The Leftovers: ‘I Live Here Now’ Review

The Leftovers 'Sweet Emotion'

John: “I don’t understand what’s happening”
Kevin: “Me either.”

The Leftovers should take a bow. In an absolutely stunning season, I Live Here Now was the final piece and it certainly did not disappoint. There is no other series on television that can give you the feels in the way The Leftovers does and every aspect of this finale had me in tears. It’s funny too because, while we all want answers to the mysteries which have been presented to us, it never seems to matter in the end. All I end up caring about is what the characters are going through and the finale was probably one of the most emotional episodes to date.

Every single character that we have spent time with on this series has been on a journey but it was Kevin and John who came full circle and those final two scenes were so emotionally riveting that I can honestly say that this was a life changing experience. This was a story that made us question everything about life and loss. We’re all going through our own journey, just like the characters on the show, and the final message was picture perfect with Kevin and John returning home to their respective families.

No, we didn’t get any answers about that cave woman from the premiere or those earthquakes or why no one departed from Miracle but none of that really mattered. The cave woman from the premiere was more of a symbol, a representation of Kevin and John’s journey. This all led to one important message: family is everything. The cave woman did everything in her power to protect her only remaining family member even though she lost her life in the process. And John and Kevin finally realize that the most important thing in their lives has been there all along.

It was an absolutely breathtaking finish to one of the best seasons in television history. This series has the uncanny ability of making us question everything about life and what should be important. So let’s put the guns down, stop all of the hating and let me give you all a hug because family is everything and I’m finally home. Enjoy the review, fellow departed.

A Miracle In Miracle

There was a lot to talk about in I Live Here Now. We catch up with Evie on the fateful night of her disappearance and, after last week’s big reveal, it’s pretty clear that Evie has joined the Guilty Remnant for her own reasons. So Evie and her friends didn’t depart, they simply faked their own departure so they could work on their plan with Meg and the GR.

I love how the episode started out with Evie and showed us what actually happened to her and her friends at the old watering hole. Kevin was also there for the fireworks but luckily for the girls, he was just going night swimming.

Kevin goes for a swim

So the girls take off and right after Kevin jumps in the water, a massive earthquake occurs and drains the lake, saving Kevin’s life. Who knows why or how this happened, it was never explained, but Kevin is a very lucky man. I suppose we could relate this back to Miracle’s supernatural properties that keep the town safe but I was thrilled to actually see this all play out.

Flash forward to Kevin coming back to life and apparently he was dead for a solid eight hours which leads me to believe that there is definitely something special about Miracle. It’s also worth noting that this is not the first time we have heard of people coming back to life and I have some theories of my own with respect to what happened to Kevin during the finale. You’ll remember that Kevin’s father traveled to Australia and was last seen in the Afterlife Hotel on the TV screen in Kevin’s room in Inernational Assassin. You might also remember a man by the name of David Burton who supposedly died and came back to life. Well, my thinking here is that this David Burton character was actually Kevin’s father which would make a lot of sense considering Kevin saw him during his trip to the afterlife. Somehow Kevin is able to cheat death just like this Burton character, who in all likelihood is probably Kevin’s old man.

We also check in with the Murphy’s and it’s revealed that Evie’s birthday gift for her father is nothing more than a dead cricket. This is hugely significant because of John’s obsession with finding the chirping cricket back in the premiere but as we know, Erika heard a cricket chirping the night Evie disappeared. So why would Evie put a different cricket in the box for her father? Well, Erika pretty much sums it up perfectly by telling John that he wouldn’t let it go. A big part of this series explores this theme is detail and the symbolism of the cricket really sums up just how brilliant the writing was in The Leftovers second season. John has trouble letting things go and I think a lot of people have had this same issue following the departure. And John doesn’t appear to have learned his lesson, at least not yet anyways.

The cops arrive at the Murphy’s and they let John know that the palm print on the girls car has been matched to Kevin so John immediately goes next door to find him. Kevin and Michael conveniently show up and it’s finally time for Kevin and John to have a talk. Of course, things don’t go as expected and John ends up shooting Kevin in the chest. While I can understand why John would have trouble believing Kevin’s insane story, I don’t think shooting and killing him was necessary but John seems to take a ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ approach, as we know he did a similar thing to Virgil.

