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Tara Ariano

S01.E10: The Prodigal Son Returns

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In the Season 1 finale, Mapleton descends into chaos after a Memorial Day mission by the Guilty Remnant. Meanwhile, Kevin gets an unexpected assist out of a jam in another town; Holy Wayne grants his final wish; Tom adjusts to a new life; and Nora mulls a difficult decision.

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So those GR shitbags went and had those lifelike dolls made up to match the images in the photos they stole, didn't they? For some fucked up reason, they're going to make all the townspeople think their loved ones have returned.

 

God, I hope Nora's tough decision is whether to shoot Laurie through her smug face. And I know what side of the argument I want to win, there.

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In the Season 1 finale, Mapleton descends into chaos after a Memorial Day mission by the Guilty Remnant.

 

That no one with any reasonable resources of, say, a police department, could have anticipated. Because you can conduct mass B&E in this city without consequence.

 

For some fucked up reason, they're going to make all the townspeople think their loved ones have returned. 

 

No, as much as this show is a pile of shit, I do try to pay attention. I believe, when Patti told Kevin before she killed herself, that the purpose of the GR was to make sure people didn't forget about 1014 *all the time*. So they'll be recreating 1014 for them to remember. Of course, why now? Won't be answered. Or why? Or where did they get the money for it. Or why weren't they arrested yet? And, as many others pointed out, hey, Patti, people haven't really forgotten, so what's your deal? 

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I think a lot of us were assuming that the GR want people to remember so they are constantly grieving their loved ones, but, after some thought and considering the speech Patti gave to Kevin in Episode 9, I don't think that's the case.

 

I now believe that the GR want people to remember so that they come to the conclusion that life is futile, that there's nothing, that any moment we can all be taken away or die; and so, basically, agree with the GR's nihilistic view of the world and join them.  Remember, so that you can finally see how stupid this life is and come smoke yourself to death... :D

 

My prediction for the finale is that Matt's wife wakes up.
 

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I now believe that the GR want people to remember so that they come to the conclusion that life is futile...

 

Isn't that what Patti essentially said? That's what I got out of it. 

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Isn't that what Patti essentially said? That's what I got out of it. 

 

Well, I was trying to address this question you posed:

 

And, as many others pointed out, hey, Patti, people haven't really forgotten, so what's your deal?

 

For me, the answer is that Patti's deal is not that people remember, she knows they remember, but in her view they are remembering "wrong".  They are still mourning when they remember their loved ones, and there are some people trying to leave it behind and move forward, moving to the acceptance stage of grieving.  Patti wants them to remember in a different light.  Not as an event that was painful to them and something to overcome, but as an event that proves that life is meaningless, and therefore, they should not move on to acceptance and continue to try to live a full life.  Patti wants them to remember the Departure as evidence of the futility of life and the final reason why they should join the GR and just give up.

 

If you understood it the same way, then I don't understand why you would pose that question.

___________________________________

 

Please allow me to say that I truly don't understand where you're coming from sometimes.  And I honestly don't mean this as a way to pick a fight with you, or anything. I swear.  But your comments sometimes do puzzle me.

 

For example: In some comments you say that you don't want the show to explain everything, but that they should explain some things, at least broadly, and that you don't need minute detailed explanations.  But then you

 

1) Pose questions that ask for a lot of details that, IMO, are completely minor (in relation to the overall story) or can be reasonably inferred from the show.

 

2) Other times you flat out state that the show hasn't specifically said something that it has said, but when someone points that out to you, you don't acknowledge that comment and instead move the goal post of your expectations to something else (usually another question you feel has not been addressed properly).

 

Let me illustrate number one with questions you posed just above in this thread:

 

So they'll be recreating 1014 for them to remember. Of course, why now?

 

Because the dolls have just become available now, because they thought of the idea only recently, because they didn't have enough money and / or members to pull it off before... why does this matter? The show has established that the GR started as a small group and that it's gaining momentum now, three years after the Departure (established in the conversation Kevin had with the FBI guy).  They have established that the GR wants people to feel life is futile, take a nihilistic view and give up on life (established by your own admission in the last episode).  And they have established that their tactics are to annoy people, get in their faces, and upset them as much as they can (established in almost every single episode that has aired).  So, this new stunt feels pretty much in their vein.  If it wasn't this, it would be something else.  Now is no different than before in terms of tactics, they are just going bigger.  The show picks up three years after the Departure, this is how much the GR has advanced in those three years, they can afford to be bolder, bigger and more annoying.

 

It seems pretty straightforward and clear to me, so, let me ask you: why is "why now?" important to you? what insight do you think you will gain with an explanation of this detail?

 

Or why?

 

This is also asked in reference to the stunt the GR is going to pull in the finale.  Why? Because they think this will make people listen to their arguments, because it's their customary "in your face", cruel, painful approach.  One can argue it's a stupid way to go about their objective, and I'd probably agree with that view, but it's a cult, they are not characterized for being logical and rational, so, I don't require any further explanations for this.  Do you think the "why?" differs from Patti's explanation of the GR's purpose? Because that would be the only reason to ask that question.  I don't think the why of this particular stunt has an objective different from what Patti explained was the GR's goal, so, I don't need any further explanations.

 

Or where did they get the money for it.

 

Where all cults get their money: from their members. As the FBI guy explained to Kevin, they are getting bigger and bigger, with chapters in many towns.  More members = more money.  If they snagged a millionaire (and that is totally plausible), then they don't have to worry about money that much.  But my question to you is: how would it enhance the show to have this explained any further? What is it you think you will gain by knowing where the GR gets its money? Would it help with the overarching plot which is (as stated by the producers in interviews) how people deal with a catastrophic, supernatural event of worldwide ramifications and move on?

