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.
Summary: Earlier in time, Meg visits Isaac in Miracle with hopes of learning what her mother wanted to tell her before she died. She meets Evie. Back in the present, Meg visits Tommy and scares him out of hugging people's pain away. Tommy and Laurie have a fight and Tommy runs to the GR to meet Meg again. Meg is planning to do something in Miracle and Tommy wants to help. He is taken to her camp and after some investigating he finds Evie and the other girls hidden away in GR clothes.
The Good: Leave it to The Leftovers to introduce a totally new story arc and danger just one episode away from the finale. And they did so in a very strong episode in a season that has been full of them.
Meg takes the focus in this episode and we receive a ton of development an motivation for her. The opening scene as a whole lets us know everything we need to know about Meg. Her mother tells her that she is relentless and that when she has a goal she will see it done. That ties in to her current antics as she clearly has something violent and memorable planned for the people in Miracle. My theory is that she will blow up the bridge into Miracle, cutting off the town from the outside world but I could be wrong (see: The Unknown). Since we know Meg is ruthless, we know that she won't give up until the job is done and with that shocking reveal at the episode's end, we know that she has planned this for a while.
How big was that ending scene? We got an answer for where Evie and the girls went and it was not what I think anyone was expecting. This sets us up for a heartbreaking reunion next episode and I'm very excited to see how the Murphy family reacts to this and whatever Evie is going to do for Meg's plan.
Back to Meg for a bit, the story of her trying to get over the loss of her mom was classic The Leftovers. This show is still about loss at its heart and it was great to see some more of the show's signature grief without the show going into absolute misery. The psychic story felt very real and I love that Isaac said that her mom wanted to talk about walnuts, it really highlights the idea that you can't ever get proper closure after losing someone. Meg meeting Evie after was another great scene with Evie trying her best to awkwardly help Meg feel better. It was more excellent examination of loss.
Tommy's scenes were enjoyable as well despite one problem (see: The Bad). It's clear that he's hurting from everything that happened to him and he doesn't want to help others anymore. His situation is relatable and it's understandable that Tommy would go to Meg with hopes of feeling better. But now it seems like Tommy may need to stop whatever Meg is planning for the next episode.
The Bad: Like "The Garveys at their Best" in the last season, the penultimate episode departs from the main story to catch us up with other things. While that episode provided us some much needed character development, this didn't quite do the same so it may be a frustrating episode for some people. Especially since last episode we saw Kevin rise from the dead; it would have been nice to see the follow up from that.
I wasn't a huge fan of the follow-up with Tommy and Meg. She raped him and that should have been a bigger deal than it was treated as. I am willing to overlook it somewhat because the focus of this episode was enjoyable, but I definitely think there should have been more scenes with Tommy and Meg addressing their situation. It felt strange to have all these romantic scenes instead of proper character scenes.
The Unknown: What is Meg planning and why is she doing it? What does she want to accomplish? I suppose she wants to violently make the people o Miracle remember.
What did Meg mean when she said she wanted to make Tommy pregnant?
Best Moment: I loved the Meg and Matt scene. It was a great reunion and really hinted at what Meg is going to do and gave a sense of foreboding to the residents of Miracle. Now I'm wondering if Matt is going to have to do something to stop her. Aside from the foreboding, the scene also did highlight Matt's goodwill as he joyfully reunited with a former acquaintance.
Character of the Episode: Meg for introducing herself as a big new threat in just a single episode.
Conclusion: This was another really strong episode that included some big set up for the finale. This was a little bit short on emotional scenes compared to other episodes this season and it had one notable flaw, but I still think the storytelling was as brilliant as always.
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.
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.
Summary: Nora lets out her frustrations by throwing a rock through the Murphys window. Nora meets an agent of the DSD who makes her believe that she is responsible for some of the departures. Erika is facing the same struggles and she comes to blows with Nora. Erika throws a rock into the Garvey household. Kevin tells Nora about Patti.
The Good: This was another really powerful episode. The Leftovers always excels when it has character focused episodes, and it does once more by giving the focus to Nora and Erika who are in a deep state of self-blame in this episode.
