Post Mortems
The Leftovers Season 3

The Leftovers EP Damon Lindelof Answers Burning Finale Questions, Drops Big Season 3 Clue

The Leftovers wrapped its extraordinary, miraculous second season Sunday on a surprisingly hopeful note, but should fans feel any optimism concerning the ratings-challenged drama’s uncertain future?

Below, exec producer Damon Lindelof weighs in on the possibility of a third season, while also sharing some exclusive scoop on the significant role [spoiler] stands to play in it. But first, the former Lost boss tackles a handful of nagging questions about the Season 2 finale, including the Episode 7 plot point concerning my beloved Nora that I just couldn’t wrap my head around.

TVLINE | After everything that you put Kevin through this season, was it important for you to give him — and viewers — a happy ending?
Yes, is the short and simple answer. That ending came specifically from [fellow EP] Tom Perrotta. One of the big ideas of the season was if you leave home, if you change your geography, can you solve whatever problems you were having in the place that you’re leaving? And I think we all know that your problems tend to follow you wherever you go and, ultimately, as potentially hokey as this sounds, the best solution is to look your problems right in the eye and deal with them. But you can’t do it alone. You have to surround yourself with community, and community starts with the family. I like the way that you’re couching it — it’s a happy ending. A reward for Kevin. We just watched this guy suffer so intensely, what does he get in exchange for it? You’ve got to give him something, and I couldn’t think of anything sweeter than him crawling back into his cave and realizing that everybody was OK.

TVLINE | Is John in some ways the new Kevin? The same way that the Sudden Departure sort of shattered Kevin’s life, has Evie’s vanishing and joining the Guilty Remnant ripped off the band-aid of his barely held together family life?
[That] is very accurate. But another way of looking at it is that we introduced the audience to a group of characters seemingly untouched by the effects of the Departure, and now we’re actually watching them go through their Season 1.

TVLINE | With Virgil’s guidance, is it fair to say that anyone on the show could have cheated death twice, as Kevin did?
Oh, boy. The answer to that question probably illuminates or gives away things that the show itself has not yet. All i’ll say is Kevin is the one that Virgil approaches. Virgil doesn’t approach or offer his help to anyone else. He offers it to Kevin. Whatever is guiding Virgil points him to Kevin, and that was very intentional on our part as storytellers.

TVLINE | Did Kevin have this special aura or power before the Sudden Departure? Or did the Sudden Departure bright it out in him?
It’s impossible for me to answer that question because the Kevin that I was introduced to in Tom’s book was really married to the Sudden Departure, so I’ve never really thought about what he would be like had the Departure never happened. But we get a glimpse of [a pre-Depature Kevin] in the ninth episode of the first season. We see his obsession with catching and maybe saving this deer that is running through the neighborhood. It doesn’t have a mystical patina on it, but it has an emotional patina, which is he’s feeling trapped in his life and therefore he identifies with and wants to rescue this animal. But once the Departure happens, then the animal gains a mystical significance to him. You and I have talked about this in our personal interactions, which is when tragedy befalls you and it’s super confusing you’re much more inclined to try to find purpose and meaning in it than to say, “That was just an arbitrary thing that happened.” The arbitrariness robs it of its importance.

TVLINE | The woman who stole Lily from Nora, was she just a regular old nut?
[Laughs] Are you asking are we going to get an episode telling the story of Snake Tattoo Lady, as she was affectionately referred to in the script?

TVLINE | Sure.
I would say that she is a presentation of the kind of people who are down there in the encampment. I don’t want to reduce that character to saying she’s solely a MacGuffin, but, as storytellers, we knew that Nora Durst under no circumstances would ever get anywhere near that bridge and go back into town in the wake of what was happening. It would just be far too dangerous. We needed to create a plot machination that got her on the move. But, more importantly, emotionally, we wanted to make something very clear for the audience, which was that Nora is deeply attached to this baby. This baby is not a prop to her. Lily is a human being, and she cares very much about her and would risk her own life in order to save this child.