 

Or why weren't they arrested yet?

 

They were.  On the night of the photo robbery, Kevin arrested a bunch of GR who were "trespassing" into school grounds, which was a diversion for the real stuff (photo robbery) going on.  The FBI did tell Kevin that the GR was very good at skirting the line with the law, not really doing anything illegal, or at least not leaving any proof.  Trespassing is not going to keep them in jail, even if they could make the charges stick.  Since hey haven't been arrested for the robberies, and considering what the FBI guy said, it's reasonable to infer that they haven't been arrested for the photo robberies because the police / prosecutor can't make the charges stick.  All they have is circumstantial evidence.  Maybe some left prints behind, but unless they were already in a criminal database, those prints are not much help.

 

I think we have seen that Kevin wants to put them behind bars, but he can't because he has no concrete evidence.  Otherwise, he'd have hauled their asses to jail a long time ago.  I don't see a problem here.

 

Now, for number two, the best example that comes to mind was a discussion in one of the episode threads we had where you categorically affirmed that the show had not established that the outside world had been trying to investigate the Departure during the three years that have transpired since the event.  I pointed out that this was not true, since in the very first episode we were shown a Congressional Hearing where a witness was being asked how it was possible that after all the resources and millions devoted to the investigation they still didn't know what had happened or why.

 

You never replied to this information or acknowledge that the show had, in fact, established this fact, thus taking it off the list of your frustrations with the show.  You went on to ask more questions in the same vein I quoted above, about what I think are small details.  I could search the post, but I think I've made my point.

 

I don't want to pick on you, really, I'm just curious if you are hate watching at this point and I wonder if no matter what the show does or what we reply to you (I know others have replied in similar fashion to my own replies, but I'll limit this to my own experience) you would change your mind? Not that you have to change your mind, off course, but it's a bit frustrating not to know if we are having an open conversation where ideas and points of view are exchanged to enhance opinions or if it's just futile to have the conversation.

 

I don't think this show is just made of awesome.  I have, in fact, agreed with some of your statements, but it doesn't feel as if you are approaching the discussion with the same open-mindedness.  If a show annoyed me as much as this show seems to be annoying you, I'd stop watching it, life's too short to subject oneself to unpleasant experiences.  Obviously, you don't have to do the same, but the reason I'm asking you all of this is to know if it will be productive to continue to have these conversations because if you just hate the show so much and you think it doesn't have anything good and it will never get better, then, there's not much we can talk about.

 

Hope you're not offended.  I'm honestly just trying to understand where you're coming from and what your thought process is and I hope that we can continue to have conversations about this show and other shows.  At the very least, this one is not as bad as Falling Skies ;)

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Oy, Falling Skies. Tom Mason would come in and find the vanished people on the moon and then go there and bring them home. 

 

I just don't think the show has done the world building sufficiently. So characters are more doing things to serve plot. Than being actual characters navigating this particular world. I don't think TPTBs did enough work to make the viewer buy-in to be legit. I don't find much of Patti's monologue before slitting her throat to be much more than typical bloviating that a show pulls to give the impression Something Is Going On when they're clearly making it up. Ok, so the GR wants everyone to think life is futile. Where did that come from? The philosophical basis. 

 

As far as the litany of questions about the GR, Kevin's been investigating them over a year. He's got essentially nothing. I just don't believe that since his wife is in there and he seemingly doesn't know why that he'd be so blase about it. I don't believe that the federal government doesn't know anything about the GR. We know they're in a bunch of cities. The government knows about Wayne, but for some reason not the GR. I haven't seen a reason why that would wash. "They're new and it's early" just doesn't work for me. It's because the GR has been so featured that this lack of information is so glaring, and I don't think my criticism of them is unique. There's been plenty of criticism from others from what I've read here. 

 

I don't think much will happen in the finale that will change my view of the season as a whole. There's already talk about set up for next season and they really haven't provided much substantive material to present S1 as an holistic narrative. 

 

For me, there's important things that happened in the 3 years "off screen" that haven't been addressed adequately that for what's going on in the show-present to be acceptable; i.e., garbage in, garbage out. I don't think TPTB even loosely outlined what occurred over that 3 years for themselves in order to direct the narrative of this season. Any time jump is inherently a writing cheat, cf. also Falling Skies and a way to retcon whatever you need whenever. I can't get past that the millions of dollars over three years has produced nothing. That's ridiculous to me given the research power of this country. Even something as small as scientifically vetting and proving that the vanishing was in fact random would have been palatable. All they had to do was change one line of dialogue. 

 

Ironically, probably 75% of my criticisms at the show would vanish if the show-present was +6 months to a year and not 3 years. Also, ironically, most of my criticisms about characterization, world building, motivation, etc., were addressed fully by Outlander by E2. Which is a fairly similar show, conceptually, that requires a lot of the same types of things you need to do to ground a show and draw in the viewer. I don't see why shows with equivalent resources can execute with high quality. 

 

As far as hate watching, I addressed that in the All Episodes thread. There's many different reasons why people watch a show. I've frequently commented favorably on Nora and Tom, and the twins. Everyone likes the twins. The agency Nora is working for is believable to me, even if they haven't compiled all the data on the surveys yet.  I don't mind the "voices" Kevin Sr is hearing, and I don't think there's anything "wrong" is the show wants to imply that something like this has happened previously.

 

I don't mind a show unfolding slowly, but there's big things I think they need to get to and to hold off for 9 episodes is just a poor tv decision. There's a lot of stuff that isn't earned. Others posted on how Kevin arresting his dad was done in all slow-mo to have this huge impact, but they never really showed much about their relationship for that to pay off. Things like that. 

