Two episodes into the second season of The Leftovers and the tone is less bleak but the outcomes, it seems, are as grim as last year. What’s different this season, however, is that Damon Lindelof seems to be having a great deal of fun putting his characters through the wringer of grief. In a show already brimming with supernatural weirdness, Lindelof upped the Lost ante this week by giving Kevin Murphy an abusive (and hilarious) dark passenger in Patti Levin (Ann Dowd), who may or may not be responsible for what happened to Kevin at the end of the episode.
What did happen to Kevin? He woke up at the bottom of a now empty lake with a brick tied around his foot, next to a flopping fish. The suggestion earlier in the episode from the MIT. people who bought Nora’s house (and the title of the episode) suggests the departure is a “Matter of Geography.” Does the departure zero in on certain spots, and did Kevin get swept up in the second departure and find himself at the bottom of a now empty lake? (If so, why didn’t it take Nora, who was in bed with him?). The MIT folks suggested the departure took the departed somewhere else. Maybe Kevin’s journey to his destination was interrupted by the magical waters of Miracle?
Or, more likely, did Kevin have another one of his sleepwalking episodes? Did he, at the behest of Patti Levin, attempt to kill himself by tying a brick to his foot and throwing himself to the bottom of the lake? Or did Patti throw him in herself, as it seems that Patti’s ghost has the ability to physically harm Kevin, as in when she banged his head on the stove. It wouldn’t be the first possibly non-existent person that Kevin has interacted with who seemingly has the power to manipulate the physical world: We still aren’t quite certain who or what Dean — the bald guy who was in the cabin with Patti and Kevin in Cairo, NY — was during last season.
If it was a suicide attempt, perhaps Kevin Murphy was the beneficiary of a huge stroke of luck,in becoming the first person ever to have the water of an entire lake disappear while he was at the bottom of it.
Indeed, the events of The Leftovers are now entering the kooky phase, as Lindelof does what he does best: Litter the episode with intriguing questions, three-fourths of which he’ll never answer. That’s OK, as long as Ann Dowd rides along, menacing Kevin and offering up ominous comic relief.
A second departure — if indeed that’s what it was — is going to destroy the tourism industry in the town of Miracle, Texas, and the $3 million that Nora spent on an old busted house has suddenly become the worst investment ever.
At least they have each other, right?
As for the questions raised by the episode? Add these to the 25 mostly still unanswered questions we had after the season premiere (at least we know now how Kevin got that cut on his head).
1. We now know that Tom is hanging out with Laurie, that Jill knows that Lily is Tom’s baby (and, by the way, Margaret Qualley (daughter of Andie MacDowell) has been spectacular this season, so far), but we still don’t know what Laurie and Tom are doing together. We do know that Tom is “not OK.” I suspect that next week will be Tom and Laurie’s featured episode (and it this season repeats last, the fourth episode will focus on Matt Jamison).
2. We still don’t know what’s going on with Liv Tyler’s Meg Abbott, either, or the Guilty Remnant in the wake of the fire. We do know, however, that the public still has a lot of hostility toward the Guilty Remnant. If a GR member kills herself in your vicinity, the police will apparently take your word for it, no questions asked.
3. What was in that letter that Laurie wrote Jill, which is only half ripped up?
4. Is Laurie speaking yet?
5. Is the departure a matter of geography? And what kind of data could the M.I.T. researchers possibly hope to acquire from a house where three people departed?
6. What did happen to the eye of the detective with an eye patch? And why would Kevin not ask?
7. Is Kevin’s Dad actually sane now? Why is he moving to Australia? And what does he mean by, “I can start [the world] up again.”
8. “Jesus. Your sense of humor is back,” Kevin’s Dad told him. Is that Lindelof acknowledging that he lost his last season?
9. Why does Miracle quarantine animals for 60 days?
10. Does this guy — who we met in the last episode, praying with Michael Murphy — know that Kevin sees Patti? He says he can help Kevin with his “situation.” How does he know?
11. Why does Matt Jamison insist on remaining in that dump rather than move in with Kevin and Nora? (Related: Is Mary really happy to see Kevin and Nora? Because she doesn’t seem to be that happy about anything, really.)
12. What the hell was this that Kevin couldn’t stop staring at? The trees through the tent?
13. I’ve tried to discern the song playing in Evie’s car when she departed four or five times now, and I can’t figure it out, except that it’s EDM and it includes the lyrics “C’est la vie.” Any idea?
14. And finally, of course, how did Kevin end up at the bottom of the lake?