The second season of The Leftovers may be among the greatest seasons for any show ever created. Therefore, the expectation for season 3 to match that was almost insurmountable. The premiere episode entitled “The Book of Kevin” was an episode with time jumps location jumps, fires, brimstone, Simon, and Garfunkel. While we would not place it within the top five of Leftovers episodes, it was still a stellar start to what could be a stellar season.
First, Australia. What’s going on there? Similar to ancient opening of season 2, be began this story in another place, and with another group who was intent on believing a rapture was night. They received message via pigeon, and they practiced their beliefs both in sermons and in standing on rooftops. We wondered in part if this was a Guilty Remnant origin story judging from the fashion choices, and judging from how we flashed from the woman in white to Evie, present for a brief moment before the community center was eviscerated and all of a sudden, that chapter of the group was no more.
What really happened to the Guilty Remnant in Jarden? It was a point of contention in the premiere, and something Kevin was not all that interested in answering directly other than saying “gas leak.” Instead, three years after the accident, he was resuming a normal life running a fairly normal operation as the Chief of Police in the town. Meanwhile, Nora Durst was back to her old job; it’s not clear how she broke her arm, but they’ve established some normalcy.
Oh, other than the fact that Kevin has a habit of continually trying to experience pain by putting himself in life-threatening danger … which for other people would be a suicide attempt.
Oh, and did we mention that Matt is writing a book with John Murphy’s son Michael proclaiming that Kevin is basically a new Jesus? Or, did we mention that John Murphy, whose day job now includes being a fake psychic with Laurie’s help, has zero problem with it?
In the closing minutes of the premiere Kevin had hold of the book, and was ready to throw it into a nearby charcoal fire; yet, he didn’t bring himself to do it in-scene. He realized that in thirteen days, we were at the seven year mark, a time when another plague or a blessing could be upon us. Matt was becoming the teachers in Australia over a century ago proclaiming a rapture was night, with people flocking from all over to see him. That was his faith. For John Murphy, his faith was that Evie could still be out there. For Kevin, we’re not sure that there is any faith left. He’s just a man trying to find greater existence, and Justin Theroux plays that perfectly.
The final button of the episode raises a further mystery, as we ventured back to Australia and met a woman who appeared to be a dead ringer for Nora several decades into the future. The twist was that she proclaimed that she had no memory of Kevin at all. Whether or not this is reality is a good question, but this another fine mystery that we could dive into over time. Maybe Kevin moved on and her faith in him, and whatever teachings that were associated with him, were gone. Or, maybe this is not Nora at all.
The Leftovers is a show that makes you question faith, what you’re fighting for, and also how cynical you should be in the faiths of others. It’s haunting, powerful, and even funny and ironic at times. (Kevin’s fellow former Mapleton resident, a guy who thought that dogs were becoming human hybrids, is a fine example.)
Overall, we’d say that the premiere, while a tad slowly paced at times given that this is an eight-episode season, offered up many themes and great performances across the board. The stage is set, and the timeline is such that we could travel across any plane in our quest for understanding. Grade: A-.
Looking into the future
You can preview The Leftovers season 3 episode 2 by heading over to the link here.
What did you think about The Leftovers season 3 premiere? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below. (Photo: HBO.)