 

I think in hindsight, the show threw too much at the screen in the first season and weren't really able to devote enough screen time to get deeper into the show. It strikes me as fairly superficial and after this long I feel like I should have more of a handle on things. 

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All right, thanks for taking the time.  I think I understand better now. Since this is an episode thread, I won't continue to address that here.

 

Let's see how the finale shapes up.  I haven't had time to read the articles about it or watch the preview.  I have mixed feelings toward this GR stunt.  On the one hand I'll be as mesmerized by the characters' reactions to it as one is to a road accident; on the other hand, I think it's just so very shitty of them....

 

I am definitely looking forward to Jill in the GR and her upcoming interactions with Laurie and I want to know who comes to Kevin's rescue.  Poor Kevin!

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I should add that Jill going to the GR is actually good narrative choice because if offers the opportunity for Laurie to communicate her motivations for joining. I'm skeptical TPTBs have established this for themselves, however. I don't care about the GR stunt because it's stupid and I don't think sufficient context has been provided for the GR. I'd rather watch Jill/Laurie since it is on the heels of Happy Well Adjusted Jill from E9. I'm still critical of airing the flashback episode so late in the season though. 

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Hope you're not offended.  I'm honestly just trying to understand where you're coming from and what your thought process is and I hope that we can continue to have conversations about this show and other shows.  At the very least, this one is not as bad as Falling Skies ;)

 

Falling Skies ended for me with the staggering hypocrisy of how the show dealt with Ben and Ricky, and how it dealt with Karen. The first two were given every opportunity (and then some!) to readjust and relearn their humanity. Karen was shunned, distrusted and eventually put down like an animal. By the one person who had completely ulterior motives for wanting to kill her. Gross.

 

I think this show does a much better job of making all of its characters feel as consequential to the other characters on the show. Except for the GR, who are just self-absorbed assholes. 

 

I'm still critical of airing the flashback episode so late in the season though.

 

 

If you ask me, it was the perfect time for the flashback, because it occurred once we've had a chance to see who all these characters are now. We've seen sullen, depressed Jill, batshit Kevin, the silent nihilist Laurie. So seeing them as they were before is a shock, as was mentioned several times in that episode thread. Who'd ever have thought that Jill had changed so much? And it opens more and more questions, like how did Tom end up leaving his family and joining the Holy Hugger? Did that happen before Laurie joined the GR or after? Did Laurie join the GR because of her own pain or because her family had fallen apart? 

 

I am definitely looking forward to Jill in the GR and her upcoming interactions with Laurie and I want to know who comes to Kevin's rescue.  Poor Kevin!

 

 

My main desire is to see Kevin and Jill fix their relationship. I honestly couldn't give a shit about Laurie, because she did abandon her daughter, and that lighter inscribed with "don't forget me" was heartbreaking. That's a girl who needs support and love, and Laurie was too wrapped up in her own garbage to give it. In fact, I'd bet that a lot of Jill's problems stem from not being able to understand why her mother left her, and I honestly don't think Laurie has a good reason. Because the GR are bullshit. At least Kevin is trying, and he's more messed up than Laurie is, from what I can see.

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Poor Nora. We were right about the dolls, that is so cruel to do to people who lost a loved one.

 

Was the baby left at Nora's? I hope that means she will stick around. Fuck you Laurie, I wish she would be the one to leave town.

Edited by Armchair Critic
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Wow! That was heavy! I felt so bad for everyone BUT the GR.  Kevin's "confession" was heart wrenching as was Nora's silent scream upon discovering the dolls at the breakfast table.  A lot to process.

 

Glad to see Jill holding hands with Kevin and apparently on the road back to some normalcy.

 

Do you guys think Kevin's wish was to get his family back?  And what is Tom's plan? Has Laurie decided to leave the GR now that Jill almost died?  She finally spoke to save her daughter's life.  If Laurie leaves, will Meg take over?  She (Meg) definitely looked completely bonkers, enraptured by their awful stunt, when Kevin found her.

 

Babies are hope.  I guess this might mean Nora is staying, after all, but that letter was so sad.

 

Best part for me was the dog coming back tamed.  Does that signal that the world is finally on the way to healing? The animals seemed to start going crazy sometime before the 14th (the deer in the flashback) and now the dog is back to being a normal dog again.

 

A bit contrived that Wayne and Kevin crossed paths so serendipitously at the exact moment of his death, but, oh, well, what are you going to do?  Wayne dying with a stranger would not have had the same impact.

 

Matt was awesome the entire episode. 

 

I was afraid for Kevin there for a minute during his dream sequence.  I kept telling myself it had to be a dream, because the shot of him closing his eyes in the car was such an anvil, but then the scene went on for so long.... I was like "are they really going to do this? where they yanking my chain with the suggestive shot of Kevin falling asleep?  Did he fall asleep and his "other personality" took over scaring the crap out of Matt?" (I say other personality because that's my theory after his conversation with Dean on E08 - Cairo.  It seems he goes into fugue and someone else takes over).

 

The music for this series is really beautiful.  That piano... I'm a sucker for strings.

 

Anyway, I'm rambling.  More organized posting later (I hope!)

Edited by WearyTraveler
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I really don't see what you can do for Season 2 because the finale felt like it wrapped up everything.  If the reason for the departure is never going to be answered, why bother continuing the story?

 

My thought in the beginning was how did these morons get themselves into the situation they are currently in?

