In ‘The Leftovers’ recap, Matt Jamison has his faith tested once again as he travels to Australia to try and reunite with Kevin…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Some of the best, most thought provoking and yet heartbreaking episodes of ‘The Leftovers’ over the past three seasons have focused on Reverend Matt Jamison and his faith in God.
Back in season one, Matt went through hell in an attempt to save his church from being repossessed and put onto the open market. He fought, scratched and clawed his way into the fortune he needed to save the church only to return too late and find out that the Guilty Remnant had bought it out from under him.
In season two, Matt was desperate to get his comatose wife Mary back inside the city limits of Jarden, Texas after he claims she woke up one night and the two of them reconnected years after she fell into a vegetative state following a terrible car accident on the day of the Sudden Departure. When Mary fails to wake up outside of that lone occasion, Matt takes her to a doctor outside of town limits when he finds out that she’s pregnant.
Desperate to get her back into the town limits so the baby survives, Matt is accosted and once again goes through hell to get his wife back into Jarden while he stays outside to pay his penance by locking himself in a stockade.
This time around, Matt is desperate to get to his friend Kevin Garvey, who he believes is the second coming of Christ. Kevin disappeared to Australia and with just a few days to go until the seventh anniversary of the Sudden Departure, Matt believes he has to bring him back to Jarden aka Miracle, Texas to stop the pending apocalypse.
Needless to say, Matt’s plans go awry in a hurry.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Leftovers’ titled ‘It’s a Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt World’…
The Big Bang
As the episode kicks off this week, we find a nude French sailor aboard a submarine attack one of his colleagues before stealing his nuclear code key so he can run into the missile launch bay and detonate a warhead with catastrophic results. There’s no rhyme or reason to the Frenchman detonating the bomb, but the nuclear explosion in the South Pacific freezes all air travel — including flights in or out of Australia — which explains why Kevin wasn’t able to leave last week amidst reports about a mysterious explosion.
The nuclear fallout also leaves Matt Jamison in a precarious position because he needs to get to Kevin in Australia to ensure that he’s back in Texas in time for the seventh anniversary of the Sudden Departure. Matt has spent the last three years working on a gospel based on the life and times of his pseudo-brother-in-law Kevin Garvey and now is not the time for him to go missing before an event he believes will reshape the world as we know it.
Matt ropes in a parishioner named Arturo (played by the wonderful Benito Martinez best known from ‘The Shield’) to fly them to Australia under the guise of a charitable mission. Matt dubs his group the Three Wisemen as he’s bringing along John and Michael Murphy to help him bring Kevin home safe and sound.
Much to his chagrin, John also brings along his new wife Laurie Garvey, who was the person to actually tell Matt where Kevin was in the first place. Laurie doesn’t buy any of this gospel nonsense and she’s going to Australia to make sure Kevin hasn’t completely broken down since his psychotic break from a week ago where he swore he saw Evie Murphy roaming the streets of Melbourne.
Of course, Matt and Laurie have a rather bristly encounter — including his jabs at her about the stint she spent with the Guilty Remnant — but ultimately she boards the plane with them bound for Australia.
On board, Matt reads his Bible — particularly the passages about Daniel’s act of faith when he turned to God when facing down a pride of lions — before he suffers through a nose bleed. Matt tries to explain it away as allergies when he pops a pill after stopping the bleeding, but it’s clear he’s hiding something.
Unfortunately for Matt, the first obstacle in his road to Kevin is the plane being forced to land in Tasmania rather than Australia. Due to the disaster in the South Pacific, no planes are being allowed into the country so the only alternative is for Matt and his Wiseman plus one woman to board a ferry that will take them on an 11 hour ride from Tasmania to Melbourne, Australia.
Of course the ferry has been rented out for the night by a hedonistic lion worshipping sex cult and the only way on board is for Matt to tell a rather dirty joke about a priest and a pimple so he can gain entry for his group. The “lioness” who allows them to board warns Matt that there will be a lot of sex and debauchery happening on this 11 hour cruise and she also tells him not to mention the name “Frasier” later that night or lest he becomes the living embodiment of him.
Matt isn’t exactly researching Frasier or this lion sex cult but he knows it will get him on board so he agrees and the group is off to Australia.
Yes, I Am God
First things first, the story about Frasier the lion is true.
In 1972, a 19-year old lion (75 years old in human equivalent) named Frasier was placed in a lion sanctuary after the Mexican circus where he worked had discarded him. At the time, Frasier was barely mobile much less considered a virile animal but with some nursing back to health and a solid diet, the lion made a miraculous comeback. Even more miraculous was how Frasier was a hit with the lady lions because he became a baby making machine, fathering over 30 cubs in a 16-month span.
So the Frasier worshipping cult now converges on the trip from Tasmania to Australia with a descendent of the famous lion in a cage while they have a massive orgy all around the ship as a tribute of sorts.
Of course, Matt and his tribe don’t exactly fit into the group but they only have to make it 11 hours on board before landing in Australia so they can hopefully find Kevin. Matt continues to battle with Laurie over Kevin’s true purpose and his connection to the Sudden Departure anniversary. The argument ends when Matt’s nose starts gushing blood again and it forces him to run to the bathroom to deal with it.
In the bathroom, Matt runs into one of the employees on the boat who asks if he ran into God and the bloody nose was the result. Matt’s confused, but then the man explains that there’s a guy on board claiming to be God. He’s a friend of the captain and will occasionally end up punching a guest or two, which is what prompted the question for Matt.
