By getting the complex plot resolution out of the way in last week's episode, which concluded with a dud apocalypse, Lindelof, Perrotta and director Mimi Leder are free to zero in on the fractured relationship at the heart of the show. Kevin, who appears to have no memory of his tumultuous past with Nora, shows up at her door, claims to be on vacation, and invites her to a nearby dance. Nora is skeptical and scared, but eventually decides to go. It turns out to be a wedding and the two sway together to Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams To Remember." The series could have ended there.
But The Leftovers always digs deeper. In the final stretch of the finale, Kevin reveals that he was lying about not remembering their relationship and that he's spent years searching for her. In turn, Nora invites Kevin into her home to tell him a story over tea. In one of the show's most dazzling scenes, Nora tells Kevin what happened post-radiation-machine: She traveled to a mirror version of our own world where the missing 2% now live in relative isolation, she saw her children and husband with a new wife, decided she didn't belong with them, found the inventor of the radiation machine, forced him to build another version of it, and returned to our world.
It's a wonky story. But the actual content of Nora's tale and the veracity of it aren't the most important part of the scene. Is Nora telling the truth? It doesn't really matter. What matters is her asking Kevin if he believes her. The ability to be seen, loved, and understood by another person trumps any larger theological question. "Why wouldn't I believe you?" Kevin says to Nora, gripping her hand from across the small wooden table. "You're here."
We're all just fucking here on this terrifying planet. It's a simple idea, but a profound one. Over the course of its three seasons, The Leftovers became one of the best shows on TV by toggling between Perrotta's literary affinity for ambiguity and Lindelof's deep yearning for answers. In a way, the show did provide an answer to one of its driving questions -- where did the victims of the Sudden Departure go? -- but it did so without sacrificing the sense of mystery at its center. If anything, the answer only creates more mystery. But now it's time to let it be.