*Spoiler warning, do not read if you haven’t watched Season 2: Episode 7 – “A Most Powerful Adversary.”*
It’s been a hard road for Kevin Garvey; the dark, possibly psychotic main character of HBO’s The Leftovers. In last week’s episode, “A Most Powerful Adversary”, Kevin (Justin Theroux) began the day handcuffed to his bed. A last-ditch effort for Nora Durst (Carrie Coon) to feel safe and stop him from sleep walking around Jarden “Miracle”, Texas. Only the audience, and the ominous town outcast Virgil know the truth about where Kevin was when Evie Murphy disappeared — he was submerged in a body of water with a concrete block tied to his foot. He tells the “ghost” of Patti Levin that he didn’t want to die, but considering our main character’s actions, it’s hard to believe him. Now, after a downward spiral that resulted in him falling to a cabin floor, thrashing about and foaming at the mouth, he’s dead, really, really dead.
The final scene showed Michael (Jovan Adepo) dragging Kevin’s poisoned body out of Virgil’s shanty death scene. The murder-suicide committed by the obviously unstable old man was horrific, and gutted audiences in a way HBO is notorious for. It’s unclear if Kevin will suffer the same untimely fate as fellow fallen main characters like Game of Throne’s Ned Stark or Boardwalk Empire’s Jimmy Darmody. He ties the shows many threads together and acts as the central beacon of drama. Season one’s intro opened with Kevin being clawed and overpowered by seemingly rabid towns folk. He’s the sweaty, manic depressive struggle of The Leftovers. Every tear, grimace and heaping amount of pain surround him. The reverberating dread and uncertainty coursing through the show just built up and imploded in “A Most Powerful Adversary,” but where do we go from here?
Perhaps we’ll see Kevin return as a supernatural entity, or, if Laurie is correct, a figment of another character’s ill mind. Maybe he will return to guide his daughter Jill, or plague the ever deteriorating Nora. Alternatively, Kevin is being led to the other side by Virgil, where Patti is waiting desperately to do battle. This would explain Virgil’s suicide and the subsequent appearance by Michael after both men seemingly die. It all sounds very otherworldly, but knowing the show’s co-creator, Damon Lindelof (Lost), things could go from down to earth bloodbath to a walk through the afterlife on a whim.
The Leftovers would turn into different show entirely. We’d know if God and the Devil exist in its world, leading to answers as to how the millions departed.
Why they vanished? We may never know. Some theories, like the Lens effect (people disappeared just as they were being regretted by a loved one) were somewhat confirmed by the tense scene between Erika and Nora, in which they spoke about miracles and realized they both were regretting their family members moments before the departure. Given The Leftovers‘ grim nature — a grief stricken story of loss, and the turbulent lives of those who have lost — it’d be wise to assume Kevin is gone. Another precious soul vanished from godless lands walken upon by the unlucky yet sharply idealistic Matt (Christopher Eccleston), a most Christ-like figure. “It’s my turn” he says before taking an unfortunate man’s place on a wooden torture device, after suffering through a hellish day. And the all too realistic, menacing John Murphy (Kevin Carroll). “What, God likes your wife better than mine?” he says to Matt in an attempt to make sense of the extraordinary happenings in Jarden.
Much like the characters in HBO’s punishing drama, we’ll be forced to deal with Kevin’s departure, even though it was by his own hand. He had an awful, turbulent run, and if he does end up resurrected, the militant Guilty Remnant await his family. And worse, John will eventually link Kevin to Evie’s disappearance.
How will we react if he’s really gone? We are no longer a mere audience. We are the leftovers.