Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Leftovers, Season 2, Episode 2: A Matter of Geography

Flashback time to the end of the last season and Nora and Kevin and Jill taking in Lilly and Nora moving in in the aftermath of the burning of the Guilty Remnant. For added amusement, Nora seemed to invite herself into moving in. Kevin decides that they simply can’t have a future together before he tells Nora and Jill all about the kidnapping of Patti and the totally-not-murdering-her followed by disposing of the body. With the help of Nora’s brother Matt

Rather than running for the hills screaming, Nora takes this in her stride and tells Kevin that she hires prostitutes to shoot her.

Jill must now score them on who is the least ready to make major changes and commitments in their lives before they seek appropriate support and help. Nope, she’s in full acceptance mode as well. It’s all ok and they laugh and are all happy together.

To the present and the family life is kind of fraying a lot more with screaming babies and domestic commitments before they actually try to officially adopt Lily because “finding babies on the doorstep” lacks officialdom. Originally they seem to do pretty terribly in the interview (and, really, shouldn’t there have been a “hey did you report an abandoned child to anyone?” question) they do officially adopt Lily, after a clear tactic to see if they would adopt a white child rather than Lily who is Black and Asian – and them rightly saying, no, they love this girl.

Time for more of Kevin being domestic, moping, having temper tantrums and flashbacks to some of the terribad things he’s done, mentioned at the beginning. I told you he needed to work through his issues first. He digs up Patti’s body… and then deliberately getting himself arrested.

He is interviewed by a policewoman who just doesn’t care. She doesn’t care about Patti, what happened to her or any of the Guilty Remnant. Like many, she loathes them and wasn’t impressed by what she sees as their incitement of violence and rioting back in his town when he was police chief.

She sends him home. Only to be haunted by hallucination!Patti because why not.

He goes home to find his dad – released from the institution and holding Lily (much to Kevin’s suspicion and wariness. They don’t exactly have a non-antagonistic relationship). He does have good advice about not driving his partner into a cult. His dad still hears voices, and he has started doing what they tell him. This is not the conventional definition of “cured”.

It’s his dad that inspires him to think about moving out of town and all the memories attached

Meanwhile Jill is meeting with her brother, Tom, giving him a life update and him utterly insisting he doesn’t want to contact Kevin or let her tell Kevin he dropped Lily on the porch. Tom announces “no-one’s not ok”, Jill, in utter epic denial claims her little family is totally ok and he is welcome to join. To emphasise how little ok everything is, Tom also gives Jill a note from their Guilty Remnant mother Laurie. Jill rips it up – it’s Laurie who is driving Tom.

Nora gets a call – MIT wants to buy her house for four times the asking price. She promptly looks that gift horse right in the mouth. They’re buying it as part of their research because of her three departed family members – they think that Departures may be linked to location and they want to study it primarily to try and prevent a recurrence

Yes, they’ve raised something no-one even considered before – why wouldn’t the Departure happen again?

So they make their journey to the highly crowded town of Miracle with a huge number of people desperate to head there, creating a camp site outside the town (a vast array of different people – and people desperate for the coveted wrist-bands that let people into the National Park. The security is also very tight to ensure only residents are allowed in – complete with fences and security checks (the tourists are only allowed in on the regulated bus tours). There’s even a quarantine for pets (that would be the evil wild raging dog from one of the random events of the last season which has never been explained) and lots of rules and regulations and limits.

Kevin randomly runs into a guy who offers to help him with his “situation”.

It nearly all goes apart when their rental falls through – so Nora decides to buy a house, throwing all $3,000,000 at it (possibly driven by the people who bought her house’s theory that Departure may happen again and be linked to location – living in Miracle would be the safest place). When Nora makes up her mind she really makes up her mind much to Kevin’s visible shock.

Until the house goes through they stay with her brother, Matt the preacher and his wife Mary (who is still catatonic), living in a garage...

Kevin is a bit snarky and troubled about the whole thing and Matt is reluctant, for some reason, to stay with them despite the tiny place they’re living in.

And so to them actually moving in, Nora and Jill all happy and joyful while Kevin is still very troubled and tormented by his hallucination (which also smacks him).

We catch up with last week, the BBQ et al and hallucination Patti making some 4th wall breaking comments. When they get back to the house, though, Kevin explodes in rage, screaming about this not being the plan – how Nora went “all fucking in” rather than them trying it first. Nora walks away while Jill explains the obvious to Kevin – Nora needs the town in order to feel safe. She appeals to her dad not to fuck things up.

Kevin goes and makes his apologies. He goes to bed

And wakes up in the dried up lake with a rope around his leg attached to a breezeblock – as if someone threw him in to drown. He staggers out and sees Evie’s friend’s abandoned car. He leaves before John and Michael arrive looking for Evie – but he did touch the car so I’m guessing his finger prints will be on it

In some ways I am very glad this episode touched on some of the problems they had last season – especially since Nora and Kevin and even Jill were clearly such hurting people last season. In fact, that is what defined the last season – their pain, their overwhelming, all-consuming pain and how it hurt them and how it pushed them to emotional outbursts and extreme actions. I’m glad that we didn’t wave a wand and have it just go away…

…except in some ways I wonder if they did – the move seems to have been the wand, moving from one city to Miracle is their wand that helped Nora and Kevin become much healthier people. I mean, their stark descriptions at the beginning of the episode really emphasised how wounded they were which means I’m going to be wary of them making a miraculous recovery without dealing with their issues – this actually makes Nora’s desperation and Kevin’s hallucination of Patti almost reassuring.

Miracle is an odd mix of utopia and dystopia I like. I mean, in some ways it’s the promised land – everyone wants to live their because of its history – people of all creeds and all countries are desperate to live there. It is their utopia – but to preserve it involves some really draconian rules – it’s a wall camp with some excessive restrictions and a police force who are beyond excessive in keeping it exclusive – this “utopia” can only exist because of a very dystopian feel. It’s interesting, different and has a lot of potential – as well as it has a lot of real world parallels.

That’s interesting – random madlibs of weird happening isn’t – not unless we get some explanations.