The Leftovers: ‘International Assassin’ Review

The Leftovers 'All's Well That Ends Well'

“In an instant it became cosmically, abundantly clear that you can lose anyone at any time.” -Patti

The Leftovers took us to the afterlife in International Assassin and it was absolutely bat shit crazy. After drinking Virgil’s kool-aid at the end of the last episode, Kevin ends up in a hotel where he has apparently made a career transition to ‘international assassin’. Not a bad choice if you ask me. This was so different than all of the previous episodes so far and once again, The Leftovers is proving that it might be one of the best series on television!

I never would have expected to see Kevin in the afterlife trying to vanquish his adversary Patti. Not only that, we learned a whole lot more about Patti herself and she certainly did not have an easy life. Once again, this episode had a lot of emotion, especially at the end when Kevin and Little Patti arrived at the well in Jarden. It was a surreal experience all around with assassination’s, birds in the lobby, people coming back to life and even Jeopardy! This may have been the best episode of The Leftovers yet!

The other amazing aspect of International Assassin was how it made a connection to that opening scene from the premiere where a single cave woman gives birth after the cave she calls home is sealed off after an earthquake. And while we still don’t know what significance that scene will have, there was plenty of references to that opening scene as Kevin made his way through the afterlife. One warning before reading: don’t drink the water! Enjoy the review, fellow departed.

Welcome To The Afterlife

I don’t even know where to start with this episode. Kevin wakes up in a hotel and things immediately get weird when someone delivers some flowers to his room. Apparently he’s now going by the name Kevin Harvey and, out of nowhere, the delivery guy attempts to murder Kevin with a knife. Luckily, Kevin is able to fight him off by throwing his face into the bathroom counter. Ouch!

I also loved the inclusion of Nabucco’s Hebrew Slaves Chorus which added its own uniqueness to the episode. You should definitely check it out below:

Kevin heads to the lobby and tries to find out who sent the flowers to his room and that’s when things really start to get messed up. There’s a bird loose in the lobby, possibly one of the same birds that Erica had been burying in the forest, and the concierge just so happens to be Virgil.

"Welcome to the Afterlife Hotel."

Virgil hands Kevin a note that says to meet him in the parking garage in five minutes. I think it was pretty obvious at this point that Virgil committed suicide so he could guide Kevin through the afterlife on his quest to vanquish his adversary, Patti. Virgil also says that he really hopes they don’t catch the bird in the lobby and this seems to have more significance later on after Virgil gets thirsty and drinks the water.

On his way to the parking garage, Kevin sees a little girl drowning in the hotel pool and immediately jumps in and tries to save her.

Not Michael Phelps

As we know, this little girls turns out to be a child version of Patti so it was only fitting that Kevin actually saved her life before ultimately killing her in the exact same way. Kevin finally meets up with Virgil in the parking garage where he tells him what happened in the hotel pool but Virgil is more concerned with whether Kevin drank any of the water. He warns Kevin not to drink the water no matter what. Virgil also informs Kevin that he’s taken a new career as an international assassin so it’s no surprise why he was attacked in his room earlier.

Virgil explains that Patti is his target and that she will be at the hotel in a couple of hours for her campaign. Yup, that’s right, Patti is running for President. Kevin’s reaction to all of this was the exact same as mine.

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

Apparently, Kevin Harvey made a generous contribution to her campaign which guarantees a meet-and-greet with Patti. Virgil also tells Kevin that there will be a gun and silencer inside the tank of the toilet in Patti’s suite and he needs to kill her without hesitation. If it wasn’t for Virgil I don’t think Kevin would have ever figured out what he needed to do so I guess it’s a good thing Virgil killed himself to guide Kevin through his journey. And we’re only just getting started.

The hotel fire alarm begins to go off and Kevin evacuates the building where he sees a guy with some balloons and a gift basket. The guy tells him that his gift package is for Mary Jamison and I immediately have so many questions. Why would Mary be in the afterlife with Kevin and Virgil? Did she somehow pass on after Kevin drank the poison? Or is she simply there because of the vegetative state she’s in? It’s hard to say and I was really hoping that Kevin would interact with Mary at some point but this was never meant to be and we are left wondering why Mary was there.