TVLINE | Since Kevin saw Mary on the other side the first time he died, how is she still alive? How was she able to find her way out of the hotel?
Answering that question starts to pick apart the very purposeful ambiguity of how the hotel works. All I’ll say is there was a lot of conversation in the writers’ room about whether or not Mary could be in that space. Was it breaking our fundamental rules? We decided it was not. One very interesting question that we asked ourselves: When Mary regained consciousness, would she remember having been in that hotel? It seems the answer to that question is no, or else she probably would’ve talked about it. When she wakes up and she sees Nora there she is not like, “Hey, I was just in a hotel getting a balloon delivery.” She’s like, “Nora, what are you doing here?” So Mary doesn’t seem to have any recollection whatsoever of where she was or what was happening while she was unconscious. I just want that to be clear to viewers. But I don’t want to talk about what rules governed us as storytellers in the space of the hotel.

TVLINE | What was the significance of Kevin’s dog running off like all the dogs in Mapleton did after the Sudden Departure? Nothing otherworldly happened at this time so why did he run?
Oh, who knows why dogs do what they do, Michael? [Laughs] We were trying to draw a purposeful symmetry between the first season finale and the second season finale, and the idea that this dog is like, “I’ll stick around until you wake up, but I want nothing to do with what’s going on in that town.” And then Kevin has a bit of a choice there when the dog runs off across the bridge — he can either follow the dog or he can turn around and head back into town. And we just loved idea that he heads back into town.

TVLINE | I loved this season, but there’s one thing that has really bugged me. The Nora that up and left Kevin when he revealed his Patti-centric mental illness to her seems really inconsistent with the Nora we’ve come to know over the preceding 16 episodes. Help me make sense of her thinking there.
There was a lot of conversation amongst the writers about that decision. And conversation with Carrie, as well. And, ultimately, all I can tell you is it was an irrational decision that was based purely on the emotional space that Nora was in when she made it. I think that in the week-to-week presentation of the show — which is, you watch Episode 6, and Episode 6 ends, and then Episode 7 starts and Nora’s gone — it magnifies the very legitimate issue that you raise. But if you binge the show and you [see everything that happens to Nora] in Episode 6, from being confronted by Dr. Cuarto, then getting the phone call from Laurie Garvey, and then ultimately having this very intense confrontation with Erika which results in her coming to terms with the fact that she doesn’t feel safe… And then the guy that she would probably turn to for comfort basically tells her that he’s seeing someone who’s not there, and she bounces. She does not leave Kevin for good. She doesn’t even leave town. And by the time Kevin calls the following night, she’s basically like, “I want to be with you. I want to come back, but I just needed to get away. I just needed to retreat in the short term.” So it’s not like she has packed all of her clothes and is gone. She just takes Mary and the baby and retreats. That’s the best explanation that I can give to you. It probably doesn’t appease you, but that is my short version of hours and hours and hours of creative thinking.

TVLINE | Looking back, do you wish maybe you had showed us a little bit more of her internal struggle instead of just picking up the following week with her gone?
A fair question. The honest answer is no, because Episode 7 was entirely in service of, “Can we bring Kevin to a point where he drinks poison from a stranger?” And one of the things that needed to exacerbate the desperation behind that decision was that he didn’t know what Nora’s thinking was. And so for the audience to know it, but for Kevin not to know it, would have broken the choice that we made regarding his subjectivity. But I think it’s a fair criticism.

TVLINE | When do you think there will be a decision on a Season 3 renewal?
I don’t have a timetable… HBO loves the show. My hope is that the finale is well received, and that there is a good feeling about the season that extends into the first couple weeks of December. And then we can ride that wave into a pickup. I will say this: If you are a fan of The Leftovers, let should let your voice be heard.

TVLINE | I imagine you probably have some ideas in your head about what a potential third season looks like. Throw me a scoop?
The one thing that I would say to you is that Scott Glenn is a starting pitcher that we have used as a relieving pitcher. I would really like to see some more of Kevin Senior. And not just in the present, but in the past.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jakay says:

    This brilliant, brilliant show better get picked up. I feel like I’m obsessed with it and its characters.

  2. Joel says:

    Nora’s decision to leave Kevin was out of character and irrational even when binged

    • Tim says:

      Yeah, I was shocked by that behavior. They had just promised each other to always be truthful.

    • jakis says:

      It made sense to me. They had just promised to always tell the truth and he was keeping this big, ugly secret from her. She felt like, in the moment, she needed her kid to be safe from that kind of crazy and she needed to think it over. They were running away to come to Miracle (and she was pretty irrational about the whole journey when you think about it — she had banked a lot on Miracle) but the crazy followed. So she ran away again.

