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The Leftovers – S3E5 – It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World

Previously on The Leftovers, “G’Day Melbourne”

A season of The Leftovers wouldn’t be complete without a Matt-centric episode in which Christopher Eccleston deftly portrays the faithful, manipulative, and determined Matt Jamison as his faith is tested with hilarious and tragic results.

Images: HBO

This season’s Matt episode is bookended by two caged lions who eventually lash out. First, Lyon, a French crewman on a military submarine, gets naked, attacks a crew member, and then locks himself in a compartment where he launches a nuclear missile. It hits uninhabited land, but it’s enough (of course) to ground all international flights, hence the events at the end of last week’s “G’Day Melbourne.”

This is just one obstacle Matt has to overcome on his mission to bring Kevin back to Jarden by the 14th. The first is convincing a parishioner (guest star Benito Martinez) to use his humanitarian aid plane to fly him, John, and Michael to Melbourne, and the second is trying to convince Laurie she can’t come along. The first is moved by the need to have Kevin in Jarden by the anniversary of the Sudden Departure, but Laurie? Not so much. Fully aware of the Book of Kevin, Laurie thinks Kevin is in the midst of a psychotic break. She wants him to come home for the help he needs, not because she believes his messiah presence is needed in Jarden.

“He used to look through all of our cupboards before he found the wine glasses, he has a tattoo that’s misspelled, and he shits four times a day. So, I refuse, Matt, to believe he’s the goddamned second coming of Christ.”

When their plane can’t go any further than Tasmania, the Jarden group have to sweet talk a sex cult who worship Frasier, the Sensuous Lion so they’ll grant them passage on their chartered ferry into Melbourne. Once aboard, Matt encounters one of The Leftovers’ most talked about mysterious characters, David Burton (Bill Camp).

In season two, The Pillar Man (may he rest in peace) had Michael mail a letter to David Burton of Australia. Also, there was a mention of a man in Australia who claimed he’d been to the other side and now couldn’t die. Finally, when Kevin was on his mission to push Patti down the well in “International Assassin,” he encountered David on a bridge and then again in the finale, “I Live Here Now,” when David told him he needed to sing to go home.

David and a friend claims that, three years ago, David died while mountain climbing, but was found a few days later alive and well outside the cave where his corpse was left. The one-time Olympian and sportscaster now claims he’s God. This is highly offensive to Matt, even though it’s exactly what he believes of Kevin. He’s further agitated when no one aboard the boat believes he saw David Burton push a man overboard. If they do believe, they don’t seem too care much.

Not even spilling the beans that Kevin claimed to have seen Evie in Melbourne (after he promised Laurie he wouldn’t) is enough to cause the necessary friction between Laurie and John that Matt needs; friction that might bring John over to his side of vigilante justice. John may have burned down the homes of men he deemed liars a few years ago, but he’s currently selling his own false miracles in Jarden and no longer needs to physically lash out at things that anger him or things he doesn’t understand.

When Matt finally has David Burton at his mercy, tied to a wheelchair next to a caged lion said to be a descendent of Frasier’s, we get to the heart of Matt’s righteous anger. David Burton has to be a liar. If he also has the power of resurrection, what does that mean for Kevin? Is Kevin less special? Is it all fake? Matt needs it to be real because he has, continuously, seen everything that has happened in his life as a test of his faith, and he’s lost so much to ensure he passed. As I suspected on the podcast, Matt’s cancer has returned. If David is God, Matt would like to know why his faith is now being punished.

He doesn’t like David’s flippant answers. As God, he has a lot going on and can’t be held responsible for everything. He does, however, take credit for the Sudden Departure; done simply because he could. Matt only endured sacrifices because he assumed God was watching, and since he says he wasn’t, Matt ultimately did all of those things for himself. Matt takes this an interesting way. What David could be saying, and what I assumed he meant, was that Matt wanted to be a good person so he tried his best to do what he thought a good, god-fearing man would. Isn’t that better than doing the right thing because you’re expecting a reward and you fear you’re being watched? Matt sees this as an admonishment (he’s selfish, needs to be a martyr, etc.) and asks if that’s why God allowed his cancer to return. Yes, David says, but he’s also willing to take it away with just a snap of his fingers.

