TV - The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 10

The Leftovers

The Prodigal Son Returns as Nate McKenzie reviews the finale to season one of The Leftovers...

The season finale of The Leftovers begins with Kevin staring at the bloodied lifeless body of Patti, with cigarette in hand. The cigarette smoke segues perfectly to Jill and Laurie, surrounded by members of the Grateful Remnant, sharing a few drags as well, while Nina Simone sings "Ne Me Quitte Pas". As the focus shifts to Tom driving down the road, he is trying to get Christine's attention as she is listening to the same song through headphones. When they take a break at a highway rest area, Tom has a conversation with a man (Geoffrey Owens, who played Elvin on The Cosby Show) travelling with a church group. Tom hears Christine's baby crying and rushes into the restroom to find the baby on the floor in a stall. Christine has absconded.

In case you don't speak French (like myself - thank you Google) "ne me quitte pas" translates to "don't go away" in English. Brilliant.

After the opening credits roll, we see the Grateful Remnant once again surrounding Jill and Laurie as they argue over Jill's inclusion in the group, with Jill essentially putting her foot down, and declaring her membership. The GR then sets out on some sort of mission. If you've been paying attention for the last few episodes, you might think you have some clue as to what they mean to do. Spoiler: You do not.

It took me a moment to recognize the orchestral arrangement playing over this scene but when it finally hit me my jaw dropped. Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" echoes the GR's credo that remembering is really all that matters now.

I have practically screamed at the top of my lungs about the perfect score and musical selections in this entire first season of The Leftovers. I hate to be redundant but Max Richter and the series-makers leave me no choice. Obviously, in a show that features a lot of people not talking, the music is paramount in building upon unspoken dialogue and body language. That is supremely accomplished in this show.

The GR's master plan is revealed in the next scene as Nora comes down her stairs and discovers... something that I will not spoil, because I'm not a jerk. Again, my jaw dropped. However, as amazing as this moment is it only sets up the final few minutes that absolutely blew my mind.

The meat of this episode involves Kevin getting help burying Patti from Rev. Matt, a quite unlikely accomplice. Much is revealed (and further muddled) throughout their journey back in to town. Kevin comes into contact with Wayne, and is granted a wish by the mysterious figure. When they finally arrive though, the town is in complete disarray as residents have begun attacking the Grateful Remnant in retaliation for their provocations.

Of all the jaw-dropping moments in this series, and this finale, none compare to the goosebump-inducing dread I felt when Kevin is pulling Laurie to safety and Laurie finally spits out one audible word: "Jill!"

The Prodigal Son Returns is easily one of my favorite finales of all-time. But, as is often the case, the second-to-last episode was better overall.

Image - IMDb.