      • Annie says:

        I thought it was more to do with maybe starting to believe she was a lense. Hence her relief at seeing the 3 girls on the bridge

      • Jay says:

        Women make no sense! They act irrational in times of strife and I felt a sense of realism when Nora behaived this way! Love this show in every way! One of the most beautiful works of art living today.

  3. Joe c says:

    I think it’s very interesting and I hope for a third season. It brings me my own thinking of life and afterlife ! It’s a strange series but I am intrigued by what it brings out!

  4. Sergio says:

    This show keeps on getting better and better. I am addicted to this show, a third season is a must. This is the only reason why i got cable.

  5. Tara says:

    I absolutely love this show! I can’t get enough. I hope to see a third season!

  6. Liz christie says:

    I thought the decision to make Nora leave temporarily was spot on. In the first season she deals with her pain by hiring prostitutes to shoot her! That she and Kevin have helped each other doesn’t suddenly make her out of granite. A lot was going on and she fell apart a little. Here she came to a place where she was supposed to be safe and its feeling to get like her “lense” quality is bringing misery closer to her and she needed space. I don’t understand why the ratings aren’t there! I always tell people this is such a great show. I’m at the edge of my seat with my hand over my mouth every single episode.

  7. militantgod says:

    YES! YES! YES! to bringing in Scott Glenn fulltime!

  8. Btone says:

    I absolutely love this show! I don’t watch much TV but I do want to say that this season beat the walling dead into the ground for me. I would with out a doubt love to see a 3rd season possibly…very very possibly a fourth But definitely a 3rd. With ratings low, I worry it may be done. How about do a 3rd and then actually promote the season. I’ve heard many people say they didn’t realize it was on due to lack of promoting prior to season 2.

  9. Katy says:

    I Love this show, it reaches so many philosophical and profound implications of what the human condition endures that have never been portrayed on t.v. as raw and powerfully as this. The depth of this show is intriguing and anyone looking for a show that shines light on the most vulnerable aspects of life should be watch this show. I would like to know if there is a place I can vote or have a word in to promote having this show continue. Any information on where I may go about doing that would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Jeff Carr says:

    I absolutely love this show, from start to finish! It’s brilliant! Please, please make a 3rd season!

  11. Phillip says:

    This show is just so unbelievably good. I will be incredibly pissed if this show doesn’t get renewed. All I want for Christmas is more of The Leftovers.

  12. Maryann says:

    I watched the first three episodes of season 1 and there just didn’t seem to be any compelling reason to continue. Someone give me some specific reasons as to what happens further in season 1 that would make it compelling to keep going. And yes, I was a big fan of Lost.

    • Lynn says:

      I agree with you. I didn’t like the first season at all but hung with it to the end because the characters really intrigued me. All I can say is that in order to fully appreciate the fantastic 2nd season you gotta hang with the first. It truly is 1000% a better, exceptional show in the 2nd. One of the best seasons of a show EVER & really worth it.

    • Julia says:

      I say that the season 1 is like a pilot for the rest of the ‘real’ season being season 2. I hated the GR in season 1 and all related storylines, but season 2 focuses more on the people you care about and their stories. I noticed a lot of parallels to Lost in season 2 in terms of religious themes, easter eggs, episodes that force you to think very outside of the box, etc. The payoff is huge…definitely LOVED season 2 after barely making it through season 1.

    • Curly Girly says:

      I had the same issue….watched the first 3 episodes and didn’t think it was that great. But then I went back and picked up at episode 4 and kept watching….then I was hooked! It does start out a little slow, you have to give it a chance and keep watching.

    • jakis says:

      I didn’t watch the first season — it just wasn’t on my radar — but I have loved this second season. From my experience, I would say you can jump on the Leftovers train for the second season and get just as obsessed.

    • Erica says:

      i agree with the comments below! stick with it. this show utterly frustrated me during season 1 (helluva finale btw) but season 2 brought it all together beautifully.

    • Madeline says:

      I can speak on this because I was in this position-
      When show premiered I got halfway through season 1 and quit– because NOTHING was happening, it was a limited show in every way.

      2 weeks ago I kept hearing how good season 3 is and how season 2 was one of the best written seasons of tv. So I rewatched. Yes, I even finished season 1. I advise- watch the season 1 finale, then jump into season 2.

