Damon Lindelof is a goddamn genius, and in the second season of The Leftovers, I’m convinced now that he’s responsible for the best written television series of the year. We speak a lot about that magical ability to create a compelling mystery that outsmarts the viewer at home but leaving enough breadcrumbs so that the reveal makes total sense but not so many that the reveal is predictable. That’s exactly what Lindelof pulled off with the Evie mystery this season.
(Spoilers through this week’s episode)
I’ve read a lot about The Leftovers — other critic’s articles, message boards, theory posts, etc. — and I don’t think I’ve read anyone who predicted that Evie had joined the Guilty Remnant. The second that Evie handed Meg a baby carrot in the flashback sequence in this episode, however, it clicked: Of course that’s what happened. The clues have been under our nose the entire time.
The Guilty Remnant had been put so far on the backburner this season — Patti Levin was torturing Kevin, and Laurie Garvey had broken free of the organization— that it never occurred to me that Lindelof would bring it back around to Jardin. At best, I thought, Tom had left Laurie to join the Remnant after Meg had forced herself upon him, but the idea that Meg (and Tom) would end up back in Jardin never entered the equation, much less that Meg would be behind the disappearance of Evie and her friends and a greater conspiracy, it seems, designed to destroy the bridge that keeps people out of Jardin.
But it makes total sense in retrospect. Remember when Evie and her friends were running naked through the forest in the season premiere?
They were doing a trial run of their escape. They had members of the Guilty Remnant waiting to pick them up.
Most telling, however, was a brief scene in which all four women were in the car after flirting with Dr. Goodheart and playfully swimming in the lake. Despite a lot of giggling and teasing, the moment they were alone together, they were dead silent, just like Remnant members would be.
Look at this sly, conspiratorial look Evie gives her friend while they’re singing about what a “miracle” Jardin is, as though saying, “Yeah. We’ll show them a miracle, alright.”
Maybe you’re wondering how Meg and the Guilty Remnant knew exactly when a quake would occur, causing the disappearance of the water in the reservoir? They knew because they triggered it. Meg caused the quake. Recall that, at the beginning of this week’s episode during Meg’s tour of Jardin, she learned that a crack in the street was caused by a gas explosion. Later in the episode, it was revealed that Meg had been involved in the purchase of plastic explosives, ergo she bought the explosives that caused the explosion that was mistaken for a quake that was tied to a possible second departure.
Lindelof and Perrotta have been meticulously layering in clues and questions all season long, and each of the last several episodes have been paying them off, like a majestic set of falling dominoes. I can’t begin to imagine the thought that Lindelof/Perotta put into planning out the season. Unlike with Lost, you can’t accuse Lindelof of not planning ahead. He didn’t make it up as he went along. He’s orchestrated a masterful, novelistic season of television that’s been nothing short of mind-blowing.