In a show where the main character is hanging by a thread, eventually things will become unhinged. After Kevin’s soul bearing admission to Nora that he can see Patti, he finds she has left him. Nora is, and as we’ve witnessed throughout the entire story, a survivor. He’s viewed as a danger, so she ups and leaves with the baby and her sister-in-law.
This leaves Kevin with an angry daughter and an unwelcome offer. The latter comes by way of Michael’s grandfather Virgil, the guy that has touched kids inappropriately. Not the first choice a man should go to for salvation. He refuses – storms away, in fact – when Virgil says he has to face Patti in death.
By chance, Kevin gets a call from the troopers that his wife Laurie is at the gate requesting his presence. Handy that a psychiatrist pops into his life when he needs it. For the second time in two episodes he tells a woman he’s going crazy. This one agrees, and says she’ll help nurse him back.
Then we get a turn of events and a twist (so stop reading before you hit spoilers).
Kevin has a heartfelt conversation over the phone with the estranged Nora. She agrees to return if he is 100% fixed. So a long path to recovery with the professional help on hand, right? Nope. A trip back to Virgil and a jug of poison.
What follows will have you reaffirming that you should never trust a paedophile.
The sixth episode of the season throws us back into the main plot. Everything that has been back-flashed and filled in, all the new arcs set in motion, begin their final ascent – or should that be descent?
After the appearance of the Guilty Remnants in previous instalments, we now get the researchers making a return. It was thanks to the scientific study Nora came away $3m. This time they bring her only aggravation.
Along with this they have a theory. That certain people act as a “lens.” These potential lenses cause people within close proximity to vanish. Not a great suggestion to a woman who lost her entire family. A scientific explanation would be something people would search for after a rapture with the same intensity that religious folks would look to God.
The oddness here, is Nora is later told the lenses over the phone, about the spiritual connection. It could be this group are separate from the main scientific movement. Clearly the script writers have given themselves room for manoeuvre regarding cause and consequence.
The peak of the episode, and potentially the season, is a conversation between Erika and Nora. It takes place in the Murphy household after Erika has an outburst at a town meeting, assembled for the missing girls. While there, Nora robs a new version of the questionnaire used to determine the validity of sudden departures.
Both actresses build tangible tension and its possibly the most charged scene ever witnessed in a television show.
This would have made for a perfect episode, but after this scene Kev drops his bombshell to Nora. His acceptance and admission he is going crazy (or is he?) should have been a season peak but it was overshadowed by the previous scene. Instead it felt flat.
Still, worthy of its rating.
The midway point of the season (kind of) and we catch up with Matt Jamison, the holy man played by the excellent Christopher Eccleston. Or the former Doctor Who. Like the famous time traveller, we find ourselves once again skipping in time. On the face of it, this should be welcomed. Matt’s story holds intrigue, and his appearance in Jarden prompted the arrival of his sister and the series’ lead male, Kevin.
As always with Matt, things haven’t been going well for him, but he’s guided by faith. This time it isn’t just blind faith to the man above, he has true belief good things can, and do, happen in Miracle Town.
He claims his wife, Mary, woke the first night in Jarden. This assertion becomes all the more important when he discovers she is pregnant during a routine check-up. Then in typical Matt fashion, he gets carjacked and beaten up, their passes to Jarden stolen in the process.
This episode displays the power of belief and the drive of desperation. Once again John Murphy fulfils his duty as potential bad guy.
Despite containing key players and new elements, it’s the first average outing of the season. It just becomes hard to care about the downtrodden when it feels mundane.
The saving grace comes in the climatic scenes. It enriches an otherwise unnecessary episode and provides Matt with a new story arc. One that should be important later in the season.
Episode 4 throws us back to Kevin Garvey, and more importantly, what happened during his first night in Jarden.
It was neat to connect him to the disappearance of the water and potentially the missing girls. In a sleep walking state, he ended up in the empty river. He inadvertently left his finger print on Evie’s car and left his phone at the scene of the event.
It all makes for good tension building. The desperation passing between all the characters is tangible. The Murphys are struggling to cope with the loss of their daughter and the pressure drives John to extremes.
Kevin tags along, partly through guilt, partly because he’s now a passenger in his own life, sharing the view with Patti. It’s unknown if this element is delivering sound advice or a construct of his fractured mind that’s trying to make sense of the strange new world.
The divisions and lines between people are starting to form.
It’s 8/10 for this episode. A dip from recent showings but this is more of a foundation layer than revealer.
In our catch-up tour of the characters, the next stop we come to is Laurie and Tom Garvey.
This episode goes to show expectations should be put aside when diving into The Leftovers. After a blistering start to the season, filled with intrigue, I had little interest in finding out what Kev Garvey’s estranged wife and step-son had been up to.
Coming in with this low desire to see them may have helped what followed.
It’s an episode filled with tension. They are both helping members of the Guilty Remnant escape and recover. The reappearance of the cult was a sight I’d hoped we’d be spared. But it was silly to think one fire would see them off when they had spread like, well, wildfire.
What follows is an example of belief and hope versus fear.
After two 9/10s we get our first 10/10 show of the season.