Happy endings on television are as rare as a unicorn these days. It seems that our brain has been program to demand a cliffhanger or bad things to happen at the end of every season. Hence why I feel that ‘The Prodigal Son Returns’ provides a breath of fresh air to the evolving genre of television.
From the time I watched its pilot, I have been on the fence with The Leftovers and how can I not? This year’s summer shows have been a mess in my opinion. Many shows sound promising at first, but turned mediocre and I chose leave it behind. Even several of the return popular shows *cough* True Blood *cough* is a disappointment to say the least. The Leftovers, however, is a blessing in disguise. From its depressing theme, stand-alone episode to the deep layered symbolism and spiritualism (yes, you read that right), this Lindelof’s creation is a gem in the haystack.
‘The Prodigal Son Returns’ continues after Patti’s sudden suicide. Kevin called Matt and together they buried her in Cairo. On the way back, they stop at a diner where Kevin break down and give in to his family problem. This scene nicely showcased Justin Theroux’s acting ability. The dude is not Brad Pitt by any sense but he ain’t Kellan Lutz either. Afterwards Kevin meet the faux prophet Wayne, dying in one of the bathroom’s stall. But before sighing his last breath, the delusional Wayne told Kevin he will grant him a wish. Did it come true?
While Kevin is away, Mappleton’s citizen have run amok. How come? Guilty Remnant of course! With Patti dead, Meg is likely to be in charge. This is vivid when she repeatedly asked Laurie “Do we go?” back at the GR’s headquarter, and later sitting down with a bloody face on the road feeling proud of her nasty work. I hope we see more of Liv Tyler gone psycho in the next season. That should be fun!
Jill’s visit to the GR obviously has shaken Laurie’s belief. She instruct her to go home but Jill being her mother’s daughter, light up a cigarette and changed her clothes into the white uniform. The tension escalates when Kevin arrives on time and saved Jill from the burning GR’s building. Laurie then stray away aimlessly, searching for a clue only to be reunited with Tommy. Has she found her redemption?
I love Amy Brenneman for a long time and her character in The Leftovers is definitely interesting. I don’t necessarily judged her from the beginning since its obvious something must have happened for her to changed dramatically. Saying that, we all know how unlikable is her character. She asked Kevin for divorce, abandoned her children and ruined her family. I almost given up on her, but not before I watched her heartbreaking flashback episode in The Garveys at Their Best that connected all the missing puzzles to the present Laurie Garvey. Did she take it too far by abandoning her family? Maybe, but I asked you this: Who are we to judge?
I don’t want to dwell into the themes of The Leftovers, because let’s be honest: Who The Hell Knows?! But the way I see it The Leftovers insinuate the question of faith in humanity. Throughout the ten episodes, we witness the aftermath of the departure when everyone loses someone they loved. People go crazy, they abandon their responsibilities, they shoot themselves just to feel their pain and teenagers become nihilist relying on sex and drugs. While others form a cult-like society that forced men and women to questioned why did their family and friends vanished in the first place. Are those twisted faith?
I don’t like fanatics, but I get why GR members think it’s important to remind the rest of society about the October 4th. They want answers since they must have done something wrong. They feel they are being punished for their sins and they need to repent (not in a religious way). The GR’s faith is extreme but they are not entirely wrong. On the other side, there are people who want to move on. Even after you repent for your sins will there be no hope? Shouldn’t we live and rebuild our lives the way we see fit? Thus the scene in the end with Nora holding Christine’s baby and smiling at Kevin and Jill makes perfect sense to me.
Before ending this review, I want to talk about Nora Durst. Played by the talented Carrie Coon, a Broadway actress who is also the spouse of Tracy Letts (known for August: Osage County), Nora Durst is the character none of us were aware of from the beginning. We have seen her around, thinking “oh she is just a nutty lady”, then Bam! come the sixth episode, Guest, everyone on Twitter were talking about her! It might be her gripping performance in Guest, which was cleverly written by Lindelof and Perrotta, or perhaps it was the way Nora lost her family in The Garveys at Their Best that we ache for her loss and suffering. Whatever the cause is, we all can agree that in the end we love The Leftovers a little bit more for Coon’s Nora Durst.