In the season 2 premiere of The Leftovers, Mapleton, New York, seemed far, far away. There were new characters in a new town, and the Garveys didn’t even appear until the last chapter, dropping out of the sky to move into a new house in the seemingly blessed town of Miracle, Texas. How did the Garveys get so fortunate to buy this house in a locked-down town where desperate tourists are looking for answers to the Sudden Departure? How much time has passed, and has Kevin’s reconstituted family brought him some peace?
“A Matter of Geography” turned back the clock two-plus months, right back to the moment when Nora discovered Holy Wayne’s baby on the Garveys’ porch, and Kevin and Jill and their new pooch came back to a place that almost felt like a home. “We’re keeping her, right?” says Jill, as she and Nora coo over the baby. In a series of quick exchanged looks, Nora and Kevin essentially decide to make a go of it as a couple, and though they later maintain that they’re not married, their quick succession of questions and confessions are practically wedding vows:
“We don’t really know each other.”
“Okay, what do I need to know?”
“I’ve been walking in my sleep … and I grabbed Patti Levin … she killed herself, so I called your brother, Matt, and we buried her and nobody else knows… and I smoke.”
“I hire prostitutes to shoot me.”
“It’s okay,” says Jill, after Nora apologizes to her about lying about her gun.
“It’s okay,” repeats Nora to Kevin, and it almost feels like an “I do.”
You can feel a huge weight lifted off of Kevin’s chest, like he’s breathing for the first time. Maybe this is the answer for him. Maybe Nora and Jill and this new baby are all he needs to silence the voices in his head. But we know that’s not the case. We know that because series co-creator Damon Lindelof told us so: “The idea that he was cured of all of his ills in the moment that he came home and saw Nora holding this baby, I think, is naïve. The show must go on, and the idea of Kevin reaching some degree of complete and utter psychological safety probably wouldn’t be very interesting to watch.”
At the laundromat, Kevin blares rap music out of his earbuds while the baby, named Lily, cries. But he’s not trying to drown out her screams; he’s trying to mute the other voices that haunt him. We suspect this as soon as Kevin gets spooked by the sight of freshly-starched white shirts — like the ones that were the subject of one of his season 1 meltdowns. There are still spiders creeping around in this guy’s head, which is probably why he screwed up the time for the important meeting to officially adopt Lily. Racing out of the parking lot to get there, he gets distracted by something in the nearby woods. I kept looking for a deer in the foliage, but whatever Kevin sees blended in beyond my recognition.
The adoption administrator looks and sounds like a hardass, but this meeting is basically a formality. Kevin gives all the wrong answers, but the guy stamps their forms and even asks if they’d like another baby — a 1-month old white baby. Not in lieu of Lily, he explains, but in addition to. Hey, it is National Adoption Month after all! One baby is enough for them, they say, and presto, they’re a family. Feels like it was meant to be!
Kevin celebrates the good news like all excited new fathers — by going to the Guilty Remnant’s cul-de-sac and staring at the burned-down houses while the Pixies drone, “Where is my mind?” He can’t get those horrible events out of his head, so he does the next best thing to confessing his deeds to Nora and Jill. He buys a shovel and digs up Patti’s body. A, this proves to himself that she really is dead, and B, this allows him to tell the state trooper who subsequently pulls him over, “There’s a body in the back of my truck.”
The thing is, the cops don’t care that Kevin has Patti Levin’s decomposed body in his truck. Truth be told, they’re glad she’s dead and don’t care whether Kevin killed her or she slashed her own throat, as he claims. Potato, po-tah-to, the eye-patched detective tells Kevin, sending him on his way. But even disinterring Patti fails to do the trick, because when he gets back in to the truck, she’s waiting for him: “What the f— was that?” she says to him, with comical mild annoyance.
Jill has a covert breakfast meeting with her brother, Tom, who’s sworn her to secrecy about his whereabouts and his involvement with Baby Lily. Last we saw him, he had reunited with his mother, Laurie, and he brings Jill a letter from her. She tears it up, but otherwise, Jill’s in good spirits about her new “big happy family.” Tom is skeptical, because after all, “Nobody’s okay” anymore. He leaves abruptly, and Jill watches him get in a car that their mother is driving. That has to sting, and it is tough to fathom why Laurie would deny her daughter some mom-time, especially since she knows how desperate Jill was for it during season 1. Maybe Laurie just wanted to get a brief glimpse of her daughter from a distance, but if she weren’t going to get out of the car, it’s kind of cruel to let herself get spotted.
NEXT: No boiled bunny yet, but Patti will not be ignored, Kevin!