 

The GR apparently have the ability to break into tons of peoples homes and not be noticed.  They are still pathetic and have an agenda I can have no sympathy for whatsoever.

 

Christopher Eccleston, Carrie Con, and JT continue to do great work on this show and that's probably why I enjoyed this finale.

 

Nice of you to finally up your stupid mouth when your daughter was caught in a burning building, Laurie.  But she proved why she was a shitty mother by keeping to her pathetic cult by not speaking.  How about throwing her ass in jail for inciting a riot?

 

I do love Matt as the reverend who will help you bury a body.  You're right, WearyTraveler, he was awesome tonight.

 

I might be in the minority but I did enjoy the finale.  I thought they pulled it off well.  The show was a wildly inconsistent ride.  I've said this before but I think the problem is is that the writers and producers of The Leftovers think this is television's newest great show and it's not.  I really don't see what they can do for a Season 2.

Edited by benteen
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I enjoyed the finale too. I don't know what they are going to do with season two.

I'd like to see Nora having a life with Kevin, his two kids and the baby she found when she went to Kevin's house.

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So Wayne may have been typical of cult leaders who use their supposed divinity to seduce multiple young girls and spread their seed around, but he isn't in fact a fraud, as he feared. Because I'm pretty sure Kevin wished for his family back and he got it, even a substitute for the vanished fetus. The chance meeting in the john was of course an outrageous coincidence but I think the show believes in Providence, although not sure what sort of Providence of if that's the same power that took the departed.

 

The GR succeed in bringing out Leftovers' true natures, revealing Kevin and Nora as good people, making Laurie finally give up her b.s. to save her daughter.

 

I have to admit that the last part of the episode was extremely moving to me and I lost it completely when mailbox dog came home in loving pet mode. Both apocalyptic and cathartic, we'll see where they take the show next year. This would have been an OK ending if they hadn't been renewed.

 

Was the baby left at Nora's? I hope that means she will stick around

 

No, Nora was going to leave the good-bye note at Kevin's house. Tom should have had more sense than to have left it on the porch but then we couldn't have Nora take it as a sign.

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I kind of find the Kevin, Matt, and Nora relationship odd.  Kevin and Matt have known each other for a while yet Kevin hadn't met Nora until recently.  I could buy that if she lived in another town but Nora lives in Mapleton.  And it all that time, Kevin and her hadn't met?  Is Matt even aware that his sister is with Kevin?  Not that it's any of his business but you would think the subject would come up.

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I have to admit that the last part of the episode was extremely moving to me and I lost it completely when mailbox dog came home in loving pet mode. Both apocalyptic and cathartic, we'll see where they take the show next year. This would have been an OK ending if they hadn't been renewed.

I started crying when Laurie broke her vow of silence to scream "Jill". I don't like Laurie's character much, and I really don't get the GR, but Amy Brenneman has done remarkable work. Everyone has. The look on Justin Theroux's face when Wayne told him to make a wish was when I really started to get misty-eyed.

That said, this episode didn't answer many questions about people like Meg, but that does mean that there is still a lot of story to tell next year. Why did Patti feel it was so important to frame Kevin? Also, most disturbing dream sequence in quite a while, show.

Also, after the credits rolled I turned to my husband and said, "Oh no, somewhere poor ganesh likely just had an aneurysm" and my husband, who is really quite used to me at this point said, "...like...the god?" and after I quit laughing, I did explain to him.

Anyway, that was an emotionally satisfying season of TV, but a logically frustrating one.

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Count me in as another who was fully satisfied by the finale and who became misty eyed in many spots.

 

I truly think that there is lots of good material to work with for next season.

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Hmm... I actually kind of liked this.  It still had some issues (dialogue isn't as great as it wants to be), but I was actually curious to see how it all played out, and was actually invested in the outcomes for more then one characters.  I even warmed up to Jill!  Yeah, the arrogance and rebel attitude sure went out the window, as soon as people try to burn you down.  I see you were quite glad dad was there to help you that time!

 

So, in the end, the Guilty Remnant's main purpose was to remind everyone what happened, and cause them to flip their lids.  I guess it was some way to prove to the world that violence is human nature or some shit.  Either way, I still think the GR are the worst.  I didn't feel any sympathy for Laurie, and I was glad she finally had to break, and speak to Kevin, in order to save Jill.  And, then watch the two leave without her.  Of course, Tom comes back to her, but I'll take it.  And for a new recruit, Meg sure has become one of the more arrogant members of the GR.  For better or worse, Liv Tyler has nailed down the perfect smirk.

 

Wayne dies, but it looked like he might have been the real deal?  I'm guessing it will be revealed Kevin wished for his family back or something.  The character was really ridiculous, but the actor sold it.

 

I thought for sure Nora was going to kill herself, and I was preparing to be pissed.  Glad she found the baby instead and is taking it as a sign to stay (I think.)  Carrie Coon is awesome, and Nora is the only character I like (Matt and Kevin have their moments) so she better not go anywhere.

 

Did Aimee and the Frost twins just disappear?  Oh, shit, did another resurrection, happen?!!

 

So, I wonder if that hallucination Kevin had with his dad and Patti, is a way to show that Ann Dowd's time on this show might not be done, yet.  Since she claims she is "traveling" with him, he might start hallucinating her, from time to time.

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I was glad to see the Mapleton townspeople finally reacting like normal people and going after the GR.  It was unbelievable to me that they wouldn't have done that when the GR stole their photographs.

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If the reason for the departure is never going to be answered, why bother continuing the story?

cause the reason for the departure is not the reason for the story.

