‘The Leftovers’ season 3 reviews: The final episodes are ‘spectacular, in every sense of the word’

Critics adore the third and final season of HBO’s “The Leftovers,” and even that might be an understatement. The dark and demanding series, which follows the survivors of a Rapture-like event that disappeared two-percent of the world’s population, returns with a score of 96 on MetaCritic as of this writing, and the superlatives from critics are overflowing.

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The final season (seven out of the eight episodes were sent to critics for review) is being called “spectacular, in every sense of the word.” It’s “essential viewing.” It’s “superb.” It’s “miraculous.” It’s a “coup.” And they’re “going to miss it when it’s gone.” And yet the series has never been a huge ratings hit — season two even slipped from season one in terms of viewership — and it has never earned a single Emmy nomination, not for Best Drama Series, not for its acclaimed cast including Justin Theroux, Christopher Eccleston and Critics’ Choice Award winner Carrie Coon, not even for its editing, casting, cinematography, or other achievements below the line.

It did, however, win a Peabody Award in 2016, and it earned nominations from the Television Critics Association and the Writers Guild. So perhaps this final season — airing in the spring right before Emmy nominations are decided, the scheduling slot that was previously reserved for Emmy juggernaut “Game of Thrones” — will finally put the show on the television academy’s radar. Critics certainly hope so.

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Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow TV fans in our famous forums.

Maureen Ryan (Variety): “The new season of ‘The Leftovers’ is spectacular, in every sense of that word … ‘The Leftovers’ is essential viewing because it understands that popular culture and organized religion are both collections of attempts to find meaning, patterns, community, and coherence in a frighteningly random universe … This miraculous series masterfully holds ambiguity and extremely robust storytelling in the same generous bear hug.”

Matt Zoller Seitz (Vulture): “The superb final season of ‘The Leftovers’ takes us Down Under, to Australia … The very existence of a third season of ‘The Leftovers’ is a different sort of miracle. In retrospect, it seems strange and wonderful that this show existed in the first place … I’ve moved past depression and into acceptance when it comes to this series, but I’m still going to miss it when it’s gone.”

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Alan Sepinwall (UPROXX): “The new episodes (the first airs Sunday at 9) don’t represent another radical leap forward in style or quality the way season two was, but whatever’s lost from the shock of the new … is gained in how much more we know all the characters at this point, and how aware they are of their proximity to their story’s end.”

Ben Travers (IndieWire): “Season 3 is no less than a coup, wrapping up a wild narrative with ambitious new threads and honing in on each character’s fundamental spiritual and psychological beliefs. This final round with the Garvey family is designed to evoke powerful emotional reactions; you’re as likely to startle your dog from cathartic laughter as you are from open sobbing, all within the course of an hour.”

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