How my heart froze when Kevin “Harvey” looked in that hotel room cupboard, and found a choice of four suits, one obviously religious, others implying a few narrow choices of male profession. It reminded me so much of the horrible “church” at the end of Lost that had multi-denominational stained glass, as if all temples are always the same, inherently, and it didn’t matter which one you wandered into, because you’d end up there. Lost could be annoying with its generalizations and stereotypes, and The Leftovers traffics in those as well, specifically within marriage and heterosexual relationships. In fact, Kevin’s surreal journey this week is all about proving himself to the women in his life. In order to win back Nora (freaked out by his hallucinations of Patty’s ghost) he has taken a dangerous drug and died, in order to combat her possession on another side. Which is a place this show either is or isn’t supposed to have. Because where he ends up isn’t where the Departed went. It’s full of ghosts, but presumably of people who actually died back home. Which adds a new layer of disturbing quasi-mysticism that I’m going to ignore, because I’m more interested in the consistency of portraying this alternate realm. It’s not like Kevin hasn’t had visions before, haunting dreams in the first season that gave him a twisted version of Mapleton. Those moments were more like Twin Peaks than Lost, and this journey has a rather Lynchian feeling as well. It also represents a further investment (like most of the stories this season) in the tropes established but not resolved in the first season. Corporate hotels where people convene these days for a multitude of reasons. Inscrutable neighbors with surprisingly different cultural perspectives. The arcane rituals of family life that go on behind closed doors. Kevin’s guide was supposed to be Virgil (who shot himself after giving Kevin the drug), and he’s there, but out of it, posing now as a concierge. Regina’s birds are there, bedeviling the hotel patrons who aren’t used to such lively guests. There’s a little girl getting too close to the swimming pool, seen outside the stairway in passing, and she has a blandly indifferent father named Neil. Kevin chooses the business suit with white shirt, no tie, making him the International Assassin. Immediately he becomes a target for killers, but he finds out his mission is to kill Patty, who in this liminal place is a Presidential candidate riding on the success of a much more mainstreamed Guilty Remnant. They still smoke and wear white, but talking and makeup and other human frailties are more tolerated. This Patty is in fact verbose and upbeat about their cynicism, and we get to see Gladys and Wayne again, unlikely as that might be. The surreality doesn’t stop, as Kevin is tortured before being admitted to “Patty’s” presence, and finds a silencer and weapon hidden in the toilet of her suite. It’s all planned yet mysterious, and while Kevin isn’t clueless, he’s playing it all by gut instinct. Maybe the only way to go while dealing with the supernatural. He eventually realizes that Patty is the little girl, not the masquerading woman, and he has to take her to the Well. Which is of course back in Jarden, near the river. What follows is inevitable, poetic, biblical and tragic, all at once. Theroux and Dowd work the hell out of the material. They even sort of come to a final understanding, even if the obscure revelations that occur don’t actually provide much further elucidation. Did Patty hang on to torture Kevin, or are we to believe her nonplussed complaints and see him as keeping her around inadvertently out of his own guilt, frustration and anger? The Leftovers has never made sense. But sometimes if feels right, and this episode comes to some emotional conclusions at least, and with a visual consistency that is maintained. The Leftovers 2.08 "International Assassin"Shawn's Rating4.0Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.