This week finally supplied some answers about what happened between last season’s finale and this season’s premiere. Kevin, Jill, Nora and baby Lily’s move to Miracle seemed to come right after the season 1 finale, but we now learn it was actually several months.
After Nora finds the baby, there is a visible shift (sudden onset hope, perhaps?) in Kevin, Nora and Jill. Jill asks if they are keeping the baby and Nora sort of looks to Kevin with puppy dog eyes for the answer. Kevin uncomfortably reminds her they really don’t know each other, and tells her about his sleepwalking and kidnapping Patti, how she killed herself and how Rev. Jamison helped him bury her body. He pointedly does not mention the whole hearing and seeing Ghost Patti thing. He did take care to mention that he smokes, though, so good for him.
Nora takes a beat before telling Kevin she used to hire prostitutes to shoot her while she wore a bulletproof vest – different strokes, I guess – and apologizes to Jill for lying about the gun. With all their cards on the table, this feels like the moment they accept each other for better or for worse and move forward as a family. Later in the episode, Kevin emphasizes how they tell each other everything and Nora tells Kevin she can handle anything he has to tell her. He still keeps his little Ghost Patti secret though, so we can assume that’s going to bite him eventually.
Flashing forward two months, we get a callback to the scene from the beginning of season 1, with Kevin playing the role of the busy mom. He’s doing laundry at a laundromat (presumably the same one as the lady in season 1) and Lily is fussy. As he leaves he gets a call from Nora, reminding him of an appointment. He can barely hear her because Lily is crying in the backseat and is clearly frustrated (again, just like the mom and baby in season 1). This time, instead of the baby departing and the woman screaming to find her child, Kevin makes it to the appointment, which happens to be to legally adopt Lily.
Kevin decides it’s time to fix their washing machine so he doesn’t have to go to the laundromat anymore. While doing so, he gets frustrated and starts beating up the machine. We switch back and forth between Kevin kicking the machine and Kevin beating Patti, Patti suffocating with the plastic bag, and Patti slitting her throat. He goes to the hardware store to get the right parts to fix the machine and we are again flashing between Kevin at the store and Patti’s body after he reads a rat poison sign that says “Kills Every Time.” He decides to buy a shovel, too, and digs up Patti’s body. On his way home, he purposely speeds around a state trooper to get pulled over. He immediately tells the trooper a body is in the back of his truck. He’s taken in and the FBI asks him what happened. He describes kidnapping her and how she killed herself. To his surprise, the agent says in so many words, “Who cares? You’re off the hook.”
Meanwhile, Jill meets up with Tommy, who turns out to be the one who brought them the baby; he refers to the baby as “it,” so clearly he’s still upset about the whole Holy Wayne situation. Tommy gives Jill a letter from “her” (presumably Laurie) but Jill rips it up; he then hops in a car with Laurie, who is wearing a Guilty Remnant-forbidden watch, so perhaps she’s left them for good.
Nora finds out that the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) wants to buy her house – listed for $600,000 – for over four times that. They explain they are researching areas with several departures. Nora is skeptical, since she was standing in the kitchen when her family disappeared, but MIT says it’s a matter of geography (which happens to be the title of this episode). Meaning: if she was at the kitchen and her whole family was at the table, perhaps there was something specific about where the table is placed. He also mentions the fact that it could possibly happen again and this totally freaks Nora out, so Kevin asks her and Jill if they want to get out town, Nora is more than willing to go.
The season one episode “The Garveys At Their Best” hinted that the departed they all had one thing in common: resentment. The lady with the crying baby was frustrated and upset that her baby wouldn’t be quiet; Nora was upset her husband didn’t ask about her important job interview; Laurie was at the doctor, pregnant with a baby she knew Kevin didn’t want; and Kevin was cheating on his wife (which seemed like the first time) with a stranger. At least that was my interpretation. But this week’s episode either adds a layer on top of that or debunks it completely.
When Kevin, Nora, Jill and Lily arrive in Miracle, we see just how desperate people are to get inside a town that seems “safe”: Nora loses it with the park ranger because their rental house burned down. Were they going to rent Isaac’s home? Is this actually the beginning of the increasingly tangled web between the Garveys and the Murphys? Nora then storms into a house auction and spends the $3 million burning a hole in her pocket on a home, catching Kevin off guard; they were only planning to “test out” living in Miracle.
The home is tattered and needs work; The water runs brown, there are problems with the electricity, and the stove doesn’t work right, which sends Kevin over the edge. He yells at Nora for buying this home without really talking to him. Jill asks her father not to screw this up, leading Kevin to apologize to Nora verbally and physically (if you know what I mean).
Kevin wakes up to find himself soaking wet in the pool of water Evie disappeared from last week. He tries to get up and walk but discovers there’s a cinder block tied to his ankle with rope. He pulls free and finds Evie’s friend’s car empty with music blaring. He tries to get in but it’s locked. Headlights flash in the distance and we see John and Evie’s brother pull up, check the car, and yell her name, bringing us full circle to where the last episode ended. Kevin scrambles to hide when Ghost Patti pops up next to him and says, “Uh, oh.” Uh, oh, indeed, Ghost Patti.
Obviously, Ghost Patti followed Kevin to Miracle and is not going anywhere anytime soon. Frustrated that Kevin won’t talk to her, she slams his head into the dysfunctional stove, which explains why he never came to the door when Nora was chatting with John last week. This is the first physical contact we’ve seen Ghost Patti make, but we didn’t actually see her do it. I’ve learned from Game of Thrones that if you don’t physically see something happen in a show that is sure to show you every gruesome death and detail, it’s wise to give it a second thought.
Before Kevin left Miracle, his father, Kevin Sr., was released from the crazy house. They said he was “cured"; he said he just started doing what the voices asked him to do. So will Kevin start doing what Ghost Patti asks him to do?
In a sort of side note, something’s up with this mysterious pie we keep seeing. Last week we saw John Murphy find the pie on his porch and give it to the Garveys as a welcoming gift; they then brought it back after Evie ruined the birthday cake. I’m interested to see if this game of pie tag keeps going. Is it poisoned? Is it a token of something else?
I think Ghost Patti summed this season up so far pretty well:
“Interesting family, the Murphys. Hard to tell if you’re part of their story of if they’re part of yours.”
Catch The Leftovers at 9pm Sundays on HBO or on-demand.