If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: On a mission of mercy, Kevin assumes an alternate identity. (HBO)
Writers: Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof
Director: Craig Zobel
Running Time: 60mins
The Leftovers have had some pretty wacky episodes over its 2+ season run with the wackiest perhaps being season 2’s International Assassin. This season has had some pretty wacky moments so far but we haven’t yet had this season’s International Assassin. This is no longer the case. The episode started with a nice flashback between Kevin and Nora although it didn’t go anywhere.
Now everyone wanting Kevin to go to the other world to save everybody and this “other world” ended up being another part of the same world from International Assassin with Kevin again playing an assassin whose newest target was the President of the United States. This time around, Kevin was more comfortable in this other world but that didn’t mean that it was easy for him. Another wrinkle in his journey was that he was also the President of the United States. There were two Kevins in this world and they were the same person with regular Kevin having no beard and a black suit and President Kevin having a beard and a white suit (edit: the white in this world represented the Guilty Remenant).
While the idea of two Kevins was an interesting concept, it failed to fully utilize this as the regular Kevin pretty much didn’t matter until later on. Bill Camp also made an appearance, or at least his voice did, working behind the scenes as God. Kevin spent most of his time as the President who happened to be in Melbourne for reasons that were never made clear. He did run into the people that the others wanted along the way, including Evie and Grace’s children, but it just lacked any emotional impact. He also ran into Christopher Sunday who was the Prime Minister of Australia in this other world. He told Kevin that he already told Kevin Sr. the song.
Kevin initially went about on his own since Laurie had previously drugged everybody but when Kevin Sr. woke up and then woke up the others, he had put an end to his first visit because he wanted them to do it all together. There was a great sense of urgency as it was the day of the anniversary and they wanted to stop the incoming flood.
The bulk of the episode was spent in a bunker after Kevin had gotten wind of a nuclear threat. Once he had arrived, we met a few familiar faces, playing people in this other world. They included, most notably, Patty as Kevin’s Secretary of Defense and Meg playing the Vice President. We eventually learned that this was all a ruse by Patty and an unknowing Kevin to start a nuclear war to end the world on the seventh anniversary of the departure.
What was different about this world was that to initiate a nuclear war, the President must extract the launch key that was surgically implanted into a volunteer. The President would have to murder this volunteer to get the key. This was where the other Kevin came in. The other Kevin managed to infiltrate the bunker because President Kevin was the only one who can open it.
The scenes between President Kevin and Patty were fun to watch because of the already established chemistry between the two, however, they got even better with another Kevin in the mix. The tension was palpable as the Kevins refused to hurt each other but things got emotional when they read part of the book that Kevin was writing. The story reminded him of himself and his failed relationship with Nora. The two Kevins didn’t go anywhere until this scene with the President reading and the camera focusing on the reaction of the other was very powerful to watch.
The other Kevin eventually surrendered himself, coming to terms with the coward he had become and the act of President Kevin murdering him to get the key represented him killing this part of himself. Once Kevin finally triggered the launch sequence, the shot of him and Patty watching the world being destroyed was beautiful and that was it. Apparently that was all that needed to be done because after Kevin woke up in the church, the rain had stopped. The episode ended with Kevin and Kevin Sr. having a powerful moment.
Overall, this was another great episode in the vein of International Assassin but didn’t quite come close due to the messy story that didn’t seem to go anywhere. However, it was redeemed by the excellent score and a few powerfully emotional moments brought on by the amazing performances with Justin Theroux being the standout. With one episode left, I wonder how the show will end?