Was There A Second Departure On 'The Leftovers'?

Four episodes in, and we're almost halfway through the 10-episode season of HBO's The Leftovers . Even though young Evie Murphy disappeared at the end of the Season 2 premiere, Episode 4 ("Orange Sticker") is the first chance we've gotten to follow up on the season's central mystery, given the fractured nature of the show's storytelling. The second episode depicted the same events as the premiere from the point-of-view of the Garveys, and the third episode returned to Mapleton to check in with Laurie and Tommy. Now that we're circled back to Episode 1's cliffhanger, have we gotten any answers about Evie's whereabouts? Did she run away, was she abducted... or has Evie Departed?

Oh, come on — did you really expect definitive answers so soon from a show written by Damon Lindelof, the man behind Lost? Of course Evie is not found in this episode... although plenty of people have theories about where she went. In the hour's opening moments, Nora is awoken by the earthquake to find Kevin mysteriously absent from their bed. She runs outside, where her next-door neighbor Erika Murphy informs her that Evie is missing. Given the sudden disappearance of two people in her life, it's a natural assumption for Nora to make that a second Sudden Departure has taken place. She promptly passes out.

It doesn't take long to rule out another worldwide event: Kevin returns home in the morning, and it quickly becomes clear that Evie and her two friends are the only people missing. So either there hasn't been another Departure — or if there has, it was an inexplicably minor one. Some townspeople are apparently muttering that Evie and her friends are simply hiding out in the woods, playing a cruel prank on their families and the rest of Miracle, TX — but Erika insists her daughter would never do such a thing.

John has a much more practical view of the situation: His daughter was abducted as retribution by the man whose house we saw him burn down in the season premiere. Not only does Isaac have a motive, but there's a handprint on his daughter's car just like the ones on Isaac's psychic paintings. Evie's dad picks up Kevin and takes his neighbor with him to the hotel where Isaac is staying. Isaac insists he had nothing to do with the disappearance, and Kevin defuses the situation — but not before the psychic shoots John in the stomach.

So if another Sudden Departure didn't happen, Evie's not hiding somewhere, and she wasn't abducted, then what happened to her? One person claims to have the answer... although perhaps "person" is too literal of a word for whatever Patti is these days. According to the apparition of the former Guilty Remnant leader, just because there wasn't another worldwide event doesn't mean the girls weren't taken in a similar — if smaller — Departure. If she's right, what does this mean for the town of Jarden? Is it really no safer than anywhere else, as John says in the episode?

My theory: Jarden was protected from the Sudden Departure by whatever mystical power ran through the waters of its lake. Now that the nearby fracking has resulted in the water drying up, Jarden is unprotected — and is suddenly playing catch-up with the rest of the planet, meaning Evie's will be but the first in a rash of delayed disappearances that the town will suddenly experience over the course of the next six episodes.

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