The Leftovers 2×10 ‘I Live Here Now’: Miracles and tragedies

The Leftovers 2x10 Cover

The Leftovers is a beautiful show. It ‘s relentlessly bleak, but doesn’t wallow in its bleakness. Instead, it has ended every season on a hopeful note, suggesting that even though the darkness it describes is a brutal, dismal pit, there’s always a way out. You just have to wade through the darkness to find it. Because even though the show asserts that “There are no miracles in Miracle”, miracles still exist. Little miraculous things happen that sustain us, keeping us going, pushing us through that darkness. For all the sobbing I’ve done because The Leftovers has been bleak and miserable, the end of the season brought tears of joy.

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Source: HBO

When we think of the miracles in this episode, we think of Mary finally waking up after four years, remembering that she woke up and became pregnant when she had sex with Matt, or maybe we think of Kevin heading back to Purgatory once more, singing karaoke in order to return to the world of the living. Those are both miracles, to be sure, but the real miracle is the ending, Kevin walking through the Guilty Remnant-created hellscape to see if his family is still there. And when they are, all of his family, that’s a real miracle. Because sometimes things don’t get better. Sometimes people don’t know how to climb out of the hole that they’ve dug for themselves. But if you care deeply about your family, they know, and some of them will be there for you.

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Source: HBO

The Guilty Remnant plot in the outstanding season (maybe series) finale (“I Live Here Now”) is almost panic-inducing in how it operates. The trailer that we saw Evie in is said to have enough plastic explosive in it to blow up a bridge, and so Meg parks it on the bridge, with Evie and the two other disappeared girls standing outside it, waiting to be blown up. But they don’t blow up when the timer counts to nothing. Instead, the shantytown outside of the city is revealed to be filled with GR members, who then storm the town along with the other neglected citizens of the shantytown. It’s even sadder than if the trailer were to explode, because Meg’s plan isn’t to murder people, but the image of Jardin. She wants to destroy the image of a place that’s supposed to help people cope with the loss they incurred on October 14th when the Departure happened. And she did destroy that image, shattering it in everybody’s eyes forever.

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Source: HBO

Meg says that family is everything, and it’s important to remember that we saw one family come together and the other split apart. There are multiple major scenes between children and parents, such as the scene where Michael tells his mother at church about the truth behind one time where he turned on the bath as a little child and it overflowed. It seems relatively innocuous, but the truth is that family can be built on lies, from the little lies that family tells each other to keep the peace to massive lies that keep big, dark secrets from everybody else. The family is built on the lie that Erika and John love each other, the lie of what Virgil did to John, the lie of why John was in prison, and those lies led Michael to religion and Evie to the Guilty Remnant. The scene on the bridge between Evie and Erika was heartbreaking in that we could see how Erika wanted to physically do anything to help, but Evie was already beyond help. She was so depressed and defeated by the pain her family has incurred that she just wants it the void within her to be filled by something. And that’s the Guilty Remnant’s job. We can see how neither John nor Erika want to deal with the damage they’ve done, as Erika berates John until he finally snaps back, and John shoots Kevin when it’s asserted that maybe his children don’t love him. John can’t even fathom that, and physical violence is his only way to cope with that truth. So at the episode’s end, we don’t know if John gets to return to his family. But one thing is for certain. Even though Evie is back, she’s still gone.

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Source: HBO

But this episode is also a journey for Kevin, a path to a miracle. When he’s shot by John, he ends up back in Purgatory, where he puts on the police uniform this time instead of the suit. He’s told this time to just sing karaoke and then he’ll be sent home. But in singing “Homeward Bound”, he thinks about all he has back home, all that he wants to preserve, and why he wants to preserve it. Kevin may have “vanquished” Patti, but that doesn’t mean that he trusts his love for his family, and his return to Purgatory allows him to finally have that trust. When he returns, bloodied from the bullet wound, he sees how the Guilty Remnant and the citizens of the shantytown have reduced Jardin to a battered nightmare, a place that Kevin has to cross entirely on his own, without his dog by his side. And he does cross it, wading through the delusion and the misery that exists in the insane Guilty Remnant rave, until he finds his home and his family waiting inside. When Nora exclaims “You’re home”, glad to see him, he smiles because he sees that there’s a path through the darkness. There’s a way to find happiness on the other side of the misery.

The Leftovers has been a wonder to watch, and I really feel like I could call it my favorite show (even though shows like The Sopranos and The Wire are clearly better shows, it doesn’t mean they’re my favorite). It’s more than just a story that you watch to fill an hour. It’s catharsis, an emotional experience that reminds you about the pain of loss and death, something that we push away instead of push through. And The Leftovers knows this, understands that we want to push away the bad feelings, but it forces us to confront them because it knows that confronting them is the only way to find peace. And when I watched Kevin limp through the Jardin hellscape, fall when earthquakes shook the ground, and finally see his family when he returned home, I shed tears of joy because I knew that his happiness meant something. He found peace in the chaos. And that’s what we all need to do.

So thanks a ton for those of you who read my reviews! I know that there’s a good chance that The Leftovers isn’t coming back, as the ratings were much worse than they were last year, but I’m always hopeful that HBO will see the light and bring it back for a third season (Treme’s ratings were, much, much lower, and that was given four seasons). If it does come back, I’ll see you all next year. If not, well, catch me over at the Transparent reviews in a few days. It’s been real.

What did you think of the finale? Was it as fantastic as I said it was? Let me know in the comments!

Michael St. Charles

is just a Michigan State University grad who loves a good story. If he’s not off teaching the young ones how to solve quadratic functions or to write an expository essay, he’s watching old-school HBO shows, indie horror movies, or he’s playing Resident Evil 4.

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