Nora had a wonderful storyline as she faces off against multiple Departure agents who try to talk to her. Her insecurity is made obvious in the first scene when she snaps at the scientist, and that anger is shown throughout the episode while she talks to the doctor over the phone. And we are never told why she's angry, we are expected to figure it out ourselves. I love to see smart television like this that lets us figure things out ourselves. We are never told that Nora is blaming herself for the departure of her family and Evie, but her behaviour strongly implies it, letting us come to that conclusion. And then it becomes a fascinating episode to watch as we get to see Nora attempt to prove to herself that she wasn't responsible and that here in Miracle she is actually safe despite the evidence pointing to the contrary.
It's great to see the lengths that Nora went to try to prove to herself that she is safe. She is most bothered by Erika who is dealing with Evie's departure in an eerily similar way. This leads to an amazing scene where Nora tries to tell Erika that she wasn't responsible for the departure but then her plan backfires horribly on her (see: Best Moment). Another thing that bothered her was the whole "lens" theory that she was introduced to which culminated in another amazing scene where Nora finally listens to what the doctor on the phone says. The scene makes us believe that she may be onto something before going into the absolutely ridiculous suggesting that Nora is being controlled by the demon Azrael. Nora's exhaustive laugh afterwards definitely helped communicate the emotions of the scene as well making it affecting and comedic.
Erika was another highlight of this episode. We are treated to her story which at first feels a little similar to Nora's, including a scene where she lets her frustrations out on Jerry, but it doesn't take away from the emotions of the scene. But even though it's familiar, that is the purpose as Erika is supposed to feel familiar to Nora in how she is dealing with her loss. Both are self-destructing due to the pressure of blaming themselves for the departure. But Erika got to really shine in her own story once she talked to Nora. Her reveal about the bird in the box and how she wished that Evie would be okay after she left the day she departed was really powerful and depressing stuff, making for the fantastic television this show is becoming known for. It was good to see her return the favour to Nora by throwing a rock through her window. It seems that the 2 of them are enemies now.
It was good to get some progression with Kevin's storyline too, though I didn't like all of it (see: The Bad). I was happy to see him decide to tell Nora about Patti and I'm very excited to see where it leads to.
Surprisingly, this episode contained a ton of answers for once. We learned everything that we didn't know about Erika and we also got tons of information about mysterious people in Miracle, like Jerry, Virgil and the woman in the wedding dress (I didn't catch her name).
The Bad: I thought the final Kevin seen was poorly written. By Kevin saying "I'm seeing someone" he made it sound like he was having an affair and I thought that Nora would think that too but apparently she realized that Kevin was hallucinating someone and I was wrong. The confusing nature of this scene took away a lot of the emotion and I didn't feel as much as I should have. This scene was vastly overshadowed by the Nora/Erika scene preceding it.
The Unknown: A few questions.
Is Nora actually a lens and does that theory have anything to it? I doubt that this will be answered.
Virgil sent the pie so we got that answer but why? Was it really because he knew they were in pain, and if so, how? Or is it just him trying to reconcile with the Murphys? What did Virgil do that turned him away from the Murphys? Was that why John shot him? I would assume that shooting Virgil was what put John in prison.
What happened between Laurie and Tommy that scared Tommy away? I presume that we will see this in a later episode.
Best Moment: The conversation between Nora and Erika was fantastic. Regina King and Carrie Coon really delivered in this episode and absolutely provided the necessary emotion for this conversation. I love how the camera was fixated on the 2 of them assuring that our immersion would be with what they are saying too each other and nothing else.
Character of the Episode: It's tough between Erika and Nora, but I think I choose Nora because her story was gripping all the way through and Erika's wasn't until that wonderful conversation.
Conclusion: This episode was spectacular just like all of the other character-focused episodes but unfortunately there was one poor scene that hurt the score overall. Other than that, this was more of the usual excellence from The Leftovers.
Summary: Matt lives every day similar to the first day he arrived in Miracle with hopes that it will cause Mary to wake up again. Matt leaves town to see a doctor for Mary and learns that she is pregnant and he realizes he needs to be in Miracle for the child to survive. Matt's wristbands are taken by a man and he is trapped outside of Miracle. Nora eventually comes to get him but Matt only lets her take Mary inside and he stays outside of the town.
The Good: We get another Matt-centric episode and much like the previous one this delivered in spades. The Leftovers always seems to bring its A-game with Matt episodes and they did it again.
