The Leftovers season 2 finale recap gave us a lot of answers as Evie and her friends reemerge in Jarden and John takes action after finding out what Kevin knows….
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
Ever since The Leftovers debuted on HBO more than a year ago, the show has been far more about questions than answers, but that was always kind of the intention.
Why did two-percent of the world’s population just disappear?
That was the entire premise of the series so anyone who is surprised that the show keeps smacking you over the head with more and more questions while doling out small smatterings of answers is beyond me, but that’s also part of what makes The Leftovers one of the most powerful shows on television.
The season two finale saw Kevin reborn, die and get resurrected again while his new home suddenly ended up just like the one he so desperately wanted to abandon. John found his daughter but also faced the harsh reality that what he’s been saying all along about Jarden, Texas was absolutely true — this place isn’t special. They weren’t spared.
Meg was out to prove it with her plan being hatched this week as well as the Guilty Remnant — absent for a big part of this season — re-emerged like a monster in a slasher movie that just refuses to die and keeps coming back for more and more and always seems that much more powerful when it happens.
With that said, let’s recap The Leftovers season 2 finale titled ‘I Live Here Now’….
The episode this week kicks off at the very beginning of the season as Evie gets into a car with her friends and drives off after a birthday party spent with her parents and new neighbors, the Garvey family. Once Evie and her friends are safely away from the prying eyes of the family she claimed to love so much, the music in the car stops and they all sit dead silent. When one girl begins to cry, Evie doesn’t answer with her voice but instead writes down the simple command — ‘don’t’.
The girls arrive at the lake where they pose the car complete with backpacks and cell phones with the music up as loud as it could go to give the impression that they had been lifted just like the millions of other had been four years prior on October 14. But the one thing Evie and the others didn’t count on was Kevin Garvey standing at the edge of the water with a brick in his hand. Evie locks eyes with her new neighbor but only for a second before he drops the cinderblock and jumps in behind it.
A moment later an earthquake rings out as the girls escape and Kevin is reborn thanks to the water draining from the lake and thus saving his life.
Fast forward to where we ended the episode two weeks ago with Kevin pulling himself out of the dirt and finding Michael there waiting for him. The two converse but in the midst of telling Michael about what he saw, including a conversation with his now dead grandfather, he also remembers what he blacked out that night. Evie didn’t vanish — she planned this whole thing from start to finish.
Back at home, John is still sifting through the wreckage of his home life as Erika wants nothing more than for him to accept what has happened. He’s been staring at Evie’s birthday present to him for days — it’s the last thing she said to him before she left and handed him the package to open after she was gone. Erika’s had enough of it so she opens the present and finds a cricket inside. John is relieved because there was a cricket in their house that was driving him crazy for days but he couldn’t find it and Evie just did. Unfortunately, Erika tells him that’s not the case.
The night Evie disappeared, Erika heard the cricket in the house all night long so clearly she didn’t capture ‘the’ cricket only ‘a’ cricket to give her father some sense of relief. To let it the fuck go. John’s response — fuck you. It looks like this marriage is on the rocks and quickly tumbling down the cliff.
Kevin gets back to town with a mission to find John to tell him what he’s remembered, but it’s already too late. John’s hand print analysis came back with a match — it’s Kevin — and now they need to go have a private conversation to find out what he really knows. Kevin tells Laurie and Jill to stay in the house and wait on him while he goes off to talk to John about what happened to Evie.
John takes him to the animal shelter where Kevin’s dog is being held and all he wants to do is make an exchange — his dog traded straight up for Evie.
Kevin tries to explain that he has no idea where Evie has gone, but it’s not vanished into thin air because she orchestrated the entire disappearance and he watched it happen. John can’t believe it. He won’t believe it. Evie was his daughter and she loved him. Right?
Maybe she didn’t.
Kevin’s answer doesn’t move John and rather than listen to anymore excuses he pulls out a gun from his waistband and fires a single shot at his neighbor as he falls to the ground. Kevin drops to the floor and John turns around and walks out the door as if nothing happened. But something did happen outside and that’s going to change the course of his history forever.
