Wow. There is a lot to unpack in this season premiere. It really reminded me very much of a great LOST episode. There are many questions posed and that end scene was the OMG moment you want to start the season. We have started on, what looks like, an amazing journey. Let’s get started!
THE COLD OPEN
The year is 1844. A church group believes their leader when he tells them that The Rapture will happen on a specific date, January 21, 1844. A man, his wife and son give away all of their belongings and on the predicted night dress in white gowns and climb on their roof and wait to be taken. The next morning they come down disappointed. Their group leader gives them a new date but again nothing happens. Some members of the group stop believing and fall away but a few like the man’s wife stays faithful. The husband and son lose faith. The woman, this time alone, dresses in her white gown and climbs on the roof.
She sees only a few others on roofs around her. A great thunder storm comes and it starts raining. Surely, this is the time. But the next morning, she climbs down from the roof. Jesus did not return. She enters her church, still dressed in her white cloak and lays down with the other remaining true believers, all dressed in white. Have they committed suicide? Are they just now their own isolated community? This is how cults are born
The song playing during this scene is perfect! “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” by The Good News Circle
THE GUILTY REMNANTS
The Guilty Remnants took over the town of Miracle at the end of Season two and took up residence in the visitor’s center. We see Evie (Jasmine Savoy Brown) waking up, we assume this is the next day. She sees Megan (Liv Tyler) and writes down a question. “It’s alright. You can talk” Megan tells her but Evie keeps writing. The question is “What are we doing here?” Great question. Megan tells her about Siegfried and Roy and how they took wild tigers and made them do amazing things on stage. “It’s just a matter of time before one of those fuckers bites your face off,” Megan tells Evie. Evie runs out of the building and sees people rushing to leave the area. She looks up and sees a jet approaching. It drops something. You see the missile reflected in Evie’s glasses.
Perhaps, the Feds marked this as a terrorist action and decided to take them out? Megan seemed resigned to it. Did she know that this would be the outcome of their actions? Was this the end of The Guilty Remnants?
MIRACLE – THREE YEARS LATER
Three years later – Kevin Garvey is now the sheriff of the town and his son Tom is one of his deputies. People are pouring into Miracle because the 7 year anniversary of The Departure is only 14 days away and the town still holds a fascination for people. Cars stream in near the gigantic hole in the ground where the visitor’s center used to be.
Kevin is now the police chief and his son, Tommy, is now one of his deputies. Tommy has found out they are planning a surprise birthday party for him that night. They seem happy. Kevin has taken to riding a white horse around town instead of a car (‘behold a pale horse…’). Nice touch. He finds a flyer in the stirrup announcing ‘Are You Ready?’ and that in 14 days something is going to happen. He knows who must be behind that.
Kevin heads over to the church which is overflowing. A voice is heard over the loud speaker so that the people who couldn’t get in can hear the preacher. Of course, it’s Matt Jamison (Christopher Eccleston). Matt keeps hitting on the number 7 and how many times it plays a significant number in the Bible.
“What will happen on October 14th? 14 days from now – nothing, probably, but if it does you have come to the right place.”
After the service, Kevin goes into the office and sees Michael quickly shut his laptop. “You watching porn?” Kevin kids. Soon Matt comes in and Kevin asks him to tone down the end of the world talk. Matt agrees to and Kevin leaves.
“Do you think he knows?” Michael asks Matt. Knows what?
Back at the station house, Kevin prepares his cops that they are all on mandatory overtime as they expect the time leading up to the 7th anniversary to be hectic. Nora Durst (Carrie Coons) is back doing her old job, investigating people’s insurance claims that their loved ones were taken in The Departure. Nora and Kevin look very happy.
Dean is back. He used to go hunting for dogs with Kevin back in the first season. He returns with important info for Kevin. He believes that people in the government are being taken over by canines and that they will end the world in 4 days. Kevin calls bullshit. Dean is disappointed. Dean pulls out a dog whistle and blows. Was he testing to see if it affected Kevin? Maybe Kevin had turned? Kevin tells him that he wants to talk to him more about it the next day and heads over to see someone who might be able to help in this situation.
John is now doing palm readings just as someone had been doing last season. Kevin walks in on John with a client (Jason Douglas, Tobin from The Walking Dead). He goes upstairs and we find Lori sitting in front of a set of computer screens. She’s talking to John and telling him what to say. It’s a scam! Kevin asks Lori to speak with Dean and she agrees. John comes upstairs and kisses Lori! What? They’re together? What’s going on?
ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY
Everyone throws a surprise birthday party for Tommy. The whole dysfunctional family is there acting not dysfunctional at all! They seem like a normal family. Even Jill shows up. She doesn’t live there anymore – Off to college we assume. Later on the porch, Tommy, Kevin, Matt, John and Michael reminisce about what they were doing when they were 25. Kevin tells the story of how he met Lori in a car crash. They crashed into each other. Luck? Fate? Happenstance? Matt doesn’t think so. He knows with Kevin there is more to it than that.
