The end’s not near, it’s here! On April 16th, HBO will begin airing the final 8 episodes of its superb drama, The Leftovers. The HBO drama has come a long way from its bleak and underwhelming first season, often criticized as “grief porn.” Closely based on Tom Perrotta’s novel, the first 10 episodes tantalized viewers with the mystery of The Departure, a day three years prior when 2% of the world’s population inexplicably disappeared without a trace. If Justin Thoreaux’s bare chest alone isn’t enough to hook you, here are some reasons to tune in to Damon Lindelof and Co.’s final word on The Departure.
1. This show is not afraid to re-invent itself
Instead of returning to Mapletown, season two hit the re-set button entirely – so much so that the first ten minutes of the season premiere follow a pregnant cavewoman attempting to survive after being separated from her tribe by a rock slide. The episode goes on to mostly ignore all the characters from in season one, and instead introduces a new family living in Jardin, Texas, otherwise known as “Miracle,” the site of exactly zero departures. In his willingness to start over and swing big, Lindelof always keeps his viewers on their toes.
2. Another change of scenery
Just as season two shifted the focus from Mapletown, NY to Jardin, TX, the Garveys are on the move again this year – this time Down Under. In moving locations each season, Lindelof imbues with the flexibility of an anthology series, opening up the possibilities of new characters, and new ways in which they experienced The Departure. But just as the Guilty Remnant eventually caught up to Kevin and his crew, moving halfway around the world to Oz doesn’t guarantee that any of the horrors of yesterday have been left behind.
3. Fantastic bottle episodes
Throughout the course of its two seasons, has never had a problem hitting the pause button on the overarching narrative to drill down into a single character’s perspective. Season one shone a spotlight on Nora, and the depth, intensity, and depravity of her grief. The audience is given the opportunity to enter the world and perspective of her brother, preacher Matt Jamison, in season two. And in perhaps the most fascinating episode of its run, season two’s “International Assassin” is an indulgent detour into an afterlife dream world, transporting both Kevin and the audience into a video game-like quest to return to the real world. Lindelof is sure to deliver at least one more of these detours before calling it a wrap.
4. The end of the world is nigh
In the newly released trailer, we discover it has been 7 years since The Departure. The number 7 has tremendous biblical significance, as in the Old Testament, God creates the world in 7 days. Another biblical marker, Kevin’s father talks of the coming of a great flood, a purifying catastrophe to wash the world clean. Is Kevin Garvey the Messiah, the Savior of our world? To paraphrase Matt, if the beard fits.
Episodes of The Leftovers are available starting at 9pm EST Sundays on HBO Go or HBO Now.