Tonight’s trippy The Leftovers took Kevin to Patti Levin’s home field for a showdown that awakened quite a few folks from season 1.
Don’t drink the water, don’t save the drowning child, vote for Patti Levin, and keep your hands where we can see them. There are a ton of rules in The Leftovers‘ alternate universe, but the most confusing of all may be who gets to visit this purgatory and who does not. Damon Lindelof is not shy when it comes to revealing how closely The Leftovers reflects his psyche. We’re not professionals here, but we will say that if this is the case, tonight’s The Leftovers has us a bit worried.
Season 2 of the The Leftovers is not throwing the audience answers every week, but it pulls back the curtain a bit more than season 1 ever did. The birds, the ones that Erika buries in the forest to confirm her grandmother’s myth that they will still live after three days, become the most relevant thread for this week’s big reveal — Kevin’s death will not stick for the foreseeable future.
Related: 5 The Leftovers mysteries solved
Building an afterlife
The Leftovers afterlife is constructed around Kevin’s history starting with his identity crisis after the Sudden Departure leading up through his attempt to remove Patti from his life at the bottom of the Miracle lake. No reminders, however, appear from the life he wanted with Nora in the future.
“Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” That is the message on Kevin’s wardrobe that kicks off the chain reaction of events that guide him to the final act in his battle against Patti. A college graduate, Guilty Remnant attire, a sleek suit, and his former Mapleton police jacket await his approval. Opting for the suit, Kevin’s choose-your-own-adventure story turns him into an international spy tasked with the operative to murder Patti Levin. We wonder what the college grad would do. Beat her with student loan payment forms?
In this reality, Patti is a senator and leader of the Guilty Remnant who is running for president to spread her message to the world. Virgil killed himself in Jarden in order to serve as Kevin’s guide in the afterlife. He does not need to return to life alone in a cabin. Virgil guiding Kevin is his atonement for a life of sin. He tells Kevin he must shoot Patti in the head in order to remove him from his life forever.
Kevin has a rude awakening when Gladys takes Kevin into questioning to vet him for his exclusive meet and greet with Patti. Kevin’s answers align with one of the Guilty Remnant’s signature trademarks — he smokes to remember the day the world ended. After he is cleared to see Patti, he spots a young girl floating face down in the pool. Kevin rescues her, but the man who takes custody of her offers no thanks or affection toward Kevin or the child.
Preparing for his meeting, Kevin gets an odd signal through his television where his father appears to have found a way to connect to his son through a fire. Whether or not Garvey Sr. is dead is another story, but he relays the message to Kevin to take Patti to a well and kill her there. Shooting her will not work. As it turns out, he is right.
The Patti Levin who throws her political prowess around as Gladys and Holy Wayne protect her in the afterlife does not die when Kevin’s bullet pierces her skull. But Neal, Patti’s ex-husband, pushes Kevin toward another target, the young girl who nearly drowned to escape her life.
Miracles are still in Miracle
The child Kevin saved turns out to be the true incarnation of Patti Levin. Kevin’s final mission is to return the child to Jarden and push her down the Orphan’s Well. Said to be a connection between the spiritual world and reality, Kevin bids the hotel farewell after his guide took a sip of the water, the liquid that seals souls to the hotel’s grounds.
Once in Jarden, Kevin lets the young girl express her fears, but her constant chatter drives him past hesitation and allows him to carry out pushing her into the well. However, the battle is not over yet. At the bottom of the well, the adult version of Patti waits for Kevin. With one final tale of her four night run on Jeopardy, Kevin finally finds the strength to drown Patti in the shallow water of the well.
An earthquake sends Kevin back to the surface where he crawls out of the grave Michael dug in the woods. Alive, but certainly not well, Kevin returns to Jarden, cashing in one final miracle.
A few lingering questions:
•Why was Mary at the hospital receiving congratulation balloons?
•Was the reason the birds were not returning because someone killed them in the hotel lobby?
•What will Kevin do now?
Watch The Leftovers season 2, episode 9, “Ten Thirteen,” Sunday, November 29 at 9:00 p.m. ET on HBO.