Summary: A man blows up a nuke in a submarine somewhere. Matt is going to Australia with John and Michael to bring Kevin back to Miracle for the seventh anniversary. Laurie joins in and doesn't see eye to eye with Matt's faith. On the plane there, the group is forced to land in Tasmania and have to take a boat with a lion worshipping orgy in it. Matt runs into a guy who calls himself God and also throws another man overboard. Matt confronts him and after a conversation, is freed from his faith. God is eaten by a lion.
The Good: Well The Leftovers continued its hot streak in a big way with this episode. This entire episode took the weirdness of this show and took it to a whole other level and yet it still works remarkably well. If anything, the story is better with the weirdness than it is without. It's impressive that such a weird episode was able to be so brilliant, exciting and beautiful.
The episode even opens on a completely weird note. We see a man strip down naked in a submarine, steal a key from a man and then blow up a nuke. It's such a strange moment and instantly gets you into the tone of the episode with a stupid amount of weirdness. But since the scene is in "The Good" it obviously worked for me and I can't even explain why. I'm not sure why the man did it (see: The Unknown) but I am definitely interested to find out more.
Matt's overall story is what carried this episode. It starts off like one of the classic Matt episodes, where he clings to his faith while everything starts going wrong. But ten the episode takes a turn for the better as some interesting developments, including an orgy and a man who calls himself God, occurred, increasing my interest in the episode. In the en this was very different from the other Matt episodes, since it wasn't about Matt sticking to his faith, but rather him letting go of it. He has given so much and now after an incredible scene where he talks to God (see: Best Moment), he finally realizes that everything h has done could very well have been for nothing and then he lets go of it all. This all culminates in that fantastic ending scene where God is devoured by a lion an Matt just turns o the camera and says "that's the guy I was telling you about", which could be taken as him talking about David Burton himself, or about God as he has preached about him for years. Overall this was a pleasing storyline chronicling a major change in an important character and giving him some much needed closure.
The Matt vs Laurie conflict was very good too. It was a good look at faith vs nihilism which was the main driving point of this episode. And surprisingly nihilism won over this time, which is rare in television and this new look at the conflict feels very original and enjoyable. I loved the arguments regarding Kevin too because it's easy to understand where both characters are coming from judging by their past experiences with him.
And now, the major elephant in the room: God. Most of this will be in The Unknown, but I was very happy with this storyline overall. David Burton has been a presence in the past and it's good to get a little bit more about him even though e are unlikely to get any proper closure about who he was and what happened to him. I enjoyed his vagueness and his stories about the Bible and Jesus were not only hilarious, but also served to properly start breaking Matt's faith in that amazing conversation scene.
The lion orgy was also hilariously weird. It also served to show that different people believe different thins and that while this whole Frasier thing sounds ridiculous to us and the characters, who's to say that it's less believable than Matt's mission.
The Bad: Nothing.
The Unknown: Was David Burton really God or was he just spewing garbage? Did he really cause the Sudden Departure? Did he really "save" Matt? Or was it just another hoax? How did he become God if he is God? What powers did he have?
Will Matt still go after Kevin? It does sound like he's just given up on that though.
Why did the man blow up the nuke? Was it over some stupid belief just like everything else this season?
Best Moment: Matt speaks to God. That scene was just beautifully done overall. Matt came in believing that David Burton wasn't God, but here was his opportunity to finally get some answers for what he had put all his faith into. And the answers, as it seems to be the trend this season, were disappointing. Burton says "I did it because I could" regarding the Departure and totally exposes that Matt has done everything for himself an it is powerful and also correct stuff. And Matt knows it so we see him snap and completely lose his spirit as he begins to realize that everything he has done was for nothing. But it's not enough as Matt frees Burton hoping for one final chance to get some satisfaction and confirmation of the greatness of the almighty. And yet with the snap of a finger it all comes crashing down as Matt realizes with that excellent look on his face that everything he has invested in has been a disappointment. It's great storytelling that is not only engaging but also tense. For a minute I was genuinely unsure about what Burton would do and the snap of his fingers was a wonderful "climax".
Character of the Episode: Matt obviously because his character took such a drastic turn in this episode.
Conclusion: Another amazing episode for this show. This was so unique and original and told a really great story that properly closed out Matt's character arc. I'm really enjoying this season so far as every episode seems to have at least a few emotional scenes and this was no exception.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.