[For “I Live Here Now”or any other recaps on Fetchland, assume the presence of possible spoilers.]
I Live Here Now Kevin comes clean about his connection to Evie’s disappearance; Miracle faces an unexpected threat.
In the final episode of season two, The Leftovers delivers a wild ride and satisfying ending that wraps up the narrative while still holding us in suspense for next season. The episode title, “I Live Here Now” is uttered by our hero, Kevin Garvey, in one of the last scenes. He’s talking about Miracle, of course, and we all feel like we know what it’s like to live there now. Difference is, we’re not quite as into it as Kevin. Now that he’s come back from the dead and rid himself of Patti, the guy can’t wait to get back home. This final episode encapsulates his trip and answers the remaining questions.
The finale begins at the moment when the Garveys leave the Murphy birthday barbecue and Evie gets in the car with her two friends right before they “disappear”. But this time we see what happens with the girls in the car as they shift abruptly from smiles and party music to tears and silence. Not just any silence… Guilty Remnant silence. Evie writes in and holds up a notebook with the word “Don’t” on it for the girls in the front seat. They park the car at the waterfall and leave it staged to look like a Departure event. Then the trio watch as Kevin throws himself into the water with the cinder block rope-tied to his foot. The girls turn away to leave the scene and an earthquake shifts the scene to the moment at the end of the last episode. Michael discovers Kevin, alive again in the woods after Virgil killed him. Kevin asks how long he was dead and Michael says eight hours. He asks if Patti is still with him and Kevin says “no.”
Then Kevin tells Michael how he saw Evie that night at the waterfall and says he needs to talk to his father. At the mention of John Murphy we see him at his dining table with the unopened gift from Evie in front of him. Annoyed, impatient Erika opens it for him and inside there’s a dead cricket. John says Evie found his cricket, smiling. Then Erika says no she didn’t because after Evie left that night the cricket was chirping like mad. John says, “Then why did she put this one in the box?” Erika says, “Because you wouldn’t let it go,” so, he replies, “Fuck you”. At that moment Miracle Rangers come to the door and tell him Kevin’s handprint matches the one found on the missing girls’ car. John trots over and pounds on the Garvey front door. He meets Laurie for the first time. Then Kevin comes home and John says they need to go for a ride and have a talk. The resonant Leftovers dread then flutters up into customary position now. Some shit’s about to go down and it’s not just John and Erika’s marriage.
We shift then to Nora who’s caring for baby Lily and Mary. They listen to a radio talk show and then there’s an earthquake. Suddenly Mary wakes up and starts talking. Nora takes her to Matt, still at the campground, who’s thrilled to see her and that she’s back. He says he can’t go back with her yet but that Mary has to go back to town. Then he tells her she can’t stay with him out here because she’s pregnant and it’s her turn to be thrilled. We see Tom and Meg at the campground now too. Meg asks if he’s scared for his family and Tom says there is no family. She says where’d you hear that. He says he thought that was the point and Meg says, No not the point at all. In fact, “Family is everything.” Then she tries to drive across the bridge until a Ranger stops her. He says no visitors because it’s October 14th – Departure Day. Meg tells him she’s got a van packed with plastic explosives and then drives over the bridge and stops in the middle. She gets out of the van as Rangers point guns at her and say she has to get down on the ground. So, Meg lies down on the bridge and they cuff her. Now the three missing girls from Miracle get out of the van, dressed as Guilty Remnants all in white. Meg’s big event is underway.
Next we see John and Kevin at the dog kennel, the holding space where they put his dog on that first day in Miracle. Kevin tells john he just remembered this morning seeing Evie staging her departure at the waterfall. At first John doesn’t want to believe any of it but Kevin tells him everything – dying, Virgil, and even Virgil’s confession about messing with John as a kid. John gets nervous and pissed and won’t believe. He says, “Evie loves her mother, brother and me. So why would she do this to us?” Kevin says maybe she didn’t love you. Then John shoots him right in the chest without hesitation and leaves. But then when John gets outside everybody in the campground/bridge area is reacting to what’s happening with Meg, the trio of girls, and the plastic explosives. So, John runs over there to see what’s up. He sees Evie and the other two missing girls dressed as Guilty Remnants. They just smoke and stand in front of the van. Then Evie holds up a sign that says, “One Hour.”
