even crazier than the hotel from Season 2. When you expect this show to bob, it weaves. When you feel like you’re on the right road, driving alongside the series, it somehow just jerks off the pavement and drives straight into the wilderness. This was such a strange, mind bending hour, but it was still satisfying.

Welcome back to Purgatory.

Sort of.

Because the episode was backwards, forwards, and sideways, let’s start with Kevin Sr.’s last line, as he spoke of climbing onto the roof when the torrential rains came. Now that the storm is over, and much of the countryside is destroyed, he’s still unsure of what to do. “I don’t think I’m ready to come down. Now what?” With that one question, he spoke for every Leftovers viewer in the world. It’s no surprise we’re entering the series finale with virtually no idea what’s to come. Do we even have a roadmap of the final chapter in The Book of…well, I’ll save that title for next week for those that don’t wish it spoiled.

Ann Dowd hasn’t been the main figure in many Leftovers episodes, but when she’s working with Justin Theroux, the series is at its best, weirdest, and most symbolic. Not everything that occurs in their scenes makes immediate or even distant sense, but the large scale content provides epiphany, closure, and purity for the Kevin Garvey character Patty Levin is his quiet conscience, and generally it’s the portion wearing red on his left shoulder. She’s the part of his psyche that’s irreparably dark, twisted, and nihilistic. The two are intertwined and have been since very early in the series, dating back even further than the cabin in the woods, but bonding for eternity with that singular event.

The visions Kevin sees as he’s submerged in both the river and the bathtub are only insane if you haven’t been paying attention to the way The Leftovers handles these situations. It’s actually very sensible if you’ve been aware, because through the dual-Kevin construct, he’s able to interact with everyone we know in the show, both past and present. When Kevin deep dives, this brother deep dives. People we watched die, people whose importance faded long ago, all of them come together in this wild dreamscape where time and space no longer mean anything.

Kevin the assassin is tasked with killing the President of the United States, a man we find out moments later represents some version of the Guilty Remnant, which is now a political party. That man is also Kevin Garvey, this one with the beard, representing the newer version of the person we know. The assassin is the very early Kevin, the one taking a bath with Nora and discussing how they’d like their remains treated after death. So, assassin Kevin is supposed to murder POTUS Kevin. Yeah, this is giving me a headache.

The Leftovers still finds its humor as we meet the first penile scanner in world history, required because technology has made face duplication viable and has rendered a facial scanner less than fully reliable. There’s always something funny in this show, but outside of that device, this was an episode that did its best to avoid levity. It had a job to do. It had to take us through Kevin’s brain one final time as he attempted to get answers for his father, for Grace Playford, and for his friend John.

He spoke to Evie, he talked to Christopher Sunday, who was playing the Prime Minister of Australia, and he found out Grace’s children didn’t know what happened to their shoes. He did exactly what he promised them he would do. He helped try to give them some kind of inner peace or at least the ability to move forward without so many nagging questions. But, in the time warp or the black hole he was in during the hour, the biggest realization was the one he probably knew was coming before he went entered the near-death state. “We fucked up with Nora.”

The untitled romance novel Kevin reads aloud feels so much more like the real Book of Kevin, doesn’t it? Not the one where he rises from the dead to save humanity like a Messianic figure. The Kevin Garvey we know, the one that puts plastic bags on his head and fears everything around him, that’s the guy on the last page of the book. He’s a coward, one that is scared of “her,” afraid to lie next to her, to allow her to comfort him when at his most vulnerable. This was the connection of his life, at least the only one that still works in the fucked up world these people now inhabit after the Departure. She didn’t just love him, she needed him and wanted to give him everything she had. She needed 100% of Kevin in return, because she’s a shattered woman just as much as he’s a broken man.

