If you’re still reeling from The Leftovers series finale, co-creator Damon Lindelof offers insight into Nora’s emotional ending and how the final scene of the show came to fruition.
HBO: Each season of this series feels like its own testament in this story. How has it been watching the series’ evolution?
Damon Lindelof: Like watching a baby take its first steps, gaining confidence slowly but surely, and then becoming a pole vaulter by age three. The show has grown up so fast!
HBO: Was it challenging to keep track of the various symbolism? The deer, David Burton — in this season, for example, we saw a lot of ladders.
Damon Lindelof: We're pretty careful about how much symbolism we deploy and that it always means something. At least to us. If we're not discriminating, everything becomes symbolic and then you stop watching the show for the characters and start watching it for the goats. That said, the goats are awesome.
HBO: Which character do you relate to most?
Damon Lindelof: This is like asking someone who their favorite child is, but I think it should be obvious by now — the goat. His name is Rupert, by the way.
HBO: Why root each of these last episodes in a specific character? And pair them with a director they’ve worked with previously?
Damon Lindelof: The final two episodes were all about bringing Kevin and Nora together. It felt like the best way to do this was through their own unique points of view, so we'd understand what they had to do in order to overcome what was keeping them apart.
[Director] Craig Zobel helped create the world of [Season 2, Episode 8] “International Assassin,” so it would've been sacrilege not to let him destroy it. As for the finale, no director on Earth could do it better than [executive producer] Mimi Leder, who is not just a director, but the pounding, loving heart of our show.
HBO: Why start the season with “The Book of Kevin” and close with “The Book of Nora?”
Damon Lindelof: Nora Durst has suffered the most profound loss of anyone on the show. If she can be okay, so can everyone else.
HBO: How did the final scene of the show came to fruition? Whose idea was it to end with Nora’s monologue?
Damon Lindelof: The writers convened at the beginning of the season and worked for two weeks just trying to figure out what the final scene would be. This is the one we landed on. As with all the best ideas on The Leftovers, it was a group effort and by time we wrote it, it felt like all of ours.
HBO: Why did you have her explain — rather than show — her journey to the other side?
Damon Lindelof: Because the show has always been about the stories we tell to make ourselves feel better.
HBO: Do you believe Nora is being truthful? Can we trust she “went through?”
Damon Lindelof: Hm. Well... We did revisit our old theme song for a reason.
HBO: As The Leftovers ages, what do you hope viewers will continue to take away?
Damon Lindelof: I hope it makes people think and feel and laugh and cry and forgive and last but not least — to quote the Guilty Remnant — I hope it makes them remember.
Read more Season 3 interviews with the cast and crew:
- Carrie Coon on Rolling Down Hills, Walking Away From It All, and Nora’s Final Monologue
- Justin Theroux on the “Other World,” Love Stories, and Kevin Finding His Way Home
- Liv Tyler on Falling in Love With Meg and Embracing Impulsiveness
- Ann Dowd Talks Playing Patti, Reuniting One Last Time With Kevin and Ending It All
- Amy Brenneman on Laurie’s Journey, That Fight and Saying Goodbye
- Kevin Carroll on Playing Changed Man John Murphy
- Christopher Eccleston on Matt’s Devotion, That Ferry Scene and Confronting “God”
- Tom Perrotta Talks Oak Trees, Orgies and Tests of Faith in The Leftovers
Watch every episode of The Leftovers on HBO.