Was it real? Did it work? Or was it just another fuck you like the “I am God” FAQ cards David hands out to strangers so as not to be bothered? Has Matt’s faith finally been broken? When the captain tells him a body was found in the water and that Matt may have to stay behind to tell the Melbourne police what he saw, Matt agrees as he has “no pressing business in Melbourne.”

On the other hand, once the boat docks, and cult protestors free the lion from its cage, Matt looks on completely unbothered as it mauls David Burton to death as he tries to flee the police. Just a crazy guy getting killed by a lion.

Of course, David Burton could pop up again, on the other side after Kevin drowns, with a helluva story about some American guy who tied him to a wheelchair shortly before he died.

Leftover Leftovers

Like Lost, The Leftovers has had several characters who don’t know they’re connected cross paths under bizarre circumstances. It was exciting to see David Burton somewhere other than the Other Side, and I don’t necessarily need Michael to know the letter he mailed was to the man he saw get killed by a lion, but I damn sure want to learn what David Burton whispered to Kevin or I may lose my entire shit. So, my fingers are crossed that Mr. Burton pops up once more.

Matt is annoyingly righteous and has a misogynistic side that was on full display in his interactions with Laurie. He saw this pilgrimage a job for the “three wise men,” not the three wise men plus one wife/mental health professional. Their back and forth reminded me a lot of Locke and Jack on Lost with their man of faith/man of science debates, but sometimes Matt dipped his toes in problematic waters and it was nice to see Laurie check him at every damn turn. And much will be said about Eccleston’s performance (he’s always great), but Amy Brenneman delivered some wonderful work. It appears we’ll get more of it next week as she’s going to be pretty outnumbered by those who believe in Kevin’s divinity.

David Burton mentioned that Jesus wasn’t the one seen outside the cave three days after his death; it was his identical twin brother. This is now the third time in as many episodes that twins have been mentioned (and don’t forget that Michael and Evie are twins). If you know the title of episode 7 and my crazy theory presented on last week’s podcast, you know that line of dialogue here sent me into a fangirl frenzy.

Leave your thoughts on the episode below or on our Facebook post for this review, and we’ll read them on tonight’s podcast. 

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About Nina Perez (1218 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on Amazon.com for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Peyton Manning. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

9 Comments on The Leftovers – S3E5 – It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World

  1. For the podcast:
    I don’t know what to make of this episode. This show goes way over my head but it’s fascinating😄

    Nude sailor wasn’t so much a shock but he was very limber!

    To me, in the beginning Matt was obnoxious & condescending. I was waiting for Laurie to smack him! 😄

    And I wondered if Matt was hallucinating certain events occurring on the boat like the passenger thrown overboard.

    The orgy scenes were funny; was hoping Matt would be Frasier & inducted into the cult.

    Well done lion-don’t know if it was CGI but good job! WD folks need 2 pay attention.

    That’s all I have-looking forward 2 podcast!

    I thought Matt was hallucinating everything on that boat

  2. FOR THE PODCAST

    Daniel 6:22

    “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

    This was the passage Matt was reading on the plane before his nose started to bleed. Fitting for this episode, and the character of Matt Jamison as a whole. He’s always been the most nuanced and conflicted character on this show, and I think this might just be my favorite of all the Matt-centric stories, and easily the most satisfying. His scene with David towards the end was incredible, and finally gave him a face to direct all his anger to. Whether Matt believes David is God in that moment or not, it was a culmination of a lifetime of frustration, and it was so powerful to watch him confront his own faith in that moment. I hope the ailment he was cured of was his discontentment and constant need to complete whatever mission he’s focused on in the moment. Just let the mystery be, Matt.

    Thanks for the podcast, guys!

    ❤️

  3. FOR THE PODCAST:

    I know I’m in the minority when i say I don’t like Matt-centric episodes. His character bothers me and can only handle in small doses. Yeah sometimes they’re good but overall, I can do without.

