The first two episodes of "The Leftovers" Season 2 both ended with Evie's (Jasmin Savoy Brown) mysterious disappearance the night of that ominous earthquake in Miracle. Then episode 3 went back to Mapleton to check in with Laurie (Amy Brenneman) and Tom (Chris Zylka). Would fans ever find out what happened to the Murphys' daughter? Episode 4, "Orange Sticker," might have the answers.
The episode begins with the earthquake. Nora (Carrie Coon) wakes up to find the baby crying and Kevin (Justin Theroux) nowhere to be found. She walks outside calling Kevin -- she gets his voicemail -- just as John Murphy (Kevin Carroll) takes off in his truck looking for Evie. She sees Erika (Regina King) and asks her neighbor if she is OK. Erika says Evie is gone.
You can see the panic in Nora's face. Was this another Departure? She collapses inside and when she wakes she frantically tries to hook up the TV or WiFi to get answers. She eventually dials 9-1-1.
"Did it happen again? Are the people gone?"
It is a heartbreaking scene for the much traumatized woman, but it ends abruptly when Kevin, still filthy from the lake, walks in the house. He's trailed by Patti's (Ann Dowd) ghost.
"Looks like you've got some explaining to do," Patti says.
The next morning Kevin tells Nora everything, and she does not think it would look good if he told the police. The police show up and for a second Kevin looks awfully scared, but they just want his truck to help with Evie's search effort. Kevin and Nora both go to lend a hand, which leads to a tense moment when a cop questions Kevin about his presence in the town -- Kevin cannot remember his address. John has to confirm his identity. Meanwhile, Nora is disheartened seeing Matt (Christopher Eccleston) praying with a group thanking God for sparing Miracle from the Sudden Departure.
Back at the house, Jill (Margaret Qualley) asks Michael (Jovan Adepo) for help with a broken sink. He obliges but gets uncomfortable when she asks why he is not helping with the search for Evie. He says Jill would not understand because she does not believe in God.
Elsewhere, Nora stops at a convenience store but has forgetten her wallet. Virgil (Steven Williams), who fans might remember as the cryptic old man who told Kevin he could help him with his "problem" at the Miracle visitors' center, is there and offers to spot her the money. He also apologizes for "her loss." The cashier scolds Virgil -- evidently he does this a lot -- but the sympathy, even if an act, rattles Nora, who is fresh off her earthquake-triggered Departure flashback.
Speaking of Kevin's "problem," he stays well after dark at the lake basin searching for his missing phone. He's taunted by Patti, whose imaginary status allows her to fill the show's need for comic relief without betraying the tone.
"I can tell you exactly where your phone is. I can tell what happened to those girls too. All you have to do is ask," Patti teases.
Kevin does not ask. However, the accuracy of the "hot/cold" game she plays with him until he finds his phone in the mud lends some unsettling validity to the vision's potency. She also tells him "not to get in that car," a warning that seems random until John pulls up in his pickup truck. He insists on giving Kevin a ride, and Kevin accepts.
However, John does not take Kevin home. Instead, he takes him outside of Miracle to Isaac's (Darius McCrary) trailer. The police found Kevin's palm print on Evie's car, but they have not yet connected the dots. John believes the print was a taunt from Isaac, who prophesied tragedy for John after a palm reading in the premiere. John goes after Isaac with a baseball bat and gets shot in the gut in the process. Kevin has to pull John off of Isaac before he can finally convince him to cool down. They get back in the car, and John calls Erika.
"Hi, honey. I got shot."
Back at the house, Jill and Nora discuss Kevin's sleepwalking. Nora does not understand why it persists even though they left Mapleton. Jill counters with some literary wisdom -- "Where you go, there you are." Jill tells Nora that Michael believes Evie departed, but Nora insists that the Departure was a one-time event. She compares the Departure to the biblical flood, with those who departed having been chosen for the metaphorical ark.
"Why would it take anyone else?" asks Nora, in stark contrast to the prayer group from earlier that was so happy to have been "spared."
Later that night, Nora goes to visit Matt with one question -- "Is this place real?"
She means Miracle. She says the town has turned out to be exactly like the home they left behind in New York. Matt tells her his very personal proof -- the night he and Mary (Janel Moloney) got to town she became lucid again and talked with him all night. It lasted only the night, but he has not since doubted the town's powers.
"It's real," he assures her.
Jill pays another visit to Michael to return a wrench. He asks if she is alone -- she is; Kevin is still with John and Nora with Matt.
"Yes," Jill replies.
"Me too," says Michael before breaking down in tears.
Michael's parents are at the hospital, where Erika tends to her husband's gunshot wounds. While he is unconscious, Erika tells Kevin that whatever her husband thinks of the town, Evie is certainly a miracle. She is a twin who was born two months early.
Afterward, Patti is back taunting Kevin in the street. She notes how Erika did not even question what John had done to get shot. She says that the Murphys have real trust and true love. She says Kevin and Nora are just trying to numb each other's pain -- "damage control." Then she reveals what anyone paying attention has guessed by now -- Kevin tried to kill himself. That is why he was in the lake with a cinderblock attached to his leg. If not for divine intervention he would be dead.
Kevin snaps at this and finally screams at ghost Patti. He tells her he loves his family and does not want to die.
"You're certainly entitled to your own opinion," Patti says. "I'm just glad we finally talked about it."
Then Patti drops another bomb. Evie departed. She was driving by the lake happy as a clam and just vanished.
Kevin returns home where Nora informs him she wants to stay handcuffed to him while he sleeps to prevent his sleepwalking -- not exactly refuting Patti's point about trust.
"Do you think they will ever find those girls?" asks Nora.
"I don't think so," Kevin replies.