Kevin is later attacked by another random security dude only this time he doesn’t win the fight and is taken away for questioning. And guess who returned? GLADYS!

The Leftovers: Gladys

For those that don’t remember, Gladys was a member of the Guilty Remnant who was stoned to death in the first season. I certainly was not expecting her to return but this all made sense given the fact that she is working with Patti again. They hook up Kevin to a lie detector and every time he tells a fib, he ends up getting sprayed in the eyes with liquid that looked very unpleasant. I found this entire sequence to be very riveting, especially Kevin’s response to why he smokes, saying that its to remember that the world ended after the departure.

Even more fucked up shit happens when Kevin returns to his room and finds his father on the TV screen. They are in the exact same room only his father is in Perth, Australia and he’s supposedly fucked up on a drug called God’s Tongue. It was also revealed that he was the one who sent Kevin those flowers at the beginning of the episode.

Fear & Loathing in Perth

He also tells Kevin that he needs to take “her” to the well, whatever that means. At this point in the episode, I was confused as ever but luckily everything starts to make sense once Kevin meets Patti. I can only assume that Kevin’s father must have died in Perth but the questions are piling up after this acid trip of an episode.

Before his meeting with Patti, Kevin goes to retrieve the gun in the restroom but it is being occupied by Holy Wayne. Yup, everyone that had previously died in this series was back in the afterlife.

"I'm taking a shit here, mate."

The entire meeting with Patti was phenomenal in every way and I can’t help but think there was so much more meaning to what Patti said. She talks about the departure and about loss and about how attachment and love became extinct. She also says, “Our cave collapsed, Kevin. Now we can spend all our time digging through the rubble, looking for signs of life or we can transform.” After hearing this, I immediately thought about our cave woman from the premiere who was separated from the rest of her people after their cave collapsed. This was not a mistake, it simply can’t be. But what does Patti mean by transforming? Definitely something to think about.

Kevin finally retrieves the gun from the bathroom and proceeds to shoot every person in the room but not before Patti begs for her life. As it turns out, however, this is not the real Patti. She’s a decoy and begs Kevin to spare her. Obviously, Kevin ignores her pleas and shoots her right between the eyes. Jesus. H. Christ.

Patti is shot in the head by Kevin

After killing Patti, Kevin remains in the afterlife even though Virgil told him that killing her would allow him to go home. He immediately goes back to Virgil to find out what the fuck is going on but Virgil failed to follow his own advice and he drank the water. I’m still not even sure what that means but my understanding is that once you drink the water, there is no going back and dead is dead at that point. Plus, Virgil did this to that pesky bird:

Virgil kills the bird in the lobby

So Kevin has no idea what to do next and he ends up meeting Patti’s ex-husband Neil in the hallway. They’re both locked out of their rooms but we finally get some answers. Neil tells Kevin that he should have “let that fat bitch drown” regarding his daughter who was drowning in the pool. But as it turns out, that wasn’t his daughter, it’s a child version of Patti. So Kevin, who has fully embraced his inner assassin, murders Neil in the hallway and takes Patti with him to Jarden, Texas. I really loved the irony in all of this. Kevin ends up saving Patti’s life in the pool earlier, not realizing that this was the child he needed to kill in order to escape the afterlife. Man, I can’t even believe all of this happened. Nor can I believe that the writers decided to show us their interpretation of what happens after we die. Ballsy to the extreme and I loved every minute of it.

I also want to reproduce the quote from Little Patti while her and Kevin drive to Jarden because, once again, there is a link to the mysterious cave woman. Patti says, “Before the arrival of the European explorers in what we now know as Texas, the area was populated by the tribes of indigenous people. The Orphans Well outside Jarden was built by one of these tribes. According to the ancient legend, the well formed a conduit between the world of the living and the spirit world.” Hmmm….so this might help in explaining what is so special about Jarden, especially if the area acts as a conduit between the living world and the afterlife. That is some fucked up supernatural shit right. It’s not every day we get to watch a story that tries to explain one of the biggest mysteries in life. That being, where do we go when we die? This episode was straight up amazeballs.

After arriving in Jarden, Kevin is attacked by another random who proceeds to tie a noose around his neck. He gives Kevin the option to either cross the bridge and kill the child or jump to his death. Decisions, decisions!