Let Your Love Flow
Nora is at the church getting ready to go out for the day as she tries to change Lily’s diaper while listening to the radio. The voice on the other end is a preacher and he’s talking about how a baby being born can’t save a marriage but only one thing can — Jesus Christ — he was the original person who vanished after all right?
Nora’s had enough and she smashes the radio but at that moment an earthquake erupts, shaking the house from one side to the other. When it finally stops, Nora hears a voice and a second later she realizes it’s Mary.
A few minutes later as Matt is shaving from water in a bowl, he sees his wife’s face in the mirror and then her voice and he’s overjoyed. It’s about goddamn time this guy got a break! Mary remembers them having sex when she woke up previously and she’s even happier when he tells her she’s pregnant. But that’s also a concern because Matt believes she’s only carrying a child because she was inside the city limits in Jarden.
She needs to get back inside those gated walls as soon as possible so their family can officially get underway.
It appears the Guilty Remnant has other plans for anyone getting back into Jarden any time soon.
Meg has quietly snuck into the tent area just outside of Jarden along with her followers, the trailer full of girls and Tommy Garvey in tow. She asks him if he’s worried about his family inside but he says he has no family. That’s what the Guilty Remnant is about after all, right? Meg answers back and says no way — family is what matters most.
Meg finally gets into her truck and drives up to the Ranger station at the town limits and tells them that she has over 30-pounds of plastic explosive in her trailer and they need to back off. She then smashes through the gates, but just as she’s being arrested, Evie and the other two girls emerge from the trailer unharmed and bearing a message — one hour.
Everyone assumes that means the bomb will go off in one hour and so a panic sets over the entire town. Outside the gates, Matt is concerned because Mary can’t get back in but the person most confused by everything is John Murphy, who sees his daughter standing there clad in all white, smoking a cigarette and acting as if the entire world is silent if not for the little voice repeating inside her head — we are all living reminders….
Across town at church, Erika and Michael are sitting through a sermon on the anniversary of the Sudden Departure, but something feels not quite right. Michael decides to speak and he recounts a story his mother tells quite often — the one she regaled when first meeting the Garvey’s back in the season debut.
She came home and found water dripping down the carpet and walls and when she made it to the bathroom and opened the door, Erika found Michael and Evie sitting in the tub and their excuse was they just wanted to see what would happen. Michael now comes clean and says that Evie was crying uncontrollably after their father John was taken away to prison. He turned on the water to drown out her crying because she lost someone. They all lost someone, it just didn’t happen in the Sudden Departure.
Michael reiterates what he’s heard all year long from his father — this place isn’t special and we are not spared.
At that moment, John bursts into the church to get his wife and son as they run out onto the bridge and see Evie standing there as a full fledged member of the Guilty Remnant.
Erika runs through the police barricade and at first just hugs her daughter, who makes no sort of motion to do the same for her mother. Erika’s screams are met only by silence and finally she begs for an answer. She doesn’t understand why this is happening. Evie finally grabs a pen and writes down on paper — ‘you understand’.
What did she understand exactly? That this entire situation was predicated on a lie. John ‘vanished’ when she was a kid and abandoned his family. She was separated from her grandfather for most of her life and despite this outward appearance of one big happy family, it was all just an act. Remember what Evie said to Meg when she met her in last week’s episode — ‘sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for, no one ever does’. That’s a deep rooted cynicism that’s living inside Evie and it finally bubbled over to the point where she felt compelled to join the Guilty Remnant.
Erika rushes to find the bomb inside the trailer but it turns out the entire thing was just a rouse. When the countdown clock strikes zero, a mass of people disguised inside the crowd stripped off their clothes and put on white outfits, transforming into a sect of the Guilty Remnant. With Evie and the others among them, the group stormed the barricades and the fences and overwhelmed the park rangers. For four years, Jarden has tried to keep their community whole to prove that they were the survivors. They were special.
The Guilty Remnant came here to show that they weren’t.
