The consistency with which showrunner Damon Lindelof has been providing solutions to his mysteries on Season 2 of HBO's The Leftovers feels like a direct rebuttal to those viewers who felt frustrated by Lost’s lack of answers. We have already found out why Erika Murphy buried that bird in a box, what happened to Kevin after he drank that poison… and now we have finally learned the fate of poor Evie, who disappeared from that lake with her friends way back in the season premiere. The final moments of this Sunday’s episode, “Ten Thirteen,” revealed the truth: Evie Murphy is alive.
When Tom Garvey arrived in Texas with Meg, he became intrigued by a mysterious barn on the property where the Guilty Remnant was preparing for their assault on Miracle National Park. He snuck over in the middle of the night to see its contents for himself. Inside the barn there was a trailer. And inside the trailer, there was… not the piles of plastic explosives viewers may have been expecting from clues dropped throughout the episode; but rather, Evie and her two friends, alive and well — and dressed all in white. “Who are you?” Tom asked, understandably confused. Evie scrawled her reply on a pad of paper with a black sharpie (“It doesn’t matter”) and slammed the door in his face.
Wait, what?? In true Lindelof fashion, this twist raises even more questions than it answers. Sure, we now know the fate (she’s alive) and whereabouts (she’s in the barn) of the missing girl, but we have absolutely no idea how she got there. Her all-white ensemble and non-verbal communication make one thing abundantly clear: Evie has joined the Guilty Remnant.
The two biggest questions left in the wake of this revelation are, when and why did the happy-go-lucky teenager we glimpsed in the Season 2 premiere join a cult that attracts primarily disaffected and nihilistic adults? Then “when” is deceptively tricky. It’s easy to assume that Evie was converted sometime after her disappearance. That either she was abducted and brainwashed by the cult, or that she ran away from home and gradually fell into their chain-smoking embrace. But what if she has secretly been a member since before we ever met her? What if Evie as we knew her in the season premiere was just a lie, a facade, a mask hiding the truth of a troubled soul?
It’s true that the Evie we meet in flashback, who met a pre-GR Meg on the woman’s trip to Miracle National Park, was much more morose than the Evie we met earlier this season. She seemed to sympathize with Meg’s tears, and informed the grieving tourist that nobody ever finds what they’re looking for in the miraculous town of Jarden. That scene was almost two years before the events of Season 2; isn’t it conceivable that Evie joined the Guilty Remnant sometime in the intervening period and has been working as a sleeper agent on the inside of the National Park for months?
Of course, the “why” of it all is inscrutable until the show divulges Evie’s motives in next week’s Season 2 finale, “I Live Here Now.” But there are plenty of conceivable reasons: a father who bullies, intimidates, and physically assaults anyone who disagrees with him; a mother who was surreptitiously planning to abandon her husband and children; a brother with whom she didn’t share a zealous faith; an exiled grandfather who committed some grievous wrong against the family. The Murphys who the Garveys met when they moved in next door may have been the picture of a perfect family — but that picture couldn’t be farther from the truth. (Who wants to take a bet that the question of Evie's motives will be answered when Kevin finally gets around to opening that birthday present his daughter gave him in the season premiere before she disappeared?)
And the revelation of Evie’s whereabouts creates yet another mystery. Previously, ghost-Patti informed Kevin that the young girl and her friends had all Departed, or “poofed.” Was the malevolent spirit merely messing with Kevin’s head? Or was she hinting at an even stranger truth: that Evie and her friends had actually vanished to wherever all the Departed souls went on that fateful night… but that they have since returned. If so, such a traumatic experience could easily explain their rash decision to join a dangerous cult. And if that proves to be the case, could their return also signal an unexpected reversal in the Sudden Departure? On this anniversary of the apocalyptic event, could the Departed start to reappear as randomly as they disappeared four years ago? Hey — stranger things have happened on the finales of Lindelof’s shows.
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