The Leftovers continues its sublime second season by drawing out the mysteries posed in last weeks instalment, whilst simultaneously bringing us up to date on how the Garveys came to Miracle, Texas. The storytelling is consistent with that of season one: bleakly beautiful storylines with nary a happy scene, culminating in something captivating. I cannot praise this show enough.
Take the opening. We’re no longer in Jarden, Texas, but back in Mapleton, which jars instantly. And it’s here that we see Nora picking up Christine’s baby, and instantly we know that we’re back where season one left off. This happiness at finding a baby is short lived.
Nora, Kevin and Jill decide to form a familial unit, and Kevin and Nora have some home truths for one another. Kevin’s abduction of Patti last season inadvertently led to her suicide and subsequent burial; Nora used to hire prostitutes to try and shoot her. They laugh, say that it’s okay, and everything is dandy. But in The Leftovers, nothing is happy for long.
And that’s why it’s so brilliant. Kevin, who is clearly becoming deranged like his father, digs up Patti’s body, gets arrested, and later released. With lingering looks at the woods, and the inability to focus without pounding rap or rock music blaring in his ears, Kevin is slowly losing the plot. Just look at the ending.
When he finally finds solace in sleep, he later wakes up (after presumably sleepwalking) in the riverbed where Evie vanished last week, suggesting that it is Kevin’s proximity to Jarden that is causing the upheaval. Does this have anything to do with the wish Holy Wayne bequeathed him last season?
What is likewise jarring is to see Kevin, Nora and Jill so… happy. At least for most of the episode, anyhow. There are undertones of bleakness – such as Jill meeting with her brother, Tommy, and seeing her mother Laurie who wants nothing to do with her – but everything is seemingly idyllic.
Kevin and Nora are making a real go at being together. Nora surely needs some happiness in her life, so I’m glad that she’s finally getting it with Kevin and baby Lily, but Kevin’s outburst at her towards the close of the episode made me want to punch him. If this plot continues, I hope Nora doesn’t just take his abuse.
Speaking of Nora, there are some tantalising teasers about the Sudden Departure, as some researchers from MIT want to buy her house for $2.7 million. And why’s that? Because they think they have a theory about why certain people were taken, but certainly not how or where. And it’s all a matter of geography. It’s heartbreaking to see the look upon Nora’s face as she realises that had she, too, been sat at the table alongside her family, she would have been taken too.
But this theory doesn’t entirely hold up. Laurie’s baby was taken during the Sudden Departure, and if it was due to geographical locations, then surely Laurie would have been taken too?
I’m still not entirely sure how Laurie and Tommy will factor into this season all that much, but it appears as though Patti is sticking around for the long haul – despite being dead! She claims time and time again that she is real, and I’m starting to think she is. How else would she have been able to strike Kevin’s head against the stove?
I’m predicting Kevin will fall further into lunacy as the season progresses, and I cannot wait to see the tumult unfold as a result.