We still don’t know where all the departed people went, and that includes the newly-missing Evie Murphy and friends. And what’s more, “A Matter of Geography” introduces some new mysteries into The Leftovers’ roiling pot of WTF ... most of them revolving around Kevin Garvey.
But first, we did get some answers this week. Mere scraps of information in The Leftovers’ grand scheme, but still—we’ll take what we can get.
For the person who commented last week giving voice to one of my own pressing questions (WHERE IS THE DOG?), the dog is in quarantine, a required annoyance for all pets that move to Miracle, Texas. So that explains that.
We also learn how the Garveys were able to snag that much-coveted vacant house in Miracle. Though they’d rented a place over the internet without much trouble (and with the help of a $50,000 deposit), that home suddenly burned to the ground before their arrival (no doubt John Murphy, judgmental firebug, had something to do with that). But Nora’s Mapleton house sold for four times its asking price—to MIT scientists studying the departure, who’re convinced it’s some kind of geographical hot spot for the phenomenon (they also suggest there’s every reason to suspect it will happen again ... foreshadowing?) So she’s a newly-minted multi-millionaire, and easily wins an auction for the only vacant house in town. It’s run-down and definitely not worth three million bucks, but it makes Nora feel safe, so Jill and (after some grumbling) Kevin go along with it.
Nora and Jill may keep repeating “It’s okay! We’re okay!” throughout the episode, but Kevin is definitely, most certainly, not okay. We learn it was his idea to ditch Mapleton (an apparently spontaneous decision) and seek a new start in Texas. But he soon finds it’s not that easy to leave the past behind.
Most of “Geography” focuses on Kevin, who is either losing his mind (he literally listens to the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” at one point) or has started glimpsing some kind of parallel universe, where the “laws of nature seem upside down.” (His father, who makes a cameo in an extended Mapleton flashback, reveals he has the same problem, and Kevin realizes the old man might not really be crazy, just hyper-perceptive.) Unfortunately, the only person Kevin’s been seeing is not a disappeared person, because that would explain a lot. It’s Guilty Remnant leader Patti, who killed herself rather horrifically at the end of last season.
And for someone who took a vow of silence in life, undead Patti sure is chatty. She pokes at Kevin’s guilty conscience—enough so that he digs up her body and confesses his knowledge of her death to the authorities, but they hate cults so much they simply let him go. And Phantom Patti is abusive, physically shoving him and snapping “Don’t treat me like I don’t exist!” But she’s also acting as kind of a meta-narrator for what’s going on in Miracle. We get to see John Murphy’s birthday party, which transpired last week, from the Garvey’s POV this time, and when Kevin runs next door to get the replacement birthday dessert, he has a Patti moment, the most curious one yet. Of the Murphys, she says, “It’s hard to tell if you’re part of their story, or if they’re part of yours.”
And Patti’s not the only one who’s “speaking” to Kevin. When he’s working his way through the crowds at the Miracle National Park welcome center, he encounters a Miracle-ite we met only briefly last episode, when we saw Michael Murphy, the young preacher, visit him in his trailer home to share prayers. “I can help you with your situation,” the elderly man tells Kevin. Rather insistently, he suggests Kevin come visit him sometime.
Ok. So the old dude knows what’s going on, though Kevin hasn’t told a soul. And it’s going to be harder for Kevin to keep his pesky ghost (??) under wraps for long. Sure, it was easy to explain away the Patti-derived gash on his head. But things are escalating. And now we have even more questions than we started with, after that insane final scene:
- Why does Kevin fall asleep in his own bed next to Nora, and awaken with a cinder block tied to his ankle ... at the bottom of Evie’s (very-recently-drained) swimming hole ... with no apparent memory of how he got there?
- Is someone trying to kill Kevin? If so, who?
- Is Kevin trying to kill himself?
- Is Kevin merely doing REALLY weird shit while sleepwalking (again)?
- What’s Kevin’s cosmic connection to the Murphys?
- Is Patti (who has the best line of the episode, an aptly uttered “Uh-oh!”) a ghost, a manifestation of Kevin’s wacked-out brain, or a fugitive from a parallel universe?
- WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHERE THAT PIE CAME FROM, BY THE WAY