You may have noticed that, after an enthusiastic effort at the beginning, I stopped posting The Leftovers reviews about half way through season three. This is because I get so involved in Damon Lindelof shows that I cannot write subjectively. They are not TV shows, they are part of my soul.
If you haven’t watched my hero’s follow-up to Lost, then you’re missing out on probably the best TV show ever made.
Season three was not flawless but was still the best show of the year by a country mile. What it sets out to achieve more in terms of character development, storytelling bravery and use of metaphor, it almost always delivers, and every other show stands in its shade. The acting is out of this world, especially from Carrie Coon, Anne Dowd and Justin Theroux, who (while many would say is just a pretty face) conveys so much emotion silently – the sign of a great film/TV actor. Daniel Day Lewis – watch and learn how to express complex emotion with your eyes, not your BOOMING VOICE!
To be perfectly candid, I have mixed feelings about season three – the season and particularly the finalé doesn’t really stand up to a second viewing as much as seaon one and two (which I could happily watch all day, every day) and, while it made me cry, the final episode didn’t reduce me to a quivering mess of tears and snotbubbles like Lost did.
That said, about half of The Leftovers episodes, particularly The Book of Kevin, Crazy Whitefella Thinking and It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World, plus The Most Powerful Man In the World made for mindblowing, heartbreaking, upsetting, thoughtful, provocative, bonkers, surreal and never-before-imagined television.
Never before has a writer’s vision been so well-crafted. The throughline of idea from Lindelof’s imagination, to paper to camera, to edit suite to your living room is masterful. Directors Mimi Leder, Craig Zobel and Nicole Kassell deserve a special mention.
BEWARE: HERE BE SPOILERS!
Half an episode paying homage to last season’s International Assassin (one of the greatest episodes of TV ever made) was perhaps overkill and Nora telling us her story, as opposed to being shown didn’t quite work for me.
I can’t mention what the final episode, The Book of Nora revealed but having it unfold off-screen was an incredibly brave and unparalleled storytelling decision (and the writers couldn’t have shown us, as that would have been counterproductive to their intention) and one which I hugely admire… yet didn’t adore. Thinking back as I write, after two viewings, the ambiguous ending is hard to remember, let alone not cause cognitive dissonance.
I wish I could write more, but through a mix of subjectivity on something so close to my soul, not wanting to reveal spoilers and the fact that The Leftovers isn’t a mere TV show, it’s a goddamned mystical experience, I just fucking can’t, okay?
You’ll just have to watch it yourself to find out why.
Damon Lindelof will return in Watchmen. When I will very possibly shit my pants.