In a hark back to the first episode we see Kevin jogging, only this time without all the Departure hints that were so common then. He also sneaks cigarettes when his wife can’t see. He also gets enthralled by the sight of a deer which I assume is related (artistically if nothing else) to the deer that trashed his kitchen
Yes it’s a flashback to before the Departure and everything is all idyllic and shiny and happy. Especially Jill who is overflowing and giggly. Laurie is less joyful because there’s an ominous doctor’s appointment she was avoiding.
That deer also breaks into the school and causes chaos. Because reasons. Apparently this is just one of many deer incidents and Kevin argues with his dad about killing the deer and putting tasty tasty venison on the table. Kevin also beats up a guy who hit Tommy – apparently Tommy’s biological father who Tommy keeps going to yell at or something
Therapist Laurie is visited by Patti who is feeling all ominous about bad things about to happen which Laurie puts down to her abusive ex-husband but Patti is convinced is more and that Laurie also senses it
Over to Nora and her Departed family and they’re all idyllic and shiny and happy and domestic. Nora goes for an interview to work for Lucy’s campaign to become mayor and we see Kevin’s dad running around as police chief.
Laurie gets a dog from dog breeder Gladys and cries all over it for some reason and then the whole town gathers at the Garveys to have a big party for daddy Garvey – and no, I’m not learning his name now, it’s episode 9. Rev. Matt has nominated the police chief as man of the year. Kevin seems to get an attack of the sad pandas half way through the party. His dad joins him as Kevin mopes about feeling dissatisfied despite having everything and his dad talks about people always looking for a greater purpose when what Kevin has is more than enough.
He’s still mopey the next day but leaves rather than talk to Laurie so she goes to speak to her son Tommy who is only wearing his underwear but is apparently quite content to have a conversation with his mother like that; it’s more moping about his biological father Michael.
Random stuff happens to Kevin and then arguing with Laurie about Kevin’s issues and lying about what he wants because he thinks Laurie wants it. They leave with him swearing at her. Such a happy relationship – before he goes off deer-saving where it’s rampaging around another house before running into the road and conveniently being run over. Kevin has another load of sad pandas then sleeps with the woman who ran the deer over. Yes yes he does.
Laurie’s ominous doctor’s appointment turns out to be with an OBGYN because she’s pregnant but this episode is trying so damn hard to be dramatic, you’d be excused thinking she’d just been simultaneously diagnosed with Leprosy, the Plague, 4 separate cancers and quite possibly demonic possession.
Nora’s family is also less than idyllic but, again, for perfectly normal reasons.
We close with the actual Departure happening, taking Nora’s family, a random classmate of Jill’s the woman Kevin was sleeping with and, it’s implied, Laurie’s foetus.
What is this? No, really, why is this episode here? To show us that everyone had relatively normal lives before? To show us it wasn’t perfect but it managed? What did this add to anyone’s characterisation that wasn’t already clear or easily inferred? Is any of this particularly relevant? Does it matter that Patti had ominous dreads or Laurie cried over a puppy or Jill was super perky or Kevin was still an arsehole?
Oh we learn that a deer was running amok before the Depature. Well… yay?
Did the writers just run out of ideas?
And why did this whole episode play with ridiculously overdramatic ominous music playing in the background? Give it up guys, you could play O Fortuna over this and it still wouldn’t be dramatic and I’d still be bored.