The Beards Of ‘The Leftovers,’ Ranked

The Leftovers is a show about mystery and loss and the way humans process both. It is a show about broken people trying to make a life after dealing with an unexplained tragedy, and how the bonds of family and friendship can get stretched to their breaking points in the search for answers that aren’t coming. It is a show about coping and grieving and trying to find order amid chaos.

It is also, kind of, a show about beards.

You’ve noticed this, yes? How the majority of the male characters showed up in season three sporting beards? It’s definitely a thing. The reasoning for it is probably straightforward. Changing characters’ facial hair is a nice, easy way to show the passage of time, so maybe that was it, what with the time jump in the premiere. I have more questions about it all, like who grew theirs first, and if everyone else was like “Hey, that’s a nice looking beard. Maybe I should grow one, too,” but The Leftovers is not always big on giving us answers, so I’ll probably just keep wondering that on my own and going nuts about it.

But what we can do with the information at hand, however, is assess these new beards and pit them against each other in a facial hair free-for-all. That’s right, people.

It is time to rank some beards.

HONORABLE MENTION: Christopher Sunday (R.I.P.)

Poor Christopher Sunday. He spent his last moments on Earth listening to a crazed white man tell a long story about a chicken named Tony. Like, imagine what he must have been thinking during that whole thing. I wonder how early on he decided he’d give up the rain song in exchange for free AC repair? Maybe that’s his move. Maybe he’s been secretly getting free home repairs for years by sharing that song, and then making people sign an ironclad NDA before they leave. It’s almost too easy.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out for him, as the crazy white man fell off the roof and smushed him, making him the third AC-related casualty of the 2017 TV season (Good Place, Fargo, Leftovers). Not an ideal way to go.

Great beard though.

4. Matthew

Matthew’s beard is… fine. It’s fine. It’s blond flecked with gray and it appears to be trimmed regularly. It’s a perfectly nice clergy beard, the kind you picture a pastor stroking in thought after a Sunday School student asked where to put Mrs. Warburton’s famous apple pie during the bake sale, you know, after last year, when it was behind Mrs. Mattingly’s apple crisp and it became a whole thing. That kind of beard. It’s fine.

The problem is that he’s now writing what amounts to a third testament of the Bible, about his unkillable tattooed friend who sees visions and whose ex-wife is now running a fortune-telling scam with the book’s co-writer, and if you’re doing all that, you should really be growing a much crazier beard. I’m sorry. You will not sway me on this.

3. John

John’s got a nice looking beard. Thick, full, running up into his cheeks a little bit to give it that real legitimate look. It looks like he could grow that whole thing in a week. Maybe less. As someone who could not grow a beard like this even with six months and a few rounds of Russian black market testosterone injections, I have a great deal of respect for it. Imagine how stressful it would be to get the new season’s scripts and see “Everyone grows beards” and know that you’re bringing a few scraggly patches to the table, at best. I’d quit. Better that than be embarrassed when compared to a nice beard like John’s.

Now, I hear you. You’re saying “Why was Matthew punished for a non-crazy beard if you’re just gonna give his associate a pass?” A fair point. But please consider:

  • John is more of a disciple in all this, and his beard is kind of a disciple beard
  • It’s my list

So that’s why.

2. Kevin

Kevin has a really great beard. It’s a little infuriating. Like, he’s already incredibly ripped despite never once working out (unless we count jogging to get cigarettes), and now he can just grow a thick, luxurious beard on-demand, too? Come on, guy. You don’t need to have everything. Have one physical flaw. Grow a huge pimple in the middle of your head. Have a mole with fuzzy borders that worries the dermatologist enough that it gets removed and biopsied. Anything. You don’t need all this.

Although I guess it does balance out a bit when you consider the stuff about him losing his mind and sometimes duct-taping a plastic bag to his head just to feel alive. I imagine he’d trade the sweet beard to be rid of all that. Maybe not the abs, though. It’s a tough call.

1. Kevin, Sr.

See, this is what I’m talking about. You start going crazy, taking weird hallucinogens and talking to magical chickens, running around the Australian wilderness learning rain songs and getting arrested, you need to grow a crazy beard to match it. Wild, stringy, unkempt, like you’ve been so wrapped up in your ideas about your son being Jesus that you just plain for to shave for seven weeks. Like it didn’t even dawn on you. Like if someone said “Hey, when was the last time you trimmed that beard?” you be all “What bea-… oh, yeah. I dunno.” Like the last shower you took was two weeks ago under a waterfall. That kind of beard.

I appreciate that about Kevin, Sr. His beard feels authentic, even if it probably smells terrible.