    The only thing I liked was faux-God calling him out saying he was doing all this for selfish reasons.

    I never thought I could dislike Matt ore than the moment he stepped his happy ass in Arturo’s house demanding to be flown to Australia, knowing this man is taking care of his dying mother.

    And why did naked french guy have to be naked? And his ubber strong claw like toes was icky. FYI – I hate feet, ALOT.

    Laurie and the Lion eating faux God was my favorite part of this entire episode.

    The Leftovers review gave me the urge to rewatch Internatiol Assassin! And it was better than I remember.

    Thanks for the podcast!

  4. This Episode is great Probably one of my Favorites
    We now know that the guy in the Airport was right. How did he know that a nuclear event was gonna happen ? Are we gonna get a spinoff show on his adventures ?

    My theory is that young Micheal is this universe new Jesus and David, the guy in the red Hat is indeed God
    When Matt was complaining that David was calling himself God , Micheal Responded with the perfect answer, why does that bother you . Too many times we see people justify their actions because they’re doing it for God. Like what other people are doing is so blasphemous that it needs to be violently stopped. Which Matt ultimately resorted to. Micheal was sitting in front of two guys jerking each other off and didn’t blink an eye . Just like the Bibles version of Jesus would have. He hung out with sex workers and tax collectors and didn’t judge them either .

    David’s end Monologue was EXCELLENT, it exposed Matt for who he really is , a self righteous asshole. everything he did was just so God could see how faithful and special he is . I bet he cared more to prove that David wasn’t God then the fact that he killed a man. It also question the reason people justify why bad things happen . When i was in catholic school every answer was met with “its part of Gods plan” didn’t matter if it was a disaster or a baby being born

    Davids/Gods answer in this show is allot closer to what i started to believe growing …he did stuff to see if he could do it . No reason no mystical revelation he just wanted to see what would happen. which is why i believe this is the answer for why the departures happened . He’s God he doesn’t need to give you a reason . It so funny that Matt needs him to prove that he’s God but we have to believe what Matt is doing is good on Faith. If jesus apeared today do you think assholes would take that stuff on Faith …Hells no.

    hope this wasn’t too rambling just loved this show.

  5. This episode was hilarious. There’s just something about Matt’s faith being challenged that fills me with joy. I knew that lady and her friends were going to release the lion. I cackled when it killed “God”. The Lord is vengeful and im left wondering why Matt hasn’t renewed his faith right then. Hes crazy enough that the mere fact that the “blaspheme” was punished, and, ultimately, the false idol was destroyed as well should be enough for him to believe that “the true God” has answered his prayers. I don’t know there feels like there should be something there.

  6. FOR THE PODCAST

    Hello Nina and crew,

    I hope this feedback makes it in time for the podcast.
    I’ll like to start off by stating that I hate Matt! With that said, I loved this episode. The Leftovers has a way of making great episodes about character I want to throw out of a window.

    In this episode I enjoyed how Laurie wouldn’t take shit from Matt. I felt as if I was saying “fuck you” to Matt along with Laurie when that motherfucker asked for 3 ferry tickets. Somehow I knew he was going to mention Evie, even though he was asked not to mention it. I guess my main problem with Matt is his self righteous, sanctimonious, smug attitude. I mean, what’s the difference between him and any GR member? From Patti, Meg, or Laurie?

    Overall this episode was the high quality television we’ve grown accustomed to from the Leftovers. The scene near the end between Matt and god was great. I can’t say enough about the acting. Superb! I can’t wait to see the next episode.
    Btw, hearing Nina’s first name last week gave me the biggest smile.
    ❤️ you guys.

  7. For the podcast

    Do you think Matt, in the thought that guy was God? Did you?

    What did you think about the Jesus twin explanation? I don’t think they mentioned what they did with body?

    Also Matt was bitchmade this whole episode. You say the name, you play the game. Thems the rules, Judgy McJudgingston

  8. Probably late. I just want to say Matt likes to get punched. All those blows still have done nothing to temper his privilege.

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