John cant get Evie’s attention. So, he goes to the church and tells Erika who goes straight to bridge and races through the guards to confront Evie who won’t acknowledge her. Evie refuses to even make eye contact with Erika. Then lots of the people in the campground strip down to their underwear and change into all white clothes. The scoreboard that sits high above the campground counts down the hour Evie announced on her sign with big scoreboard numbers. But at the end of the hour the van turns out to be empty, so it’s not a bombing after all. Then all the dressed-in-white Guilty Remnant campgrounders climb the stairs to break through the gate, overcome the Ranger Guards, and cross the bridge to join Evie and the other two girls. Erika says to Evie, “I don’t know why you’re doing this. I don’t understand,” to which Evie then writes on her notebook, “You understand,” and she walks away and across the bridge to Miracle with the crowd of Guilty Remnants. Erika stands transfixed on the bridge, brokenhearted.
Matt tells Mary they have to go back into town now. It’s their chance to get back in together. She agrees and they head toward the bridge. A woman who keeps harassing Nora that Lily is not her baby then snatches Lily from Nora and runs away, only to abandon the baby on the bridge where Lily’s nearly trampled before Nora can save her. Tom appears at Nora’s side to help her save baby Lily and brings her to safety, ironically inside the ominous but impotent van that’s still parked in the middle of the bridge. Meanwhile all the campground people who aren’t dressed in white are following the group of Guilty Remnants running across the bridge and into Miracle – finally going the one place in the world they really want to be.
Then Kevin wakes up in a hotel bathtub room again PISSED. “I’m not fucking doing this again,” but still he goes to the wardrobe and selects the cop uniform. The phone rings and they say they need him in the lobby because a cop was attacked. In the lobby Kevin sees the guy from the bridge who tied the noose around his neck. He tells the guy he needs to know how to get back and the guy says all he has to do is sing. Kevin says he won’t because it’s stupid. The guy retorts, “You pushed a little girl into a well but you’re not willing to sing,” so Kevin gets up on stage and spins the wheel to pick a song. He gets Simon and Garfunkel, Homeward Bound and the lyrics arouse all sorts of images and memories that make him cry as he sings. When his song ends Kevin closes his eyes and then wakes up in a pool of blood on the dog kennel floor. The dog he’d left on his first day at Miracle stares at him. So, he takes the dog and exits the kennel. It’s night now and there’s nobody at the campground anymore. When he calls to the dog it doesn’t come to him and instead takes off across the bridge – a parallel to Evie in the previous scene. Then Kevin goes inside the Miracle visitor center and it’s full of Guilty Remnants. He sees Meg and they ask each other what they’re doing here. He says, “I Live Here Now,” and then Meg starts singing the Miracle song that Evie sang early on in the season’s first episode. Evie harmonizes with her. It’s creepy. Kevin leaves, grabs a billy club on the way and heads into town where it’s bedlam – fires burn, people are boozin, and the formerly idyllic town square now feels like a pseudo riot, looter land.
Kevin crosses looter land and heads straight into the Jarden Medical Clinic where nobody’s working but he seems to know what he needs. He attempts self treatment when John comes in looking for Erika and sees him dying. “I killed you,” says John. “Nope,” says Kevin. Then John asks to see and Kevin shows him how the bullet went right through him. “You should’ve bled out,” John says, stating the obvious. Then he helps Kevin clean it. They both say they don’t understand what’s happening and laugh that giddy how-fucked-up-can-this-get? brand giggle. Then John helps Kevin get home. Outside their houses John asks, “What if there’s nobody home?” and Kevin says, “Then come over to my house,” so they’re officially friends again. Forgiveness reigns. Before he can even get to the front steps another earthquake fells Kevin to the ground but he endures, pulling himself up off the ground yet again. When he finally gets inside. There’s Jill, Laurie, Matt, Mary, Tom, Nora, and Lily all waiting for him. “You’re home,” Nora says. Kevin is happy to be home.
The words Meg said to Tom in the campground sum up the finale episode and even all of season two – Family is everything. That’s where all the meaning and emotion arises in this season of The Leftovers. People lost family in the Departure. Evie and Michael lost their father for most of their childhood while he was in prison. Matt lost Mary for years to catatonia. Kevin lost Laurie and Tom to the Guilty Remnant cult. He lost his father to mental illness. It’s all about family in The Leftovers and the losses keep coming – even in the finale. Just like in life, people die, dogs run away, and teenagers rebel. But in the end when Kevin comes home and finds his loved ones waiting he’s happy. After a long day of fighting, dying, and coming back to life a second time, that’s what it’s all about. Just like the Simon and Garfunkel song says.