All Summer my secret guilty pleasure has been the Leftovers. Ok it’s my second guilty pleasure behind the so bad it’s good the Strain. The series is written by Tom Perrotta, one of my fav modern authors. His book Little Children I thought captured a lot of the frustrations and heartache of being a parent of young children, but in the end lacked emotional weight. I therefore wasn’t sure how the Leftovers would end as most of the season was super depressing. The premise is that a Rapture style event has occurred with many people simply disappearing. The main character Kevin Garvey was struggling in his marriage before the happening. He has a spontaneous hook-up across town while his wife watches their unborn child disappear on the ultrasound. Things deteriorate quickly in the following years – his wife Laurie leaves Kevin to join a cult where all the members wear white and have given up on life. His oldest son joins another crazy messiah who is being hunted by the Feds. And his sweet youngest daughter Jill becomes a hard-partying troubled teen. Kevin does find a little bit of comfort with Nora, a woman who lost her entire family in the event. But except for some humorous moments there was little hope in a story about people struggling with loss and major mistakes.
All that changed in the season finale. I won’t ruin the ending for those who haven’t seen it, but it involves a tear-jerking redemption for the Garvey family. Kevin gets a chance to show his love and devotion to those he loves, even though he has caused so much pain in the past. And a family that seems to have nothing left to live finds new reason to hope. It was one of the most emotionally satisfying finale I’ve seen in a long time and I’m looking forward to season 2.