Kevin chooses to live, obviously, and he takes Little Patti with him to the Well and this is when my own emotional breakdown kicked in because how could you not feel bad for Patti at this point. Even Kevin is having a hard time killing Little Patti and who can blame him? Patti seems to think she deserves this fate because she talks too much, she doesn’t listen, she’s stupid, she’s worthless, she’s a fat pig and she doesn’t know how to be happy. You’re making me cry here, show! Please stop!

"Please Stop"

And finally, Kevin does the unthinkable and pushes the little girl down the well because he knows that this is his only way out of the afterlife.

Kevin pushes Little Patti down the well

By the way, I didn’t notice this at first but after Kevin pushes Little Patti down the well, you can hear the sound of a hawk in the distance which was the exact same thing that happened when the cave woman died from a snake bite so many years ago! So was our cave woman already in the afterlife? What could the connection be between these two scenes? This was certainly not a coincidence by any means.

After pushing Patti down the well, we find out she is still alive but she’s back to her normal, adult self and Kevin goes down to join her where she tells him a story about how she went on Jeopardy so she could earn enough money to leave her husband Neil. Once again, this scene really exemplifies just how damn good the writing is. It was a story about going on Jeopardy for crying out loud and I’m sitting here in tears because of Patti’s reasons for going on the show in the first place. She ends up earning enough money on the game show to leave her husband behind but never ends up doing so. And this leads to an emotional Kevin, who is in tears like the rest of us, drowning Patti in the well and ridding himself of his demons once and for all.

This was followed by a earthquake, very similar to what happened in the opening scene of the premiere with the cave woman, and Kevin wakes up buried in dirt.

Back To Life

Wait, WHAT!? Kevin comes back to life at the end of the episode, right before being buried alive by Michael Murphy, and my brain exploded. So apparently, I was completely wrong about Michael being the one to bring him back to life. Kevin was able to come back to life after vanquishing Patti in the afterlife! More interestingly, Kevin is not the first person to come back to life after dying. David Burton, that random dude in Australia, apparently did the same thing, as did the guy who’s on top of the tower in Miracle. Michael’s reaction pretty much sums up this entire episode, doesn’t it?

"Holy Shit!"

This was one for the ages. International Assassin had it all and is clear evidence that this series is one of the best things ever created. Not many shows or stories have the balls to take us to the afterlife but The Leftovers did and I certainly did not see this coming. And even though we didn’t get any answers as to what is going on back in Jarden, we did learn more about the connection between the living world and the spirit world through a well that was built by indigenous people, possibly signifying a connection to the cave woman from the opening scene of the season.

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LOVES IT 
Mikey Likes ItThe Leftovers totally went there in International Assassin. I love the ballsiness of this show, doing something so different and so original by taking us on an adventure into the afterlife. Was this just Kevin’s version of what happens after death or do we all end up in the same place? Either way, Kevin’s journey to battle his adversary was exactly what I have come to expect from one of the most under appreciated series to date.

This was, hands down, one of the best episodes of the series so far and I’m telling you right now, there is some sort of connection between the opening scene with the cave woman who was bit by a deadly snake and where Kevin went. Obviously we still have no idea what this connection is exactly but I’m thrilled that the writers are paying close attention to every little detail.

With only two episodes left in the season, we still have a lot of gaps to fill in but one thing is certain: Kevin is going to be in big trouble with John Murphy when he matches his palm print to the one on his daughter’s vehicle. We also still need to find out what happened to Tommy, if Mary will ever wake up from her vegetative state and what role the Guilty Remnant will play before the season wraps up.

I am praying that HBO does the right thing and brings this back for a third season because only one word can describe this season: EPIC. I am a sucker for emotionally raw storytelling with a sci-fi or fantasy twist and the writers clearly know exactly what they are doing in terms of making us feel every kind of emotion for every single character, Patti included.

So what did everyone think of International Assassin? Do you have any thoughts or theories about how Kevin’s trip to the afterlife could connect with the opening scene with the cave woman? Let us know in the comments and thanks for reading, fellow departed.

Lastly, be sure to check out the promo for next week’s installment, titled Ten Thirteen, which is likely a reference to the day before the anniversary of the departure (October 13th). I have a feeling something big is going down and the Guilty Remnant will be involved again. Enjoy!