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The Leftovers creators on that ambiguous ending: 'It tells the truth'

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One of television’s most intricately crafted and introspective series, HBO’s The Leftovers, concluded last week with the open-ended finale “The Book of Nora.” That episode, in which Nora (Carrie Coon) and Kevin (Justin Theroux) reunite, has left many viewers wondering about the legitimacy of Nora’s tale. During the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, co-creators Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta — who authored the book that inspired the series — as well as the episode’s director, Mimi Leder, sat down to discuss the finale.

Lindelof, appropriately donning a “Frasier the Sensuous Lion” T-shirt, explained, “It was super important for us that Nora’s story was so believable that when Kevin says to her that he believes her, and why wouldn’t he, that the audience believed him. … And I will just say that in spite of whatever our intention may or may not have been, when we were standing on the set … she finished her monologue and I turned to Tom, and I said, ‘I believe her.’ So I think we’ll just leave it at that.”

Perrotta agreed, saying, “Whether or not her story is literally true, I think … if it is a story, it’s a story that reflects some true insight that she had about the possibility of rejoining her kids, which is why we believe her. We believe her the way we believe a good piece of fiction, which is, it tells the truth too.”

The Leftovers is available in its entirety on HBO Go and HBO NOW.

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