Remote Controlled: Damon Lindelof, Justin Theroux Discuss ‘Emotional’ Finale of ‘The Leftovers’

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In today’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with series co-creator Damon Lindelof and star Justin Theroux (Kevin Garvey) about the third and final season of HBO’s “The Leftovers.”

Both were still coming to terms with the finale, which had just aired to rave reviews. “It’s uncomfortable to talk about and obviously a space that I’m not entirely familiar with,” jokes Lindelof. “I definitely enjoy it thoroughly.”

The question of whether Nora was telling the truth in the finale about her trip to the other side was still being debated by fans, but “It doesn’t matter,” says Theroux. “These two people are in love. … Hopefully what matters is he’s sitting at the kitchen table and she’s sitting at the kitchen table and they’ve expressed what they need to express and they’re together and in love.”

Adds Lindelof, “I can only give the honest answer, which is there has to be intention. … Certainly no one had a conversation with Carrie. She read the script, and I was like, ‘Any questions?’ She was like, ‘No. Is there anything you want to tell me?’ I was like, ‘No.’ And so she interpreted it. Standing there on the set that day and then in the editing room, I went through a similar process that the audience does. Which is, I think that it is actually critical that you question it, and then you get to decide which you want to come out the other side.”

Lindelof raved about Coon’s performance in that final scene, as well as Theroux’s. “Kevin’s reaction to various parts of the story are critical to the audience,” he says. “He thought she chickened out. … And then it becomes very emotional. Without a word, you’re saying to the audience, if you’re feeling the same way that I am, I’m pulling you into the way that the story is being perceived. He becomes their proxy. That scene never would have worked had you not given that amazing performance.”

You can listen to today’s episode here:

New episodes of Remote Controlled are available every Friday, and you can find past episodes of Remote Controlled here.

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