Summary: Kevin remembers that he saw Evie and the other girls fake their departure. John discovers that the handprint is Kevin's. Kevin talks to John and John shoots him. Mary wakes up. Meg brings the trailer containing the girls onto the bridge to Miracle with a bomb threat. Erika and John see their daughter alive. No bomb goes off and a ton of GR members reveal themselves and enter Miracle along with the outsiders from the camp. Kevin is back in the hotel and sings Homeward Bound to leave. He returns home where his entire family is waiting for him.
The Good: This was a phenomenal finale, just like the first season's, and there were so many scenes to love here.
The opening sequence was very strong and gave us some insight on exactly how Evie and the other girls left and what their mentality was. It also served to confirm to us that Evie has been a member o the GR for quite some time as she was communicating with her friends through writing. This also provided an answer for some of the odd shots from "Axis Mundi" where the girls ran naked and drove home in total silence. They were readying to leave their families for the GR.
There were a ton of small character scenes that absolutely delivered in this episode too. Erika and John, Mary and Matt, Jill and Laurie and of course John and Kevin were all highlights and I will go in depth with the more interesting ones.
Erika and John's relationship falls apart in this episode, which felt like a long time coming after we learned about Erika's conflict back in "Lens". It was emotional to finally see what Evie's gift was and it really fit spectacularly well with the story that she would give him the cricket which was such a major plot point for John back in "Axis Mundi". Erika telling John about his inability to let things go felt like a long time coming and John rebuffing Erika mirrored Kevin with Laurie back in "The Garveys at their Best".
Mary waking up again was another great scene that pays off the build up in this season. It's a satisfying conclusion for Matt's arc as we get it confirmed that he wasn't imagining Mary waking up and that it actually happened. Their reunion was very poignant as expected and Christopher Eccleston does a great job of portraying an extremely likeable man to make us glad that things finally worked out for him.
John and Kevin's scenes were also standouts. The first was great because it portrayed John as a broken man who just wants some answers and there was a great deal of tension building up to the conversation and even throughout the conversation. Kevin suggesting that Evie didn't love John was cold but after the episode, it seems like a very real possibility because of what we learn, and John is forced to deal with that truth throughout the episode. It makes their reunion in the medical room just as powerful as we get to see two broken people trying to keep their lives together interacting as actual friends and feeling sympathy for each other.
The bridge scenes were also extremely powerful. It was dramatic to see Meg bring Evie and the girls onto the bridge and it was very emotional to see both John and then Erika see their daughter alive. The use of music and lack of dialogue only added to the emotion and overall effect of the scenes making them all the more painful. The fact that the bomb threat was a fake out was a pleasant surprise and also mirrored what Meg did in the school bus back in "Ten Thirteen". For Meg it's all about creating reminders by suggesting a dramatic explosion but there never seems to be an actual explosion. The final sequence with the GR members going over the bridge into Miracle was very strong and provided a very powerful sequence.
Michael's speech in the church was incredible (see: Best Moment). There was so much emotion to that scene and it wonderfully bought in a seemingly filler story we heard several times before and turned it into a very important story and thematic point, delivering emotional impact and driving home the overall story of this whole season, that a place like Miracle is no safer from feelings of loss and pain than anywhere else.
It was great to see a return to the hotel. It was smart to have this scene as it not only provided a spectacular karaoke scene, but it also confirmed some mysteries going into season 3. By seeing it again, we are confirmed that the afterlife is real and not a hallucination. Also, we get to see the man from the bridge again, who I believe is David Burton who was mentioned in the past. I may be wrong though and perhaps this man is some sort of god in the world as he seems to be self-aware of where he is unlike anyone else.
But aside from the mystery elements, this return worked so well because it created a wonderful story for Kevin. It seems that upon arriving in the hotel everyone has to choose their occupation and we see a clear difference with Kevin choosing to be a cop which is what he truly is on the inside. It signifies that to go home he has to be himself and accept who he is instead of going grand and becoming an international assassin. The actual karaoke scene was incredible and very emotional as Kevin sings about how he desperately wants to go back to his family. It was definitely a highlight of the episode and was very close to being the best moment too.
The story paid off wonderfully in the last scene as Kevin gets to see everyone important in his life all together and waiting for him. It was a wonderful happy ending just like in season 1. Speaking of the season 1 finale, this episode felt very similar to that. The overtaking of Miracle felt very similar to the destruction of Mapleton and we got even more scenes that were mirrored. The hopeful ending, Kevin's want to go back to his family and Kevin crying while doing something simplistic felt very familiar too. But this isn't bad. Why? Because somehow the show presented something very similar to what it was before and yet made it feel different and new and I thought this episode was actually more well done than last season's stellar finale.
how intense was that scene where the GR sang the "Miracle" song in the Visitor's Centre to Kevin? I got chills.
The Bad: Nora, Laurie and Tommy's storylines didn't feel like they properly paid off in the end. They had rather tame closing arcs that didn't really resolve anything about them. Sure Nora was desperate to keep her child and Tommy did ultimately help Nora and Laurie got to speak to Jill but it didn't feel like the spectacular closure we deserved. This is a forgivable flaw though as there was a lot of ground that needed to be covered with this episode.
The Unknown: Only a few questions, this episode wrapped up a lot of loose ends.
How long was Evie a GR member for before she left?
Who is the man who Kevin keeps encountering in the afterlife?
Did Michael and Erika end up going back to meet John in his house or has he alienated them now?
Best Moment: Michael in the church was spectacular. His story highlighted the themes of this season so well and packed one hell of a punch. It was an easy way to show Evie's displeasure in her life and how John's inability to move on and to continue to ruin other people's lives has now destroyed his family. I suppose he and Kevin had a lot more in common than we thought as both of them ended up destroying their families.
Character of the Episode: Tough choice once again as so many different characters shone in this episode. I'm going with John for impacting the story in a lot of ways, even when he wasn't actually in some of the scenes. His character arc ended up closing out in such an impressive and organized manner that it was impossible not to be satisfied.
Conclusion: Season 2 concluded on a perfect note. This episode delivered what I had hoped for and then some, making it one of the most satisfying and easily enjoyable episodes of the show so far.
Regarding the season as a whole, it was absolutely spectacular television that will be very hard to top. Like in season 1, emotion and feelings were the primary force of this season which is why I think it succeeds so well because emotion is the key to next level television. This season provided an emotional response with every single episode this season and quite literally every episode this season was a winner. It's telling that the lowest score I gave to an episode this season was a 68. This is must-watch television, and this season has cemented The Leftovers as an all-time great TV show.