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‘The Leftovers’ Review: President Justin Theroux Unveils the Purpose of Season 3 in an Inspired Penultimate Episode

"The Leftovers" completed its "International Assassin" trilogy in style with a brilliantly bonkers episode that put everything into perspective.

The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 7 Justin Theroux

Justin Theroux in “The Leftovers”

Ben King/HBO

Big Questions

1. Can Kevin get to Nora in time?

We’ve literally been trying to do the math on this for months: If Kevin leaves Grace’s house in the afternoon on October 14 and drives 100 mph to the coastal location where Nora is considering getting into the machine, can he stop her from getting inside? But there are too many unknown variables! We don’t know where they are, exactly, nor when Nora plans on making her move. Damn you, mathematics! The one time we need you, and you fail us.

But from a dramatic context, we love how this set up continues the “race against the clock” narrative drive of Season 3. Up until the end of Episode 7, everyone’s been trying to take care of their business before the world ends on October 14. Everyone has felt the pressure of the looming date. It caused Matt to bribe a member of his clergy to fly him to Australia. It’s at least partially responsible for Laurie’s fateful choice.

But now it’s here, the rain has stopped, and many have found a resolution on their own (Matt, Laurie, John, and now Kevin). Who’s left? Nora. And Kevin needs to find her — fast.

READ MORE: Why Do Machines Hate Carrie Coon on ‘Fargo’ and ‘The Leftovers’?

The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 7 Justin Theroux

2. OK, let’s have those Sarah theories.

Now is the time to reflect on the biggest cliffhanger in “Leftovers” history: Who’s Sarah? I’ve stated my theory before, and I stand by it: Sarah is Nora after she tried and failed to use the “ladder” (as Damon Lindelof has referred to the machine that sends people to wherever their departed family members went / vaporizes them). I don’t know how far into the future, but I’m hoping not that far, and her aged physique is explained by a machine malfunction, which is common for Nora of late.

As usual, I’m open to other theories and enjoy hearing them, but the fate of the finale does not hinge on being right or wrong. It’s not just what happens in next week’s episode, but how it happens, so if you guess correctly or are wildly off, the last episode will still be a unique experience none of us can predict.

READ MORE: ‘The Leftovers’ Is the Best Show on Television Because It’s Breaking the First Rule of Storytelling

3. Who will we see in the finale, “The Book of Nora”?

The Leftovers” has always been extremely respectful to its cast and characters in regard to bringing as many people together as possible at season’s end. The full cast was featured in the Season 1 and Season 2 finales, and those who were dead or otherwise logistically impossible to include found their way back to the show in the episodes immediately prior. Episode 7 marked the second time Ann Dowd’s deliciously devilish Patti has returned from the grave, and we could not have been happier to see her. Bringing Meg back — after killing her off so quickly to start the season — felt like another sweet treat for fans.

But neither inclusion was forced. They served the story perfectly, and we have to imagine the same requirement will be made in the finale. “The Book of Nora” will likely be pretty Nora-centric, which is more than fine with us, but we expect to see a bit of Matt (since he was with Nora), a lot of Kevin (since he’s on a mission to find her), and who knows who else. Will Jill and Tommy return? Will John and Michael play a part in getting Kevin to his destination? Will other characters from the past return, like Erika (Regina King), Mary (Janel Moloney), or even Laurie, perhaps via flashback?

We’ll find out next week, but given we’re not ready for this show to be over, we’ll savor the wait.

Continue reading for the funniest moments from a very funny episode of “The Leftovers.”

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