‘The Leftovers’ (Season 1 Finale): “The Prodigal Son Returns”

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Was The Leftovers worth it? I’ve been pondering this question for the back half of Season 1. I’ve mentioned the ups and downs of the season quite a bit and how a superb episode would sometimes be followed by a subpar episode that made everything unfocused. Mostly, however, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people (friends and critics) who have given up on the show because of the grotesque violence — the way the camera unflinchingly remained on Gladys’ beat and bloodied face or Patti’s fate in the woods. Outside of the violence is hopelessness, despair, and depression — not exactly things to cheer you up on a Sunday night — so the question is: Was the season good enough to justify sticking around and wading through the darkness? The finale makes a case for it.

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