In “Orange Tag,” we’re back in Miracle after last week’s cult-y side mission, and the Garvey family has realized it’s not the idyllic place they desperately need it to be. Kevin and John form an uneasy alliance, but top fun-couple honors go to Kevin and Patti, his foul-mouthed, supernatural sidekick.
Spoilers, ye of little faith!
Kevin is once again the center of the episode; he spends the first half petrified that John and the Miracle police will realize he was at the drained lake exactly when John’s daughter and her friends disappeared. He’s new in town, and he lives next door to the Murphys ... kinda suspicious even without all the sleepwalking and bizarre behavior. But that fear is actually a bit of a MacGuffin for now. With Patti’s help, he finds the cellphone he accidentally ditched during the confusion before anyone else can, and the muddy palm print he left on the girls’ car hasn’t been traced to him ... yet.
But Kevin need not worry. John is certain the culprit is Isaac, the palm reader, because of the palm print. If you’ll recall, Isaac told John something bad was going to happen to him, and now it has. With a freaked-out Kevin in tow, John slips out of Miracle, through the angry masses desperate for entry into town, and finds Isaac at the seedy hotel where he’s been living since John—who has the money quote this week, “There are no miracles in Miracle”—burned his house down. There’s a skirmish, and John takes a bullet (thank goodness he’s married to a doctor), but there’s no sign of the missing girls. “There’s nothing more dangerous than a man who don’t believe in nothing,” Isaac tells Kevin as he follows John’s hasty exit.
And that theme carries through the episode; same goes for women, too. Nora visits her brother in his church to ask if Miracle is “real,” and he tells her that on their first night in town, his catatonic wife actually woke up before slipping back into her nonverbal paralysis. He’s a man of God, so he believes, of course. But Nora’s not so sure about anything, and she’s prone to big gestures to make herself feel safe—like buying million-dollar houses on a whim, which so far hasn’t worked out so well. (Her extreme solution to Kevin’s sleepwalking is to handcuff their wrists together when they go to sleep.) Jill’s not sure what she believes, either; Michael Murphy, her only friend in town, comes right out and guesses that she doesn’t believe in God.
But there are other things to believe in besides religion, Patti points out, before suggesting that Kevin is suicidal because he’s completely lost his way. Even his family doesn’t matter to him anymore. “You don’t have love,” she says. “You have damage control.” It’s enough to get him to look her in the eye, talk back to her (“Shut the fuck up!” is the first thing he says), and acknowledge her presence—and maybe, since the man in the watchtower also sees her, bring her back to this dimension? Or is the watchtower man like Virgil, the man who knows things, like how Kevin is unusually perceptive, and that Nora lost her whole family in the disappearance?
Whatever Patti is—if she’s real or some kind of projection of Kevin’s mind or a ghost—she also knows things. The girls have indeed vanished, she confirms. Not kidnapped-vanished. Vanished-vanished, like the others who disappeared everywhere but Miracle on that fateful October 14. They will not be coming back, and “things are gonna change.” We see Michael scraping the orange tag off his house, placed there by government officials to signify that none of the residents were raptured. Like Patti, Michael knows his sister is not returning.
Oh, and Patti bursts into song twice, and it’s the same both times: a slowed-down version of the internet’s favorite ditty, “Never Gonna Give You Up,” implying that she’s either literally going to stick by Kevin forever, or perhaps that she’s pranking him ... rickrolling him ... somehow. Yes, it’s weird. But this show is weird, and it works.