Matt seeks out the gentleman in question and he finds him sitting on the top deck, hunkered down in a chair reading an old Louis L’Amour book. Matt asks if he’s telling people that he is God and the man pulls a card from his pocket with scripture on one side and in giant letters on the other — yes, I am god.
Matt then proceeds to read through the scripture on the back of the card where it explains that the man who calls himself “Mr. Burton” is the one true God. It explains how he made Adam and then made Eve out of his tibia rather than a rib, how he won a bronze medal for decathlon and he asked Abraham to kill his own son just to see if he would do it.
While Michael has a laugh at the card, Matt takes this as a serious piece of blasphemy and he won’t stand for it.
Back outside after wading through the sex orgy inside the boat, Matt finally comes to terms with Laurie when she agrees to play it his way when dealing with Kevin. Her concern is bringing him home to his family and if playing to his God complex accomplishes that better than by telling him he’s a raving lunatic, Laurie is fine with that game plan.
After they reconcile and Laurie goes back inside to be with John, Matt runs to the edge of the boat to vomit before looking up to find God aka Mr. Burton tossing a man overboard into the ocean. Matt is shocked but no one will offer any help so he personally dives into the water to try and retrieve the passenger.
Who Is David Burton?
After Matt has to be rescued with no signs of anybody else going overboard, he finds out that the man in question calling himself God is David Burton.
Now that name should sound familiar because back in season one there was mention of him on a television broadcast from Australia about a man who couldn’t die. Then during season two, Burton pops up in Kevin’s personal purgatory when he’s acting as a guard for the bridge that he has to cross over before dumping little Patti into a well. Burton then pops up after Kevin dies again when he instructs him to sing karaoke if he wants to escape purgatory for a second time.
As the ship’s captain explains, David Burton was on a rock climbing expedition in Australia when he fell 100 meters down from a cliff and snapped his neck. His friend put him inside a cave to prevent animals from chewing up the body while he went back for help. When his friend returned, Burton was alive and well as if nothing had ever happened while sitting outside the cage. Since that time, Burton has claimed to be God because he can’t be killed.
Matt is outraged not only by Burton’s blasphemy but also the fact that no one seems to care but him. He attempts to rope John and Michael into his plan to expose Burton as a murderer, but nobody seems to believe he really tossed a man overboard. It an attempt to drive a wedge between John and Laurie, Matt even exposes Kevin’s vision quest from last week where he claimed to see Evie Murphy alive and well in Australia.
As much as it might rattle John at first, he takes Laurie at her word that Kevin didn’t actually see his daughter and instead it appears he’s having a change of heart about his friend’s deity status as well. Well, Matt can’t just stand idly by while a man gets away with murder while claiming to be God so he takes matters into his own hands.
Matt tries to get the others on board to help him but he ends up uttering the name ‘Frasier’ which almost earns him an against his will sex act where the cult tries to gather his seed in a strange, ritualistic reenactment of the lion impregnating all those lionesses back in the 70’s. Finally, Matt flips out and gets free of the cult before confronting Burton, which then earns him a punch in the stomach.
While laying on the ground in pain, a woman approaches Matt and tells him when the boat docks in Melbourne to make sure he stays on board because something big is going to happen off the ship.
Reach Out and Touch Faith
With all his options exhausted, Matt decides to make one last attempt to get at Burton when he smacks him over the head with a fire axe before tying him to a wheelchair next to the cage that currently holds a descendent of the almighty Frasier. Matt questions Burton and even gets him to admit to the murder he committed, but the conversation soon takes a strange turn.
Burton begins to convince Matt that he might actually be a deity while also hitting our favorite reverend with some rather harsh truths including the fact that every action he’s taken since the Sudden Departure has been of his own selfish desires rather than serving his God. Burton also tells Matt that he hasn’t been watching him this entire time and he’s really been on his own in everything he’s done.
Burton even explains why he made the Sudden Depature happen — because he could.
Matt then comes clean about his illness — the cancer that he fought off as a child has returned. He knows he only has a little bit of time left to live and that’s why he’s so determined to save the world with the help of his friend Kevin Garvey. Matt ends up freeing Burton from his restraints before asking him to cure his cancer again — just like he believes God did when he asked as a child. Burton snaps his fingers and suddenly a weight is lifted off Matt’s shoulders.
The next morning as the boat comes into dock in Melbourne, the ship’s captain finds Matt and tells him that a fishing boat found a body in the ocean just like the one he described as being thrown overboard. Matt agrees to help identify Burton once he gets into Melbourne as if his mission to reach Kevin has suddenly gone awry. John has already tried to convince Matt that there’s no way they’ll make it back to Texas in time for the anniversary anyways.
Before they de-board, Matt finally comes clean to Laurie and John that he’s dying of cancer and his time is running out. Outside the ship, Matt spots the woman he ran into the night before who told him not to get off the boat until after something big happened.
Just then the police arrive looking for David Burton, who makes a mad dash trying to escape. The woman who warned Matt then unlocks the lion’s cage, freeing him from captivity and the beast chases down Burton before mauling him in front of a hundred witnesses. Laurie and John are shocked to watch a man get torn apart while the police finally fire off several shots to kill the animal.
Finally, Matt turns to his friends and explains that was the man he’s been telling them about.
Matt has faced a crisis of faith several times throughout this series, but each time he found his way back to God. In a moment of weakness, Matt turned to a false prophet for help but then less than one day later, that blasphemer was torn apart by a lion — unlike Daniel who had faith in God and was thus protected.
Matt smiles because his faith has once again been restored and his prayers answered. Now it’s time to find Kevin and stop the end of the world.
‘The Leftovers’ returns next Sunday night at 9pm ET on HBO