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That was beautiful.  Eight episodes of my feeling "yes-but/no-and-yet..." to arrive at the final two, each with their ten-minute montage scored only by the theme and one line -- one word -- between them.   I feel as if we had to chew a lot of gravel to get to the main course.  But when it came, it was remarkable and nourishing.  

 

Theroux was terrific in both the last two eps, and I too began to tear up at his stricken face when Wayne asked Kevin to make a wish.  Matt's selection for Kevin's reading...the cul-de-sac inferno...Laurie's returning alone to the horrible sculpture of mother and departed baby, as Nora voiced that she was broken...And then the dog.  After Kevin's last words to Laurie on the morning of October 14th. 

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cause the reason for the departure is not the reason for the story.

 

I just don't see much story left after this season.

 

I thought the finale kind of dragged. Plus, things were just a little too coincidentally convenient in the season finale.

 

How did Tom just happen to find his mother at the river after the night of chaos in Mapleton ?

 

The Chief running into a dying Holy Wayne at a random restaurant bathroom on his way back from Cairo also seemed kind of forced into the story (and with no explanation of how Holy Wayne got there or who stabbed/shot/injured him ?). They slyly snuck in a shot of Wayne walking casually by Kevin's table with his hands clutching his torso. Obviously, the ATFEC were hot on Wayne's tail, but with no explanation how they knew Wayne was in this particular restaurant bathroom.

 

Agreed that there doesn't seem to much story left to explore, especially since

Christine bolting and leaving Tom with the child, Tom returning to Mapleton and dropping off the child on Kevin's doorstep only for the child to be found by Nora is pretty much where the book ended.

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with no explanation of how Holy Wayne got there or who stabbed/shot/injured him ?).

 

As Matt and Kevin are first driving away from Cairo, the car radio news broadcast mentions a "daring escape" and perhaps more details.  

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Yeah, I wonder if this shouldn't have been a "limited" series because the finale felt like the most emotionally appropriate ending we'll probably ever get from the series. We're likely never going to get an answer to the Departure or the Voices. Most of the main characters' arcs feel done. Kevin goes through hell and comes out the other side with some semblance of a family (and a dog! can't forget the dog.) Put to the test, Laurie picks her children over GR's nonsense. Jill makes peace with her father. Nora has a new reason to live. Tom... I can't think of anything for him because's kinda boring. Although I guess we never got a definite answer on the suicides.

 

I enjoyed the show and definitely am gonna watch season two, but I wonder if we'll look back and say this is where it probably should have ended. 

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Wow, I completely loved that episode.  I just enjoyed this show so much this year.  I was worried the finale would disappoint but it didn't.

 

A bit contrived that Wayne and Kevin crossed paths so serendipitously at the exact moment of his death, but, oh, well, what are you going to do?  Wayne dying with a stranger would not have had the same impact.

Yes, a bit contrived.  Though, one could argue that Wayne's presence in this story exists partially because of that encounter.  Literature is weird because it's full of chance encounters, but often times it's because when an author chooses a world, they choose their characters because of their importance to that world.  And chance encounters can be super contrived as a result, or as a consequence. It's one of the things I often rebel against and causes me to like the plotless and mundane. This show really appeals to me.  :)

 

I really don't see what you can do for Season 2 because the finale felt like it wrapped up everything.  If the reason for the departure is never going to be answered, why bother continuing the story?

 

I think there is so much.  I mean, it's not like the GR pulls their big stunt and the drama that results from it just goes away.  I think, if anything, that now it's a new stage in the life of Mapleton.  In fact, there is the dead patty body (to be discovered someday?), Amy (what happened to her?), what happens to the GR after so many of them died and their houses burned down?, what happens to Kevin, Nora and Jill now that they are bonded into family, wtf is tom going to do with his mom?, how does the hurt of the departures shift now that everyone's loss has been thrown in their faces?, etc...  Dramatically there is a lot of ground to cover.

 

The GR succeed in bringing out Leftovers' true natures, revealing Kevin and Nora as good people, making Laurie finally give up her b.s. to save her daughter.

 

This whole episode made me feel that Laurie isn't totally lost as a human being.  Her and Kevin are done I think.  His look when he realized that Jill followed her almost to her death, I thought was very telling.  Whereas Kevin fought for the marriage before, I think he's happy to be done with Laurie now.

 

Also, after the credits rolled I turned to my husband and said, "Oh no, somewhere poor ganesh likely just had an aneurysm" and my husband, who is really quite used to me at this point said, "...like...the god?" and after I quit laughing, I did explain to him.

 

HAHAHAHA.  I said something almost exactly the same.  How weird is it that the finale finishes and I think "That was soooo good. My God, Ganesh is going to hate that."  I live alone so I said it out loud to myself, which is something people who live alone often do apparently.  

 

I thought for sure Nora was going to kill herself, and I was preparing to be pissed.  Glad she found the baby instead and is taking it as a sign to stay (I think.)  Carrie Coon is awesome, and Nora is the only character I like (Matt and Kevin have their moments) so she better not go anywhere.

 

I initially thought suicide but once I saw her pack the suitcase and put it in the car I thought it was clear she was just going to start new somewhere else.  Totally feasible.

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I loved this finale. I care about Nora, but I'm still torn between curiosity and annoyance with Hot Chief's fugue states. What a wonderfully done nightmarish scene with the white bunkhouses burning at the end and not being able to distinguish between dolls and GR people in the house. I thought it so cruel that the Wayne's baby mom would abandon her daughter like that after the disappearance, but the contrast with Nora wanting to explain why she was leaving worked for me. And yeah, I need to check on that soundtrack.

