You know when you break up with someone that you never really loved but kind of enjoyed becoming a terrible version of yourself with? That’s sort of how I felt after watching last night’s season finale of The Leftovers. It left me sad, heavy and confused because I thought I would be happy to see it go. Instead I felt like sleeping with all of the lights on and vowed to avoid shopping until I am certain the sight of a mannequin won’t render me panicked and fetal. Those solutions are admittedly temporary, so let’s really cleanse ourselves of the unrelenting negativity that was the first season, one morbid character at a time.
When we encounter Laurie she is dressed in her all white Guilty Remnants garb as she sits across from Jill who –despite the fact that 2% of the world disappeared and her mother has become a mute, cult leader–exhibits unwavering teenage angst. They sit across from each other exchanging painfully dramatic stares. Using a pen and paper, Laurie advises Jill to leave immediately but Jill, filled with more youthful defiance that Avril Lavigne circa 2002, replies with a one word ultimatum.
When her mother refuses to speak, Jill changes into the clan’s designated all-white sweats and Laurie makes a few squinty faces to convey that she is distressed about this. Meg sulks nearby because dammit, Laurie is her mommy now!
Kevin mopes around Patti’s corpse and then smokes what appears to be the last of her stash of mailbox cigarettes. Pastor Matt meets him and they take her body to the woods. Matt tells Sheriff Crazy Bagels to read a passage from the book of Job. He reads verses about being separated from God out loud as his lower lip trembles in a performance so raw it felt like a punch in the gut. He then proceeds to bury Patti and the two head back to the car, real casual-like.
“Get in, I’ll take you home,” Matt says. But really he means “Get in, I’ll wait until you fall asleep in the car and then drive you to a mental hospital.” (Ed note: Finally!)
Though this mental hospital looks a lot more like jail than any mental hospital I’ve ever seen (which is none), I let it slide because it’s eerie and echo-y and all of a sudden his dad is there spouting vague warnings like “Do not turn around!” Of course Kevin turns around which resulted in not-dead-Patti giving Crazy Bagels a lap dance while Sen. Garvy keeps lecturing, unfazed that a dead person is licking his son’s face.
“This isn’t happening. You’re not real!?!?!” Kevin declares/inquires/hallucinates. He turns his head to see if his father can also see the woman he’s sure he buried mere hours before. Sen. Garvey calls Patti a “tobacco stained twat” indicating that he can see her too and leaves the room.
“You’re dead, I buried you.” Kevin reasons.
“Not. deep. enough.” she whispers breathlessly as she straddles and gyrates on poor Kevin. (Had this show been on cable this would be when they kindly break for commercial as to allow their audience enough time to find the nearest fork and gouge it directly into their eyes.)
But it was deep enough (that’s what she said scribbled on a notepad while staring angrily!) Turns out the whole thing was a dream and he wakes up in Matt’s car, leaving the door wide open for season two to explain what the hell Patti meant when she said that she and Kevin would become “travel companions.” Hopefully it’s explained with significantly less Patti gyrating.
Pastor Matt decides to stop for a hamburger and Kevin breaks down about his family. Dude cried a lot in this episode. Kevin confesses that he misses his family and I miss the days when before I had to think about stuff like this:
Kevin goes to the bathroom at the diner and finds St. Huggy Wayne, who is dying from his guts falling out-itis. He makes Kevin’s dream come true, to prove that he’s a real miracle worker. Still a pedophile, though, unfortunately. He instructs Kevin to make a wish. Though it is still unclear whether he wished for another secret mailbox cigarette or his family back, Wayne assures him that his wish will be granted and then Wayne dies! With his eyes open! Where will this bleak world receive its magic hugs from now?!
Nora, who has done all that hard work to get over the loss of her family got hugged by Wayne comes downstairs and encounters the Loved Ones: dummies of the deceased that the GR uses to ensure you will never forget what no one in this show could possibly forget.) Her dummy husband (Ed. note: So that’s what happened to Lucas!) and dummy children sit around the table holding hands in prayer and Nora lets out a scream that is deeply disturbing precisely because you can’t hear it. I put my hand over my eyes during this scene but it was too late. It is now forever etched in my memory. Anyway, seeing the Loved Ones catapults Nora into a deep depression. She then tucks not-her-kids into bed (totes normal) and writes what seems to be a suicide note. But it’s not a suicide note, it’s just a long, bleak monologue about how life is hopeless and sad and not worth living. LOL THIS SHOW.
Kevin returns to see his neighborhood burning because the GRs, lead by Meg, have returned Loved Ones to their families. Neighbors burn their Loved Ones in the fire and Kevin had to rescue his daughter from the burning building. There’s fire, destruction, and hopelessness as far as the eye can see resulting in a scene that is both beautiful and hair raising. Meg flashes a sign that says “Now they’ll remember” indicating that she’s pleased with her work but I was entirely too creeped out to think about what that means for season two. Laurie, who appears to be headed to a bridge to jump, comes face to face with her son Tom as he returns home with Wayne’s baby. Nora heads to Kevin’s house to drop off the letter she wrote and finds Wayne’s baby left on the porch. She smiles and cuddles the innocent child, still unaware of the complete shit-show it will face in this post-rapture world. The kid lifts her spirits and the show concludes with Kevin returning home to see her holding the baby exclaiming “Look what I found!”