This The Leftovers review contains spoilers.
The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 7
After everything we’ve seen, all of unimaginable grieving and bizarre supernatural occurrences, in its penultimate hour The Leftovers has revealed itself to be a love story at its core. Kevin’s inexplicable ability to cheat death and visit some fantasy adventure land of his own design has never been about him saving the world or delivering messages to dead loved ones, it’s always been about Kevin trying to fix his intimacy issues and urge to escape.
Going back to “International Assassin” territory for a third time would seem like a bold move, if not for the other ambitiously out-there episodes that have thrilled this season. It was amazing that such a quirky, symbolic detour of an episode would work in the first place, let alone three times. The return to Kevin Harvey’s world isn’t just a fun waste of time; it’s used to highlight Kevin’s depression. The place is where Kevin flees to when faced with his insecurities about letting himself be broken and vulnerable around the women he loves. Kevin’s fear of showing his real face and being rejected by his family is the very thing keeping him from his family, driving him to what is essentially suicide. Tonight, Kevin acknowledges his fear of Nora, a fear that speaks to just how much he loves her.
The return to the afterlife also serves to show us that The Book of Kevin and the great flood that is a part of its pages is all just a shared delusion of several of our characters. Kevin doesn’t discover why Grace’s children weren’t wearing shoes, isn’t able to convince Evie that she was loved, and Christopher Sunday has no song to stop a flood. Those answers were never going to be there in the world that Kevin built to hide part of his heart. Our characters’ behavior isn’t any less insane or emotionally unhinged as any of the other grieving people of this world that have clung to some strange belief system. Kevin Sr. has to swallow the fact that he’s not special, not apart of any world saving mission; there is no flood. He, along with John and Grace, have to face the anniversary of the Sudden Departure and realize that no miracle event was ever going to fix them, just like everyone else.
I’m not even going to attempt to recap the events of the episode for my own sanity but I will say that I enjoyed Kevin splitting into two personalities and having to literally nuke his personal purgatory to ensure he’d end his self-destructive behavior. The fact that he also had to lean on Patty Levin to do so was a nice twist. Symbolically removing the key to destruction from his own heart was so gory that it was almost funny, and several parts, like the penis based biometrics, were legitimately hilarious. Add in appearances by almost every deceased character, and this episode had something for every fan of this series.
Kevin’s main takeaway from the whole ordeal is that he really screwed up his relationship with Nora. The answer to Kevin Sr.’s “Now what?” should logically be Kevin trying to track Nora down and keep her from incinerating herself (which she ironically requested in the episode’s cold open). Kevin destroying his slice of the afterlife would suggest that he’s finally ready to take a real shot at establishing a “home” with her, but is Nora going to be willing to forgive Kevin for the ugly things that he said? Will he even get to her in time? Also, we saw the older Nora in the season premiere, and she coldly denied even knowing Kevin, so that doesn’t bode well for what may transpire between them. Hopefully we get an explanation for the Old Nora in general.
Surreal, symbolic, silly, and sorrowful, this was yet another fantastic episode of The Leftovers. It keeps getting harder and harder to think about saying goodbye to this show next week. A solid season finale could cement this an all-time great season of television, and like the characters on this show that I love, I have a strong personal belief that they’ll stick the landing.