The Leftovers: Season 3 Episode 5 review – It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World
This review contains spoilers.
In the strongest opener of this season so far, this week’s subaqueous introduction ignited the light at the core of every LOST fan’s heart. From the simple shots of a submarine underwater, to the use of two bulky keys (on chains around necks for safekeeping) to detonate a bomb, it was all designed with a sly nod to fans of Lindelof’s other great masterpiece, and I loved it for that.
It was also boldly unabashed in its use of male nudity, which I think is important, given how the show has leaned on female nudity in the past (Season 2, Episode 1). Many of the best shows (often HBO) seek to level the playing field in this arena, by presenting as much male bareness as female, and it’s the right move. Equality is important and having this character nude made sense to the plot too (he needed maximum flexibility, to switch both keys simultaneously).
As soon as the naked assailant began his precisely-honed terror plot, I knew that I had been pretty much spot on last week, when I theorised that the “explosion” talked about would be located in the ocean. I surmised that this would create a tsunami which make its way to Australia and be the “great flood” that some characters are expecting.
Whether this tidal wave is heading down under is yet to be seen; certainly at this point no one in Australia seems worried about an aquatic onslaught in the wake of the bomb’s detonation (nothing is mentioned of a wave on the news), but this doesn’t mean that one won’t arrive nonetheless. The show promised us a pending flood of great magnitude and I think it’s going to deliver on this in some fashion.
Another theory that I nailed precisely was that the man on the bridge and at the bar in the afterlife (then only credited as ‘Man at the Bar’) would prove to be “the man who went to the other side and cannot die” that the publisher mentioned in Season 2. Billy Camp returned to play this elusive role, this time with a character name – David Burton – and with a pompous self-belief that he is in fact God.
You can see how someone with a large ego (which he clearly has, given that he wrote a book about himself) might jump to this rash conclusion upon finding out that they can return from the dead. As much as the show allowed us to toy briefly with the idea that perhaps this man could in fact be God, the writers smartly turned this around at the end, but having Matt (the most theologically gullible man on the show) state to the others that he is dying.
This statement showed that – despite David’s quite convincing rhetoric and Matt talking to David like he was in fact God – Matt ultimately didn’t believe in David’s healing claim at all. Ultimately Matt sees through the charade and even seems like he might pity David, rather than continuing to be angry at David for the blaspheming nature of his claims.
In my view, David is nothing more than what the publisher said – a man who went to the other side and cannot die. This means that David’s seeming demise at the claws of the sex clan’s deified lion is not a demise at all. I think David will be once more found in the afterlife by Kevin, the next time that Kevin travels there (probably in Episode 7).
Talking of foreshadowing Episode 7, one very crucial line was spoken this week that did precisely that. This was David stating:
“Jesus had an identical twin brother; that’s who everyone saw a few days later. Thus the confusion.”
Episode 7 (minor spoilers ahead) is titled ‘The Most Powerful Man in the World (And His Identical Twin Brother)’ and is about Kevin assuming an alternate identity. Kevin has already been paralleled with Jesus many times and now Jesus has been accused of having had a twin brother. The fact that Kevin undertakes this alternate identity avenue means that David’s supposition about Jesus having a twin is probably accurate (whether David was guessing or not).
The boat orgy this week was very similar to the end of the world orgy party seen in the film These Final Hours, which I postulated (before the season began) might be a source of inspiration or unknowing emulation for The Leftovers this season. It seems I was accurate in this too and it makes perfect sense that such parties would occur if the apocalypse is approaching.
Although no one involved in the orgy outright stated that their reasoning for the party was the impending end of the world, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the world’s supposed end is drawing near and the kind of people found at this party are precisely the kind of people who might believe in such an apocalypse. So although the party is probably a fairly regular occurrence for this clan, I do feel like the approaching end of the world might have played a part in them organising one at this precise time (just like in These Final Hours).
The passage that Matt was reading from the bible held such statements as ‘deliver thee from the lions’ and ‘my God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths’ (which proved accurate in the sense that Matt silenced the sex clan’s nonsense by refusing their ritual). Both lines clearly parallel the events that Matt endured on the boat soon after he read them. As far as the very clever writer references go, I don’t think this particular reference is intended to do much more than mirror the events that were about to unfold in this episode.
This season has dropped many wonderful and daring references and clues so far, however, which could play into the endgame of the show. Where my last theories piece (about how the show might end) was based on clues found in Season 1 and Season 2 of the show, a lot has happened since then in Season 3 that has either confirmed or altered my theories. Look out for a second theories piece soon, in which I will explore the clues found in Season 3 so far, and conjure up new theories around them.
Again, this was almost a perfect episode – and it held some of the boldest content within Season 3 so far – but it just fell slightly short of that The Leftovers greatness that shone bright in Season 1 and Season 2. We’re heading in the right direction though and – just like Matt’s faith in Kevin – I have a great deal of faith the writers will reach astounding heights for the remaining back half of this season.
Image credits: HBO