The Leftovers: ‘Orange Sticker’ Review

 The Leftovers 'Exceptional'

“Wherever you go, there you are.” -Jill Garvey

We returned to Miracle National Park and got some answers but this episode of The Leftovers was not nearly as entertaining as the previous three. Don’t get me wrong though, this episode was packed full with emotion and was probably one of the best in terms of character development. The bottom line: The Leftovers is one of the best stories ever told.

We finally got to catch up with Kevin Garvey after his run-in with a cinder block and a watering hole but I was a little disappointed with the explanation. We also learned a ton more about John Murphy and, officially, he’s obviously this season’s bad guy because something definitely ain’t right with him. That said, his wife Erika is the complete opposite and it’s hard not to feel for her after she lost her daughter…whom she thinks is exceptional.

And that is exactly what The Leftovers is. It’s exceptional and hands-down the best thing I have watched on television in years. There are so many good things to say about this second season and Orange Sticker decided to put the emotion in overdrive and, once again, left us wanting more. Enjoy the review, fellow departed.

Quaking In Your Boots

The episode begins with that earthquake that occurred prior to Evie and Kevin’s disappearance. Nora wakes up in the middle of the night and realizes that Kevin is no where to be found. She is also concerned that this could be another departure given the fact that she woke up alone. It’s really hard not to feel for Nora because she’s already lost her entire family so I can completely understand what she’s going through.

The Spins

After she wakes up, Nora attempts to find out what is going on but they don’t have any cable or Internet hooked up yet so she calls 911 to try to get some info. Luckily Kevin shows up before the 911 operator thinks she’s bat shit crazy. Kevin, however, is not going to be able to explain any of this since he was sleepwalking and doesn’t even know what happened himself.

Kevin’s visions of Patti have been a big part of the second season so far and, as much as I love Patti, I think this is becoming a little too much. Obviously Kevin is haunted by what happened to Patti back in Mapleton but I’m not sure what to make of these visions anymore. Is there something much bigger going on here that we don’t know about or is Kevin just crazy? I’m not sure I know the answer to that but it looks like Patti is playing the role of Kevin’s subconscious.

The cops show up at the Garvey residence but it’s not because they suspect Kevin of doing anything wrong, they are simply looking for bodies, and trucks, to help in the rescue effort to find Evie and the other girls. We also find out that Kevin has lost his phone and his quest to retrieve this phone makes up a good chunk of our episode. During the search and rescue, Kevin wanders off into the now-empty watering hole where he comes across the cinder block that he found attached to his leg.

"So that's where I put my cinder block!"

The rescue rangers also end up finding a “palm print” on the driver’s side door, which we know was left their by Kevin.

I think the search and rescue scenes were very well done and they gave us a better sense of how the people of Jarden feel about their home. Watching people scoop up the remaining water in the watering hole and treating it as some kind of holy water was interesting to say the least and it really sets the tone of how people are handling the so-called departure (or lack thereof in Miracle). This probably goes back to the idea of the guilty remnant and how there are really two types of people in this post-departure world. On the one hand, there are people that have lost all of their faith and no longer have anything to believe in. On the other hand, you have people who believe something Godly is happening and look to religion to make sense of the departure.

I also wanted to point out the part where Nora goes into a shop to stock up on cigarettes and booze. She talks to a random guy named Virgil who offers his condolences for Nora’s loss. But how in the hell does he know about Nora’s loss?

"My condolences."

This scene intrigued me because how could this random old dude know about Nora’s past? Is this some kind of clue? It’s impossible to tell at this point but hopefully this is not the last we have seen of old Virgil.

Back at the lake, Kevin is still looking for his cellphone and Patti has joined him for the party. She keeps saying she knows what happened to the girls and I wish Kevin would just ASK her so we can get some answers but he’s ignoring her as much as possible knowing she is only a figment of his imagination. I also read that Ann Dowd looked to Bill Belichick of all people for inspiration for this character and I can definitely see some similarities. Just a little neat tidbit I wanted to share.

"You're a regular fucking Hardy Boy."

