Sunday's finale episode of The Leftovers, "The Prodigal Son Returns" brought plenty of characters together – including a surprise meeting between Kevin Garvey and Holy Wayne. The interaction sparked watchers' curiosity. Below are theories about what Wayne's death means for Mapleton, the Garvey family and Season 2.
Online discussion focused around the wish that Wayne "granted" Kevin in his final moments. Reddit user Todesengel3 infers that Kevin "probably wished for his family back," and given the series' ending, wonders, "is Wayne 'legit then' in that he was the one who granted that wish, or is this gain mere coincidence?"
Redditor thyroidman maintains that "Holy Wayne was the real deal," and uses Nora's story as an example: "She found new meaning, a 'bridge' to take her into the post-departure life when she could be OK." TheDimWhit agrees that Wayne's child is exactly what Nora needed: "Her discovery of Wayne's baby seems to immediately restore some portion of hope and possibly the promise of a longer lasting road to recovery. If Wayne’s hug was just a temporary 'shortcut' to Nora feeling better, possibly his baby is her bridge to get to the other side of her sadness."
34Sam22, another Reddit user, disagrees: "Wayne is a fraud. Nora's pain did not magically go away, because she reacted to the Loved Ones." Damnatio_memoriae supports this stance: "If Kevin gets his wish, and we'll probably never know what he even wished for, it will be an ironic coincidence. Wayne was clearly full of sh*t... He impregnated multiple naive girls, told them all they'd be giving birth to a boy who would be 'the one,' and then Christine gave birth to a girl, so Wayne wasn't even right."
Roger, a commenter on WatchingTheLeftovers.com, proposes a more sinister theory: "Wayne is the Anti-Christ! Granting Kevin's wish was making a deal with the devil. Kevin got his wish to have his family back, but like any deal with the Anti-Christ it came with a tremendous cost. The violence, the fire and killings were the price that was paid for the wish to come true."
Some viewers supposed that Wayne's influence lives on… through his child. Reddit user rrichards125 interprets Wayne's statement to Tom, "This girl is everything, yeah?" Who is the girl Wayne mentions? "He was talking about the baby Christine was carrying, not her," rrichards125 suggests. "Now that we can see that the baby will have an important role in the show going forward." Rhamil42 hypothesizes involvement of biblical proportions: "The abandoned baby is found by a family not his own – just like Moses. Plus, the cabin is in Cairo and the National Geographic showed a map of Egypt with Cairo. Is Wayne's baby a Moses figure that will lead the slaves out of bondage?"
James Poniewozik of TIME summarizes: "In the end, we don’t know any more than Holy Wayne if he was a prophet or a fraud. But savior or antichrist or neither, the baby had a role in the end – to make someone realize she still had the capacity to care."