      Biggest difference? How would I promote it?

      Season 2- every episode has its own story. Every story is purposeful. Every character now has a path. Every episode has a reason to exist and tells more of the story. Most questions that are asked are answered, others that aren’t keep your intrigue.

      This shows amazing. Looking forward to season 3- will start tonight!

  13. Ellen says:

    Please continue this thought provoking series with a third season, HBO

  14. Jade says:

    I loved both season 1 and season 2 of the leftovers! They should definitely bring out a 3rd season! I am addicted to this show and i count down the days throughout the week to watch the new episode on Sundays!!! PLEASE BRING OUT A SEASON 3!!!!!

  15. Michael A. says:

    Fantastic macabre and surreal show !! One of the best ever on TV !! A total and complete headf*** !! LOVE IT !!

  16. Mason says:

    I’ve watched a lot of shows on HBO and this by far has caught my attention more than any other show I’ve ever seen before this it’s absolutely brilliant the acting is impeccable all the actors seem to be so in depth in the roles that it makes me want to cry at the end of every episode it relates so much to real life in so many ways personally I believe they are portraying the fact that we are so disconnected through social media and other factors of life and this show bring that out in a different manner that you can understand easier. Absolutely brilliant and I have to say Kevin is the man

  17. Frank Fems says:

    Lindelof is God.

  18. Lynn says:

    How do we go about getting our voice heard for a 3rd season? I’ve never felt strongly enough to bother before but really want this one back. Anyone know?

  19. rafael_ says:

    Season 3, please!!!!!!

  20. Andy says:

    The score, especially last night, was brilliant and beautiful. As much a part of the brilliance of the show as the acting and writing. Please bring it back for a third season!

  21. Bill Theres says:

    I continue to watch the Leftovers thinking there might be an explanation as to what is going on, but nope. Sorry but I’m still confused. Great acting I think is what keeps me coming back. Woud’nt really care if this one didn’t make it. First time I’ve ever been disappointed in an HBO Series.

  22. Pam says:

    I hate the idea that I will have to wait more than seven days for the next season of The Leftovers. I have called on all my like-minded friends to watch this show and I promise the requirement for the delivery of Season Three will grow.
    How do I encourage TPTB (the powers that be) to ink the third/fourth and fifth seasons?

  23. LT says:

    I REALLY enjoyed this show and hope HBO decides to hang in there. The thing is, WE have to do our part. We have to watch shows like this when they “air”. Sure, it runs against Walking Dead (which I hope they consider next season when doing the scheduling), but that show has its numbers. DVR that, watch this. It’s viewership to secure sponsorship. Without it, HBO isn’t going to invest. Hope I’m not offending anyone, just tired of losing what I think are great shows to ones sustained on hype. So, I don’t know if rewatching it helps, but that’s what I’m going to do. Well, that and tell others how great of a show this is and double dog dare ’em to watch it. Hop

  24. Norma Keller says:

    This is a great show. The ending of season 2 was wonderful. Hope there is a third season, definitely on board if there is.

  25. Pj says:

    This really is my most beloved show to watch.

    Its originality and weirdness reminds me so much of Twin Peaks when it first aired.

    I really hope the show doesnt become victim of its own uniqueness like so many have before…

  26. Clandestine Green says:

    This season started out really shakey but the final 4 episodes redeemed it. Regina King was so good and Justin Theroux was pretty good as well…especially in the finale. I hope it gets a third season but I think that things came to a good closure in the season 2 finale in case there is no season 3.

  27. Pam Schwartz says:

    Please don’t cancel the show, it is one of the few well written, quality shows on tv. Many great shows have been canceled, how depressing to lose another. Just don’t put it up against the good wife, and the walking dead. Duh

  28. Jamie Johnson says:

    Dear @HBO PLEASE give The Leftovers a 3rd season. There @DamonLindelof I hope my voice is heard loud and clear! And I love the idea of seeing more of Scott Glenn’s past and his present. It’s a great show, and it deserves another season.

  29. Lisa says:

    To me the finale and the whole season in general was freaking perfect. I wish they would have evolved Kevin’s dad more and explained the ultra violence part with Nora but other than that the show was my favorite.

