The Leftovers – REVIEW 03×01 The Book Of Kevin

Hello everybody! After waiting for months, the third season of The Leftovers is here at last! The first episode is stranger than ever and full of mystery, so I’ll just focus on  the most relevant scenes and mainly on the many questions that arise while watching:

The opening scene – this prologue is definitely brilliant. Not Stone Age this time, but XIX century – year 1844 precisely. As in Season Two, this prologue is very meaningful and complementary to the whole story. We are shown some scenes about the Great Disappointment, a very important event in the life of the Millerite movement, who were hopelessly waiting for Jesus to return. The Millerite movement strongly believed that Jesus Christ would return to the Earth to free humans from sin. But 22 October 1844 came, and nothing happened. So they decided that  what didn’t happen on that date wasn’t about Jesus’ return, but it was in fact the start of his final work of atonement, leading up to the Second Coming.

“He ascended into Heaven and He seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His Kingdom will have no end”.

This historical event can be easily compared to the Sudden Departure, which was mistaken for the Biblical Rapture at first – the Rapture in the Bible is when sinless believers are freed from the Earth and welcome by Jesus in Heaven.

This prologue is brilliant because of the perfect parallelism between the Millerite and the Guilty Remnant. In the first five minutes of the episode we are shown what happens to a woman, a faithful follower of the Millerite movement, who is deeply touched by the forthcoming return of Jesus and strongly believes that she and her family are in the grace of God. So, like the other faithful, on the elected date she wears white clothes (!), and climbs on the roof of her house, and waits all night long for God to take her. But the days pass and nothing happens. The priest keeps changing the day of the Coming because each date proves wrong. Everybody is loosing hope, except the red-haired woman who never gives up and goes on waiting for the event to come. She ends up alone, derided by the whole village and by her own family as well, and she takes shelter in a place where everybody is dressed in white and sleeps on the floor (in a beautiful tracking shot of the sleeping people which connects the past and the present: dollying from the white dress of the Millerite woman to the sneaker of one of the Guilty Remnant).

Miracle-Jarden: after this short prologue we find ourselves back at home. Jarden, however, looks completely different from the way we remembered the town. Three years have passed since the Guilty Remnant managed to “conquer” Miracle, and what happened next is not so clear. The main difference is that everybody can cross the bridge now and get in, so the town is still a mess. In a shocking scene we are shown Meg and Evie’s headquarter attacked by sort of a military rocket. Are they really dead? And if it’s the case, who killed them? The government? AFTEC? It’s not impossible that the attack was planned by the Guilty Remnant themselves: we know too well that they are willing to sacrifice their members in order to turn them into martyrs, just to get attention. According to the official version, they died in an accidental fire, but some people are suspicious, and poison the “special” water of Jarden’s lake in protest. We are not so sure yet of what really happened, but I guess we’ll meet Meg and Evie again in the Hotel’s world (click here for more).

– Kevin: What’s happening to him? We are shown him wrapping his head in a plastic bag, and choking… Is he hopelessly trying to go back to the Hotel dimension? Is he trying to kill himself? Or to prove to himself that he cannot die? – the same had possibly happened to David Burton, who had declared he had found himself in a hotel and that he couldn’t die now (s02e03). However, except for Kevin’s weird behaviour with the plastic bag, it seems that everything is under control: he’s back in his role of Chief of the Police, and his self-confidence seems to reassure Jarden’s people, to the extent that he is considered sort of a “new Messiah”. I have the feeling that something changed, there’s something really different about him that I can’t explain yet.

– Lily: What happened to Lily? 😥 And why does Nora have a broken arm? Are the two things connected? I don’t know what happened to her, if she died or she was taken by someone, but it’s terribile that Nora had to lose another child after all she’s been through. It really breaks my heart. I don’t think she died though, Kevin and Jill are the kind of people who avoid talking about losing someone and they seem too relaxed about it. But this might be just my feeling.

– Matt Jamison: he seems to have completely lost his sense of reality. So many “miracles” have happened. His beloved wife Mary woke up after being in a coma for three years and finally had a baby (Noah, such a meaningful name if we consider the multiple references to an incoming flood…). Kevin had come back twice from the world of the dead. Many people started to go to church again, to the extent that there’s no room for all of them. All these unsettling events foster Matt’s religious and mystic spirit, and lead him to believe that Kevin is the new Messiah. Together with Michael and John, Matt is even writing “The Book of Kevin”, sort of a new New Testament about Kevin’s life and his multiple resurrections.  Moreover, Mary is going to leave Matt because she does not tolerate his overprotective attitude anymore: he doesn’t allow her to leave Jarden because he’s convinced that she had recovered because of the “healing” power of that place, and he’s afraid she might fall in a coma again if she does. This is very sad if we think of all the years he had spent taking care of her…

– Sarah: the last scene of the episode is amazing (and Max Richter’s makes it even more magical). We are shown a woman who seems to be an older version of Nora. She’s taking care of some homing pidgeons, and a nun calls her Sarah. Who is Sarah? A future version of Nora? Or someone who looks exactly like her? Is this scene really set in the future? I can’t tell why, but I feel that this might be something more than a simple flash-forward… There’s no caption “twenty, thirty years later” before this scene, as always happens with every time shift in the show… No way: I think we can’t understand anything more about this scene before seeing other episodes. What I found significant about it, is Sarah taking care of some doves and throwing the messages away without even reading one. In the prologue the messages were used instead for calculating the date of the next Coming.

– Dean: Last but not least. We all guessed he’d come back, and were thrilled about it, but… what’s happening? Dean seems to have completely lost his mind now. He used to be weird enough in the former seasons too, but there was something about him that made us think he was one of the few who really knew what was happening. In one of the most relevant dialogues in Season 1, the Frost twins were talking about the dogs, of how they went crazy and turned primitive again after the Sudden Departure because unlike humans they were unable to find a logic explanation to that event. Now Dean is back, and he asserts that people are turning into dogs, or dogs into people… His theory seems to make no sense, and does not comply with the spirituality of the show. Nonetheless – and now it’s me that’s going to tell something absurd – at the end of Season 2 I had the weird feeling that the man on the bridge might be Kevin’s dog. It was just a feeling then, but now Dean’s theory about dogs becoming humans in order to leak in the highest levels of the Government has led me to reconsider mine…

I’ll just say in conclusion that this first episode is absolutely brilliant and as usual full of hints for new questions and theories. It was so good and exciting – and destabilizing too – to meet the characters again, and see how their lives have thoroughly changed since the previous seasons. Jill does not live with Kevin anymore, Lily is gone, Tom and Laurie live in Jarden as well. Each of them plays his own role and everybody contributes in maintaining peace and order in Miracle. Kevin is the Chief of the Police again, Nora resumed her job at DSD, Tom is a policeman, while John is a man of faith and lives with Laurie (!) and together they try to help people in a very special way. It’s so good to know that, after suffering so much and facing so many dangers, now these people are all one big family and are willing to fight together against the sorrows of life.