The opening sequence was truly wonderful. It showed the same thing over and over again to make us realize what Matt does every day, and then we quickly realize why Matt is doing this: he wants his wife to wake up again by doing similar things. It's sad stuff and culminates in a tremendous and emotional speech from Matt who just begs Mary to wake up and come back to him. Much like "Two Boats and a Helicopter" Matt is instantly likeable and we want to see him get what he is working so hard for.
One of the things that makes this episode so powerful, just like "Two Boats and a Helicopter" is the usage of the viewers' sympathy. We feel for Matt's struggle and we want him to succeed because these episodes really show how great a person Matt is. He has all these terrible things happen to him and yet he retains his faith and good-nature which earns him our sympathy, making us root for him to succeed in his mission. And thankfully he succeeds this time and Mary is now safe in Miracle even if he isn't.
Mary's pregnancy was an excellent twist that helped reinforce Matt's fate and led into a spectacular conflict between Matt and John. John, like any regular person, would suspect that Matt was fooling around with Mary in her catatonic state since he was hiding the pregnancy papers but of course we know Matt and we know he wouldn't do something like that. However John doesn't know this and we learned in the previous episode that he doesn't believe in miracles so it makes perfect sense that he would oppose Matt's claims. Their 2 confrontations were superb and delivered powerful scenes in the way that only this show can do.
I loved this episode's focus on those outside of Miracle in the camp. It emphasized how terrible of a place that is and how these people badly just want to enter the city and have turned into truly cruel, strange and creepy human beings in their desperation. I'm sure these people will come into play later on at some point and this was a fitting introduction for them.
Another great bit of writing was the man who stole Matt's wristband. Obviously we wouldn't like him for taking advantage of a good person for his own gains, but that storyline came to an unexpected and brutally sad closure as the man died in a car accident and left his son orphaned. It was a sad image to see the boy hand over his wristband to Matt, and gave the storyline some very emotional closure.
The ending sequence was very good too. The way I'm interpreting it is that Matt has to pay for his sins, in the possibility that he did impregnate Mary while she was in a coma and so he will pay the price until he can prove it to the world that he is innocent. The music that was being played also really delivered as Matt put himself into the stocks completely naked and ready to - as the stocks said- repent.
This episode was also a little bit lighthearted at all of the right times. Things like Matt dropping his phone in the toilet, Matt and Mary getting swept away in the sewage pipe and more delivered some well timed laughs and provided some moments of levity to make this episode easier to watch for those who were bothered by this show's very depressing themes. It's good to see The Leftovers trying to embrace a new aspect with good success to make the show have a greater appeal.
The Bad: This episode feels very familiar to "Two Boats and a Helicopter" because both episodes show Matt struggling through desperate measures to accomplish something with things going wrong at every turn and his own good will screwing him over. It still works as a story but it doesn't let the episode rise to the same heights that "Two Boats" reached. But that doesn't change the fact that this was an awesome episode.
The Unknown: A few things this time.
Did Mary actually wake up like Matt said or did he perhaps hallucinate her? We saw him hallucinate Mary waking up once in this episode so is it possible that it happened before? That would be the only way it could make sense if Mary didn't wake up because we know Matt is a good person that wouldn't have sex with his wife while she is in a coma.
How did the Visitor's Centre man know to tell Matt to get Mary inside or his child would die? It seems something supernatural is at play unless Matt imagined that as well.
What's the story of the man that Matt had to hit with the oar? It was very strange that Matt had to hit him and scream "Brian!" with so many people watching. What was that man's story? This question doesn't need to be answered though as it could easily work as just a way for us to understand how messed up the people outside of Miracle are.
Best Moment: Tough to choose, there were many good scenes. I'll pick Matt and John's first conversation. Really tense and emotional stuff and both characters behaved realistically.
Character of the Episode: Matt of course. f there is a Matt-centric episode on this show, how can it not be Matt?
Conclusion: Another stellar episode this season, with this one being the best episode of the season for sure. Matt's story captivated once more and delivered another memorable hour. This show is on fire and I can't wait to see what other emotional stories will be told in the next half of this season.
Summary: Nora wakes up without Kevin and panics but is relieved when he returns. The next morning, Nora and Kevin go to help search for Evie. Kevin tells Nor about where he woke up at night. John and Kevin go for a drive and John attacks Isaac, suspecting that he did something to Evie. Kevin stops anyone from killing each other but John is shot and has to be operated on by Erika. Kevin is stuck dealing with the imaginary Patti who tells him that he tried to kill himself last night. She also reveals that the missing girls vanished.