  30. Jacqueline says:

    I’m so obsessed with this show. I recently got cable in the last year after just having only Netflix and Hulu. One day I turned on my tv and I must have been watching a movie on HBO and this show was playing. A random episode in the 1st season and I just was sucked into it. I ended up searching for it then I binged watched the whole first season for 2 days. Then I was shocked to see that season 2 hadn’t even started yet! But I only had to wait a week! I’m so so so sad season 2 is over and now I have to wait for season 3. Like this whole show is so strange and interesting. It’s nothing like I have ever watched before. I just love it. I want it on forever.

  31. Joe says:

    One of the most intriguing series I’ve ever seen. I haven’t been this hooked since Lost. In a way I’m glad it’s only 10 episodes, the acting, score, writing it’s just amazing. Honestly this show needs to be promoted more, so underrated. Please season 3 and 4 please!

  32. Zoe says:

    We definitely need a season 3, there is so much more to explore!

  33. Sharne says:

    Superb writing, great acting, and intriguing plot!! HBO please do not cancel!!

  34. Brucey says:

    Amazing show! Nothing else like it. Hope for a season 3 would love to see more about Kevin senior

  35. Brandon R. says:

    How did everyone miss the fire in Nora’s eyes at the very end? Implication of possession just surfaced.

  36. Brad says:

    The Leftovers is an excellent show and it would be a shame if there was not a Season 3! It’s one of the best shows on Tv! I watch it on my TIVO Monday’s BEFORE I watch The Walking Dead! Come on HBO give us a Season 3!!!

  37. Amanda says:

    So have I missed it, out has there not been an explanation provided for the bizarre opening scene of the season (I think) with the crazy naked woman outside the cave?

  38. Albert F. says:

    This needs to be on television. I’m not the only one. Where can we petition to show HBO that the show must go on!!!!

  39. Louise says:

    A brilliant show loved season 2, still left with more questions then answers. I really hope theres a season 3.

  40. Paula Healy says:

    This is one of the most unique shows ever!!! I love the twists and turns and the whole underlying theme of family. I sure hope they come back with a third season. The acting is great and it one of the only shows that keeps me guessing.

  41. Scotty Macy says:

    There has to be a season 3 right?? They cant leave it like this….

  42. Rit says:

    Honestly, I started watching season two and then watched season one as I was watching season two. Most often heard term describing this show is “intriguing”. This show pits spirituality vs science. Asks what is good vs what is evil. Admits Faith vs doubt, forgiveness vs cruelty, love vs hate, truth vs lies. How can anyone not watch?

  43. jamie h. says:

    Awesome show! Please give us season 3!!!

  44. Princess says:

    Season 2 has blown me away. I have not been so mesmerised by a show since Lost and this just keeps getting better. Its a million times better than any other show right now and keeps me glued to the screen every second which is very rare as I usually get bored from any tv quite quickly. If they cancel the show they will be losing a goldmine as people just need to give it a chance. There are too many shows in the world to watch so I think it just needs time for more people to give it that first chance then it will inevitably become addictive and become one of the best shows ever. It needs more publicity, more word of mouth and buzz so more people try it. But the show itself needs nothing. Its perfect and brilliant and extremely captivating. They would be fools to cancel it and give up so soon. I have to say well done to the actors and directors and writers and producers as every aspect of this show has been done immaculately. I give it 100 out of 10. Perfection honestly.

  45. Lisa says:

    So many great shows have gotten turfed… Please don’t let this be one if them!!!!!!

  46. N says:

    I hope someone starts a petition for HBO to save this show!

  47. Sheldon W. says:

    For seventeen episodes, I was completely indifferent to The Leftovers but, somehow, I cpuldn’t stop watching it every week. Then the last three eps of season two come along and BAM! As a wise little green guy might put it, ‘Blown out of the water I was!’

    International Assassin, Ten Thirteen and I Live Here Now have completely changed the way I see the series – now I have to get the DVDs for both seasons and watch them again.

    Darn you, Lindelof! Darn you to Heck! You’ve got me praying for a third season! (I did NOT see that coming!)

  48. Nathan says:

    I am from new Zealand and don’t comment on these sites ever but I love this show. More than game of throne and that show rock. Please bring a season 3

  49. Morten says:

    Best show I seen for years, please make at least 3 more seasons HBO!!!!!

  50. Matthew Roe says:

    Leftovers! I love it!!
    I make myself late for work watching! Kevin got a break yesss! He can’t die it’s awesome! So excited for season3 please please please!!!