Well, I guess it serves me right. After my weekend ode to The Leftovers, and just one week away from the big season 2 finale, we got an episode that just fell short.
Until the last few seconds, I found myself mostly bored. Don’t get me wrong: Liv Tyler’s performance was wonderful, the cinematography (and the soundtrack!) was phenomenal as always, and we did get some answers to our questions concerning the Guilty Remnants’ present status and operation, as well as a sort-of explanation for Meg and Tom’s run-in a few episodes back… but all the while, I kept wondering what’s going on with Kevin and the rest of the Garvey family. Meg isn’t that intriguing a character for me, I guess.
Which is not to say that her back story wasn’t interesting. Watching her have lunch with her mom, knowing all the while that this was to be their last ever conversation, was heartbreaking. What’s fascinating about the entire scene was that Meg had to run to the ladies’ room to snort some coke twice to be able to get through lunch with her mother, who, although slightly overbearing and a bit of a snob, didn’t seem too bad. But when disaster hit, instead of self-medicating by means of her coke habit, Meg turns to psychics and, later, the Guilty Remnant.
I was a bit confused at first about the timeline of her first visit to Jarden, Texas, but whatever confusion I felt gave way to the awkwardness of watching Meg – watching anyone, really – take that guided tour of the town. Only in Jarden would a girl who wears her wedding dress every day would be considered a monument for sight-seeing.
Although I do have to wonder what exactly Isaac told Meg, why she lied to her fiance and what flipped the switch when she met Evie, who shared her baby carrots with her, I don’t really want to know what motivates Meg. Most of her actions since she joined the Guilty Remnant have been inexplicable; unlike her fellow white-wearing crazies, she’s not compelled by whoever leads each group (or ‘house’) to do whatever over-the-top quasi-terrorist activities they design to embody living reminders of 10/14: she mostly acts on her own accord. Nor do I think the events of 10/14, combined with the trauma of losing her mother, are what made her bat-shit crazy. The mere look on her face, intense stare and empty smile suggest she’s been nutty all along, and her grief just turned her into a full-blown sociopath.
Much like I’m not particularly intrigued by Meg’s reasons for her actions, I’m not too curious about what’s presumably her big plan for the October 14th anniversary in Miracle, unless it’s directly related to the Garveys (the Murphys are pretty much de facto involved in anything concerning Evie, as is Tom, apparently). There are still a few loose ends to tie up regarding Kevin and Patti, as well as Virgil’s suicide and Michael’s role in everything that went down two episodes ago.
What annoyed me about the episode was the fact that the big reveal in the end – Evie and her friends have joined the GR! – was the one scene that links their (previously unconnected) plotline to Meg’s story, so out of the hour-long episode, that’s the one scene we want to discuss.
Did Meg kidnap the girls and brainwash them into becoming members? Not likely.
If anything, it’s more like a very cruel prank: we’re living in a town that believes it’s somehow miraculous but it’s all a sham, so let’s go join the GR and let our parents – and the rest of the world – think we were the victims of a new sudden departure. If that’s indeed the case, then Evie is, in her own right, as much of a sociopath as Meg is. Although it makes for a compelling twist, I can’t help but think of this as more of a gimmick, and it feels a little cheap.
It’s not often that three girls can fake a disappearance that well, with no one the wiser. The fact that they pulled it off so effortlessly suggests that either they are exceptionally smart and skilled actors, or that the Murphys, the Garveys, the other girls’ families and everyone else in Jarden, including trained law enforcement officers, are too eager to believe their disappearance was a departure than give any other plausible explanation or follow any other lead aside from that palm print. Even if the girls hadn’t voluntarily joined the GR, and even if running away didn’t seem likely because they wouldn’t have left all their personal items behind, they could have easily been abducted, but no one, not even John, is pursuing that theory. That means we either have to give the girls too much credit for the elaborate scheme, or everyone else too little for not seeing through it.
Either way, I was mostly disappointed because I had enjoyed Evie’s character in the season premiere, and as much as I wanted her to return, I’m not sure I’ll like her as a demented GR member.
Hopefully next week’s finale will be spectacular; knowing the lengths Meg can go to, it’s safe to expect a big disaster is about to his the little Texas town. Similarly, knowing what deception Evie is capable of, it’s safe to say all bets are off.