[For “International Assassin”or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
International Assassin Questions and answers emerge in the wake of Kevin’s desperate decision to vanquish Patti.
“International Assassin” takes place in that unconscious state between wakefulness and dreaming where we don’t really know what’s real. But it turns out in this case not to matter if it’s real or not. What matters is that for Kevin’s sake it’s all real and changes everything for him and for Patti. The storyline changes now as a result of Kevin’s unconscious mind in this episode. He works out his unconscious challenges and greatly impacts The Leftovers so that the story shifts gears. Thus, this episode reveals that perhaps the work we do while dreaming can sometimes be our most productive – a shrink’s wet dream.
The Leftover’s writers are kind to us tonight. Not only do they give us answers but they don’t make us wait even a moment and start episode seven right off with Kevin awakening from death as he rises out of a bathtub. He’s not in the trailer anymore, though. This is a hotel room. A sign on the wardrobe says, “Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.” There’s a suit inside, a cop uniform, a white Guilty Remnant outfit, and some sort of preacher’s purple robe. Kevin puts the suit on. A delivery guy comes to the door with lilies and gets his name wrong, insisting he’s Mr. Harvey. When Kevin turns his back to get a tip, the guy starts beating him and Kevin punches right back. It’s a vicious fight scene and the guy ends up dead. Kevin bandages his deeply wounded palm and goes to the front desk to ask who sent the flowers. He’s told to ask the concierge and Uh Oh, Virgil is the concierge and writes him a secret note “parking garage 5 min.” On the way there Kevin sees a little girl try to drown herself in the hotel pool and saves her. The girl’s father comes out and screams at her that she doesn’t know how to swim and tells Kevin to mind his effing business. Then in the parking garage Kevin joins Virgil in a car. Virgil’s concerned to see that he’s wet and tells him not to drink the water here. He explains that the hotel and his particular situation are the result of Kevin choosing the clothes of an “International Assassin” out of the wardrobe. We were granted a hint to this effect earlier when he goes to tip the delivery guy and mutters, “All I have is euros.”
Virgil explains the circumstances. Patti will be there in a few hours. She’s a Presidential candidate. He’s now Kevin Harvey an “International Assassin” who made a large contribution to her campaign in order to guarantee a meeting with Patti. There’ll be a gun waiting for him in the bathroom just like in The Godfather. Kevin has to retrieve it and kill her without hesitation or this mission won’t work. Kevin asks how Virgil is here if you have to die first. Virgil replies that he’s atoning. Back upstairs in the hotel Guilty Remnants who refer to Patti as “Senator Levin” question Kevin with a lie detector before he can meet with her. They spray windex in his eyes to get him to admit his name’s Kevin Garvey and not Harvey. They shock him so he’ll admit that he smokes to remember the world ended and not just from nicotine addiction. Then they tell him to go freshen up for the meeting with her. He’s thoroughly vetted.
Kevin goes to his hotel room and flushes out his eyes with water. His Dad starts talking to him through the TV then and says he sent the flowers and that the card doesn’t say “Get Well” as it appears to. The message actually says “Get her to the well.” Kevin’s got to take Patti to the well. Then the TV turns black and there’s a knock on the door. Senator Levin is ready to see him now. He gets patted down and they say he can ask her anything just not about gun control, abortion, North Korea, or her ex husband, Neil. Kevin asks to use the restroom but the security guard is in there right now, so, Kevin’s not armed quite yet.
Patti comes in apologizing for all the security but it’s because someone wants to assassinate her. She explains that people would rather put a bullet in her head than admit her truth. Patti asks what he thinks her truth is and Kevin says she, “wants to destroy families.” Patti agrees that this is exactly her message. Then she tells a story about how on her campaign trail a man handed her his baby and thus abandoned it. That baby will grow up having difficulty connecting with people. It won’t be able to accept and give love. But the baby will be just fine and this is a best thing for it. Attachment and love are extinct now because of October 14th, Patti explains. So, now that baby actually has an advantage because it’s strong. It’s ahead of the game and ready for this new world. Thus we now understand the simple philosophy behind the Guilty Remnant.
