Is Patti Real On 'The Leftovers'? The Guilty Remnant Ghost May Have Answers About The Sudden Departure
For its entire first season, HBO's The Leftovers hedged its bets on whether or not the seemingly supernatural aspects of the show were actually real. Did Holy Wayne really have magical hugging powers? Or did he simply know how to read people really well and tell them what they needed to hear? Was Kevin actually going crazy? Or was he starting to receive messages from some sort of higher power? This straddling the line of realism and fantasy continued into Season 2 with the addition of things like Patti's ghost, Isaac's psychic powers, and Erika's mysterious bird in a box. But, the fourth episode of the new season, "Orange Sticker," seemed to finally confirm the existence of the supernatural with the revelation that Patti is very much real, and not just a figment of Kevin's addled imagination.
How exactly did this confirmation come about? When Kevin realized he had lost his cell phone on the night Evie vanished (the night he woke up in the dried up lake next to her empty car) he knew he needed to find it before anyone else did, lest he become a suspect in the Murphy girl's disappearance. Unfortunately, he wasn't having any luck... until Patti appeared to him once again and claimed to know two very important things: Where Kevin's phone was, and what had happened to Evie and her friends. Although Kevin ignored her presence as usual, she lead him on a game of "Hot and Cold" — until he found it, buried in the muck at the bottom of the lake bed.
If Patti was able to lead Kevin to his phone, that must mean she's real, right? And, it logically follows that, if she was telling the truth about the knowing the location of the phone, then she must have been telling the truth about knowing what happened to the girls, as well, right? Although Kevin still refused to ask, Patti eventually volunteered the information: Evie Murphy and her two friends had Departed. Everyone's worst fears had come true, and Miracle is no longer safer than anywhere else.
And, just in case her trick with the cell phone wasn't confirmation enough for some people, the episode ended with Patti's existence established beyond a doubt. After a heated conversation in the middle of the town square, Kevin was hailed by the hobo in the tower. "Hey!" the man shouted down. "Who's your friend?"
Of course, this doesn't answer the question of what Patti is. Although her existence seems to be confirmed by the fact that someone else can see her, we still don't know if she is the literal ghost of Patti the Guilty Remnant leader, or simply the manifestation of some holy messenger, sent to guide Kevin for some unknown purpose.
Now, this being a Damon Lindelof show, it's always wise to question everything. The very last thing Patti does in this episode, after she reveals to Kevin that Evie has Departed, is walk away while singing "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. Have we all just been Rick Rolled?
Although it seems like Patti's existence has been verified, I suppose there's still room for doubt. One could argue that Patti only knew where the cell phone was because Kevin's subconscious remembered where he'd dropped it, even in his blackout state. Maybe the hobo didn't actually see anyone; maybe he just heard Kevin arguing with himself and assumed there was someone else down there. And, maybe Patti was lying to Kevin about Evie having Departed; maybe she has no idea what happened and has her own reasons for leading Kevin to believe another Departure has taken place. Maybe she really is just a hallucination caused by his unbalanced state of mind after all.
The trouble is, until other evidence turns up in Evie's disappearance, there's no way to prove or disprove Patti's assertion. If the girl has truly vanished, then there would be no trace of her left behind. I guess we'll just have to keep waiting to see what else Lindelof has in store for us in the next six episodes of the season; but in the meantime, it's probably wise not to jump to any conclusions, or take anybody's words at face value.
Images: Van Redin/HBO