After last week's very weird yet welcomed departure from the Garvey family until the final fifteen minutes of the premiere, The Leftovers focused solely on the Garvey family for one of the best hours of television this year. "A Matter of Geography" wrapped up many story threads from the Season 1 finale while also unraveling many new mysteries in the process.
Lindelof and Perotta have done a phenomenal job keeping the same aura of last season while also reinvigorating the show with entirely original source material. The story built upon the character's relationships in Mapleton whether through Kevin and Patti, Nora and her departed family, and Jill and her estranged brother and mother. Although the story lines seemed to conclude with these final interactions, Kevin's experiences with Patti still haunt him in Texas to where a safe guess would be that he has some mental disorder similar to his father. Additionally, Jill's talk with her brother Tom brought a nice sense of reunion at first, but Tom's poor attitude definitely showed how much better Jill is in her current situation as opposed to her estranged brother and mother, who could not even face Jill in the diner before Laurie herself picked up Tom. Finally, Nora's meeting with the MIT researchers revealed the unsettling reason that Departed's vanishing occurred because of location while a second Departure is an entirely likely possibility.
However, despite these rather dark moments early in the episode, the awkward interview with the social worker displayed Kevin and Nora's commitment to each other and their new family. The sad question from the social worker as to whether Nora and Kevin would like to adopt another child brings many questions to mind. Was a white child intentionally offered to perhaps make a "normal" family? Was that child perhaps the interviewer's? Are there simply not many individuals looking to adopt children? Perhaps the race of the child is a way to show that Kevin and Nora have accepted that things can no longer be "normal." Thus, the events that led to them adopting Lily really created an ideal match for a family that has gone through so many tribulations. Next, the child in the photo may have been the interviewer's because he quickly offered the photo off the top of his deck. There did not seem to be a stack of photos of children for adoption to offer eager parents. The worker also released a somber mood into the scene where he saw Kevin and Nora as the perfect family to raise his child. Lastly, adoption is just no longer a viable option for people looking to create families. Perhaps, families can not deal with the loss of another child or never wish to know that feeling as others in the world have felt. On the other hand, maybe some people think that these children are actually departed from other families, but the kids somehow survived. There are many possiblities that can stem from this short exchange, yet in its typical fashion, The Leftovers only gives a small parcel of information to viewers to add depth to the mystery of the Departure.
Shifting to the Garvey's long awaited arrival to Jarden, Texas, numerous beautiful shots truly exhibited the beauty of the world amid all the confusion and turmoil in each individual's life. The writing eloquently ties the Garvey and Murphy overlap in the story lines together with very subtle clues that reward attentive viewers. For instance, the Garveys' original home burning down provided a great nod to the premiere because John Murphy ordered the burning of that home due to Isaac's dishonest practices. Another connection that may be crucial later is that Kevin Garvey, Sr., embarked to Australia for an indefinite amount of time while the town guardian in the tower of Jarden handed Michael Murphy a letter that needed to be sent to Sydney, Australia. The overall activity in Jarden is such a refreshing change of pace where activity is prevalent throughout the city as opposed to the lonely and cold world of Mapleton. A sense of freedom and security prevailed throughout for the Garvey family, but closer analysis shows a strict and authoritarian state. Law enforcement officials reign throughout the town and control a highly organized town. A small example is the quarantine of the Garvey family dog. The officer practically snatched the dog from Kevin's hands. This level of "security" portends a possible conflict later in the season.
Finally, ending with Kevin's problems, he fights with Nora, fears his hallucinations of Patti, and somehow wakes up from what seems like a failed suicide attempt. Kevin is all sorts of messed up, yet he manages to control his life to the best of his ability, an attempt which is admirable and should have viewers rooting for him. Although Nora did spend three million dollars on a dilapidated colonial home, Kevin needs to realize that Nora views Jarden as a symbol of security for her family, especially after her interview with the MIT researchers who suggested another departure event could occur. Jill even points out the obvious that Nora feels safe. Kevin's question about Jarden's safety in comparison to other places elicits an amusing yet heartfelt response from Jill. Jill says, "Then why do we have these awesome wristbands? Please don't fuck this up, dad." This response captures the golden opportunity each member has to reinvent himself or herself as well as grow into whatever "normal" is in this post-Departure world. Kevin's bouts with Patti divulge the severity of Kevin's mental problems. After all, Kevin dug up Patti's dead body and, intentionally, sped past a cop in order to be captured purposely. However, his actions earlier in the episode did not compare to the twist at the end. As soon as the show seemed to conclude with Kevin in bed, he awakes in the empty lake with a brick tied to his foot. This scene implies that Kevin attempted to commit suicide during his blackout. After he watches John and Michael Murphy frantically search for the missing Evie, Kevin glances at his hallucination of Patti. When Patti says, "Uh oh," Kevin's facial expression suggests that he finally accepts his hallucinations of Patti as a problem he cannot abandon. Patti's remark translates to what Kevin hinks about the dreadful situation where his neighbors have a missing daughter, he tried to commit suicide, and he needs to deal with this Patti problem.
Certainly, there is more to dissect from the episode as well as more to analyze in the scenes mentioned above, but The Leftovers loves to provide mystery and intrigue to its viewers as the story slowly unravels each week. Some other highlights of the show are quotes from Patti and Matt. After Kevin leaves the Police station, Patti's question "What the fuck was that?" perfectly captures what every viewer probably thought of Kevin's stupidity. The next great quote is from Matt who excitedly remarks, "We have a tent!" These small moments do not top Jill's brilliant response to her father, but they were welcomed humorous highlights for such a dark and complicated show. Nevertheless,the most poignant portion of the episode is the beautiful overhead shot of the trailer park and bridge around the 29-30 minute mark where the Garveys enter the city. That hold sequence deserves an Emmy nod with such stunning cinematography, remarkable music in Ruelle's "Take It All," and masterful directing from Mimi Leder. Bravo!
Thanks for reading. Apologies for not getting the premiere review up in time, but I will try my best not to miss another episode. Look forward to a Fargo review Monday or Tuesday for its Season 2 premiere. Come back for more content. Follow me on Twitter @mlozano2 and have a great day.