Last week was cerebral, a battle of wills over convictions and beliefs, mostly between two formerly neighborly women. This week the ordeals are physical, and that’s because we’re back with the husbands. John Murphy solves problems with violence towards others. Kevin Garvey most often commits violence on himself. And this week, after his revelation to Nora last week about his haunting by Patty, he’s in for a “very bad day.”
His first problem is he wakes up still handcuffed to the bed. His second is that Nora is gone, apparently with the key. His third is that Patty is still taunting him. His fourth is the blame Jill is heaping on him for ruining things again. His fifth looks like it might be Laurie, suddenly on the proximity of Jarden herself. But it turns out his fifth is himself, and a series of bad choices that seem to lead him into a trap by the end of the day.
Did Patty do it to him? She feeds him line after line of BS all episode, but even she admits to not having any answers. All she has is a deep well of rage (as she never stops talking about her traitorous husband). And guess what, that’s also what Kevin has.
He takes it out on Laurie, who calls him to the fence at the gate to the bridge (this show is serious about letting us know that the one real boundary between any of the characters is that of being in or outside of Miracle) to ask him to speak to Tommy for her. Whom she has apparently lost, and that’s a story for another day. But Kevin ends up screaming (“go home!” over and over) at the woman who left him after the Departure (remember her Departure was from her womb) and joined a “fucking cult” (her words, and it takes Kevin a while to sink in that she’s talking again) to cope, destroying the rest of her family in the process.
Patty became his antagonist then, a place to focus his rage at the upside down world that existed after October 14th. In an unofficial therapy session that emerges when Kevin comes to Laurie’s motel room (at first she thinks to run her off), she makes him realize that everything Patty is telling him is stuff he already knows. Laurie’s questionable therapy allowed him to learn details of her most difficult patient’s life, and she takes his confession of being haunted by her in stride. This is his coping mechanism, just as the cult was Laurie’s, and her reasonable demeanor (even as she admits to being a pretty crappy therapist, mind) gives the audience a way to accept Kevin’s haunting as what it so reasonably seems: a psychotic break, like those that plagued his father.
If only Kevin could believe that. If only that wasn’t the back-breaking straw that drove Nora away with Mary and Lily (everyone but Jill, who feels once again abandoned). If only there was some magical solution that would ease his suffering, and bring them all back home. If only he hadn’t already met Virgil, and Michael, and all the Murphys who (except for John) have no trouble believing in miracles.
Virgil scoffs at terms like possession (“that Exorcist movie shit?”), but has a way to get Patty to go away. A magic potion that will kill Kevin so he can fight her “on the other side” (a side Jill frankly doubts, baiting God to Michael’s face when he explains his faith is keeping them apart). And Patty doesn’t know what he should do, but he feels he has no choice.
So he takes it. And seems to die. And Virgil doesn’t do what he promised. After all, his only credential was possibly being a pedophile, as Patty says. Obviously there’s more going on than we’ve been told, and we get one of those cliffhangers that is so frustratingly open-ended because it could go any way at all next time. I’m not saying I won’t be back if I don’t like the answers. I just wish the men on this show could figure things out as well as the women.