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I decided to watch the finale to see if they explained anything. What I got from it is that the GR did all the crap they did to make people remember? Is that correct? Because if that's really their purpose, 1. it's lame, & 2. when did people forget? It seems to me they did nothing but remember, I don't get it. And what was the GR going to do the next day? I don't understand anything about them.

 

The "dream" the chief had in the car made me remember why I stopped watching this show.

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I should not have watched this before going to bed. It was an amazing episode, with brilliant acting all around, but it was far from restful. 

 

Holy Wayne's questioning of his own identity—was he a holy man, a leader, or just a charlatan who believed his own hype?–was a great  tie to Christine's wail to Tom, "He told me I was special, but if there were others, what am I?" I'm paraphrasing there, but they were similar questions. 

 

Just to save anyone else looking up the full text, Matt had Kevin read Job 23, verses 8-17.  

 

But if I go to the east, he is not there;

if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

 

But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
He does whatever he pleases.
He carries out his decree against me,
and many such plans he still has in store.
That is why I am terrified before him;
when I think of all this, I fear him.
God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.
Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.

 

I felt that Laurie was entirely torn between the shock of seeing Jill smoking and donning the white garb, and the burden of responsibility to the group she felt Patti had left her with. Even without going into the philosophy of the GR (for lack of a better word), what mother would want to see her teenage child take up an intense smoking habit? I think was she was leaning toward taking Jill and getting out of there. Meg had to press her hard twice (with all those angry snaps) to get her to comply. I really hated Meg then—she had been so sympathetic to Laurie when she was first joining up, and tonight she was all about the GR. I thought that was powerful. 

 

It looked to me that Nora found the baby on Kevin's front porch. She wrote her letter, and then went to his house to leave it in the mailbox or something, and saw the baby where Tom had left it, maybe because he couldn't get in? Not a great idea, but he had taken the best care he could have of Christine and the baby, so I can't think worse of him for it, given the craziness going on.

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I really enjoyed this. I think it was that the Guilty Remnant so got what they deserved. It was so crazy but I think appropriate.  I admit, I laughed.  I did think the first half dragged and I didn't think that we really needed the Kevin dream, but, still made me laugh.  So was Wayne really a fraud? Clearly Nora was not cured and if Kevin made a wish to get his family back, I don't think that happened.  I enjoyed that the mayor said Kevin was right.

 

Co signed that it was a prefect series ending -not season.

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The Chief running into a dying Holy Wayne at a random restaurant bathroom on his way back from Cairo also seemed kind of forced into the story (and with no explanation of how Holy Wayne got there or who stabbed/shot/injured him ?).

 

If you listen to the radio broadcast before Kevin falls asleep (or after he wakes up, maybe?), there's a blurb about there being a shoot out between authorities and one man...so I'm guessing a cop got a shot in before Wayne ran off to die. It makes sense, especially since the SWAT team busted in right as he died.

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Yeah, I wonder if this shouldn't have been a "limited" series because the finale felt like the most emotionally appropriate ending we'll probably ever get from the series. We're likely never going to get an answer to the Departure or the Voices.

Well, I'm fairly certain this doesn't qualify in the conventional Deus ex Machina because that only applies to the sudden and unprecedented intervention of a god-force (or extreme plot contrivance) to solve a problem, because it's part of the premise of the show: there's a God or gods in this story and that God or those gods are doing something. Clearly it's a powerful force as it caused millions to bodily vanish.

I don't think it's a cop-out in this case either, it's literally part of the premise and in the opening credits. It's what the story is based around and maybe it is a convenient thing to have the "clearly, god did it" and to the inevitable "but why???" being "who can know the mind of a god?" however, even the story got pretty clear on that with Matt's bible verse. The awesome and terrifying has been up to stuff.

I think because of that answer always being a given, answers will never be a big part of this story, it's a study of loss.

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So the GR wants to be the embodiement of the world's collective pain over the departures so they can be a sacrifice?

And the purpose of Kevin and Matt being away from town was so the bloody events could happen?

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I think the purpose of Matt and Kevin being away might have been for them both to survive. They couldn't have stopped that screwed up stuff with the dolls.

So in the "well that was darkly comedic", I will admit to sort of laughing that the GR finally managed to piss off everyone to the point of violence. It was just a case of "well, talk about verisimilitude, because...yup, people would go berserker on their chain-smoking asses for that stunt".

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I think "survive" is a little much. Kevin would have lived through the night AND might have been able to manage the crisis to prevent the catharsis.

Matt...He might have been seriously hurt trying to be the voice of decency. That I'll concede, stillshimpy.

What bothers me about the riot is that the show seems to be saying that blood sacrifice indeed DOES have a place in modern, civilized society. Either that, or people sometimes need to hit rock-bottom before they can heal. The rock-bottom message makes a little more sense to me.

Could we discuss the Job verses a little more? Sure, Job was not privy to God's thought process, but the reader does get that info. Job concludes that God's ways are not for us to ever know or question, while the reader KNOWS that ordeal was all because Lucifer made a (for lack of a better term) bet with God over Job's devotion.

I know I've been critical of this show, and my opinions stand. Having said that, I loved the performances of all the actors, and this episode ALMOST makes up for the mountain of unanswered questions. Count me among those who wished this was the series finale. I mean that in positive way. After nine episodes utter darkness, we finally have some light.

Edited by revbfc
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Really bloody good finale. And I do think there's still plenty to explore next season, as these people continue to heal and figure out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. Great creative choice to just show Nora seeing her 'returned' family and then cutting away from Mapleton for almost the whole episode. It heightened the impact of Kevin coming back to find out that everything has gone totally crazy.