Patty’s words are blunt and absent of all sweetness. Why were they elected? They were elected, in her mind, because the people knew they would do what the citizens were afraid to do themselves, but desperately wanted. These men and women wanted to die and they wanted an end to their mental turmoil and the feelings of worthlessness and lack of purpose. Kevin has pined for the same, and has taken himself to the brink of his own life with more than reckless abandon, because the worst thing that could happen to him is he doesn’t wake up. For Kevin Garvey, that’s not a big problem anymore. If he dies, so be it.

The “volunteer” key behind the left atria was a nice touch, as it required one of the two Kevin’s to die. The assassin had long since given up his mission, but President Garvey was in a much different predicament. Once he spoke to Sunday and was forced to admit he didn’t believe his father singing a song would stop the rains and save the world, he had no real choices. While he was the President, Evie told him he was just a puppet for someone else. It turns out that someone is Defense Secretary Levin, which couldn’t possibly be more perfect. The one individual that’s been able to control and dictate many of this man’s movements is Patty, and she’s the one with the balls in that room.

She was always the one with the balls in that room, along with every other room.

The missiles screamed across the sky with trails like fireworks, and as we watched them fly, we kept our eyes on the buildings in the distance, yet it was Kevin and Patty whose rooftop was struck first. Then, everything went white, revealed to be a sheet covering Kevin outside of Grace’s home. The storm has come and gone, and some people remain.

Kevin Sr. says “now what” because one of two things was supposed to happen during that storm. Either he was going to save them, or the world was going to end. Kevin didn’t die, but we don’t know how he got out of that bathtub. Perhaps those are holes we’ll fill in the finale next week. The last time we saw Nora and Matt, they were on a hillside watching the two scam doctors, but they were together. Next week, we’ll see what happened to them during the rain. Expect to see some flashing back, mixed with plenty of real time, and almost assuredly even more of the future. Remember how the season opener ended and assume that scene will return, but this time with some clarity.

What I expect next week is nothing. I have no clue where Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta are going to end their story, and that makes it extremely exciting. What I don’t expect is any explanation for much of what we’ve seen. It’s highly possible the finale doubles down on the mystery, but triples down on the emotion. The series is about the people, not the events. How they’ve tried to cope for the last three years is why the show has affected us to the degree it has, and in its final hour, my anticipation is we’ll see the end of some and the beginning (or awakening) of others.

The world has not ended. All our key players are still in Australia. No one has any idea what’s going on, both those on screen and those viewing it. This was a deep, obtuse hour of drama, but one that was effective. It was a diversion on a show known for subverting expectation and mundanity. The hotel episode was one of the most well-received in series history, so here we get an updated version with the music, the attitude, and the batshit factor all in place.

I haven’t written much about some of the other details of the episode, because you all saw it for yourselves and anything I say would be interpreting a dream. We did see Meg Abbott again, this time as part of the fantasy and serving as the Vice President. She dies, but she also helps Kevin get where he needs to go before it happens. He finds out where the communication room is and shoots her, not trusting her and not needing her in Candy Land anymore. She would have just confused him even further, and he knows he’s not REALLY there, nor is she.

Kevin plays the mental video game and gets out on the other side. We watch him play, and now we’re set for the last stage. There’s some kind of boss fight coming, but where, when, and what, of that we’re uncertain. Ironically, The Leftovers didn’t punch us in the gut with the penultimate episode, because it punches us in the gut every week and instead took us on a wild ride in its next to last installment.

Kevin may try to find Nora next week, actually he almost assuredly will, because her value is what the two men agreed upon after the homemade surgical procedure. Other than that one possible reconciliation, or final goodbye, I’m blank. So are you. Don’t lie. It’s unbecoming.

So that’s all I’m going to write. Next week, we’ll all see the finale together. My review won’t post until the next morning, because I’ll need time to process it and make heads or tails out of what’s sure to be an emotionally draining ending. I may end up in the fetal position.

But I’m ready for this.

I think.

You know, I’m really not sure anymore.

Until next Sunday…

I’m @JMartOutkick. If I could do this instead of you, I would, but I know the secure location can only be accessed by your biometrics.



Written by Jason Martin


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