The Leftovers â€œThe Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)â€
The final season of The Leftovers has worked to slowly disassemble everything we thought was true coming out of an unexpected, bright, and even hopeful, season two. The tonal change from the dark despair of season oneâ€™s Mapleton, NY to the golden gospel of season twoâ€™s Miracle, TX was drastic, and in many ways a major relief from the bleakness that made the initial episodes of The Leftovers difficult to watch.
Season two gave us magic, the suggestion of a greater power, and glimpses of a place that could be heaven. Back then, it seemed like maybe there was a reason for the departure and a mythic way to make amends.
But little by little, we’re seeing that itâ€™s an illusion. In â€œThe Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)â€ Kevin sees the â€œothersideâ€ for what it isâ€”a way for him to run away from his problems (read: Nora). A little fantasy world for him to funnel his energy into. And as horrific as blowing up the fake-world is, Kevinâ€™s decision to do so is necessary for him to terms with whatâ€™s happening in real life.
Of course, this fantasy world of Kevinâ€™s has wormed its way into lots of other peopleâ€™s lives. Matt, Kevin Sr., John, and Michael have all believed in Kevinâ€™s abilities as holy, as way to heal. We saw Matt come to his senses in â€œItâ€™s Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World,â€ and we see Kevin and Senior do the same in this penultimate episode. Senior on the roof at the end of this episode, realizing all of this predictions were wrong, reeling from thinking he killed his son, and wondering out loud â€œWhat now?â€ was a perfect summation of how then of this series is playing out. In a lot of ways weâ€™re back to beginning; itâ€™s season one all over again, when the grim truth of reality reigned supreme.
But grimness aside, â€œThe Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)â€ was chockfull of the dark, absurd comedy that The Leftovers has become known for. To begin with, just to have two Kevins was strangely funny, and a nice call-back to the story about Jesus’s twin from “It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World.”
Kevin as the Guilty Remnant-supporting President of the United States is such a great contrast to his real life persona of anti-GR small-town police chief. Kevin is so earnest while heâ€™s on the â€œothersideâ€ and it makes all of the nonsense happening that much funnier. Him fumbling through teleprompter readings, ending with the surprised utterance of â€œIâ€™m the president,â€ to the delight of the crowd of onlookers, was a hilarious and slyly satirical take.
I cackled during the penis scanner scene, and again when Kevin, irritated with Patti, refused to give her glasses back and then proceeded to smash them to pieces. I also love the â€œothersideâ€ theme music, which is especially playful, like if Kevin is staring in a lighthearted heist film (which, frankly, isnâ€™t that far off). Meg and Patti as high ranking members in the US government reminded me how much I miss Liv Tyler and Ann Dowd on The Leftovers.
This is partially due to how nice it was to have clear villains on the show. Back when Patti was running the Mapleton branch of the GR, or when Meg was planning on taking over Miracle, it was clear that they were the â€œbadâ€ guys. We knew we had to root against them. We donâ€™t have that luxury in this final season. Itâ€™s not a negative thoughâ€”weâ€™re just dealing with an entirely different set up now.
But what Megâ€™s speech to Kevin made clear was that of course the GR wasnâ€™t really evil. They donâ€™t actually believe family doesnâ€™t exist. They are just like everyone else. Kevinâ€™s coping mechanism is traveling to a fantasy world where heâ€™s an assassin; for GR members, itâ€™s joining a cult and pretending they donâ€™t love anything. Both are ways to disconnect from your real life, to deny whatâ€™s happening, and to avoid your problems.
And we see the same sort of half-hearted commitment in John. Heâ€™s a believer in Kevin, and by extension, Seniorâ€™s apocalyptic flood theory, but only because claiming belief gets him closer true goalâ€”Evie. John is a man of god, so itâ€™s not unreasonable for him to believe in an afterlife where Evie is, or even â€œThe Book of Kevinâ€ he and Matt wrote.
But heâ€™s also been heavily influenced by Laurie. And his intentions are made clear when heâ€™s satisfied after Kevinâ€™s first attempt to go to the otherside, since he got the closure he needed from Evie. He doesnâ€™t think a flood is coming, so he doesnâ€™t care if Kevin go back under. And in Kevinâ€™s conversation with Christopher Sunday (as the Australian Prime Minister), Kevin realizes that doesnâ€™t believe any of it either.
And so this wild, cosmic ride that is The Leftovers is boiling down to something small: the relationship between Kevin and Nora. This gives some extra heft to the one lingering question, which is whatâ€™s going on with the flash-forward where Nora claims to not know Kevin. Itâ€™s difficult to speculate on how the finale will wrap up our story. But given the superior storytelling that has transpired over the course of this final season, Iâ€™m of the opinion that it will be exceedingly difficult for anything to mar what exists as one of best television shows of our time.
The series finale of The Leftovers airs next Sunday, June 4 at 9/8c on HBO.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
Interview: Henri Esteve on Grown-ish Season 3
An interview with Henri Esteve, who plays Javi on Freeform’s Grown-ish. He talks about his season three experience.
For All Mankind Season 2: Talking with Wrenn Schmidt, Krys Marshall, Jodi Balfour, and Sonya Walger [Exclusive]
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the hooks of For All Mankind is that it’s very much a story about the women of NASA. In Season 2, we explore the journeys of the women in the program, either through their own service or through their family affiliations. Four of those…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Finale [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the season finale episodes.] How’s everyone after that finale? I will freely admit I got a little misty in episode eight as John told Sara why he loved her, and later that he wanted her despite what he might forfeit, and then at the end when he…
Rosy McEwen Talks The Alienist: Angel of Darkness [Exclusive]
Hands down, one of the best surprises of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness is that the serial killer this season has been front and center alongside the cast as a fully-formed character. We’ve watched Libby Hatch devolve from a prim, mild-mannered nurse to a woman in a rage hell-bent on…
The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Relationship Recap: John and Sara
[Warning: Spoilers for “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori”] If you’ve read me for a while (thank you!), you know two things — I lean way, way in on the characters I adore and I loathe love geometry arcs. So, I’m torn about where we are and where we…
Louriza Tronco Talks The Order Season 2 [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers ahead for Season 2.] The Order’s second season is dark yet delightful entertainment on many levels, and one of its biggest sources of joy and snark is the sassy Gabrielle Dupres. Last season, she was assertive and deadly and fairly annoyed with the world. This season, she’s been…
Previewing Netflix’s Virgin River
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] Full disclosure: I have a Netflix account for my Mom, but I’m not a regular viewer. If I get a heads up on something, I’ll go look for it, but I don’t have a wander across its offerings, which, as I understand it, is how most…
Final Thoughts From the Killjoys Team [Exclusive]
This is the day of the week I’d normally hit you up with a Killjoys preview, but now that we’ve put the series to bed and released Team Awesome Force into the wild, I have one more treat for you–some final thoughts excerpted from my conversations with the Killjoys folks….
Michelle Lovretta Talks Wrapping Up Killjoys [Exclusive]
[Warning: Spoilers for the series finale.] To quote Miss Jackson, “That’s the end?” Yes, friends, it is. And like I promised you, everything would be, was, and is alright. I went to the Killjoys source, series creator Michelle Lovretta, who wrote the last episode, to break down that delicious finale….
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…