Summary: Kevin wakes up in the bathroom of a hotel, presumably in the afterlife. He meets Virgil who tells him where he is and that to leave he has to kill Patti. Virgil sets up Kevin to shoot Patti. Kevin does so but doesn't escape. He sees his dad on a TV, telling him to throw Patti into a well. He finds 0ut that a little girl is Patti and he takes her to a well in Jarden and throws her in, drowning her. Kevin leaves the afterlife and crawls out of the ground alive and well.
The Good: Wow this was one of the most unique and most genius episodes of television I have ever seen. This was so original and creative and will surely polarize everyone. This is truly something special.
First of all, this was so unique and ambitious. This episode is basically Kevin as an assassin trying to assassinate Patti who is running for president. Who would have expected an episode focused on this after last episode's stunning ending? But it works so beautifully somehow and has an overall magical effect. It's hard to explain why but everything that happened in this episode just worked and worked so well. It accomplished some kind of "TV magic" that had me so interested and engaged throughout to the point where my eyes just couldn't leave the screen. I can't explain any more than that as to why this approach worked; just watch it for yourself and you will see why it all works.
The main emotional point of this episode is something I can explain though. What we were treated to is a really good look at Patti as a sympathetic character. And this episode did a superb episode of turning Patti into someone we care about. Not only do we get a better understanding of her but also a better understanding of the GR. My take is that Patti and the GR were never strong or anything, they were just too afraid to move on. We learn in this episode that Patti was always scared and that she was always being hated and underappreciated to the point where she didn't enjoy life. And yet she was always too scared to pull the trigger and to move on to something new with a fresh start. it lets us, like Kevin, truly feel some pity and sympathy for Patti and we can get a little more understanding about her suicide.
Kevin's scenes with her were highlights (see: Best Moment). Seeing little girl Patti blabbing to Kevin from the passenger seat mirrored ghost Patti doing the same in real life. And it had a completely different affect as instead of her being annoying, she ended up being really sympathetic. Justin Theroux and Ann Dowd really nailed these scenes as usual.
This episode did a good job of providing mystery, tension and excitement. We are put into a totally new world and our reactions mirror Kevin's as we wonder just what the hell this world will contain. The mystery is amplified and we have absolutely no clue what to expect, which led to me being genuinely surprised and impressed with the amount of world building being put into this afterlife. But the overall feeling of not knowing what to expect is so rare in television and I really enjoyed being able to feel so intrigued and excited for an entire episode.
The Kevin and Neil scene was really great. It helped start our feelings of sympathy for Patti and also gave us a greater understanding of this world and all but confirmed it as the afterlife. If we ever hear in the real world that Neil died after choking on food, that would pretty much confirm that this was real. The scene was also effective at creating somebody for Kevin to talk to since he has literally nobody he can speak to now that Virgil drank the water.
It was also great to see so many familiar faces. I loved seeing Wayne and Gladys appearing as Patti's secretary, and there was a really great nod to Wayne's final scene with Kevin on the toilet.
The Bad: Nothing as such. This episode was magical.
The Unknown: So much of this review will be here. This episode opened the door to thinking about the supernatural and I will gladly do it.
So much to digest here. I'll start with the question we are all asking: was this real? It's entirely possible there was no hotel and all of this is a hallucination, though Kevin crawling out of the ground and Virgil's presence in the other world despite Kevin not knowing he died does suggest it was real. But with Kevin Sr. introducing the concept of a drug called "God's Tongue", it does offer some doubt. Was this God's Tongue the thing that Virgil gave Kevin?
Who was that man at the beginning that tried to kill Kevin? Why was the elevator gone? Was that Patti's way of trying to kill Kevin? Was her in the pool an attempt to make Kevin drink the water (more on that later)?
How does the entire battle concept work anyways? Was Patti supposed to try to kill Kevin? Or was it only like that because Kevin picked the occupation of international assassin?
How does the occupation thing work? Does everyone get to choose? Do the occupations represent possible paths for Kevin himself to take? He could have been what looked to be a priest, cop or assassin which could each represent parts of his personality.
What did the flying bird signify? Why did it matter that Virgil killed it?
How about the water? I presume that drinking the water makes you forget your memories from when you were human. But is that the full story? I also presume that Neil had his memories because he didn't drink water, only booze.
There was a bit of interesting mystery in one of the earlier episodes, I believe "Off Ramp" regarding a man named David Burton who claimed he was resurrected after going into a cave. What's interesting is that he claimed to have been in a hotel. Even more interestingly, the pillar man, who Virgil said went through the same thing, sent a letter out to David Burton back in "Axis Mundi". Could this man become important in the story? Have we already met him as one of the people in this world? Perhaps the man on the bridge was him?
Why is Mary in the afterlife world? Is it because of her catatonic state or does it confirm that she will never wake up again?
What was with the fake Patti? Did she have any other significance, or was she just meant to be a metaphor? The metaphor being that the woman Patti acts like on the outside isn't who she really is, with who she really is being the little girl Kevin had to throw in the well.
Speaking of the well, what was its significance? Did it serve as a conduit (or an Axis Mundi to add another connection in this show) from the afterlife to the real world? Was the cave that David Burton went to another conduit?
How did Kevin Sr. make contact with Kevin in the afterlife? Is he dead too? Or did he actually take a drug in Australia that brings him to the afterlife? What has he actually been doing in Australia?
Best Moment: It's so hard to pick between the many Kevin and Patti scenes. I'll pick the moment when Kevin had to throw Patti into the well. It was so sad, and Patti trying to help really added to the pain, and Kevin trying to push himself to do it was equally heart-wrenching. This scene was The Leftovers at its heartbreaking best.
Character of the Episode: I will say Kevin for this episode just because of how great it was to experience this episode from his perspective the entire time. I will give a small nod to Patti as well, it was a toss up between these 2.
Conclusion: What a truly stellar episode. It's so hard to score because of how different and unique this is. I could give this anywhere from a 65 to a 90 honestly because it's so different and just very difficult to score. I will go with my gut though and say this was the best episode of the show so far for being so bold and daring and then succeeding in every possible way to make a truly special hour of television unlike anything else out there.