HBO's sleeper masterpiece The Leftovers is finally returning and coming to a close. Is the world ending? Is a flood coming? Before the last episodes that may or may not provide those answers, it might be wise to recap The Leftovers Season 2. Not only are those two seasons rich with detail and mystery, but the series has been off the air since 2015.
Just to refresh, The Leftovers is about the aftermath of a world that has experienced a "rapture"-like event and mysteriously lost 2% of the world's population. Now, I grew up in an area where people had "in case of rapture, this car will be unmanned" bumper stickers, but The Leftovers is much less cavalier about how a situation like this would play out. At least two cults have sprung up as a response to the unexplainable global disaster, and just about everyone is experiencing a prolonged existential crisis.
The HBO series began three years after the Sudden Departure and started out in the fictional town of Mapleton, New York and centers on the Garvey family. When the Departure happened, Chief of Police Kevin Garvey was having an affair with a woman who vanished. His wife was getting an ultrasound — and her unborn child vanished too. They have since gotten divorced, and Laurie joined a cult called the Guilty Remnant. Their teenage daughter Jill is mostly the same, but not fine, and their son Tom joined the other cult lead by a man named Holy Wayne who supposedly has healing hugs. Kevin's father started hearing voices. There's also Nora, a woman who lost her entire family, and her brother Matt Jamison, a priest whose wife was injured in a car accident (because said car was unmanned, in fact) during the Departure.
The second season bid Mapleton adieu, for the most part, and it got a whole lot weirder. Before you board the plane to Season 3, here's what you need to remember from Season 2.
Welcome To Miracle
Season 2 took place mostly in Jarden, TX. The town is a statistical anomaly that suffered zero losses in the Great Departure and became somewhat of a tourist destination. By "somewhat," I mean they have fanatics camped outside and strict procedures for new residents.
The Garveys Are Separated Again
Tom has infiltrated the Guilty Remnant in order to get people out and is reunited with Laurie, who is writing a tell-all about the group. Tom is raped by Meg, the GR member played by Liv Tyler, and later pretends to have developed Holy Wayne's hug healing powers.
Meanwhile, Kevin and Jill moved to Texas with Nora and baby Lily — Wayne's daughter that Tom left on their doorstep. Nora and Kevin are now in a committed relationship but Patti, the GR leader who Kevin killed, appears to him in visions.
Meet The Murphys
The Garveys have new neighbors, played by Regina King and Kevin Carroll. However, when Evie Murphy and her friends vanish, the sanctity of Miracle is tarnished. It's also tragic and scary for everyone involved. Kevin was near the girls before they disappeared and becomes a suspect.
Mary Woke Up A Few Times
One of the most uncomfortable story arcs in Season 2, in my opinion at least, was the plight of Matt and Mary. The priest claims that his wife woke up in Miracle for one day, during which they had sex, and then she fell back into her semi-comatose state. She is now pregnant, and a doctor accuses Matt of raping his unconscious wife. When she is awake on screen, only Matt is around, so it's unclear as to what is actually going on with them.
At the end of the season, Mary appears to have awoken again, and this time Nora is a witness. She corroborates Matt's story, thank goodness. Will actor Janel Maloney finally get to talk on this show in Season 3? We can only hope.
The Whole Hotel Thing
If you thought the karaoke scenes in Angel were weird, then the purgatory hotel that Kevin visits after killing himself is on another level. He is tested by this absurd afterlife, gets rid of Patti's ghost, and ultimately escapes from death twice — but not before seeing Mary in one of the rooms. She may also be drifting through realms. Interesting to know.
Guilty Remnant Went Extreme
Well, they were pretty extreme before with their smoking, vow of silence, and all-white normcore vibe, but the assault on Miracle is near horrific. As it turns out, Evie Murphy did not vanish in a second Departure. She and her friends staged a disappearance and joined the GR. After a demonstration on the bridge in which the girls and Meg threaten to bomb everyone, they along with the fanatics camped outside of Jarden infiltrate and trash the town.
A Family Reunion, At Last
The one lovely thing about the finale is that, while Miracle is finally wrecked, the Garvey family is safe and together. The moment of happiness surely won't last. Kevin learns in the death hotel that his father is in Australia, which is where they are heading next.
It's difficult to tell where things are going and what the point of The Leftovers is, and unfortunately that is kind of the point. Damon Lindelof isn't going to give up all the answers, I should accept that by now. Everyone is just along for the ride, but hopefully this blended family will make it out just fine.