This is probably old news by now, but apparently HBO has renewed The Leftovers for a third season [insert squeals of joy here].

However, this news is somewhat bittersweet; next season will be the show’s final season, a decision attributed solely to Damon Lindeloff. I’ve been critical of the way he chooses to wrap up his shows in the past, mainly because I didn’t feel like the Lost finale lived up to my expectations, but I’m over the moon about getting ten more episodes of the Garvey, Murphy and Jamison saga next year.

According to the press release, Lindeloff promises a “definitive end” for the series.

“And by definitive, we mean wildly ambiguous and hopefully mega-emotional.”

Yep, sounds about right.

Mega-emotional isn’t a bad thing – if the third and final season contains scenes like Justin Theroux’s performance in ‘International Assassin‘ (and basically every episode in season 2), I guess it’s fair to say we’re in for a treat.

Although there were plenty of emotional moments in the show’s first season, it was the second one that resonated the most with me. The dark, brooding, dull ache of the main characters’ story arc during the first 10 episodes felt too introspective and claustrophobic most of the time, and the plot took a while to unfold and really captivate me. It was only after season 2 kicked off that I really felt drawn into the existential drama, and apparently I wasn’t the only one. Season 1’s lukewarm reception by audiences was replaced by growing praise for the majority of the episodes comprising season 2.

Unlike most TV shows that are book adaptations, this – for me – is a rare case of the TV version surpassing the literary source material. Although I haven’t read the book, author Tom Perotta’s active involvement in the series suggests that he had significant say over the plot lines and general direction the show was going for. The fact that Lindeloff and his writing team’s original material for the second season turned the show into a piece of spectacular television this year is proof that sometimes you just need to give the showrunner the right idea and then let him run with it.

Season 2 was more articulate, evenly paced and engaging than most of the material in Season 1, and that speaks volumes to Lindeloff’s skill at creating compelling television. If season 3 continues in the same vein, The Leftovers fans have nothing to worry about – except how to handle the long wait until the season premiere next fall.

It’s the ‘wildly ambiguous’ part of Damon Lindeloff’s statement that leaves me on the fence. I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll never know what caused the Departure or get any plausible explanation for the various bizarre events we’ve witnessed so far in the show’s two seasons. Will the final season raise more questions than provide answers to the ones we already have? Will the finale leave the fate of the Garveys, the Murphys and the Jamisons open to interpretation? Will the show leave us with the near-certainty that the post-Departure world will never return to ‘normal’?

If I were to venture a guess, then the answers to these questions will probably be a resounding yes, but it will be 10 months or so before the final picture even begins to take shape, so there’s plenty of room (and time) for speculation.

 

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