 

I really loved Matt coming through for Kevin, and backing up all his big talk about wanting to help people. I'm no believer in any religion, but I absolutely respect people who have faith that lets them go out and help people, even if the help offered is morally questionable. Just like the guy who spoke to Tom at the motel, Matt is a guy who genuinely wants to do good.

 

The Bible passage was well chosen, and you know that Matt picked it because it would make Kevin think of his own father, and how he does live in his shadow, cowed by his legacy and ultimately terrified that he's going to lose his mind, just like his dad did.

 

And then there's Kevin's dream, which went on just long enough that I started to think it was real, and was getting annoyed at the show taking a supernatural turn. But really, I ended up feeling like that was a bit of fun being poked at people who are demanding explanations and answers. 'Here's the secret. You'll finally learn why this happened... oh wait, it's a dream!'

 

Was Wayne being in Cairo a coincidence? Maybe, but Cairo is where Kevin Sr was telling his son he had to go so... Coincidence or fate or something else? It doesn't really matter. And is Wayne a fraud? Kevin's wish did seem to come true, but it was due to circumstances that were already in motion before Kevin even met Wayne. Jill put herself in danger, and Kevin saved her. I'm sure that part of Jill's problems have been that she didn't think anyone cared enough to do that. Her mother abandoned her, her dad was remote, vague and had no time for her, he brother took off and made no contact. But when it came down to it, her dad was there.

 

I said before the episode aired that my number one wish was for Kevin and Jill to reconcile, and they did. So I'm happy. They even got a dog! They both finally found something to tie them back to the life they had lost, and it was each other. I really loved the moment where she took his hand, because it was a lovely little reminder of the girl she used to be, and also of just how much she needs to be loved and cared for.

 

I was fuming at the thought of Kevin holding his hand out to Laurie, to try and bring her back to the family, after everything she's done. So glad he didn't do that, but disappointed that Tom found her. I really wish someone had beaten her to a pulp, like they did to Meg. Who, by the way, is surely going to be the GR figurehead in season 2. It's taken all season, but Liv Tyler finally has a real purpose on the show. And the GR are even bigger pricks than ever. I didn't feel sorry for a single one of them, being shot at and beaten and dragged around.

 

Nora's letter was heartbreaking, and I was terrified that she was going to finally shoot herself. But then pumped for her having the strength to say, 'I'm done' and leave town, but then realised she was close to giving the GR a victory. They wanted people to give up and just accept that they're broken, to abandon all hope. Well, you can abandon hope that your loved ones will return, but still hold out hope that you can find something new for yourself.

 

One final note (heh) on the music. So affecting and evocative, and there's such a melancholy feel to it, that it fits anything from the townspeople rioting to Kevin sitting alone and thinking. HBO get the best music for everything they do.

Edited by Danny Franks
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I decided to watch the finale to see if they explained anything. What I got from it is that the GR did all the crap they did to make people remember? Is that correct? Because if that's really their purpose, 1. it's lame, & 2. when did people forget? It seems to me they did nothing but remember, I don't get it. And what was the GR going to do the next day? I don't understand anything about them.

 

 

So the GR wants to be the embodiement of the world's collective pain over the departures so they can be a sacrifice?

 

Based on Patti's monologue before she offed herself, here's what I think the GR's objective is:

 

The GR's deal is not that people remember, They know knows people remember, but in their view they are remembering "wrong".  They are still mourning when they remember their loved ones, and there are some people trying to leave it behind and go forward, moving to the acceptance stage of grieving.  The GR wants them to remember in a different light.  Not as an event that was painful to them and something to overcome, but as an event that proves that life is meaningless, and therefore, they should not move on to acceptance and continue to try to live a full life.  The GR wants them to remember the Departure as evidence of the futility of life and the final reason why they should join the GR and just give up.

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The Metallica song on strings was beautiful and well chosen. "Nothing Else Matters" I think, right?

Edited by canter
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WearyTraveler,

Yes, that is what Patti said, but their actions speak louder than the rhetoric. If nothing matters, than why go through all the trouble they go through? They hold signs telling people "Stop wasting your breath," while smoking (literally wasting breath). They profess a futility for all effort, while putting in the maximum amount of effort. They destroy their own families to make a new family. I'm sure the central authority (or whatever passes for it in the GR) has aims that the flock are not made aware of. The big cheeses give the orders, and the followers obey. I believe that Patti believed what she said, but I also think those beliefs are a smokescreen for the GR leadership's true aims.

I'm willing to concede that I continue to search for order, purpose and meaning where none exists, but I'd like to think the show is smarter than that.

Edited by revbfc

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I might be in the minority but I did enjoy the finale.

 

Based on posts here, it seems most viewers enjoyed the the finale.

 

Did Aimee and the Frost twins just disappear?  Oh, shit, did another resurrection, happen?!!

 

Well, they can't show what every character is up to in every episode. Aimee and the twins are supporting characters; what they're up to was irrelevant at this point.

 

Most of the main characters' arcs feel done. Kevin goes through hell and comes out the other side with some semblance of a family (and a dog! can't forget the dog.) Put to the test, Laurie picks her children over GR's nonsense. Jill makes peace with her father. Nora has a new reason to live. Tom... I can't think of anything for him because's kinda boring.

 

I disagree that the characters' arcs are done. Kevin is still barely hanging on and his town is a mess. Laurie picked her family, but they didn't pick her. (Yes, Tom was there for her, but he doesn't know what shit-disturbing crap she's been up to for the past six months.) Jill made peace, for now. She's a teenager living in unprecedented times. As for Nora, well, it's not like she can just have that baby because she found it - on somebody else's porch. It's a corny trope that a childless person suddenly comes upon a motherless child - and voila! New family!