Everyone from the Guilty Remnant along with the tent dwellers make it inside but a strange woman who kept telling Nora that Lilly wasn’t hers finally strikes and grabs the baby and makes a dash for the gate. Nora gives chase and eventually finds the baby — laying on the ground in the middle of hundreds of people running across the bridge. Nora jumps on top of her as the crowd tramples over to get inside Jarden. From out of nowhere, a hand reaches out for Nora offering help — it’s Tommy! He didn’t go along with Meg and decides family really is the most important thing to him.
Sing for Your Supper
Following a gunshot to the chest, Kevin wakes up in that same bathtub where he did a couple episodes back when he became an international assassin tasked with killing Patti Levin. Once he wakes up, Kevin realizes that he’s dead and he needs to find a way out but when he runs to the TV and tries to find his father, he’s not there. Kevin looks in closet and sees the same outfits but this time chooses the uniform of the Mapleton police officer. Kevin chooses to be himself for once.
A phone call rings and it’s the desk clerk asking for Kevin’s assistance because another cop is getting beaten up in the lobby. Kevin runs down but instead just sees a karaoke contest being moderated by the same Australian guy who tossed a noose around his neck and tried to get him to jump the last time he came to this purgatory. Kevin asks what he has to do to get back and the man scoffs and asks why he wants to go back?
Kevin gives him the normal rhetoric — I love my family, I have more to live for, blah, blah, blah — but he finally answers with how he’s really feeling.
I deserve it!
So the Australian man tells Kevin if he wants to go back he needs to step up on stage and belt out a song. Of course it’s stupid and childish, but that’s the entire point. Something this important can’t always be a test of wills where you’re forced to drop a kid down a well. This time Kevin just needs to sing so he finally concedes and the song that’s chosen for him is “Homeward Bound” by Simon and Garfunkel.
As the lyrics pour from his mouth, Kevin has memories washing through his mind from the times spent with Nora and Jill to the National Geographic magazine he threw away after his father was obsessed with him having it. If you remember one of the references on the cover of that magazine was a spider that lives underwater — the same way Kevin keeps waking up from death in a pool of water. Was his father trying to share with him the gift of resurrection even back then?
We may never know for sure but Kevin finishes his song and a second later he wakes up in the dog kennel, bleeding all over the place but he notices that the bullet has come out on the other side and he’s alive once again.
Kevin walks outside and sees that the sign to Jarden, Texas has been torn down and it’s in flames. The city now looks eerily familiar — the same way the houses owned by the Guilty Remnant were on fire just before he left Mapleton. He goes into the visitor’s center and runs into Meg and the horde of Guilty Remnant that bombarded the town just hours ago. When they come face to face, Kevin tells Meg that ‘I live here now’ and instead of answering back with silence or even a written explanation, she instead starts singing the Miracle, Texas song that everyone in town seems to love so much. Accompanied only by Evie’s voice, Meg is just letting everybody in Jarden know that they aren’t special.
They aren’t spared.
Kevin leaves and walks through town and finally makes it to the clinic where he attempts to patch himself up. Kevin is too week to get it done, but John walks into the same clinic looking for Erica and ends up finding the second man he shot and tried to kill.
John can’t believe Kevin is alive, but he is and without hesitating, he steps over to help his friend get patched up from the gunshot wound. Kevin doesn’t bat an eye at John’s assistance and doesn’t even question why he got shot in the first place. He just gets patched up and prepares to go home.
Once they make it to the house, Kevin finally stumbles inside and when he opens the door he’s greeted by a slew of familiar faces. There’s Jill and Laurie right there they said they would stay after he left with John earlier in the day. There’s Matt and Mary — she’s awake and he’s as happy as ever. There’s Tommy holding baby Lily — he’s returned to the family! And finally there’s Nora and she looks at Kevin and says you’ve finally come home. Kevin begins to cry as tears stream down his face and I’m left wondering if this isn’t the moment when he really didn’t wake up to begin with. Was this Kevin’s death but instead of getting stuck in purgatory at that hotel that maybe he finally reached his own personal ‘heaven’?
We may not know for sure — and considering HBO still hasn’t renewed the show — we may never know. Either Kevin finally found his happy place, the family that he’s always wanted back together, or he’s dead and this is the ending of Lost all over again. Either way it ended with a few smiles rather than the jagged pieces that cut into our hearts throughout the last two seasons.