The Leftovers went big in its final season. Really big. Like “a whole episode on a Tasmanian ferry filled with lion-worshipping cult members who are having a highly organized orgy on the high seas” big. “Kevin drowns on purpose to send himself to an alternate reality where he is both the president and an assassin tasked with killing the president, and by the end of the episode President Kevin kills Assassin Kevin by removing a nuclear launch key from his abdomen and then blows up the world” big. “Nora Durst got a Wu-Tang tattoo” big. There was a lot going on. That’s what I’m saying here.
Which made the quiet, almost simple finale so cool. It wasn’t about explosions, or visions, or big exciting swings. It was, at its heart, the final chapter in a love story between two broken people. It was a strange love story, I’ll give you that. There was a Sisyphean Australian goat rescue involved. That’s The Leftovers, though. You have to expect a goat rescue or two. But the point of it all, as it’s been all along, even during the lion boat orgy, is that it was about the people on the show, not the mystery in the background. It was sweet. I cried a little.
The most interesting moment of the finale came right near the end, when Nora told Kevin what happened with the LADR machine and in the years since they last saw each other. Her story left us two possibilities.
NUMBER ONE: Nora was telling the truth, and she really did pass through, travel for years to find her family, see they were okay, travel for years to find a scientist, make him build her a machine, pass back through, then live in Australia doing pigeon things until Kevin found her.
NUMBER TWO: Nora’a story was entirely made up, and she chickened out in that last moment before the machine filled up, and now she’s telling a different version to Kevin because it sounds better or because it’s what she wants to believe or for whatever reason.