The Good: This was a faster paced episode and was more exciting than usual while still containing several emotional and powerful scenes. The Leftovers continues its hot streak in the second season.
After 3 episodes we finally get to see the fallout from Evie's disappearance and it does satisfy. As expected there is instantly a manhunt to look for the girls. Kevin does manage to escape the scene but he did leave some evidence so it's clear that there will soon be a conflict between Kevin and the Murphys which should be very interesting.
It was great to see a tense sequence in this show when Kevin was at the search site. we never knew when someone may turn against him or if some evidence would be found to incriminate him. We were then treated to an even more tense scene where Kevin rode in a car with John and we didn't know what was going to happen. It was an excellent example of tension as we were left at the edge of our seat because we didn't know what John knew and if he was going to kill or torture Kevin or something along those lines.
I also heavily enjoyed the opening sequence and Nora's story in this episode. She came to Miracle to feel safe, that was established back in "A Matter of Geography" and yet after the first night she ended up having to face the possibility of another Departure, which was a concept introduced to her right before leaving Mapleton. Her panic is wonderfully done and Carrie Coon was sublime as always. It also led to a great episode story as we see Nora come face to face with her fears that Miracle is no different from the outer world; a theme that was examined prominently in John's story as well.
Speaking of John's story, it was a highlight in this episode. We get to see his grief take control of him as he violently goes after Isaac with a wonderful story continuation from "Axis Mundi". It fits what we know of John's character to be so impulsive but he remains sympathetic due to having lost his daughter. This show does a very good job of making all the main characters sympathetic in some way.
Other than those main stories, we also have Kevin's story but I will explain what I enjoyed in detail later (see: Best Moment). Kevin's story was wonderfully interwoven with all the others and as such it featured several prominent emotional moments with characters. And those were present outside of the Kevin story too. The best scenes for sure were Nora/Jill, Kevin/Patti, Kevin/John, Kevin/Erika, John/Erika and Nora/Matt. All of these scenes had emotional resonance to them which made them really stand out.
The Bad: Nothing was actually bad. The Jill and Michael story left a lot to be desired but I wouldn't call it bad and it could very well become more interesting later on.
The Unknown: There were a fair amount of questions from this episode.
Did the girls actually vanish as Patti said? Can we trust what Patti says?
Is Patti actually real? How else does she remember what Kevin saw? Unless she is Kevin's inner self for his blackouts.
Who is Virgil? What does he mean about Nora's loss? He said he could help Kevin before so does he try to help Kevin directly or just anyone? Is he even sane?
Why did Kevin try to kill himself? Is he actually that unhappy?
How will Isaac play into the rest of the story? Did he have something to do with Evie's disappearance?
Did Mary actually wake up or did Matt imagine it?
Could the pillar man see Patti at the end of the episode? Does that mean she is real?
Best Moment: The Kevin story built up so nicely to that end scene with Patti. Patti's presence delivered throughout the episode and kept pushing Kevin to a breaking point where he finally started to talk to her a little about the suicide attempt which hung over the episode almost like the elephant in the room. Kevin clearly wanted to pretend like it never happened but he's forced to face it at the end. Justin Theroux acted superbly and delivered a very powerful "I don't want to kill myself" at the end of the episode and Ann Dowd delivered a great performance in pressuring Kevin. The scene came together so well.
Character of the Episode: Kevin for his wonderful storyline that culminated in a great scene.
Conclusion: This was another powerful episode that delivered on my expectations for sure. This season hasn't hit the high points of last season so far but it has been much more consistent and every episode has been a winner. This episode was more of the same enjoyment and I look forward to seeing more from this season.
Summary: Laurie and Tommy have created a sort of cult to free people of the GR and let them return to their lives. Tommy has infiltrated the GR to do this. Laurie is writing a book about what happened to her to try and get some money. Tommy is discovered by the GR and is taken away and raped by Meg who threatens him. Laurie's book fails after she attacks Peter, a potential publisher. Tommy ultimately tells his cult that he is the next Holy Wayne and can take peoples pain away.
