Sarah Mason and Jake Essoe of The Harold & Maudecast review The Leftovers, Series finale, "The Book of Nora".
Season 3, Episode 8, "The Book of Nora" opens with Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) announcing her sound mind and body intent to go over the other side. Brother Matt (Christopher Eccleston) is by her side to say goodbye. Flash forward to many years in the future a much older Nora is delivering doves to a church -- fans will remember this scene from the Season 3 premiere. We are soon reunited with Kevin, also much older, who surprises Nora at her home and spins a tale of vacations and old crushes. The truth of Kevin's journey, and Nora's is slowly uncovered and revealed at the very end leaving fans to sort out for themselves whether they got an answer to the ultimate question -- what really happened to the departed?
The Leftovers finale may leave the casual fan confused but, if you're thinking this was another Lost finale, which was loudly criticized by fans who felt jipped out of a conclusion, then you've missed the point entirely. Damon Lindeloff and the creators of The Leftovers have the balls to leave this ending up for interpretation in a way that is completely true to the essence of the series. This final episode is not filled with bizarre sequences or madcap suspense in fact the story is quite prosaic. The world has moved on from the Sudden Departure and Nora and Kevin, now older, none the wiser, are normal folk. Their lives are filled with mundane routines and two week vacations. In the hands of a lessor show this may feel like a let down particularly after the crazy brilliance of the previous episode "The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother). But this is The Leftovers which means, exploration into spiritual salvation vs damnation, weird but poignant metaphors, suicidal tendencies, poetic music interwoven strategically to punctuate in just the right places, loose ends tied up from previous seasons, and still a lot of unanswered questions. The final monologue, delivered by Nora, is the crescendo of this masterpiece concluded by its ethereal signature piano concerto.
Did we get our answer to the questions of what really happened? You decide. We're gonna take the opening song's advice and Let the Mystery Be.
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