She asks Kevin what brought him to her campaign and he says his wife left him for the Guilty Remnant. Patti says that must have been painful and he says no more painful than when Neil left her. She then jokingly tells the security guy to kill Kevin. But it’s a joke. Patti says they all need to lighten up. Shaken, Kevin excuses himself to the bathroom and gets the gun. He shoots the security guard and prepper. Then Patti says she’s not really Patti Levin but a decoy that they found on Facebook, paid, and gave plastic surgery. Her story isn’t wholly unbelievable when she has a completely different voice and mannerisms suddenly… but Kevin shoots her anyway. He was told not to hesitate.
After he shoots decoy Patti he goes back to Virgil the concierge but he’s not Virgil anymore. Kevin asks if he drank the water and he did, “…but I was so thirsty,” so, now Virgil’s gone and Kevin’s on his own. Back in the hall outside his hotel room, the dickhead dad of the drowning girl is locked out with a bottle of whiskey and Kevin’s also locked out of his own room. The guy offers him a drink and they make small talk until Kevin realizes this is Neil, Patti’s ex husband. He breaks Neil’s neck immediately, really taking ownership of his new role “International Assassin.” Now Kevin knows Patti is the little girl he saved and that she’s inside that locked hotel room. He knocks on the door and she opens it then goes with him willingly. They ask the concierge where there’s a well nearby. The concierge sends them to Jarden, Texas with a pamphlet of info about the well. That’s right, it’s a famous historical landmark well and it’s in Miracle, Texas. So, they’re off and on their way to the well. In the car child Patti reads the well pamphlet to Kevin. Historically people have thrown in the well whatever they wanted to unburden themselves from.
On the bridge into Miracle a man drags Kevin out of his car and across the bridge by a long rope and noose. He gives Kevin the choice – cross the bridge or jump and hang himself. Why would he want to die? Kevin asks. “Because you don’t want to kill a child,” the guy replies. Kevin says she’s not a child also this isn’t real and the guy says she is and it’s very real. He’ll be changed by it. Kevin is resolute, though and throws the noose over the side of the bridge then carries child Patti over the bridge to the well without hesitation. She climbs up the side of the stone well and sits on the side of it to ask Kevin if he wants to drop or push her in, “Pushing’s probably easier,” then she asks what’s wrong and he says it’s hard because he feels sorry for her. She asks, “Would it help if I say I deserve it?” Then Patti lists all the cruel things Neil said about her and Kevin begs her to stop. She starts to say, “Would it help if…” again but then he just pushes her in. Afterward Kevin throws up beside the well. Then Patti’s in there – the real Patti, not the kid anymore, and she calls for him to help her. Kevin climbs in, falling a long way down so they’re sitting at the bottom of the well together.
Patti then tells him a story of how during her marriage to Neil she went on Jeopardy with a plan to win $50K. With the winnings she could leave him and start over. That was her plan. Then even though afraid, she’d won on three nights of Jeopardy and brought home a total of $65,300 therefore surpassing her goal of “enough money to leave Neil.” So, she could’ve started over… but she didn’t. She was weak. Patti tells Kevin she’s scared. He comforts her but then (crying all the while) drowns her face down in the water at the bottom of the well. After Patti’s really truly dead there’s a rumble. The well’s stone walls come tumbling down on him and then we shift to Kevin crawling out of the dirt in the woods with no sign of the well anywhere. Kevin’s at a campsite and there’s Michael, surprised to see him alive. Fin.
The scenes between Patti and Kevin arouse intense feelings of remembrance for all those people and things in life we’ve had to let go. Yes, we feel sorry. Yes, there are real reasons for the things we find intolerable about them. But still… they gotta go. Patti was a perfect Guilty Remnant, unable to love or connect because of horrific treatment by Neil (and one presumes her parents as well) and thus she’s holding Kevin down with all of her pain. Patti’s got to go. That’s the thing about pain, people pass it on. It seems Patti tells Kevin the Jeopardy story to give him the strength to take her out. She couldn’t let go, Patti’s saying and he’s going to end up like her if he doesn’t unburden himself of her. Even she knows the right thing for him to do. Thank goodness he does it. Even if the episode “International Assassin” took place entirely inside Kevin’s head it still moves the story forward because it expels Patti from the narrative. The only thing keeping her in The Leftovers was Kevin. Thus we can all sigh with relief now thanks to our “International Assassin” because it’s satisfying to see that toxic bitch, Patti Levin finally shuffle off this mortal coil and go.