The Good: This was really good and I enjoyed most of it. Tommy and Laurie's new cult was a logical step for them to take having both just escaped from their own cults. It made sense for Laurie to use her therapist skills to try to free the people of the GR so they can move on with their lives like she did. It's a good thing that she's doing which makes us support her and want for her to. Engaging with and supporting characters can be the key between good and great television, as evidenced by the riveting success of "Two Boats and a Helicopter" so it's nice to see the writers are still focused on keeping the characters gripping.
Laurie's arc in this episode was also really well done. She kept trying to do things the right way, but the stress of her situation forced her hand and we slowly see her getting more angry with every scene she's in. It starts with the robbery of her laptop and culminates with her attacking Peter for making her face her feelings again. It's sad and a mini tragedy of sorts to see Laurie fall so far, and in the end she has to rely on Tommy to keep her organization together.
A highlight scene of the Laurie arc was her scene with Peter when she attacks him. She had just received news about Susan's accident a moment before so she was obviously under some stress already but then when Peter tried to get her to face her emotions again she snapped. When watching the scene, you can see Laurie get more and more annoyed when Peter keeps suggesting things that clearly missed the point she was trying to make in the book, but when Laurie was placed back into the tragedy she witnessed last season it was clearly too much for her to handle. This scene also led to a nice scene between Laurie and Tommy where Laurie cries out in his arms.
I also really enjoyed this episode's story about Susan who joined the GR. It proves a point that people's pain is often caused by many things and it can't be dealt with in as simple of a way as Laurie was trying. As Tommy said at the end of the episode, they have to give something back to fill in the holes that are in these people. Susan's story was a hash way of getting Laurie to realize this as we see Susan get taken out of the GR and back to her family. But her problems and pains persist and she is only able to get rid of them by killing herself along with her family. It's a really sad scene that serves as a wake up call not only to Laurie but to us as well.
Lastly, Holy Tommy was a wonderful development. It's unclear if Tommy is saying the truth or not (see: The Unknown), but that only adds to the wonder of this scene. What is made clear is that it doesn't matter if Tommy is telling the truth or not, but people believe him and this can be a big change for Laurie's cult. I'm glad that the Holy Wayne storyline has now paid off in a big way since I thought it was the weakest storyline in the previous season. But now it seems we can really connect to Tommy this season if he's lying or not as we can understand how he feels about what he's doing.
The Bad: Two episodes later and there is still no continuation of the cliffhanger at the end of "Axis Mundi". Sure, this episode was definitely outstanding and was a worthy episode to hold off the cliffhanger's resolution, but it's still frustrating to wait so long to see what happens next.
I wasn't a fan of Laurie's robbery. It seemed way too easy and it was ridiculous that it was shown in such a flippant manner without any consequences to it at all.
I didn't like that there was a very limited follow up to Tommy's rape. That scene should have been treated like a bigger deal than it was but instead we only get one scene of Tommy being angry.
The Unknown: Not as many questions in this episode, but we had 2 really big ones.
I will start with Meg. There was so much intrigue in that storyline that I was tempted to put it in the good, but there are too many mysteries for me to put it there. And of course I wasn't a fan of the rape. What has Meg been up to since season 1? Has she been promoted in the GR? She does seem to have much more control than she did before. Why did she rape Tommy? Will she oppose Laurie directly?
Does Tommy really have Holy Wayne's powers? Does Laurie believe he has these powers? Or is this all just a hoax for Laurie and Tommy to give the former GR members something to replace what they have taken away? Either way it works, which is the great thing about this show. Every answer you can come up with satisfies from a storytelling perspective.
Best Moment: Tommy's speech at the end of the episode was excellent. It gave us a reason to finally care for his character and also gave us a very interesting mystery to think about for the future episodes.
Character of the Episode: Laurie for having to go through so much before finally having some success.
Conclusion: This was a very strong episode, though it did have a few flaws. But outside of the flaws, the quality was damn good which earns this episode a fairly high score.
Summary: In Mapleton, Kevin and Nora officially start a family and adopt their baby. Kevin decides to leave Mapleton and the family moves to a rental in Miracle. However the rental burns down and Nora is forced to buy a house for $3 million. Kevin isn't happy with the new house but he decides to try to make it work for Nora. Kevin goes to sleep and suddenly wakes up in the spring where Evie disappeared with a cinderblock tied to his leg.
