DEADLINE: Justin, what do you think people will take away from the finale of The Leftovers?
THEROUX: There’ll probably be a smattering of a lot of opinions, but, as Damon has said before, if everyone’s feeling the same thing maybe we all haven’t done our job. So I hope that they’ve enjoyed sort of the arc of the overall series, but I’m sure people have questions, but that’s the kind of healthy lobby talk that I would hope would happen after a season finale–especially for The Leftovers.
DEADLINE: In the end, it all ended rather powerfully but quietly, with just Kevin and Nora finding what had departed them in this world…
THEROUX: Yes, it hung down to this wonderful love story after all the noise and the cacophony of all the different things that takes place in our show. In the end, it sort of all fits on the head-of-a-pin kind of writing in this love story between Nora and Kevin.
Source and more: Deadline
When and how did the idea to end the show this way come to you?
It didn’t come to me, it came to us. We got together right after New Years of ’16 and it was just the writers who were coming back from season 2, because we were still hiring writers for season 3: Patrick Somerville, Nick Cuse, Tom Spezialy, Tom Perrotta, and myself. We said, “We have to figure out what the last scene of the series is going to be, because now we know there’s going to be an ending.” There were really just two through lines that we had at that point. Through line number one was The Book of Kevin, that Matt had written this gospel without Kevin knowing about it, and that Kevin wasn’t going to be happy about it when he found out. The second narrative was the LADR narrative, which is, Nora was going to get pitched the idea of this device. Right on the heels of that, we asked what are the conclusions of those two stories? Well, we want Kevin and Nora to be together. They’re going to break up, they’re going to have a pyrotechnic knock-down drag-out horrific fight where horrible but honest things get said to one another, and they’re going to be apart. Then we want to bring them back together. That basically became the problem that we were trying to solve for.
Source and more: Uproxx
One of the things that really strikes me about this finale is how many times it is Nora either looking directly at the camera, Nora walking towards the camera, Nora riding her bike directly towards it at a breaking the fourth wall angle. What were you going for with that?
I really wanted to feel that she was journeying towards something, towards the finish line, towards everything we’ve been speaking of for three seasons. I really felt that she needed to be moving towards us and towards her children, towards the answers. I also felt like I really wanted to be with her in every possible way. When we shot the going into the truck, going into the event chamber, I had her walking towards us quite a bit, and I also was over her shoulder and trying to feel what it was like to be naked, to be vulnerable, to be completely naked emotionally.
Source and more: Uproxx
IGN: Yeah, I feel that within the dialogue about whether she’s telling the truth comes the end of the speech where Kevin is just happy and overtaken with emotion in the moment and that on one side, if anyone’s going to believe a story like that it’s someone we’ve see go through pretty miraculous things in other worlds. So he’s going buy it. The flip side of it is that even if he didn’t buy it, it doesn’t matter because the story is the toll. It’s the toll to pay for being with her again and being able to give the relationship another shot. He’ll pay whatever it takes. He’s just happy to be sitting across from her. So yeah, there are two sides because he, out of anyone else on the show, would believe this other world exists, but also because of the circumstances he’d would buy into it no matter what, even if he didn’t believe it.
Lindelof: No, don’t say you’re sorry. You just said a better version of anything I could say. But I would just add that – let’s say this show has defined three theoretical places that can be defined as “here.” One of those places is the real world in which the majority of the show takes place and we’re very clear on what that place is. And then the other here is what you defined as the Underworld. The place Kevin goes to when he dies or loses consciousness where he’s an international assassin and/or the president, that’s another here. Then the third here now, which is a theoretical space which Nora describes, is where all the departed people live. What’s really important is that at the end of the show, both Kevin and Nora are making an open declaration that the here they are now going to be in is the real here — the here where the show has taken place — and that they no longer need to go to those other heres. That should be the takeaway.
Source and more: IGN
You offered a bit more closure in the end than you initially let on that you might, although the question of whether or not Nora is telling the truth is left unanswered. How do you think her story will be received by viewers?
All I’m really willing to say on the subject of that without being like frustratingly and pretentiously obtuse is that Nora told the story. She told the story. I definitely feel like there are going to be people out there who watch the show who don’t believe her story, and then for a lot of people, it won’t even occur to them to disbelieve it. That’s why the answer to the question, “Why didn’t we show Nora’s journey?” is that because if we showed it, it would be undeniable that it were true. Yet, even in shows like The OA, where the whole basis of the series is the characters telling the tale and we are, in fact, seeing that tale unwind, the show is still asking the question, “Is she making all of this up?” For a show that’s based around the idea of belief and the idea that belief can actually bring a tremendous amount of emotional healing and the lack of belief can bring a lot of emotional pain, what is true and what is authentic and what matters —those are all themes and ideas that were in Tom’s book that we tried to bring to the series. I feel like Nora’s story is the culmination of all those ideas.
Source and more: THR
Tell me a little bit about choosing what you did for the ending. You have eight episodes to finish the show and then you have Nora tell a story that is years long in the space of just a couple of minutes.
Well, it’s kind of where we started this year. I’ve talked, fairly ad nauseam, about when we were at the end of Season 2, not really knowing if we were going to get a third season, but at least kind of internally wanting one. I know that there were some people out there that were cool with ending it where it did. But I was sort of like, oh man, just because they’re smiling at each other in the house doesn’t mean that they’ve done the s—t they need to do yet to be okay.
Particularly Nora. I feel like Season 2 was really about Kevin’s journey. While “Lens” was a great episode for Nora, when she gets to the end of “Lens” after putting Erika Murphy (Regina King) on full blast, I’m not really like, oh now Nora is better. So, in many ways, what we sort of talking about for the third season is what does Kevin still need to do and what does Nora still need to do so that they can be together? Although that’s sort of a love-story construct, we wanted to make sure that it was really earned. And it very quickly evolved to the obvious — which was in order for Nora to be okay, she really had to directly confront this idea of letting go of her kids. Like, how do we build the story construct by which she can accomplish that? Before we answer that question, what’s the final scene of the series going to be for both of them?For her, it felt like [the scene] was her basically telling the story of how she let go of her kids. We just started there, with that very simple idea, and then once we felt like, oh that is exactly what we’re going to do. There was some debate as to who she was initially telling the story to. Would it be too ominous if she was telling to Kevin? Should she be telling it to something else? But we very quickly evolved around to the idea that it should be him. And it felt like it was going to be in the future. Not the distant, distant future. But like, years had gone by. So that it felt like it was a saga or an odyssey of sorts.
Source and more: Variety
Are you satisfied with how The Leftovers ended? Would you like to see a spinoff in years to come?