Miracle Is Destroyed On 'The Leftovers' Season 2 Finale & It's All According To Meg's Plan

When we left off with the penultimate episode of The Leftovers Season 2, Tommy Garvey had just discovered Evie Murphy and the two other missing girls of Jarden, TX hiding out in the Guilty Remnant's barn. It was a shocking twist to learn that not only had the girls not Departed after all, but that they had willingly left Jarden of their own volition to join the white-clad cult and help Meg... do... something. Just what Meg's plan entailed wasn't clear, but we knew that it involved the girls, a trailer, the bridge into Miracle, and presumably a ton of plastic explosives. Well, in the Season 2 finale, Meg's plan went off without a hitch and Miracle National Park was destroyed.

It turns out that said plan was a lot less explosive in nature than we all assumed — including Meg's disapproving Guilty Remnant bosses. Meg didn't seal Jarden off from the outside world by blowing up the bridge. The bridge was more of a metaphorical link, after all; Jarden's just a town, not a mountaintop fortress. Meg didn't even blow anything up. It turned out that the explosives were just a rumor, a ruse, a red herring. In the end, Meg didn't need a bomb to destroy Miracle — she only needed people.

After she drove the trailer onto the bridge (intimidating her way past the security guards with the threat of those nonexistent explosives), she parked it in the middle of the span. With all eyes in the camp on the rogue vehicle, the door open... and out stepped Evie Murphy and her friends. Evie held up a sign that read, "One hour," and the derelict scoreboard in the camp lit up, counting down from 60 minutes.

When the countdown started, Laurie and Jill were inside Jarden, still waiting for Kevin to return home after being carted away by John Murphy, who realized Kevin's palm print was a match for the one found on his daughter's car. Matt, Mary, and Nora were outside Jarden — after an earthquake, Mary had finally woken up again, and Nora had immediately taken her to see her husband in his self-imposed exile. So, we found all of our protagonists separated, with the threat of a bomb cutting them off from each other for good.

But when the timer reached zero... nothing happened. Erika Murphy, who had rushed onto the bridge at the sight of her missing daughter, flung open the doors of the trailer to reveal that it was empty. No bomb. No explosives. No fiery finale. Just three girls standing silently on a bridge. Instead of the expected demolition, dozens of people inside the camp started stripping off their clothes and donning whites, revealing themselves to be members of the Guilty Remnant, hiding in plain sight this entire time.

Led by Evie and her friends, the masses of Guilty Remnant members made their way across the bridge, overwhelming the security guards and forcing their way into town. The true pilgrims from the camp, who had been waiting so long and so fruitlessly for admittance into the promised land, were quick to follow suit. Nora and baby Lily were almost crushed to death in the ensuing stampede; Matt seized the opportunity to take Mary back into Jarden, where he hoped she and their unborn baby would be safe.

And so the illusion of "Miracle" — of a special town, spared from the Sudden Departure and preserved in a bubble ever since, denying entry to those who craved its protection — was shattered. Jarden may have been spared on Oct. 14, but that didn't make it immune from destruction. Once the floodgates were open, the town didn't stand a chance. Within hours, the National Park was reduced to a post-apocalyptic wasteland, reminiscent of the vision of Jarden that Kevin glimpsed in his trip to the afterlife two episodes ago. Fires were burning, buildings were ransacked, pilgrims were copulating freely in the city square. The "Jarden of Eden" had been transformed into Sodom and Gomorrah.

And so Season 2 ended in an eerie echo of Season 1's finale: With a town in chaos, houses burning, and people rioting. If we're lucky enough for The Leftovers to be renewed for Season 3, we'll presumably in store for yet another new location, as the Garveys are forced to flee the wasteland that Jarden has become and start up a new life elsewhere. Will they have better luck with their next home? Or are they doomed to repeat a cycle of hope, misery, death, and rebirth for the rest of eternity? We may never find out... But if this is the last we see of the Garveys, at least they were happy, even as the world was falling apart around them.

Images: Van Redin (3), Felicia Graham/HBO