The Leftovers ‘A Matter of Geography’ Review


The Garvey-Durst family is trying to find their way in season two of The Leftovers. They want to be in a place where they belong whether it’s in their own family, the new town of Jarden, or even in parenthood with their new child.

Nora and Kevin began their official relationship the morning after the Guilty Remnant nearly burned down all of Mapleton. They aired out their dirty laundry to one another and quickly discover that neither are completely balanced. Kevin buried a body and barely remembers it. Nora hires prostitutes to shoot her in the chest while she wears a vest (I had almost forgotten about that). They have their skeletons. They’re one rag-tag family of baggage. Nobody is “normal.” Nobody belongs anywhere. That’s the theme of episode entitled “A Matter of Geography.”

Kevin and Nora officially start their family together by meeting with an adoption counselor for Lily, the newborn that was left on their doorstep by Kevin’s son (unbeknownst to Kevin). Call me a skeptic, but it doesn’t look like Kevin is ready to be a father to a newborn, and certainly not to a newborn that he has no blood relation to. Kevin blasts the cheesiest of dubstep music in his earbuds as Lily cries and cries for any kind of affection. He doesn’t even make it to the counselor meeting on time.

For Kevin, nothing has changed. He has a new relationship, a new child and the Guilty Remnant has been dealt with, but he’s still coasting through his life with nothing but his rage. He’s still seeing things that aren’t real (or are they?). He’s still sleepwalking. He may or may not be becoming his father.

Kevin can’t shake the visions and flashbacks of the death of Patty from the Guilty Remnant. The visions haunt him so severely that he decided to go back to where she died and dig up her body. I guess the idea behind the decision is to give him some closure with the experience. Seeing an easy escape from his brand new life, he speeds past a police officer while Patty’s freshly dug up body is in the back of his pickup. Naturally, he’s taken into the station.

As it turns out, it’s not an easy escape. Police are on the same page when it comes to the Guilty Remnant. They are rightly viewed as pests and disturbances. If their leader showed up dead at the hands of Mapleton’s Police Chief, good riddance. That’s one less problem, and the surely aren’t going to hold a police chief responsible for doing good for his community. Kevin is quickly released.

It seems like that’s going to be the end of any attachment Kevin has to the Guilty Remnant, but it only makes things worse. Kevin starts to see vivid visions of Patty. She talks to him regularly, interfering with his sleep. She’s basically there any time he’s alone. That’s always the story with Kevin. He tries to close a door in his life, but new ghosts rush in before he’s able to.

For the first time in the show’s now 12-episode run, we learn that someone is trying to get to the bottom of the departures. MIT wants to buy Nora Durst’s house for 2.6 million dollars. The sudden spike in value is because her house may hold valuable research. The geniuses at MIT believe that the departures were linked to geography. They tell Nora that they want to research why the departures happened so they may prepare for or prevent another event.

With her new money and new fear that a second departure will come and finish off what’s left of the Durst family, Nora is all-in on the idea to move to a new place: The town of Jarden, Texas that famously had zero departures. A look at the Garvey’s trip to Jarden added a needed level of humanity outside the confines of Mapleton. The hysteria that surrounds the departures is very real. It’s so real that people are camping outside the city limits of Jarden in hopes of receiving a bracelet that gets them into town. Everyone is clinging onto hope and faith.

The Garvey-Dursts don’t need bracelets because they are renting a place that was suggested to them by Nora’s brother, Fr. Matt Jamison. Before entering Jarden, they discover that their rental house burned down. Judging by last week’s episode, I think it’s safe to assume firebug John might have something to do with that.

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Fortunately for the family, there’s an auction going on at the welcoming center. Property goes for premium prices in Jarden because everybody wants to get in. A typical home with victorian style is auctioned for several hundred thousand dollars, until Nora decides that she’s had enough and goes all in with 3 million. Remember she just closed on her house with 2.6 million and still has money left over from her three family departures.

Upon arrival at their new house, they find out that it’s a real fixer upper. The house is in shambles. Wallpaper is falling off the walls, there’s no furniture and the plumbing needs work. Kevin, of course, isn’t a fan of the decision screaming, “this wasn’t our plan.” What would make Kevin happy? He doesn’t even know. Oh, and the gash on his head from last week? A vision of Patty slammed his head into the stove. She can even physically interact with him. That spells trouble for the already troubled Kevin.

Just as angry Kevin comes to grips that Jarden and their dilapidated house is his new home, he’s jolted awake to find himself at the bottom of the lake that consumed Evy in the final minutes of last week’s episode. Yep, Kevin was there when it happened, but his fate wasn’t the same as Evy’s. He has a cinder block tied to his leg. The earthquake saved his life when somebody wanted his life to end. Kevin hid over a hillside while John screamed for his daughter. Patty put it succinctly in the final line of the episode: “Uh oh.”

HBO Binge Grade: A

Lingering questions:

  • Kevin didn’t mention his son at the counselor meeting. Does Nora know he has a son?
  • Did Kevin tried to kill himself or did someone try to kill him? He seems so eager to quit on his life, the latter wouldn’t surprise me.
  • John is obviously connected to the the Garvey-Durst’s original house burning down. My guess is that they’re burning down any house that goes on the market so newcomers don’t come in. But why didn’t they burn down the house that Nora eventually bought? Was it because it’s too close to their own house?
  • Why is Kevin Garvey always sweaty?

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