Every line Patti delivers is pure genius though and I’m kinda glad they brought her back for the second season. Kevin eventually finds his phone with Patti leading him in the right direction but when he gets out, he is greeted by John Murphy who wants him to come for a ride. Patti tells Kevin not to get in and he takes her advice at first, but John is persistent and Kevin eventually gets in the car and off they go on a little adventure.

Exceptional

So at this point we know there is something up with these earthquakes happening in Jarden. I mean, the earthquake occurs in the middle of the night at the same time the watering hole dries up and Evie and her friends disappear. So what does all of this mean? Unfortunately, we’re not even close to getting any answers regarding this mystery but there were some clues.

John takes Kevin outside of town where we learn that the people outside are willing to wait for weeks just to get inside the gates of Miracle National Park. John suggests to Kevin that he moved to Jarden to feel safe but he also lets him know that there is nothing safe about Miracle. Eventually, John gets out of his vehicle to confront some randoms and we learn a little bit more about the girls disappearance. I also have a million questions about this. John explains to these randoms that a palm print was left on the girls white Mercedes and John is livid about it. Even Patti says that it looks like Kevin framed someone without even trying. So either John was involved in his own daughter’s disappearance (possibly by paying some of these randoms to make her disappear) or he thinks someone else must have been involved because of the palm print left on the car. I’m not sure I know the answer to this yet but I think something is definitely off with John and I have a gut feeling that he might actually be the one responsible for the girls disappearance.

Shady Dealings

John thinks Isaac has something to do with his daughter’s disappearance or at least that is how he’s making it seem. I have this really strange feeling that John is involved with his daughter’s disappearance and is only bringing Kevin with him on this adventure to throw him off the trail. Yes, it’s true that Isaac might be a good suspect considering he told John that something bad was going to happen to his family. There’s also motive after John burned down his house. But part of me thinks that John is setting us all up here.

Kevin convinces John that he should talk to this Isaac character first since John is raging out of control but it was all a trick and John sends him in the wrong direction so he can confront Isaac himself. This time, however, Isaac has invested in some protection in the form of a gun and ends up shooting John in the chest before Kevin can defuse the situation.

Rageaholic

If I’m Isaac, I would have done the same damn thing here considering the fact that John burnt his house to the ground because of a psychic finger-painting reading. John refuses to let Kevin take him to the hospital but his wife just so happens to be a doctor and Erika is able to patch him up. I especially loved the scene where Erika, played by Regina King, was talking about her daughter and how she would never want to hurt anyone. She was exceptional…just like Miracle but things are going to change now that she’s gone. Please show, I’ll take more of Regina King any day because that was a scene that gave me the feels in every way. So what is going to happen in Miracle if people start believing that they ‘departed’? I am dying to find out.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Meanwhile, back at the Garvey’s home, Jill is getting closer to her next door neighbor Michael who helps her fix the broken sink which exploded during the earthquake. We also find out that Nora is a firm supporter of underage drinking and her and Jill have some drinks while having a chat about the departure. Jill also says one of the wisest things ever to Nora:

"Wherever you go, there you are."

And this is really what I love so much about this show. Jill says something so simple and yet it is so fucking deep. Let’s think about this for a minute as it relates to our own lives. As human beings, we might always be trying to change our circumstances, especially the negative ones. And even though things might change around us, we’re still there…the same old person but in a brand new setting. Everyone will go through a ton of change in their lives…it’s simply a part of life whether we like it or not. But what doesn’t change? We don’t. Sure you can try to change and you might be successful in some respects, but I personally believe that at the end of the day, we are who we are and that doesn’t change…at least not overnight.

The other really amazing aspect about this conversation between Nora and Jill is regarding the departure and the girl’s disappearance. Jill explains that Evie’s brother, Michael, thinks the girls “departed” but Nora doesn’t think so having worked as a claims investigator in her past life. The departure actually became an excuse for people to ‘disappear’ even though they didn’t actually disappear. Nora is right when she says it was the “greatest scapegoat in the history of civilization.” She also believes that this was a “one time event” but how can we be so sure? Part of me thinks Nora wants to depart and be back with her family but she doesn’t want to admit this to her new family. And really, what would you do if this ever happened? Would you use the departure as a scapegoat to escape your current situation? It’s these kinds of questions that truly pushes this story to greatness.

