The Leftovers: The Most Powerful Man in the World (and His Identical Twin Brother)
May 29, 2017 4:35 AM - Season 3, Episode 7 - Subscribe

On a mission of mercy, Kevin assumes an alternate identity. Wherein we also learn the importance of secure two-factor authentication.

They're Kevins! Identical Kevins all the way. One pair of matching bookends, Different as night and day.—Patti

The Fisher Protocol is a real thing. I doubt it's currently in use, or that it would deter the current president, but it was a proposal made by a guy named Fisher in 1981. Radiolab also covered it in the Buttons Not Buttons episode.
posted by Stanczyk (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This is a fun show but really don't think about it too closely. So "god" the leader of the resistance on the second world know about the problem of mirrors and has his commando smash all the reflective surfaces, but not hid the fragments.

So is the last episode just going to be a race to save Nora from transitioning to the second world that has just become a nuclear wasteland?

I read a blog post from by a short term writer on Lost who was careful not to explicitly say it was all made up week to week but describing his experience that was exactly the situation.
posted by sammyo at 6:24 AM on May 29, 2017

Wherever Kevin went is not where the Departed went because we never see a Departed there. It may well be purgatory or it might be Kevin's apparently immortal imagination.

This show feels so meticulously constructed that I doubt it has much in common with Lost from a writing/production perspective.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:53 AM on May 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

I love this show so much. You have to be in that existence for it all to make sense. I'm devastated that next week is the final episode but at the same time I'm hanging out to see how it all comes together. I think it will, I have faith (ironic, huh?)
posted by h00py at 8:21 AM on May 29, 2017

So much this episode! I agree that he didn't go where the departed went. I wonder how long he was out for? I think it was at least a day, which means that we missed the anniversary right? I was really scared when Kevin woke up that everyone was going to be dead. They looked so still.

Justin Theroux's really good at making a face that's horrified and confused and sad and resigned all at the same time.
posted by LizBoBiz at 5:00 AM on May 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm enjoying this show but if I learned anything from Lost it's to not expect it to be wrapped up in any kind of satisfying way. I'm not counting on the Sudden Departure, or anything else, to be explained.

Also, with the scenes in the season premier about people waiting for The End that never came, I expect the show will end with life just kind of going on for everyone.

I hope I'm wrong. I would like to know what happened to everyone.
posted by bondcliff at 7:45 AM on May 30, 2017

Oh and it was nice to have the original opening theme back!
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:55 AM on May 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

I hope we don't find out what happened to everyone. Just like if this happened in real life, we would have no answers. I would rather have no answers than an unsatisfying one, and with this show I don't think there is a satisfying answer.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:57 AM on May 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

damon lindelof has said like a hundred times they don't intend to explain the departure.
posted by JimBennett at 10:33 AM on May 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

We've really got resolution for nearly everyone in the cast except Nora and Kevin. And if the question of the show is how do you grieve and move on in the face of unthinkable loss? Then I'm glad the last hour is about Nora. To be honest, I don't need Nora and Kevin to reconcile, but I want some kind of happy ending for each of them.
posted by gladly at 10:56 AM on May 30, 2017

I didn't quite get the intent of this episode, other than how it highlights how remorse can split a person in two. I'm curious if there will be any further attempt to explain the Departure in a sciencey way or if it will be a purely sentimental journey from here on out.

This show reminds me so much of Ben Winter’s Last Policeman trilogy, in that both are about the psychological effects of the world falling apart, not about the disasters themselves. Winter’s books explore how people deal with the inescapable fate of impending destruction from a comet. It’s not a story about how to stop the comet or build underground bunkers, or anything like that. The story is not about the comet. It’s about how people find ways to live in that reality.

Likewise, the Leftovers is not about the reasons for the disappearances. Lindoff’s story hasn’t been moving towards a conclusion that will explain that event (which gives me hope that it will escape the Lost letdown). I think a major theme of this season involves that characters trying to do something in the face of a possible upcoming disaster, to be active in the face of possible catastrophe instead of passively reacting to an unexpected disaster. I’m reminded of a passage in Thessalonians:
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

Just like the Millerites in the season opener, the main characters are determined to do something, to have some agency this time around, so they’re not caught unawares. So Matt journeys to Australia to bring Kevin back to Miracle, Kevin Sr. tries to find a song to stop the flood, Nora is determined to go through the zapping machine to meet her family, and Kevin is willing to die again, this time with a specific to-do list that will have tangible effects on the living world.

But it’s not that kind of story. Two episodes ago, Matt abandoned his world-saving quest when confronted with his hubris. And now Kevin learns that he can’t be a conduit between the living and the dead. He can’t get answers from Grace’s children, he can’t convey John’s message to Evie, and he can’t bring back Christopher Sunday’s non-existent song. The episode has the trappings of a thriller - political assassination, nuclear war - but Kevin isn’t saving either world. His story isn’t that of a superpowered savior; nothing he does has any bearing on the real world. And like Matt, Kevin lets go of the desire to be a hero once he realizes that his narrative is personal. Matt’s book has become a romance about his failure with Nora instead of a biblical story of salvation.

So we end with Kevin Sr. despondent on the roof like the Millerite woman from Episode 1. He has to acknowledge his own powerlessness. The unthinkable has happened once before, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it from happening again. So to me, this episode was about Kevin Jr. realizing that he’s focused on the wrong story. This is not a story about understanding and controlling disasters but about how we continue to connect to others once our world falls apart.
posted by bibliowench at 11:03 AM on May 30, 2017 [22 favorites]

So good. I loved the two Kevins. I was prepared for the other world to be Kevin's delusion (the security codes seem like his sense of humor) but you're right Burhanistan, how does he know Aussie Kevin Garvey? Anyway, I don't care a bit as long as it leads where it seems to be headed which is Kevin having an emotional breakthrough and realizing the value of love.

I've only watched it once but I think there's a lot to analyze in the speech be read about the abolitionof the institution of marriage, the mirrors, Kevin's willingness of obliterate himself, and of course having to literally rip his own heart out!
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 12:16 PM on June 3, 2017

I was struck by how strongly this episode resembled the Black Lodge episodes at the end of the original Twin Peaks. Very similar shtick, the hero split in two in a parallel universe, a similar tone of magical realism. No dancing little people speaking backwards, and the hand-in-the-chest scene was more Cronenberg than Lynch. But it felt like this episode owed a whole lot to Twin Peaks. Only much better with its treatment of characters as real people with emotions. However bizarre and existentialist grief-stricken they may be.
posted by Nelson at 10:03 AM on June 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

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