Patti Returns To 'The Leftovers' Season 2 & The Guilty Remnant Leader Won't Leave Kevin Alone

There's no denying that the Guilty Remnant was always one of the most divisive aspects of The Leftovers in Season 1. A cult full of miserable and depressed people who never speak and chain smoke cigarettes while stalking other people around town could strain anyone's patience. Thankfully, the Season 2 premiere of The Leftovers, which shifted the action from Mapleton, NY to Jarden, TX, was mercifully free of Guilty Remnant sightings. But, the cult — or at least a shadow of the cult — reared its ugly head again this week. That's right: The presumed-dead leader of the Remnant, Patti Levin, is back on The Leftovers .

This wasn't the most shocking turn of events for viewers who have been paying attention to news about The Leftovers between seasons. Despite the character's death and the show's shift in location, it was announced back in July that Patti's portrayer, Ann Dowd, would be remaining a series regular. And, even if you don't follow casting announcements, HBO didn't exactly try to keep her continued presence a secret — she appeared clear as day in the Season 2 trailer, right alongside Justin Theroux's Kevin Garvey.

We first saw Patti about 45 minutes into the episode when she suddenly materialized in the kitchen of Kevin's new Jarden home, ambushing the former police chief with a nasty shove — resulting in that cut on his forehead from the Season 2 premiere. "I'm sorry I had to do that to you," she said unconvincingly. "But, we just cannot go on with you treating me like I don't exist. I do exist. I need you to talk to me."

It may have been the first time the audience saw Patti in the episode, but it clearly wasn't the first time Kevin did. Prior to their move to TX, Kevin had a habit of listening to deafeningly loud music and looking fearfully over his shoulder. Once we saw Patti, it was clear why: She had been following him around for some time, and he was trying to drown her out and ignore her presence. In fact, Kevin went so far in his attempts to exorcise this particular demon that he dug up Patti's corpse and admitted to his role in her death. Too bad the local police were approximately zero percent interested in wasting time on a cult leader's suicide.

Kevin's idea to relocate to Jarden was clearly inspired by his desire to leave the specter of Patti behind, but it clearly didn't work. His blackouts are still happening, as well — the end of the episode lines up with the end of the season premiere, only this time we see the events at the lake from Kevin's point of view. He wakes up with a cinder block tied around his ankle at the bottom of the dried-up body of water which Evie disappeared from. And, who's right there with him as he hides from John and Michael? Patti, of course.

So what is Patti? The easiest answer is that she's a hallucination of Kevin's addled mind; that he's actually going crazy like his dad and her presence is a symptom of that. But what if there's another solution to this mystery? The Leftovers has always taken place in a world just on the edge of magical realism; in a story where two percent of the population vanished into thin air, is it so hard to accept that maybe ghosts are real? Or what if she's some sort of messenger? What if he is actually being given guidance by a higher power that he has yet to recognize? This version of our world is full of people with "gifts," like Holy Wayne last season and Isaac this season. Could the "hallucination" that Kevin is so scared of actually be a manifestation of an ability he's unaware he possesses?

Images: Paul Schiraldi, Van Redin/HBO;