Each week following episodes of the third and final season of The Leftovers, Sophie Gilbert and Spencer Kornhaber will discuss HBO’s drama about the aftermath of two percent of the world’s population suddenly vanishing.
Kornhaber: Anyone apocalyptically concerned about chemical weapons, mothers and fathers of all bombs, and North Korean tunnel nukes can take comfort from The Leftovers—not a show that serves comfort all that often. The non-sequitur history lesson that opened “The Book of Kevin” told the wrenching tale of a faithful Millerite to make at least one big idea clear: People have been sure about the imminence of the end many, many times before. In fact, people may generally be happier when they’re prepping for doomsday—at least happier than they are after it just turns out to be another Tuesday.
Perhaps this insight explains the cheerfulness of The Leftovers’ previously miserable characters ahead of another predicted armageddon. Three years after Guilty Remnant members cratered Jarden’s anointed status and then were turned into a crater themselves—farewell, tiger tamers Meg and Evie—the Garveys, Murphys, and Jamisons have mingled into one happy clan that collaborates on birthday parties and fortune-telling scams. Kevin’s dubious job performance back in Mapleton apparently didn’t bother the hiring authorities in Miracle, Nora’s such a DSD hotshot that she’s now patrolling America’s departure-related mecca, Matt’s flock has grown along with his miraculous son Noah, and the newlyweds John and Laurie have undergone a philosophical 180 into the nonprofit sale of belief for belief’s sake. Even Tommy and Jill have stopped their anti-social sneering and settled into roles as a cop and a college student, laughing off fears that the seven-year anniversary of the departure will mark everyone’s death.