The Leftovers’ second episode of the season doesn’t rate too high on the bizzare factor, at least not until the end; maybe that’s why I enjoyed it as much. Maybe I just liked getting answers to my questions a couple of hours into the season, rather than after a few episodes have compounded all the mysteries.
In ‘A Matter of Geography‘ we get to see exactly what led to the Garveys’ decision to move to Jarden, otherwise known as Miracle, Texas, and to relive the season premiere’s events from their point of view.
We also get to see Kevin continue to lose his mind, a process inversely proportional to his father’s apparent improved mental health. Kevin Sr still sees things that aren’t there, but chooses to deal with it in a seemingly sane manner that gets him released from the psychiatric facility.
For Kevin, things are not that simple. As the episode progresses, he is increasingly grumpy, not least thanks to the constant appearances of the late Patti whenever he’s alone. Being a new dad after all these years isn’t helping with his anger issues, either. He chooses to avoid his baby’s cries by blasting music on his phone (and I’m sorry, but “Where is my mind?” was way too obvious a choice here) and takes it out on his malfunctioning washing machine. This somehow leads him back in the woods, to dig up Patti’s corpse. Luckily, any cop who’s heard of the Guilty Remnant’s antics isn’t too keen on throwing the former Chief in jail, whether he actually killed her or not.
Despite the lucky break, Kevin seems to be unraveling. His newly acquired digs aren’t exactly what he bargained for – and neither is the finality of his decision to move to Miracle, cemented by Nora’s purchase of a house not nearly worth the $3 million she paid for it, as opposed to feeling it out by renting a place for a few months. His subsequent outburst was not uncalled for. He just looks unhappy and uncomfortable in his own skin, and this new development ultimately makes him feel like he has no control over his own life. Obviously mirages of the woman whose body he buried aren’t exactly conducive to his peace of mind, and Kevin doesn’t seem too eager to share this with his family. That’s a shame, because his sharing his dark Patti secret, and in return getting an disturbing confession from Nora about her previous activities involving prostitutes, kevlar vests and handguns, resulted in obvious feelings of relief for both of them. Aside from Patti, Kevin has to contend with a stranger talking in riddles. It’s the old guy from last episode whom Michael visited. He’s confused and scared and desperately trying to keep it together, for the sake of his family, and something’s gotta give.
Nora, on the other hand, is perfectly happy. She was content with their situation before, ever since the arrival of baby Lily on Kevin’s doorstep. Now that they’ve adopted her and have officially become a family, she seems at ease. The move to Texas propelled her good mood into actual happiness: she now feels safe. It is, after all, the one place where no departures occurred. If she’s to believe the MIT researchers who bought her old house in Mapleton, it’s a matter of geography; Jarden is safe. Her brother is there. She’ll never have to experience that kind of loss again. However, I do have a sneaking suspicion that the earthquake that made all the water (and Yvie) disappear will change her new-found sunny disposition.
Jill seems happy too. She tells her brother so, during their secret meeting. She’s the only one who knows where Lily came from, and so far she’s keeping her promise to Tom not to reveal the truth. Tom is with Laurie, who is attempting to forge a bond with her daughter by writing her letters, but for Jill it’s too little, too late. And who can blame her? She has a family again, and Laurie has long since not been part of it.
By the end of the episode, Kevin finds himself waking up in the dried up lake, fish helplessly flopping about all around him, a cinder block tied to his leg. Whoever is responsible for this, whatever happened to Yvie, and what the rest of the bizarre occurances in this little miraculous town might mean are up for debate – and will hopefully be answered in the coming episodes.