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'The Leftovers': 22 Unanswered Questions After the Third Season Premiere

By Dustin Rowles | The Leftovers | April 16, 2017 |


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1. What did the cold open mean?

I don’t want to try and over-interpret Damon Lindelof’s cold open — which saw a woman and her family wait for the rapture based on the predicted dates of a clergyman and his bird — but it feels like an indictment not of faith, but of religion, of false prophets. It feels like a metaphor for what the entire series is trying to say: Maybe there is a higher power, maybe there is someone or something guiding us, but the answers aren’t knowable. As humans, God is above our pay grade. Any attempt to predict his actions or assign our own narratives to them will inevitably be met with disappointment, or worse. “One of those fuckers bites your face off.”

It’s been that way since the beginning of time, and yet, it’s never prevented us from trying solve an unsolvable puzzle, or figure out what cannot be figured out. Instead of living in and appreciating the present, why must we put so much of our energy into preparing for the future based upon the theories and guesswork? Why spend our lives waiting for something we cannot control?

It is enough to believe. We do not need to understand.

Knock Knock

Who’s there?

Broken Pencil.

Broken Pencil who?

Never mind, it’s pointless.

—-

2. Do Evie and Meg, and the rest of Guilty Remnant die after a drone attack?

No idea, but Evie was standing outside the building, so it’s possible she somehow survived, I guess (notwithstanding the matching dental records). IMDB has also listed Jasmin Savoy Brown — who plays Evie — in every episode this season. That doesn’t mean anything, however. IMDB could be wrong, or she could appear in flashbacks. Liv Tyler, who plays Meg, is also listed as in all the episodes.

We do know it wasn’t a gas explosion, however. Not only because we saw the drones, but because Meg had been smoking for minutes before the explosion.

3. Who is the tiger in the Siegfried and Roy analogy?

Is it Meg and the Guilty Remnant, who betrayed Evie? Or the government, who drone attacked the building? Was this Meg’s plan all along? To ensure that they die a brutal, memorable death, so that they could continue to serve as reminders of the Departure? Is this what Patti did to Gladys on a much larger scale?

4. Gary Busey? GARY BUSEY?

Yes. Gary Busey. It was actually mentioned in the pilot episode that he was swept up in the Departure with the Pope.

5. If Matt isn’t passing around the flyers, who is?

No clue. Pillar Man? Evie? Meg? Gary Busey?

6. What was Reverend Matt quoting in his sermon?

That was Daniel 4. Here’s an interesting passage: “What a mercy it is that God has hidden futurity from us! Were he to show every man the lot that is before him, the misery of the human race would be complete.” In other words, no one has the answers about the future, because God would never burden anyone with such a thing.

7. Is this seven years business in the Bible true?

Yes, and in addition to that, there’s also the Prophecy of the Final Seven Years, which suggests that Armageddon will arrive seven years after Israel and Palestine reach a peace agreement. With Kushner running point there, there’s no real threat of that anytime soon.

8. Nora is an agent of the DSD. What does DSD stand for again?

Department of Sudden Depature. Nora worked for DSD in Mapleton — it’s an organization responsible for paying out settlements to those who lost loved ones in the Departure, although I expect that the mission of the DSD has changed somewhat since then.

9. How did Nora break her arm?

Good question. I’m sure the show will come back around to it. Seems important.

10. What’s the deal with the peanut butter?

Kevin Sr. is obsessed with it. When Kevin Jr. visited him at the institution in season one, he brought him peanut butter. Kevin Sr., also hid $20,000 in a peanut butter jar for Matt to find in season one (the Reverend subsequently took it to a tribal casino).

11. What’s the deal with the dogs?

I don’t know that evil dogs are taking on human form, but I think there may be a weird kinship between dogs and both Kevin Sr. and Kevin Jr. It is also worth returning to something that religious scholar and writer Reza Aslan — who has served as a consultant on the show — has said:

I like to think of [Kevin] … as either a prophet or a shaman. If I were to pick, I’d say he’s a shamanistic character … They have this ability to go to sleep and either physically or mentally travel great distances to other planes of existence, and then return. This is a very common trope in ancient religious traditions going back tens of thousands of years. Often they have an animal guide. In fact, for many shamans, the first part of the initiation is to find a spirit guide, an animal to communicate with and help them see the other world.

In other words, dogs may be spirit guides for Kevin into the other world.

12. How in God’s name did John Murphy and Laurie Garvey end up together?

I don’t know, but there’s gotta be a good story behind that. A former member of the Guilty Remnant hooks up with the man who shot her ex-husband in the chest from point blank range? It’s sort of a cruel irony, however, that John is stealing a gig from Isaac, the man whose house he burned down for reading palms in season 2. Anyway, not only are Laurie and John together now, but John is friends with Kevin.

13. Why did Matt, Michael and John look at Kevin oddly when he told the story about meeting Laurie and suggested it was “divine intervention”?

Because, as we learn later in the episode, they believe that Kevin is Jesus, and he produces his own divine intervention.

14. What happened to Lily?

Remember Lily? Holy Wayne’s baby that Nora adopted after Tom left Lily on her doorstop? What happened to her? And why won’t Nora talk about it? I know that Lily was taken by a woman when the GR overran Jarden last season, but Tom was peacefully holding Lily in his arms in the last scene of the season. What happened to her after that?

15. Where is Erika?

Good question. Does she have Lily? Last we saw Erika, she was standing on the bridge watching Evie walk away. “I don’t understand,” she said to Evie. “You understand,” Evie wrote back. We never got the answers to what John did to Evie and/or Erika? We can assume, at the very least, that Erika left John.

16. Will we see Patti Levin again?

Almost certainly not (she’s not listed on IMDB, and Kevin has killed her both in reality and in his mind).

17. Why is Kevin trying to kill himself?

I think that Kevin also believes that he is Jesus, or something akin to him. Kevin tried to kill himself just to see if he could. As long as he’s in Jarden, he apparently cannot die. He’s probably tried and failed to kill himself numerous times.

18. Did Kevin know the water wasn’t poisoned?

Probably not, but since Kevin doesn’t die, he wasn’t afraid to jump in.

19. Will Mary actually leave Jarden, and if so, will she go back into a coma?

I don’t know. Maybe?

20. Is Kevin Jesus?

Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it?

21. Who is Sarah and why does she look like an older Nora?

Is she an older Nora? Does this take place in the future? (Probably, because “Sarah” seemed to recognize the name of Kevin). And where is she? What’s up with the pigeons? (Pigeons, recall, led Matt to the tribal casino in season one). Was that a callback to the cold open? Was that an Australian accent the nun had? Almost certainly, yes, because she works at St. Mary MacKillop’s Anglican Church. Mary MacKillop is from Melbourne. We know that the action in the third season will move to Australia, where Kevin Sr. now leaves. There have already been a lot of references to Australia on the series, so far (for a refresher, check here).

22. Were there any more references to the May 1972 issue of National Geographic?

I’m sure, but as the issue itself cost $300 to purchase, some other Internet sleuth will have to track them down.

See also: Ryan’s full review of the third season of The Leftovers.


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