The Good: This was the kind of episode that I expected in the premier. That's not to say the premier was bad, but this is more like what I was expecting which is good.
I liked the change shown in Kevin and Nora's relationship as it shows that they are both really trying to make things work. The scene early on where Kevin and Nora tell each other their deepest secrets was really good and made sense considering the state of their relationship. It gets them started on the right boat and shows us that they want to prevent anything from getting in the way of their relationship. Jill's presence was good too as it helped show that she is starting to get back to how she was before. More on that later though.
I really loved the contrast between Kevin and Nora's relationship and Kevin and Laurie's. Kevin faces predicaments similar to ones we have already seen him face back in season 1 and he is very different in his response to Nora and he is catching himself because he so desperately wants everything to work out. Kevin having to go somewhere earlier than he thought mirrors the scene in "Pilot" when Kevin has to go to the meeting and then Nora buying the house mirrors Laurie wanting the dog from "The Garveys at their Best". This is a very effective way of showing the change in Kevin's mindset and how different this relationship is from what came before. But it also shows that Kevin is usually a worse guy than this, and if the real him comes out then the relationship may be over.
I loved that the events of last season still loom over Kevin in this episode. Watching Patti kill herself was pretty traumatic for him and I'm glad to see that he's not going to be freed of that guilt any time soon. The choice to have Patti appear to him in a hallucination was wonderful as it draws on Kevin's possible craziness which he showed in season 1 and it also serves as an effective reminder for the past Kevin can't leave behind. Looks like Patti is still doing her job as a member of the GR. I also really liked that Kevin had to dig up Patti and tried to face some penance for what he did. Kevin says he doesn't want to blow his life up, but is that really true? Kevin may have imagined Patti in his life because he didn't face proper justice for what he did. And perhaps him waking up in the spring (see: The Unknown) was after he tried to kill himself in an attempt to face up to killing Patti.
The best part of this episode (see: Best Moment) was Jill speaking with Tommy at the diner. It was a short and easy way for us to touch base with Tommy and Laurie since they weren't the focus of this episode and it let us know that they are doing something together now. It was great to see that Tommy and Jill still had a good amount of love and affection for each other as siblings despite what went down and it was nice to see them meeting together. Furthermore this scene gave us a subtle and very satisfying conclusion to Jill's season 1 arc as she finally tells Tommy that she is okay. Now it seems her main storyline will involve her broken relationship with her mother.
Kevin and Nora officially adopting Lily was a nice scene and opened up this episode with a lot of hope, something that's pretty rare on The Leftovers.
The Bad: I wasn't happy with Nora buying the house with all of her money. It didn't feel very realistic and it felt like the writers were just trying too hard to make us understand that Nora really wants Miracle to work for her.
It's a little annoying to get no follow up to last episode's cliffhanger. This reminds me of episodes of Lost where they have a cliffhanger but then spend another episode without progressing through the cliffhanger because we need to see other characters' perspective. I didn't like it on Lost and I don't like it now.
The Unknown: Lots of questions again, but not as many as last episode.
What research has the government done on the Sudden Departure and what do they know about it? Is it possible that the Sudden Departure could happen again? Did we just witness it happen again with Evie?
Is Patti real? We still don't know if Kevin Sr.'s voices are genuine. It does seem more likely that she's an imagination of Kevin's though.
How did Kevin Sr. get released? Why is he going to Australia?
Why do so many people live outside of Miracle? Are they trying to get inside?
Who is that man that Kevin encountered at the visitors centre? What did he mean with what he said? Does he say that to everybody?
Why is the house so broke a destroyed? Did John evict somebody from that house too?
Did Kevin try to kill himself at the end of the episode? Did he cause the water to disappear and also cause whatever happened to Evie?
What happened to all of the other characters in Mapleton like Lucy, Aimee and Dean?
What are Laurie and Tommy up to?
Best Moment: The Jill scene was excellent and did a good job of closing out on storyline and opening up another. I hope we get to catch up with Tommy and Laurie soon.
Character of the Episode: Kevin for trying to make things work in his new family.
Conclusion: This was another solid and enjoyable episode. There wasn't as much mystery as the previous episode but this did provide some effective catch up with what our main characters have been up to and the problems they are experiencing.