Meanwhile, Jill is still upset with her mom after the events of last season and it was a touching conversation even if things didn’t go Laurie’s way. I kinda feel bad for Laurie but I think her arrival in Miracle will ultimately lead to the reparation of her relationship with her children. Also, this pretty much describes me and probably everyone else as we watched the finale:

Jill wiping her tears away

While Nora was the star of last season’s finale (her letter to Kevin still sends chills down my spine), she blended into the background for much of this year’s finale but she did play a role in one of the more happier scenes this show has produced. After Nora decides to do this to the radio…

Nora smashes the radio

…there is another earthquake and shortly after the quake stops, Mary comes back to life. I nearly lost it when this happened. For a show that is all about tragedy, loss and grief, I can pretty much guarantee that you smiled when Mary started talking again. Easily one of the happiest things I have ever seen on this series.

A Miracle In Miracle

This just made me so happy. The look on Matt’s face when Nora and Mary arrive was heartbreaking in a good way and you can’t help but feel the love. Look at that smile…

Matt's reaction to Mary returning

This was a beautiful moment, one that was much needed after all of the depressing things that have happened. And even though we never got an explanation for Mary’s miraculous recovery, it didn’t matter. We didn’t need an explanation because we know how much Matt loves his wife and having these two reunite had me feeling oh so good. So Mary did, in fact, wake up when they first arrived in Miracle and that can put an end to all of our questions about whether Matt was sleeping with his comatose wife. An absolutely touching and memorable moment.

The Bridge

Things start to get crazy once Meg finally puts her plan in motion and, much like the fake grenade scare from last week’s episode, she is able to enter the town of Miracle by simply driving through the gate after telling the local authorities she has 35 pounds of plastic explosive in her trailer. I think the whole point of this was to show just how easy it was to get past the front gates of Miracle and that was exactly what Meg did. We know people have been trying to enter Jarden as we’ve seen “runners” attempt to make their way into town and Meg was able to get in by simply lying about having explosives.

While this is happening, John attempts to get answers from Kevin but they are not the ones he wants and he eventually shoots Kevin directly in the chest.

John shoots Kevin

Yup, Kevin died again and who in the hell saw that coming? And to make matters worse, right after John shoots Kevin, he’s informed that his daughter has been found. I can’t even imagine what was going through John’s head at this point and watching Evie return was beyond emotional, especially when you consider how much her family loves her. It was so surreal seeing Evie and her friends all in white smoking cigarettes. So what do they have planned exactly?

Evie on the bridge to Miracle

As much I wanted to know why Evie joined the Guilty Remnant, I actually admire the writers for leaving this to our own interpretation. Living in Miracle, a place that is supposedly safe and sacred, has obviously led Evie down this path. Even though we don’t really find out why this all happened, Michael’s story about him and his sister in the overflowing bathtub shed some light on Evie’s reasons. Obviously these kids were not alright when their father went to prison for shooting Virgil and, just like Meg, it was these events prior to the departure that seem to be the driving force. Meg lost her mother the day before and Evie lost her father years before and, as Michael says, “we are the 9,261 and we are not spared”. That line really sums up everything though, doesn’t it? Just because the people of Jarden were spared on October 14th doesn’t mean people can just forget what happened in their lives prior to the departure, Evie and Meg being the perfect examples of this.

Another very emotional moment was when Erika finds out they found her daughter and runs across the bridge to meet her. I can’t even begin to describe this scene because it was THAT powerful with an emotionless Evie being hugged by her mother. While Regina King has done a phenomenal job as Erika Murphy, I can’t say enough good things about Jasmin Savoy Brown in her role as Evie. She wasn’t around for most of the season, but this one scene was perfection in every way and, seriously, if you didn’t feel anything during this moment, you likely have no soul.

Evie is hugged by her mom

You could see it her in face that Evie cares about her mom but her loyalty to the GR is more important to her now and it must have been insanely difficult for Evie to remain silent. Erika finally opens the trailer and we learn that there were never any explosives at all. It was all a trick and everyone in the hippy village outside of Miracle starts putting on white to join their fellow GR members on the bridge. Seriously, who could have seen this coming?

With the clock finally reaching zero, everyone begins to make their way across the bridge and into Jarden. Once again, it was never fully explained why the GR was targeting Jarden, their reasons are left a mystery, but watching Evie and the GR make their way into town was an explosion of emotion.

Family Is Everything

Then things get really crazy. After Kevin is shot by John, he awakes back in the Afterlife Hotel and he’s obviously not too happy about being back there. I will admit though, Justin Theroux has one helluva nice body.

Kevin wakes up naked in the hotel

I certainly was NOT expecting Kevin to make a return trip to the afterlife but I think this tied in nicely with some of the hints they dropped earlier in the season, especially that David Burton guy who said he couldn’t die. And if this Burton character is actually Kevin’s father, which I believe he is, then it was inevitable that Kevin would be coming back to life for the second time. I can’t really offer any other explanation here but I believe that once Kevin conquered his most powerful adversary, he gained some sort of power that prevented him from dying. That’s all I got, sorry folks!

