That was an interesting bait and switch tactic.
The title of The Leftovers Season 2 Episode 6 was "Lens," referring, I thought, to what turned out to be the ridiculous notion that people could be somehow refracting ultraviolet rays and causing those around them to to suddenly depart. Or something.
If it sounds stupid, it sounded even more so when the doctor in charge of the research noted Nora was likely a vessel for one of the devil's demons here on earth and she'd already gone ahead and contacted the Vatican.
Then the hour progressed and in the final moments, everyone was seen through the lens at very close range, baring their very souls. Ahhh. Lens.
The girls are, of course, still missing, and it's ripping the town apart. The focus was on Nora and Erika throughout, and both Carrie Coon and Regina King gave stunning performances.
On Erika's side of the story, the theme of miracles in Miracle was again addressed, and we discovered the story behind the birds in a box. She's been piling up dead bird carcasses by trying to capture another miracle similar to the one we witnessed on The Leftovers Season 2 Episode 1.
Her grandmother told the tale that if you put a bird in a box, bury it for three days and the bird survives, your wish will come true. Erika never believed; it was only make believe. But after the Sudden Departure, life was different. Maybe there was some truth in the old tales grandma used to tell.
So she put that tale to use the day before Evie disappeared because Erika was going to leave John, and her wish was that her kids would be safe without her. It worked. Now she believes she caused Evie's departure. Of course, there's no accounting for why the other girls disappeared, nor why she's still deaf in a town where miracles happen, but rational thinking flies out the window under extreme conditions.
Nobody knows that better than the devil's demon, Nora. She tried to share with Erika the DSD questionnaire to give her (and more likely herself) comfort in knowing Erika didn't cause her disappearance (nor did Nora). But it didn't work.
Erika called her on her hypocrisy. Nora may talk a good game, attempting to make Erika feel as though blaming herself was ridiculous, but it was pretty easy to read Nora doing the same thing, even in the present, years after the Sudden Departure. The two women have more in common than ever, but they may be even further apart as a result.
And they both have husbands just this side of crazy, too. John continues to beat the living daylights out of people to keep his personal demons at bay while Kevin allows himself to be handcuffed to the bed so he doesn't wander off and follow Patti, who he has finally admitted to Nora he sees and speaks to regularly.
Oh, and by the way? Patti thinks it's a huge mistake telling Nora about her. As she would. After the day Nora had, half considering she may be a devil's demon, she might not take it all that badly, learning about Kevin and Patti. The world after the Sudden Departure is much different, and there are no miracles in Miracle.
- Nice to see Joel Murry, who played Fred Rumsen on Mad Men, popping up as George. Somehow he made it seem as if we were back in time.
- Erika's speech during the fundraiser was simply fantastic. Finally calling out the goat killer for getting a free pass on his madness, as well as a woman who has worn her wedding dress every day since the Sudden Departure as if wearing it that day somehow kept them all safe.
- Virgil is related to the Murphys. Do you think he's either Erika's or John's father?
- Tom was "missing" during the time frame of the episode. Do you think this was taking place during The Leftovers Season 2 Episode 3 when we caught up with Laurie and Tom, or might we be having a confluence of characters soon?
Let me know your thoughts! Each week we're hit with more moving performances by this group. Certainly they won't be left out come awards season. What do you think?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.