Kevin & Laurie Don't Get Back Together In Book — But HBO's 'The Leftovers' Isn't Following The Book...
There's been something lingering behind Laurie Garvey's stoney eyes since day one. She misses her house. She misses her family. She misses her daughter. And though she shoved divorce papers in his face while a carefully wrapped present sat under the tree for her, I'm almost certain she misses her husband too. But with all this subtle suffering, is there any small chance that The Leftovers ' Laurie and Kevin Garvey will get back together? Not if Tom Perrotta has anything to say about it.
Of course, we've already come to terms with the notion that Damon Lindelof and Co. (including author Perrotta) are using the book as guidelines for The Leftovers rather than an actual blueprint. How else is HBO supposed to get multiple seasons out of a single 350-page novel? But there are going to be pieces that make it in — things like Kevin's uncomfortable chemistry with Aimee, Jill's sullen demeanor, Holy Wayne and his magic hugs, and Nora's romantic relationship with Kevin. And if The Leftovers is planning on following all of Kevin's page-bound romantic relationships, the Garveys have little hope of reconciliation.
In the novel, Kevin's "happy" ending actually comes at the hands of one Nora Durst — albeit a brand new, bleached blonde Nora Durst. After Kevin's son Tom leaves Holy Wayne's abandoned newborn on his father's doorstep, Nora stops by to leave a Kevin a goodbye note. She's planning on leaving town forever, but when she stumbles upon the baby, something changes. Kevin comes home and Nora turns towards him with the baby and offers the potentially optimistic final line of the novel, "Look what I found."
While that conclusion gives me hope that Kevin might eventually find some peace, perhaps with a brand new Nora and the undeniable symbol of new life, a mewling infant, it doesn't lend much weight to the notion that Kevin and Laurie are meant to be. (Neither did that Episode 1 flashback wherein Kevin sleeps with someone who is clearly not Laurie.)
What's more is that Laurie's novel conclusion is one of uncertainty and numbness. After she and Meg are selected to sacrifice each other as martyrs to the Guilty Remnant cause. When it comes down to the moment of truth, Laurie can't pull the trigger on her only friend and Meg takes the gun and shoots herself. The last we see of Laurie, she's in a van on the way to a Guilty Remnant-determined location where another martyr's partner was said to be "very well taken care of." My personal reading of this scene was one with a sense of doom. Whether Laurie is going to live our her days in a cushy, secluded house or a "farm upstate" like every deceased house pet ever, her life is essentially over. She is being led away from the real world without argument. She's got no breath left to waste.
Now, Lindelof could choose to throw all of this away and write his own trajectory for the estranged spouses, but this seems like a piece of the story he'll want to keep. After all, he's kept every other aspect of Kevin's personal life as well as the clear friendship between Meg and Laurie. From where I sit, there is absolutely no hope for a happy Garvey reunion. At least not in this life.
Image: Paul Schiraldi/HBO (2)