Summary: Nora runs away from Kevin and Jill is upset by this. Kevin is growing tired of Patti. He gets his handprint taken from John. Michael meets Kevin and takes him to Virgil who tells him that to get rid of Patti he needs to die, and then come back after. Kevin initially doesn't listen and leaves. He meets Laurie who tells him the entire thing is in his head. He calls Nora who says she will return if Kevin gets rid of Patti. Kevin goes back to Virgil and drinks poison and dies, but Virgil kills himself instead of resuscitating Kevin.
The Good: This was a huge episode that covered more ground than any before it. There was so much to like about this.
The big talking point of course is the stunning final scene. Virgil killing himself was shocking and raises so many questions about what happens next and I genuinely don't know what to expect next episode which is a wonderful feeling. I doubt that Kevin is dead, but I'm honestly confused as to how he's going to get out of this alive. It's wonderful when a cliffhanger leaves you so excited and open-minded about the next episode. There is more on this in The Unknown.
Virgil as a whole was excellent. He felt a little tropic at first as a magical black man in a cabin at the edge of town, but the show earned my respect by not only making fun of it, but also giving him a proper character arc and story for how he ended up the way he is. And of course his "magic" is pretty unbelievable but is honestly one of the least supernatural things on this show because there is a bit of logic there. But more on that in The Unknown, which I feel will be a very large section this time around.
I was glad to get a Kevin-centric episode and we were treated to a great story of Kevin trying to repair his life without taking the nuclear option (Virgil), but ultimately everything that happened led him to that final scene where he drank the poison. And what a scene that was. It brought everything full circle with Kevin Sr. too and how his words affected Kevin and made him think about how to actually beat Patti. It was some nice continuity and gave some purpose to a scene that just seemed kind of there in "A Matter of Geography".
There were many wonderful scenes along the way to this big end scene too. Both of Kevin's scenes with Laurie were absolute highlights. The first was good at giving us some insight as to what Laurie is feeling now that we know Tommy left her for unknown reasons. It also gave some emotion for Kevin who is hearing the first of his son in over a year and wanted to know more. The second scene did a great job of offering the possibility that Patti isn't real. The past few episodes have made it seem like she is actually there but now after this conversation we are less sure. Could Kevin really just be crazy like his father? It's one of the most wonderful themes about this show, how things that we think may be supernatural also have a perfectly normal explanation. And this is also furthered by confirming that Tommy never had any of Wayne's powers, it was all just a story and people believed it because they had nothing better to believe in. Not only does this confirm a big mystery that existed since "Off Ramp", but it also stuck with the shows themes and helped us believe in the possibility that Patti isn't real.
The other scenes with Kevin were really good too. I always enjoy seeing Kevin snap at Patti who just can't stop bugging him and acting like she's on his side, and the scenes with Jill and Nora were also good, though I did have some reservations with the latter (see: The Bad). We also got a really tense scene where Kevin was forced into giving his handprint to John. If Kevin does come back to life, I fear he won't be treated very well upon his return due to the existing print.
I enjoyed seeing the angry and upset Jill again. Why wouldn't she be hurt by her family falling apart for a second time? Though I did have some problems with her scene with Michael (see: The Bad), I did like the overall message and use of her character.
The Bad: This could have been one of the show's very best episodes, but unfortunately I think the main emotional point of this episode missed horribly. And that was Nora leaving Kevin. It's easy to understand Kevin's emotions and distress when Nora leaves but the problem is that it makes no character sense for Nora to have left him. They have worked worse things out before so why is this the thing that drives her away? And then on their next phone call Nora says she wants to come back and acts like Kevin being crazy is literally preventing her from being with him. Why does she feel this way? It makes little sense and really hurts this episode a lot, preventing it from being the classic it should have been.
Jill and Michael's break up had little emotion because we never really got to see them together so I couldn't care about them. The scene did well at showing Jill's anger, but it completely failed to make me care.
The Unknown: A whole ton to put in here this time.
Is Kevin actually dead? Did Virgil leave him for dead or is it part of the plan? Will Virgil come back to life too? Or did Virgil kill himself to atone for his sins? Did he kill Kevin because Kevin is a bad person? Or is he actually helping Kevin and Kevin will actually come back without the syringe? Did Kevin even drink poison or was it just some kind of hallucinogen that will make Kevin imagine that he "defeated" Patti? What does Michael know about this? He seemed pretty unsurprised upon entering the house.
Is Patti real? We were led to believe that she is but that very well may not be the case? Is Kevin about to "do battle" with her for real, or will it just be all in his head? So much evidence points both ways, making this one of the most fascinating questions to ask. We should get an answer by next episode or at least by the end of the season.
Can we trust what Patti said before? She lied about Virgil so does that mean she has lied about other things? Like perhaps the girls' disappearance? Perhaps Kevin did have something to do with it.
What did Virgil do to John? Patti implied that he sexually abused him but Virgil never confirmed it.
What happened between Laurie and Tommy? Where did Tommy go?
Best Moment: The ending scene was shocking and provides a lot to speculate going forwards. It's always great to have a real hook to come in for the next episode.
Conclusion: This was a really good episode, but one key flaw is preventing it from being great. But I do think this one slip up is forgivable as this has been a really superb season thus far and I'm sure the final episodes will still deliver.