[For “Ten Thirteen”or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
Ten Thirteen Meg suffers a personal loss and heads out on a pilgrimage to Miracle; Tom seeks to reunite with Meg.
We’ve only seen Meg once before in Season Two but it was notably the most memorable scene thus far, which, considering that she only spoke six words in it, speaks volumes about the impact of her character. In that previous episode, Meg mounted tied-up Tom in the back of a van and then nearly set his gasoline-soaked bod ablaze before uttering those six words. In this episode Meg’s a cokehead and she’s always on the move. Seemingly unable to sit still, Meg takes many journeys in “Ten Thirteen” and throughout keeps sharing her mantra about how she’s about to change everything. It’s clear by the end of the episode that all these small journeys add up to one big power trip for coked-up Meg. The coke is only a symbol, of course. And because this is The Leftovers, it resonates through even the music that plays but resounds loudest in Meg’s ginormous ego, the classic cokehead signpost. Of course she’s going to solve all the problems of the world – along with every other coked-up fiend out there.
To kick off her second visit to Season Two we’re introduced to Meg as she snorts coke in a restaurant bathroom out to lunch with her mother on October 13th, the day before the Departure. But when she returns to the table from the bathroom her mother is laid out on the floor as waiters attempt to resuscitate her. Dead.
Then we see Meg with her fiancé on the way to Miracle as tourists two years after her mother’s death… and the Departure. Jarden had only been “Miracle” for a few months at that point, a newfound tourist attraction. Thus we get to see many of the mysteries of Miracle from a tourist perspective, the cracks in the road, manhole covers, Cecilia in her wedding dress, etc. all from the vantage point of a golf cart with talkative know-it-all headphones. Turns out Meg wants to visit the town prophet – the same guy John Murphy visited in Episode One. She wants to know what her mother was about to tell her before she left to go to the bathroom at that fateful lunch. Prophet tells her that no matter what he says she’s gonna be disappointed and then he tells her the anyway because she insists. Meg then lies to her fiancé and says the Prophet wasn’t the real deal. But not only was he real, he was right. Meg she cries later, thinking about it and clearly disappointed. While she cries Evie Murphy walks up to offer her a baby carrot because, “You can’t cry while you eat one. It’s impossible.” They sit side by side on the bench and Meg tells her the same knock knock joke that Evie told her father in Episode One. Before goodbye, Evie tells her she’s sorry Meg didn’t find whatever she was looking for in Miracle, “nobody ever does.”
The scene then shifts to Meg and her Guilty Remnant group stopping a school bus in the street. They drag out the driver and Meg enters the bus to pull the pin out of a grenade and place it on the floor then leaves a hoard of screaming children inside the locked bus. Meg’s next stop is an empty mansion where she sits before a trio of pissy Remnants. They aren’t happy about the school bus incident because of the kids. She says it’s no biggie because the grenade never went off. Meg tells them the Guilty Remnants need to step it up because people are forgetting about the Departure. They retort that they’re hearing rumors she’s planning her own action – a forbidden move. Meg lies and says she won’t. Then they tell her about Tom and say he’s taking away membership. They tell her to take care of him. She shows up at one of Tom’s gatherings and sits down to listen right as he offers healing hugs. Meg watches as he takes away the crowds pain one by one with hugs then approaches and hugs him along with the others. But Meg whispers in his ear that she can “do this for real.” Those Remnants always know when someone’s full of BS – gotta give them that.
Afterward Tom’s shaken and Laurie’s pissed at him for not showing up to their next event where she had to give everyone their money back for the absence of Tom’s healing hugs. He yells at her that they’re stealing people’s money. She says it’s working, people are getting better but Tom replies that it’s not working on him. They fight dirty. He leaves and goes to sleep on a playground with a bottle of whiskey for comfort. The next morning Tom goes to a Guilty Remnant workspace and screams, “Where the fuck is Meg?” After which he gets kicked in the stomach a few times before Meg appears. Tom says he wants her to “do it for real” and take his pain away. She says he’s just looking for a family and he says if he was looking for that he’d go to Miracle, Texas to see his Dad and sister. This delights Meg who then says she just happens to be headed there and in the next scene they drive there together. The Melle Mel 1983 song White Lines, which opens and closes the episode also plays as they drive to Miracle. It’s a true funk classic about cocaine. Originally the song was written about the glories of coke but then certain lyrics were added (including “don’t do it”) so that it blended with the mainstream just-say-no stance of the day. It’s Meg’s theme song. All about the wild ride of ruling over others with her inflated ego and such certainty that she doesn’t even need cocaine to get that rush anymore. Cult Leader/Cokehead – careers with virtually interchangeable benefits packages.
In the car on the way to Miracle Tom says he knows why she poured gasoline on him and said the six words but “why did she fuck him?” Meg pulls the car over without answering him. They stop off for a drink at a honky tonk. At the bar they talk about how they both lost their fathers when they were babies and drink while Tom looks increasingly uncomfortable and Meg stays at ease. He asks her what’s happening and then she kisses him. They dance and it’s clear that Tom’s getting hopeful she might take some of his pain away soon, even if it’s just via a journey to bonertown. But then Meg says she fucked him to get him pregnant and abruptly ends Tom’s his hope for bone privileges. They’re back out on the road soon after.
She drives into a Guilty Remnant cul de sac where some of her followers tell Meg there’s a “situation.” Apparently an interloper saw something but it’s just a biker dude who got off on the wrong path and doesn’t even know what he saw. Meg orders them to stone him anyway. We know from her earlier conversation with the pissy trio that the Guilty Remnants stone people regularly as a form of punishment so this is really happening. They take the interloper outside and stone him off camera. Tom doesn’t help, though Meg suggested it would make him feel useful. Later in the barn he hears yet again that Meg is going to “change everything”, from one of the Remnants – a broken record of a phrase when it comes to Meg. Then we see Meg drive out to the campgrounds outside of Miracle. She walks near the bridge and while Meg’s gazing at it Matt Jameson recognizes her. He’s surprised she’s talking and thus congratulates her on leaving The Guilty Remnant. Meg acts like that’s the case. She says Matt and her came to Miracle for the same reason, to be safe. “People in Miracle aren’t suffering,” she says, “So, they don’t need the Guilty Remnant.” Matt knows she’s lying now and says so. He knows it’s the anniversary of her mother’s death, October 13th. Ironically then, Matt apologizes to Meg for being her living reminder. This is often the declared Guilty Remnant goal – to serve as living reminders for the Departure. Meg gives him a creepy cult smile then and asks him what he’s waiting for… Miracle is right there and he’s not doing anything to get inside. What’s he waiting for? Then she tells Matt she knows. He’s waiting for her. Ominous in its simplicity and her certainty. Matt looks terrified.
The episode ends with a big reveal back at the Guilty Remnant cul de sac/farm. Tom explores in the dark night with just the crickets and snores to keep him company. He breaks open a locked van and inside finds Evie, dressed as a Guilty Remnant, surrounded by other Remnants, and writing on a notepad. Tom asks who she is and Evie writes, “It doesn’t matter,” then shuts the van door in his face. So, with the conclusion of “Ten Thirteen” we know Meg’s deal and Evie’s location. In fact, the other two girls can be seen nearby when Evie opens the van door. Mystery solved on the missing teens …only to be replaced forthwith the mystery of Meg’s plan. We know it involves the bridge into Miracle and it’s likely happening the very next day. We know that the Remnants believe it will Change Everything. The writers have done an incredible job building tension toward this event without giving us so much as a hint for what’s about to happen. Cliffhanger accomplished.