It must have been damn good to get that kind of reaction.
That’s the great thing about this series, which has won the praise of critics: it is so unconventional. When the series first started, it had shades of The 4400 to it. But that was short-lived.
The creators explored and exploited an ambiguous narrative that left viewers both fascinated and confused.
The story was born after an event called “Sudden Departure”, during which 2% of the world’s population mysteriously disappeared. This also triggered the birth of a religious cult called the Guilty Remnant, which tore many families apart.
One of the affected families is the Garveys, with Kevin’s wife Laurie abandoning him and their teenage children. The Chief of Police finds himself emotionally conflicted as well as outraged.
Of course, over the seasons the characters and their worlds have evolved.
Now Garvey seems to be happy with Durst. Of course, that doesn’t mean the weirdness around them has abated. If anything, the writers have upped the ante.
Theroux revealed: “Even before I got to the end of the script, I knew he was going to be a little atheist about it. Because I don’t think those years (about which a book is being written) is a period of his life that he wants to revisit.
“In a weird way, he becomes fearless. He’s like, ‘alright, I’ll take a whack at this if you really want me to’. And it works.”
Expanding on his fear of being vulnerable, especially in his personal life, he said: “It goes back to the first season. He is terrible at being at home, even though that’s the thing he claims he wants – his family – but he is very good at being a cop. When it comes to being vulnerable in his home life, he’s not good at it.
“I think it is also about showing or receiving love. That’s where he’s at with Nora. They keep secrets from each other – all the time – and then when they blurt them out, they realise they already accepted that thing about each other.
“This season, when we pick them up three years later, they have become kind of roommate-y in a way, and that is, I think, why he is putting plastic bags on his head – he is trying to feel something again.”
Shedding light on Garvey’s relationship with his kids, Theroux said: “He has lost them once and doesn’t want to lose them again. He is just trying to get some semblance of a family back.”
On there being a lot of biblical detail in this season – the floods, the boat, The Book – he explained how that is juxtaposed with surrealism.
“It is a surreal show. We establish that early on, that anything is possible. Damon (Lindelof, the show’s co-creator) likes to play with meaning and what people gravitate towards when they put meaning on things.”
As for false prophets not just living in a creative space, which rings very true in a political context, he says, “Of course. The fact that we have the president of the US with his finger on the nuclear button, I was like: ‘Oh God’ But we were filming this during the primaries. We all thought, oh, it will probably be Jeb and Hillary. So it is incredibly prescient.”
The Leftovers 3 airs on M-Net (DStv channel 101) on Mondays at 10.30pm.