File this one under “P.R. Moves That Make You Go Hmmm.” HBO announced today that the final episode of their recently wrapped drama The Leftovers is now available on YouTube…for one week only.
First premiering in June 2014, The Leftovers imagines a world where two percent of the world’s population — approximately 140 million people — have simply vanished without a trace. The series picks up three years after the so-called “Sudden Departure,” with the world still bearing the scars of that mysterious event, but no closer to understanding it. Was it the Rapture foretold in the Bible? A massive alien abduction? Something else entirely? There are plenty of theories, but no answers.
After three seasons, The Leftovers concluded its story with a series finale on June 4. While there are no doubt some fans who would have preferred every question be answered and every enigma illuminated, the critical consensus for the finale was generally positive. Variety even judged it as “easily one of the greatest TV finales of all time.”
Obviously, there’s no question that there are people out there who will be interested in bingeing through The Leftovers now that it’s finished its run. I have to wonder, however, exactly what HBO was thinking in making the last episode available. Posting single episodes on YouTube, or even small batches of episodes, is a proven tactic for enticing new customers into forking over the cash for a subscription. The first taste is free, then once you’re hooked, suddenly that monthly HBO Now subscription seems like a necessary expense to get your fix. But why post the series finale? Who the hell is going to want to “sample” the end of the story? Maybe there’s an angle I’m missing here, but this just seems like a deeply bizarre choice on HBO’s part. If you want to get people interested, why not post the first episode instead? Maybe they’re trying to cut down on traffic logjams on the HBO Now servers? This is a bigger mystery than the Sudden Departure ever was…
Either way, if you’re the sort of person who always skips ahead and reads the end of the book first, bon appetit. While it lasts, help yourself to the final episode of The Leftovers below.