Why The Leftovers Finale Ended Like That, According To Damon Lindelof

Kevin Garvey The Leftovers HBO

Warning this post contains spoilers for the series finale of The Leftovers. Read at your own risk.

We're about a half-day removed from The Leftovers' powerful series finale, and Damon Lindelof is getting bombarded with questions. Apparently, the most-asked question people have is why he chose to shoot the final scene with Nora journey to the other Earth being told to Kevin, as opposed to being shown to audiences. Lindelof shared details on why the characters spent the show's final minutes at a kitchen table:

We landed on the idea of this season, if not the series, being about people telling stories. And, more importantly, people telling stories that would either give themselves a degree of comfort or that they believed would give comfort to others. That tradition goes all the way back to season one with Matt at the pulpit, and in season two, with Tom [Chris Zylka] speaking in front of the ex-Guilty members like AA meetings, saying that he can give magic hugs. So, there's always been a tradition on the show of characters delivering monologues that are fantastical or believable or unbelievable stories, with themselves at the center of those stories. They're told in the first person, and it was sort of like, 'Oh, yeah, how could we not end the series with Carrie Coon doing that?'

If the finale left you with some closure, then that quote from Damon Lindelof possibly opened that bag of questions you tossed aside right back up. At the beginning of The Leftovers finale, we hear Nora plainly state that she doesn't lie, but we know that isn't exactly true. In fact, we're all very aware that Nora lied to Kevin when she told him why she wanted to go to Australia. When Nora runs into Kevin again, it doesn't take long to realize he's a sad and damaged man. Is it possible that Nora could've just told Kevin a version of what he wanted to hear -- a reason why she remained out of contact with him -- so that he would feel better?

If you want the answer to that question, you'll have to ask someone other than Damon Lindelof, assuming anyone else can even offer a genuine reply. Lindelof told THR ahead of The Leftovers finale that he expected the fans to be split into two camps in regards to Nora's story, and he was spot on:

I definitely feel like there are going to be people out there who watch the show who don't believe her story, and then for a lot of people, it won't even occur to them to disbelieve it.

While it is true that Nora has stretched the truth in the past, parts of her story to Kevin were 100% verifiable. What Nora told Kevin about Lori and Matt was true, and she did tell him about the machine. Then again, the famous saying goes that the best lies carry an element of truth, so maybe she's just covering her non-otherworldly tracks in case she slips up somewhere down the road.

In either case, both theories lead to closure one way or the other. If you believe Nora, then you have all the answers you've been waiting for this entire series, with specific details on what exactly happened to the departures and where they are now. If you don't believe Nora, then at least you know that she has found closure in losing her departed children once and for all, she started her life over, and she perhaps has a future rekindling with Kevin. I'm still on the "believing Nora" side of things but maybe, like so many others in The Leftovers, I just want to be fooled into comfort.

Now that The Leftovers is concluded, you'll need another show to fill your Sunday nights and keep all those other questions muted inside your head. Jump over to our summer premiere guide to find yourself a show to busy yourself with right now. If you're just a finale junkie who likes seeing how every show ends we also have a list to suit your needs here.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.