NEW DAY. NEW CULT. NEW TROUBLES
The next morning after having what seemed to be a very amorous night with Nora, Kevin wakes up, wraps a plastic bag around his head and seals it around his neck with duck tape. What? He breathes in and out deeply. Is he trying to commit suicide? I don’t think he is. I think he’s conducting a test. He’s died twice before. Maybe he can’t die anymore. Sure enough it cuts to him walking out of the house in full police outfit when he gets a call from Tommy that there’s a problem at the river.
Matt and Michael are baptizing people in the river and a group of protesters show up. They dump big industrial barrels of waste/poison in the river. They’re protesting the killing of the Guilty Remnants three years earlier with the drone strike. Kevin decides to jump in the water. He swims over to the barrels. He drinks the water. “It’s not poison! It’s a hoax!” How did he know? Did he know? Or is it that he just knows that he can’t die?
Michael wades into the river to Kevin and performs a baptism on him. Kevin goes along with it but then whispers in Michael’s ear, “That doesn’t count.”
Tommy is driving Kevin back to town when shots are fired and shatter their windshield. It’s Dean! He’s firing away at the car. Kevin’s gun isn’t loaded or jams and Dean has him in his sights. “You changed, you son of a bitch!”
Just as Dean brings up the rifle to kill Kevin Tommy shoots him in the head.
A NEW TESTAMENT
The episode has many surprises:
John is now with Lori. How did this come about? They seem very happy, too! What happened to Erika (Regina King)? There’s no mention of her but I have to believe her absence will be explained.
Jill is away at college? Will she be around for the rest of the season or will her appearance in the season opener be it for her?
Jill asks Kevin how Nora is doing and if she ever talks about Lily, their adopted black daughter from the madman faith healer, Holy Wayne. What happened? Did Erika take off and take Lily with her?
Matt is back where he feels the strongest; at the pulpit, making flyers and causing trouble. He uses his wife, Mary (Janel Maloney) and child as proof that the town of Miracle is a special place but Mary is not feeling it. She tells Nora and Kevin that she’s headed back to New York with her son and leaving Matt. She also tells Kevin that Matt has been working on rewriting the New Testament, specifically adding a new gospel about Kevin.
“He’s writing a book about you. He thinks the New Testament’s getting old. I’ve only read some of it, but you figure fairly prominently, Kevin.” Mary tells him.
Kevin goes to the church to confront Matt. Matt plays dumb but Michael sees that Kevin knows and tells Matt to show him. John comes in, bringing the guys some dinner and Kevin asks him if he knew about Matt what Matt was writing to which, John responds with a knowing, “Oh”.
“I shot you in the chest, point blank, and you got up and walked back into town. Didn’t even go to the hospital until the next day.” John says.
“You tried to drown yourself, and an earthquake saved your life.” Matt adds.
“You drank poison, I buried you and you went to the other place. You came back.” Michael chimes in.
“I can’t die.” Kevin admits.
“Of course you can. But just not here.” Matt believes Miracle is the town of many miracles. ‘Here. You can’t die here, in Miracle.”
“I’m not fucking Jesus.” Kevin tells him.
I’m not saying you are, but the beard looks good on you.” Matt responds.
Kevin demands Matt give him the book. Matt does it but tells him there is only one copy and he is trusting that he won’t destroy it. Kevin walks outside and is preparing to toss it in a fire but he can’t bring himself to do it. He looks up at the sky and sees a skywriter spelling out “13 Days To Go”
The scene seamlessly shifts to a different sky and a growing number of doves flying. They land in a clearing where an old woman gathers them and places them in cages. She places the cages on her bike and rides through a lovely countryside. We’re in Australia now. She delivers them to a church where a nun asks her “Sarah, does the name Kevin mean anything to you?”
The woman now turns so we can see her face. It’s Nora durst! Old!
“No”, she responds tersely.
If this isn’t just like the ending of a great LOST episode I don’t know what is!
The episode was perfect. It updated us as to what happened to everyone, almost while still leaving plenty of room for revelations. It also laid out the plot for the season. In two weeks, on the 7th anniversary of The Sudden Departure something will happen, perhaps apocalyptic. Kevin may be the key to preventing it.
Whatever happens, the world is still in existence and Nora is still alive but Kevin’s name does not bring her comfort.
I loved this episode. It moved at a break neck pace and ddin;t stop to let people catch their breath or even utter the many questions the episode elicited. It looks like the action will be shifting to Australia in the coming episodes.
SIDE OF LEFTOVERS
I liked the two bros who inflated a balloon in the likeness of Gary Busey thinking that he will be returning on the 7th anniversary of The Departure and they wanted to show him where to land.
The opening scene is based on an actual group called The Millerites, a fundamentalist Christian sect that had pinpointed the exact date of Jesus’ return — Jan. 21, 1844. Check out the link for more info on them.