Kevin eventually makes his way down to the lobby in his old Mapleton police uniform (loved the reference to season one) and he’s asked to perform some karaoke. This was completely random and unexpected and I don’t know if I have any answers as to why Kevin had to sing a song to return to the world of the living. That said, the song choice was pretty much perfect in every way and you can check out Homeward Bound by Simon & Garfunkel below:

So again, I’m left wondering why all Kevin had to do was sing some karaoke to get back to the real world. The song choice could not have been better though. Kevin just needs to go home, back to his family. That is what has been missing in his life and moving to Miracle was never going to fix that. He needs to be with his family because as Meg told us earlier, family is everything. And she is definitely right about that.

Karaoke Night

Kevin finally wakes up and is somehow still alive even after losing a massive amount of blood. And the similarities between what happened at the end of the first season and what happened in Miracle was such a fitting way for this season to end. The town of Jarden has been completely trashed after the GR opened the bridge for all to enter and they have set up headquarters in the visitor center where they are laying around smoking cigarettes. Kevin comes face to face with Meg and the GR breaks out in song with some very fitting lyrics:

“Broken hearts and shattered dreams, like wreckage on the ground
The memory of those poor souls who were lost but never found
They shook their fists and cursed the sky, demanding explanations
No answers came, no soothing words, just silence and frustration
But in Jarden Town the sun shone bright, a miracle
The light of love poured down, it’s a miracle
Our hearts were pure, we knew for sure, a miracle
That God had spared our town”

Meg and Kevin face off

So why did the GR open up the town for everyone? What exactly was their true motivation? I don’t think we’ll ever really know but it seems to me that the town of Jarden was in denial about what happened on October 14th. Like Meg and Evie, no one was actually “spared” from the departure and I think that was the point they were trying to make here. The things that happened to these people prior to the departure still happened and shouldn’t be forgotten just because Miracle was spared because the reality is that no one was spared.

The final scenes of the episode were everything I have come to expect from this series. John finds Kevin and is completely shocked that he’s still alive. And when John broke down in front of Kevin, it literally shattered my soul. Personally, this was the most gut wrenching and beautiful scene of the finale as John and Kevin finally have that moment of realization that family is everything. They return home to their respective families and Kevin tells John to come over to his house if no one is home. I can’t even…this was so powerful and emotional and inspiring. A good story should make us think about our own lives and what is important and that was exactly what The Leftovers did here. Kevin finally makes his way into the house and everyone is there…Laurie, Jill, Matt, Mary, Tom, Nora and baby Lily. And Nora finishes things off by simply saying, “You’re home.” And we’re left with this final shot of Kevin:

You're Home

Yup, that was exactly how I looked once the credits started to roll. Life is a journey and the departure is a symbol of the events that occur in our lives. Sometimes we get lost along the way, especially when something life changing occurs. In Kevin and John’s case, they were lost for a very long time but in the end, they were able to discover what matters to them the most and that is their family. This is a lesson we should all take from this series. No matter how bad things may seem, never forget who you are and where you came from. Be with the people that matter most to you because family is everything.

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LOVES IT 
Mikey Likes ItThis wasn’t just a story, this was art. The second season of The Leftovers was a stunning and beautiful tale of how people cope with loss and it exceeded all of my expectations by a mile. Even as I was writing this recap, I couldn’t help but tear up a little and I’m so sad that the journey to Miracle has come to an end. Even without giving us answers to many of the questions we were presented with over the course of the season, this was a brilliant finale in every respect. Leaving things for our own interpretation can be more powerful if done properly and The Leftovers did just that.

I can pretty much guarantee that everyone will come up with their own interpretation for what happened and why it happened and I love that we can have this debate. Everyone experiences life differently, a lot of which is based on the hand we’re given, and each of our characters have obviously had different experiences. Kevin is finally reunited with the people that matter most in his life, John has his moment of clarity, Matt got his one true love back and the GR did what they needed to do to show everyone that no one is spared from tragedy.

I really can’t say enough good things about this series. This season will go down in history as one of the best stories ever told. That final scene with John and Kevin really summed it up beautifully. We all have our low-points in life but it’s the journey back up the mountain that will make or break us. Some people will never find these answers while others will and after watching this series, I am finally home and I hope you are too.

So what did everyone think of I Live Here Now? Are you still in tears? Has this made you question every aspect of your existence? Let us know in the comments as I would love to hear everyone’s own interpretation of what we witnessed. Thanks for reading, fellow departed and always remember…family is everything.