We also learn more about Nora’s brother, Matt Jamison, and there is definitely a lot more to his story that needs to be told. Matt ended up taking his wife Mary to Miracle looking for a miracle and it appears that was exactly what happened when they arrived. Nora confronts her brother and wants to know if Miracle is actually special and he tells us all a story about how Mary woke up from her vegetative state when they arrived. Of course, she was right back in that state when they woke up the next morning but obviously something is up with this. Even the townspeople don’t want Matt talking about this so what’s the reason?

Life is a series of tiny, little miracles.

Of course, the big reveal came towards the end of the episode when Patti explains to Kevin that he ended up with Nora because of circumstance, not because of love. Patti knows that Kevin tried to kill himself with that cinder block. She says that there are people who try to commit suicide for attention and then there are people who “really want to fucken die.” According to Patti, Kevin didn’t hesitate and, if not for an act of divine intervention, Kevin would not be alive.

"I'm just glad we finally talked about it."

Wait, WHAT?! What is going on? Not only that, Patti tells us that the girls did, in fact, vanish into thin air. If that’s the case, things are most definitely going to change in Miracle given the fact that this is a place where departures don’t happen. This also led up to one of the most emotional scenes ever, with Kevin and Nora talking in bed and Lo-Fang’s You’re The One That I Want playing in the background. This track was beyond perfect for this scene and having Nora handcuff herself to Kevin was the stuff that tears come from.

It was absolutely beautiful in every way and should make you appreciate the things you have in your life. We’ve all lost someone we loved and being able to love again can be the hardest thing ever, but when Nora took out those handcuffs and said “we’re in this together”, it really makes you appreciate your true friends and family. The ones who are not afraid to put on the handcuffs.

We're in this together

The last thing I want to quickly bring up is with regards to the orange sticker. After visiting Michael, Jill asks what they are for and Michael explains that they put these ‘VERIFIED’ stickers on everyone’s house to make sure that it was true and no one had ‘departed’. But with his sister recently disappearing, Michael isn’t sure what to believe anymore and I think this was why the episode ended with him trying to remove the sticker. Michael truly believes that Evie and the other girls departed. At this point, I have no idea what to think. My first thoughts are that these girls are alive and well, mainly because of that scene we saw in the premiere that showed the girls running naked through the woods. I can’t imagine a second departure occurred and only three girls vanished. But hey, that is why this show is so amazing…it makes us ask the tough questions and, even if we have to let the mystery be, everyone is capable of finding their own interpretation. For that, I am grateful.

Verified sticker

The Verdict

Episode Score: MIKEY LIKES IT
Mikey Likes ItIt looks like The Leftovers has no plans of slowing down this season. While Orange Sticker wasn’t as good as the previous episodes, it was still pretty amazing. We found out that Kevin probably tried to kill himself with the cinder block and we also learned more about what everyone thinks of Miracle and the departure. With a second departure possibly happening, everything is about to change in Miracle and I can now say without a doubt, this is the best show on television.

Three scenes really defined this episode for me. First was when Nora and Jill are having drinks on the porch, discussing what they thought happened to Evie and her friends. Second was Erica talking about her daughter and how she could never harm a fly. And last, that amazing scene with Nora and Kevin putting handcuffs on each other. Normally, I can’t stand this romance-type stuff but when it comes to Nora and Kevin, I can’t help but feel so many emotions and this was a great scene all around.

And even though this episode was a little bit slower than usual, it was so effective because the writers have taken the time to develop each and every character. Even the Murphy’s, who we have really only seen in two episodes, are just as intriguing as Nora and the Garvey’s and I am hoping we get to spend a lot more time with them going forward, especially Erika.

So what did everyone think of Orange Sticker? Do you still have tears running down your face? Are you any closer to solving this mystery? Let us know in the comments and thanks always for reading, fellow departed.

Lastly, be sure to check out a promo for No Room At The Inn, where it looks like we’re going to be exploring Matt Jamison’s story in more detail when he gets trapped outside of town with his wife Mary.