 

Speaking of silly tropes - this episode had two of Hollywood's worst. The perfectly rectangle hole that Matt and Kevin dug for Patty's body. I mean, has anyone in Hollywood ever dug a hole? (stupid question, I know) But when burying a body, the hole must always have perfect 90 degree corners.

 

Also, Kevin running into a fully engulfed building and going all the way upstairs, then emerging unscathed? Impossible. Hollywood writers probably have never seen a burning building (a house can go from starting flames to completely gone in 10 minutes), but they don't research facts with a fire expert. Or, you know, google it. 

 

That said, I really liked this finale. I thought it flew by; I couldn't believe the hour was over that fast. 

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I believe that Patti believed what she said, but I also think those beliefs are a smokescreen for the GR leadership's true aims.

 

I think you are correct in pointing out that there might be ulterior motives only known to the leadership of the cult, as it happens with most cults.  This is still unknown in the series, and I'm fine with that.  Maybe that's something we can explore next season.

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mean, has anyone in Hollywood ever dug a hole?

In fairness, the holes that are shown on TV and film are actually generally created for the purpose, so they've certainly had a lot of holes dug in their time. I take your point though, because two guys, in the dead of night, with shovels are not going to produce that "someone rented a backhoe, doo da, doo da...." hole that was featured.

It's why so many times someone is discovered in "a shallow grave". Digging a hole by hand is a challenging thing.

As for the inferno and Kevin escaping it, yes...I agree, but again, God exists in this story and Kevin asked Wayne for something...it might have been "my family back" but it also might simply have been "another chance to get it right".

Edited by stillshimpy
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Think there will be Emmy noms for Brenneman and Theroux next year?

 

I don't think Brenneman should get one. I really don't think she's been that good, given the fixed smug sneer she's worn for most of the season. I'd rather see an Emmy nomination go to Carrie Coon. I think she's been great all season, and Nora has been one of the most sympathetic characters. Justin Theroux should get one, though. Magnetic presence, and some tough stuff to play.

 

Also, Kevin running into a fully engulfed building and going all the way upstairs, then emerging unscathed? Impossible. Hollywood writers probably have never seen a burning building (a house can go from starting flames to completely gone in 10 minutes), but they don't research facts with a fire expert. Or, you know, google it.

 

 

Call it dramatic license. And I like they metaphor of Kevin fighting his way through flames to find his daughter. His struggle all season has been an inability to connect to her, and he just couldn't find it in him to fight for her. But now, he's willing and able to do whatever it takes to get her back.

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Has Laurie decided to leave the GR now that Jill almost died?  She finally spoke to save her daughter's life.

 

Yes, clearly, "something" matters to Laurie, and that something is her daughter.  So maybe now that Laurie sees that she can run but she can't hide from what matters most, she'll start to have some misgivings about being in the GR.

 

Or not.  I hate Laurie so don't expect much from her.  I'm afraid that Tom is now going to join the GR.

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It was a good finale, actually and excellent one.  After the True Blood finale a couple weeks earlier, I think I needed a good payoff like this one.  I wonder if when it was filmed, the people in charge didn't know if it would be picked up for another season and wanted to give it a clean close-out kind of finale "just in case"?  I feel like a lot of things were wrapped up neat enough in case it didn't get renewed, but enough stuff is open-ended to continue if it did.  I don't know where they can take a second season without it being hokey though.

 

My feelings are that the departed people are those who in that moment someone close to them wanted them to be gone.  They were people that they just wanted to go away in that moment either because they annoyed them, were inconvenient, made them feel bad about themselves in that moment, etc.  They wished them away and they went away.

 

Maybe Wayne had something to do with it.  He perhaps granted a "wish" to someone to rid them of whomever they wanted gone in that moment and "poof" all these people went away.  Maybe he was a fraud, maybe he wasn't.  We don't really know the wish that he granted for Kevin, but we kind of guess what it is.

 

A bit contrived that Wayne and Kevin crossed paths so serendipitously at the exact moment of his death, but, oh, well, what are you going to do?  Wayne dying with a stranger would not have had the same impact.

Kevin never knew Wayne though, did he?  Did he know of him?  I can't recall.  But while Kevin is known to the viewers, Kevin was technically just a random stranger to Wayne.  It appeared he didn't know him at the time.  Though it is kind of coincidental how well Kevin's son knew Wayne.  But I'm guessing Kevin didn't know that either. 

 

UGH, the GRs were horrible to do what they did.  Usually on shows like these, groups that piss people off are shown on some level as being "right" or "good" or the "voice of reason".  I see none of this with the GRs.  They were just a bunch of annoying a-holes.  To do what they did to the people in the town did nothing but create a disaster--for themselves and for everyone else involved.  How cruel.  They really are cruel. 

 

Kevin went into the house and rescued Jill, but everyone else in there were just kind of left to go down with the building.  Normally you'd think the firefighters would be trying to rescue people if they could, but the GRs probably ticked off so many people at that point that they weren't going to try to risk it.   That's what I'm guessing.

 

The baby was cute.  I was happy to see the dog come around at the end and want to be in the family too.  This show managed to pull me in and I'll look forward to the next season.

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Agreed, izabella. I can't stand Laurie, and I hope Kevin signs those divorce papers when he gets home.

Also, something has bugged me about the riot. How come the carnage was so minimal? Sure, we had the inferno, but I was expecting a lot more dead GR lying around. As it was most of the GR seemed beaten badly, but still alive. I don't advocate for murder, but when a show promises me a bloodbath, I feel a little cheated when it doesn't happen.

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