The Leftovers season 2, episode 4 revisits Miracle after the earthquake forces everyone to reconsider what it is they are looking for.
Kevin Garvey better shape up because Nora Durst needs a man who can not only keep her satisfied, but make her feel safe. Miracle is out of miracles. The Leftovers season 2, episode 4, “Orange Sticker,” scraped away the comfort that Nora hoped to find in Miracle and asked everyone to take a step back and ask, “What am I looking for?”
Kevin and Nora offer to help with the search for Evie, partially to feel useful and partially to cover up the fact that Kevin lost his cell phone in the empty lake. The contrast of sending Kevin in the barren sinkhole surrounded by dead fish and Nora into the lush green forest filled with people coming together to feel stronger in numbers mirrors what each of them are looking for this season. Everywhere Kevin looks he sees death, loneliness, and no way out. Nora never wants to be too far from the promise of a fresh start and new life.
Nora’s tether to life is weakening, as Kevin’s tether to death is growing stronger. When the search for Evie turns up nothing, Nora pushes Kevin back into the darkness so she can attempt to figure out what is going on in her own head. Will she ever feel safe in the world again? Will there ever be a day where she does not wonder if a Departure will happen again? Over a few shots of wild turkey Nora explains why she believes deep down that the Sudden Departure was a one-time event. Through her work in fraudulent claims, Nora saw plenty of people using the greatest scapegoat in the world to break free from their families. If the great flood already happened, why would the arc need anymore animals?
Matt has a different opinion of the town and the power it holds. His first night in Miracle, Mary woke up and the two chatted for hours until they both fell back to sleep. But that one night, was it a hallucination or divine intervention? Maybe it will never happen again, but Matt has to believe that that one glimpse of wonder is enough to prove something larger is at work in the town. Whether the people of the congregation want to hear it or not, some experiences do prove that the “Spared” space has something to offer the world.
John Murphy is looking for a scapegoat, but the Departure is not it. People come to Miracle hoping to find a sense of peace, a connection with the people who were spared. To John that is a load of nonsense. No one person or town can save someone from themselves. They can, however, guide a person’s actions and possibly put a person at ease long enough to break their mental spiral. Take John, for instance. Kevin may have physically stopped John from taking Isaac’s life, but Erika works everyday to keep John alive.
So, what is Kevin looking for? A way out. As Jill mentions in her conversation with Nora, Kevin tried to keep everything in his control and when his best wasn’t good enough, he began to crack. That fight is still going on today; it follows him, quite literally, in the form of Patti Levin.
In “Orange Sticker,” Patti wins her first battle — she gets Kevin to talk to her. Patti is the mirror that Kevin refuses to look into, the voice that reminds him that his life is not about building a loving family, but rather it is about damage control. His suicide attempt was not about getting attention from his family; he has plenty of that. Kevin wanted to die.
Smitten that Kevin finally gave her the time of day, Patti walks off with the warning that even though Kevin has his own personal issues to work through, a much larger problem is heading their way. The girls and the water departed. As Kevin sits alone in the town square, the man in the tower asks, “Who is your friend?” Kevin may give up on himself, but Nora figures if she is going to get through the next phase of their lives, she has to anchor herself to something real and alive. As she handcuffs herself to Kevin before they go to bed, Kevin has a tether to life and Nora has her feeling of safety. But will that be strong enough to keep them both alive and sane? Their beliefs need to change, and until they do, Kevin and Nora are going to keep slipping out of each other’s reach.
John asserts that the people who believe in nothing are the most dangerous threat to Miracle. Does anyone actually have any beliefs? The only people we can say have any strong beliefs guiding their lives are Michael, the tower recluse, and the town outcast who, lives in the trailer with the Christmas lights.
Watch The Leftovers season 2, episode 5, “No Room at the Inn,” Sunday, November 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.