Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Now on HBO: The Leftovers, Season 3 (2017)

The Leftovers, Season 3 (2017) - Created by Damon Lindelof, Tom Perrotta; Starring Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Christoper Eccleston, Amy Brenneman, Liv Tyler, Margaret Qualley, Ann Dowd, Kevin Carroll.

By Kenny Howell

The Leftovers wrap up their series run with a meditation on life and loss in their third season which concluded recently.

In the third season, we jump ahead three years after the town of Miracle was invaded by outsiders. Kevin, played by Justin Theroux (The Girl on the Train), has settled into the position of police chief, and things are going as well as they possibly could.

But this is The Leftovers, so nothing can ever be good for too long. The 7-year anniversary of the disappearance of all the people is just a few days away, and some believe it will be the end of the tribulation period. That means the world might end, and some people are preparing just for that.

Add to that, Kevin still really wants to go back to that place he went to when he died, that weird hotel from season 2, and occasionally puts a bag on his head just to test it. Matt (Christopher Eccleston), preacher and brother of Kevin's girlfriend Nora (Carrie Coon), also thinks that Kevin might be divine in some way, and he might be key to the whole world ending thing. Nora is investigating what she considers to be hoaxes which takes her to places as far away as Australia.

Of course, not a lot of the actual plot really matters too much to The Leftovers. A lot of the time IT doesn't make sense, what matters is that these characters are still working through the event that took place seven years before. Something totally unimaginable happened, and it has seriously affected everyone, some to the point of insanity. Everyone is prepared for everything, because there is no telling what could possibly happen, but there is also the possibility that nothing will ever happen again. The more the characters try to predict or rationalize what is happening, the farther they go down the rabbit hole.

The craziness of it all is what separates The Leftovers, and, in a way, holds it back. It is willing to go into weird, weird places, even into alternate universes, and doesn't care too much about explaining to you what happened, though a small explanation is given in the end of the series of the event, just not why. On the flip side, it seems like Damon Lindelof, much like in Lost, just wants to throw bizarre things in there for the sake of being bizarre.

But a lot of that doesn't matter when the talented cast is taking you through their character's struggles, particularly Theroux and Coon, but Eccleston as well. Coon gives a monologue in the final scene that is Emmy worthy (though she was nominated for Fargo instead), and that is just one among many scenes that deserve that distinction for her. The trio of them do most of the heavy lifting in this season, and really get to what the series was all about. People searching for answers in a world that provides no explanations, and how they deal with that fact.

Rating: ***1/2

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