The Leftovers & The Book of Depression
“All we know for certain is that we are sending people to the exact same destination the others went seven years ago. The odds that this destination has a sustainable environment with a breathable atmosphere and ample food supply are very, very low – so, it is more likely there are 140 million corpses floating out there in space, somewhere.” – Dr. Becker
I’ve been wanting to write about The Leftovers for a long time now. It has solidified itself as my favorite television show after the first season and has managed to improve from there. While the beginning was unapologetically bleak, the latter seasons introduced a sense of optimism that maybe things could get better for the characters and the world they inhabit. In a show that deals with the aftermath of 140 million people disappearing all in an instant, it’s easy to expect the lingering question of “Where the fuck did they go?“ to be answered at some point, but the show has purposely deviated from answering this. The story deals with the aftermath of a world where something like the Sudden Departure not only happens, but shakes the remaining survivors – the leftovers – to their very core.
However, it was in episode two of season three that revealed a theory that if proven true, would provide us with an answer to the very question of where they went. This theory posits that those who departed left traces of neutron radiation called Low Amplitude Danziger. This discovery has led all of the smart ass motherfuckers to build a machine that can emit this exact radiation and blast the person inside with it, seemingly sending them where the other 2% went. We still have no confirmation on whether or not this actually works other than the video testimonials of the others who apparently have gone through this device.
This shit is the literal definition of a plot device and I’m here for it.
It’s also convenient that with the series finale looming over our heads, Nora’s story has led her directly to this machine. To understand the importance of this, you’d have to understand Nora Durst and her motivations. So assuming that whoever is reading this has no intention of ever watching the show, I’ll explain that Nora lost her husband and two children in the Sudden Departure moments after wishing she had put those fuckers up for adoption. I have no proof that this is what she wished for, but from the few flashback scenes that showed her children, she seems better off to be quite honest. They truly were little assholes. But I digress – at the end of The Book of Kevin (Season 3, Episode 1), we see a much older version of Nora who seems to be living alone in Australia (a place that has been foreshadowed since the events of season one with the National Geographic from 1972 and David Burton’s resurrection in Perth that was mentioned on a radio broadcast among other things) < < < David Burton has resurfaced a few times and claims to be God. He’s creepy as fuck. And honestly he’s probably God. Not sure if it matters in the end. I digress again – If Nora does go through the machine, it’s likely that what we saw at the end of the episode were the repercussions of that.
I never thought a show that didn’t involve vampires, zombies, crooked weed dealing caucasian women or dragons could propel itself to the top of my list, but here we are. I’m 28 years old and my favorite show is essentially about depression and the end of the world. I wanted to remember the way I felt about this series up until this point, because the events of the finale could easily taint my overall perception of the show and it’s meaning. As it stands, I’m okay with the path these characters have taken to get to where they are, and if by the end of the final hour, I feel as though my time was wasted or I was cheated in some way – then I will process that through various rants. But regardless of how things play out in the series finale, appropriately titled The Book of Nora, the overall message I’ve taken from The Leftovers is that maybe it’s okay to not be okay when the world around you has descended into madness.