Summary: The Murphy family lives in Miracle, Texas a place where the entire population of a town was spared from the Sudden Departure. Kevin, Nora and Jill move in next door to the Murphys. The daughter of the Murphy family Evie, mysteriously vanishes when going for a swim along with several friends.
The Good: This was a very good premier that set up the season very nicely.
First of all, this episode was very ambitious and set up the season in a bold and unpredictable way. By sticking with a family who we are not acquainted with at all we get to see the show with fresh eyes and open up the season with a total blank slate, instead of treating it as a continuation of season 1's story. This is unique and very risky and yet it somehow works and makes this episode a very fun experience. It introduces a new setting and batch of characters in an almost flawless way.
The opening scene was another example of this risky and bold approach. The focus goes to a very random cave woman from many years ago. It sets up the story well and asks several questions about the significance of the scene (see: The Unknown), as well as providing a wonderful short story that contains a similar theme to the one being examined in The Leftovers as a whole. The cavewoman lost everything important to her in an unexplained tragedy (the earthquake) and is forced to continue on with her grief, but even with new life (her child) she can't leave her past behind (the cave). It's an excellent example of symbolism, and it works to open up this season by reminding us of the overall theme and tone of the show.
One of the best things this episode does is that it makes you care for 4 new characters and a family as a whole in the span of a single episode. It's really impressively done and also shows that the writers learned from showing "The Garveys at their Best" so late in the first season. Now we are set up to watch this family in suffering after the surprise ending and we will care because we understand how each member of the family functions and what their relationships are with each other.
Of all the characters we saw, John stood out the most. Each character's storyline raised plenty of questions, but John's story did have some emotion and tension. His confrontation with Isaac did have some emotion since it's hard to see a man get evicted out of his house. And Isaac's prediction that something bad will happen did loom over the episode and provided a really tense moment when John was reaching into the garbage disposal. And of course everything came full circle at the end of the episode when it seemed like Evie just vanished into thin air along with her friends and the town's springwater.
I also really liked the comedy with Mark Linn-Baker faking his departure and being discovered. Of course there would be at least somebody who would fake their departure.
I really like the new intro. It has less of a serious vibe but still has a bit of a sad and eerie take to it with the shadow figures representing those who departed. The song of "Let the Mystery be" was an excellent choice as it reinforced that we won't get a concrete answer and that we just have to let it be.
The Bad: As much as I liked this episode for being very bold, it still does kind of suck to hardly see any familiar faces. At least we did get to see Kevin's family a little bit and the appearance from Matt was also very welcome.
The Unknown: What was the significance of the cavewoman in the first scene? Did she in some way make Miracle the special place it appears to be? Is Miracle even special or just lucky?
What does the cricket symbolize? Does it have any significance in the story?
What were those cracks in the road that were blocked off? Was it caused by another earthquake?
Who was the woman with the wedding dress? Why is she wearing it?
Who was the man on the pillar and why is he there? What was the significance of the letter to David Burton in Australia?
Is Isaac a genuine psychic because he predicted something bad would happen? Or is he a fake like John thinks? It seems like Isaac has become the new Holy Wayne.
Why does John make it his job to expose frauds? Who did John attempt to kill? John says the Murphys have no friends, is that true? John's work may have alienated the town.
What was the significance of the bird in the box that Erika dug up?
Why was Matt in Miracle? He seemed to imply that something magical happened to him? What was it?
Who was the man who killed the goat and why did he kill the goat? Why was nobody bothered by it?
Who was the man Michael went to visit on the outskirts of town?
Who gave John the pie?
Why did the Garveys move to Miracle? A fresh start? Where are Laurie and Tommy?
What was Kevin's head wound? what happened? Why did he stare at the couch? Is he still a little crazy?
Did Evie's seizures have any significance? How about her and her friends streaking in the forest? Where did she and her friends go? Were they in the water and it made them vanish somewhere? Did they depart? Will there be more of these departures?
Why is the water gone? Was it something supernatural or did the earthquake cause it?
Best Moment: Michael biking through Miracle was an excellent moment. It set up the new setting in a brilliant way and some expertly ordered shots, we got to understand the significance of the location and what was so special about it.
Character of the Episode: John for standing out the most out of all the new family members.
Conclusion: This was a unique and bold premier but it worked and set up the season very well. I am looking forward to seeing where the story goes and I hope it can hit the emotion highs of next season. Some answers would be very nice as well.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.