These impressions contain spoilers for ‘The Leftovers’ Season 3 Episode 1. The Leftovers started airing April 16th on HBO.

We will be writing a week by week spoiler dive on The Leftovers Season 3, beginning with this piece. Stay tuned.

Lost is back baby. Freudian slip, I totally meant The Leftovers. Damon Lindelof is here to conclude his series about what it means to live after 2% of the world’s population vanishes in an instant. Based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta.

The first season of The Leftovers was great in its own way, but was approaching misery porn in its levels of depression. It’s not until its second when the show found its feet and its humour.

Like the season prior the third season begins with a stand-alone short film from the past. This time it’s an 1800’s woman who believes in an upcoming event, probably the Rapture. But the prophet gets the date wrong and wrong again. She refuses to give up and continues to climb onto the roof in a white cloak even in a thunderstorm. The visual comparison to the Guilty Remnant is obvious as the scene bleeds into the next one.

Then we’re back to the end of last season sheltering inside Jarden’s visitor’s centre while the rest of the town is a war zone. The Guilty Remnant, the much maligned group who dress up in white, don’t speak, and chain smoke, are literally blown up out of the show. That’s Liv Tyler and Evie out of the picture.

It feels like a cheap way to dispose of unwanted characters and plot lines but sometimes to move forward you need to blow it up! From what comes later it appears this action is not without its repercussions, with a group threatening to poison the lake in the name of these lost souls. A cover-up by the military says it was a “gas leak” when really a drone dropped a bomb out of the sky.

Three years later we’re still in Miracle/Jarden, Texas. We’re not even in Australia yet, as the trailers promised. We follow Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and his horse on patrol through the town as he meets some familiar faces. Oh yeah, he’s back to being chief of police.

Another season, the world has changed yet again:

  • Security’s laxed a bit. You no longer need a bracelet to get into Jarden. Lots of people are camping on front lawns.
  • Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) has continued her work for the Department of Sudden Departure (DSD) and is now an agent working in collaboration with the police.
  • Laurie Garvey (Amy Brenneman) is now married to John Murphy (Kevin Carroll) and running a scam operation together where they claim to talk to the dead.
  • Laurie’s son, Tommy Garvey (Chris Zylka) is sporting an even shorter hair cut and is working for the police under Kevin.
  • Matt Jamison’s (Christopher Eccleston) church is bursting at the seams with people, still recounting Mary’s (Janel Moloney) miraculous recovery. Now they’re counting down 14 days where something probably won’t happen, but if it was going to it would definitely be on that day.
  • Michael Murphy (Jovan Adepo) is working at the church under Matt’s wing.
  • A giant inflatable of Gary Busey is erected in the centre of town, so he knows where to land on the way back down from Heaven, a callback to season one, where he was one of the many celebrities taken in the rapture.

An old face comes back from season one, the dog shooter. Turns out he’s as nuts as his peanut butter sandwiches, and thinks dogs have now evolved to look like people.

The name of the episode finally makes sense when we learn Matt is updating the bible with a new book, The Book of Kevin. It’s all about the bizarre happenings that Kevin has had since coming to Miracle, being nearly killed but saved again and again by some divine intervention. According to Matt he can’t die in this town. Kevin almost burns the book, when a skywriter stops him like a sign from God; 13 DAYS TO GO.

The episode concludes with an old woman (who at first I thought was Kevin Senior) cycling along a dirt road in Australia to sell cages of pigeons to a church. She turns around and it’s Nora, a much older Carrie Coon. She doesn’t seem to know the name Kevin. Is this a Lost-style flash forward? Is Nora a clone? What should I have for dinner tonight? So many questions.

From what I’ve heard season three will continue the format of following a key character throughout an episode, like the show Skins. One of my favourite episodes of Leftovers season two was following Christopher Eccleston and his really bad day (he’s literally tied up naked onto a cross). I really love using this format in television. You can really get into a character’s head unlike Game of Thrones where you’re constantly popping between locations.

So that’s The Book of Kevin. I still have a few questions…

  • Where’s Erika Murphy? She wasn’t even mentioned.
  • And what happened to that baby (Lily)?
  • How did Nora break her arm and is it even important?
  • Are the Guilty Remnant really gone for good?
  • Will the spell really be broken if Mary leaves the town, sending her back into a coma?
  • What, if anything, will happen on October 14 2018?
  • When are Kevin & Nora getting their butts to Australia? And is Kevin Garvey Senior going to meet up with them?

Until next week…

First Impressions: The Leftovers is still fascinating as ever to watch. Beautiful, mysterious, captivating. I’m in this until the end.

Where to watch: US: HBO NZ: Sky