Did ‘The Leftovers’ Actually Kill Off That Character? Here Are Our Theories
Sunday night’s The Leftovers pulled its very own Red Wedding. In case you didn’t catch the hint, major spoilers for “The Most Powerful Adversary” follow.
In the episode, notably one of the most phenomenal of the series, Justin Theroux’s Kevin Garvey unexpectedly joined the ranks of Jon Snow and Glenn Rhee. Like those two beloved TV characters, Kevin was suddenly killed off in the final moments of the episode, leaving fans with the show’s biggest cliffhanger yet. But before we get there, a lot was revealed, and in typical Damon Lindelof fashion, even more mysteries were unearthed.
First things first, Nora is gone with Lily and Mary. Clearly freaked out by the fact that her boyfriend just told her he’s “seeing someone” who is imaginary, and who is also the woman he watched commit suicide last season, Nora booked it right away and left Kevin handcuffed to the bed. She’s not totally heartless though, as she did leave him the key despite the fact Patti was blocking Nora’s note about it. Oh Patti, let’s talk about that wonderfully aggressive and comedic apparition of a woman – or is she just an apparition?
Finally The Leftovers addressed the major questions surrounding her existence and purpose, offering us even more complicated questions. What does she want with Kevin? She has no idea! (Though that whole Egyptian chalice bit was peak comedy this season.) Why is she following him? Again, she couldn’t tell you. Why won’t she shut the hell up? Probably because she’s lonely and after being silent for who knows how long in the Guilty Remnant, she probably has a lot to spill. There are many clues hinting that she’s just a figment of Kevin’s mind, but there are more suggesting she’s much more. One example is the duck flashcard in the hardware store. As one Redditor pointed out, Patti knew it was a duck before Kevin looked at the card, thus proving that she does know things outside of his realm of knowledge and is quite possibly real. Though the way their push-and-shove scene in the woods was shot seems to hint that maybe she isn’t actually there (not to mention the second use of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind,” which for me always recalls the imaginary Tyler Durden.)
While we don’t have those answers, and may never get them, there does seem to be a goodness to Patti and she does, at times, look out for Kevin. She did tell him the truth about what he used the robe and brick for, she did warn him against telling Nora about her and, at the very last moment, she told Kevin not to drink Virgil’s poison.
But regardless of her complex relationship towards Kevin, he’s desperate to get rid of her, so desperate that he entrusted a psychic pedophile with his life. Virgil told Kevin he would free himself of Patti if he battled her in death, offering him the option to “temporarily” kill himself with poison. Since that was the only immediately choice over locking himself up in a mental institution, as Laurie strongly suggested in Amy Brenneman’s fantastic monologue (thank god this woman is speaking again!), he went for it. But never trust a pedophile, even one who insists he’s reached salvation. Instead of injecting Kevin with epinephrine to revive him, Virgil watched the former cop foam at the mouth, then shot himself in the head. He was likely using Kevin as a means to end his own life, revealed that he’s not freed from his own “powerful adversary” causing him to do such evil deeds. But why did he need Kevin to do this, and why did he involve Michael in the scheme? Yet still, there is hope that Kevin isn’t totally dead, thanks to the final moment where Michael dragged his body out of the trailer. Let’s look at Lindelof’s official statement on Kevin via HitFix to figure this out:
You will see Kevin, or parts of Kevin, possibly memories of Kevin, Kevin’s jogging pants, Maybe another character named Kevin, an adolescent game entitled ‘Seven Minutes in Kevin,’ and/or, but not necessarily literally, the ACTUAL Kevin, again. And soon. #GlennLives
So, take that as you will… I am intrigued to see what “Seven Minutes in Kevin” looks like, perhaps it will become another iPhone app fearless post-Departure teenagers will play at parties. But anyway, here are some theories on Kevin’s fate:
Kevin’s just dead.
In typical George R.R. Martin fashion, perhaps Lindelof simply killed off his main character. Perhaps Virgil knew that Kevin was present when Evie and her friends disappeared and this was his vengeance. Perhaps he predicted John would catch Kevin from the handprint and this was Virgil’s offer to his son as an apology. Maybe, but those seem way too far fetched and not essential enough to kill off a main character.
Kevin becomes resurrected.
While a resurrection seems like a stretch for a show so grounded in reality, despite the occurrence of the Sudden Departure itself, the opening of this season has some clues. As Redditor Bagel_Williams pointed out, death by poison has happened before this season, and it resulted in a resurrection. In the season’s opening sequence, the cave woman died from being bitten by a venomous snake, yet she soon after reappeared to take care of her baby. We can look at that resurrection as a means of nature acting out of necessity – the woman was brought back to life to care for her infant, who needed her to survive. Kevin has left behind Jill, not to mention Nora and Lily, so perhaps the forces that be won’t let him die if he’s still needed on Earth. The first time Kevin tried to kill himself nature acted to save him by draining the water from the lake. Virgil could know this and know that even by giving him poison, Kevin will still somehow return. Or perhaps the resurrection will follow another method we’ve seen this season. As one of my colleagues theorized, perhaps Michael will be the one to resurrect both Kevin and his grandfather by burying them in the ground, the same way Erika did with the birds. She said it only took three days, so maybe that’s all Kevin needs to rid of Patti.
Kevin is in a coma.
Virigl told Kevin the poison would slowly shut down his body, but maybe it won’t kill him entirely. Virgil never defined how long a “temporary” death would last, but maybe putting Kevin in a coma would allow him to face his demons with Patti. If the show ventures into an afterlife or another realm of existence, it could offer an explanation for what happened to those who Departed or help instill a concrete sense of belief that there is hope beyond life. I have a hard to believing that Lindelof will take us to another realm though with his own version of Harry Potter King’s Cross Limbo.
Virgil killed himself to help Kevin.
Virgil definitely shot himself, but it could have been a sacrifice to help Kevin. He did say he was a guide (*wink wink* at those Dante’s Inferno references), and that Kevin needed to face off with Patti on the other side. Virgil could have killed himself to join Kevin in the afterlife (or wherever it is they are going) and guide him through ridding himself of the trauma. We know Virgil has already died before when John shot him, and he said he helped the man in Jarden’s tower the same way. Perhaps he has the ability to come back to life. Based on Michael’s reaction when Kevin first entered the trailer, he knew something bad was about to happen, but he didn’t look like he was saying goodbye to his grandfather for the last time. Could Michael have the power to bring them both back? Yet let’s not forget that in this show the real power lies in faith, not necessarily in seeing the supernatural forces of that faith occur on screen. It may never be explained, whether or not Kevin returns.
Australia may be the “other side.”
Okay this may sound crazy, but bare with me. What if the other realm that Virgil was talking about, the space outside of the living, Patti’s “turf,” is an actual place on Earth? What if that place was … Australia?!
A ton of obvious and subtle clues have pointed to the country so far that I’ve already recounted in previous theories. But one agile Redditor found a clue hinting at Australia in Virgil’s home. When Kevin sat down in the trailer, the camera focused on what appears to be a marsupial taxidermy beside him, which are largely found in Australia. This seemed odd to focus on, but likely very intentional knowing Lindelof. Virgil also claims to have helped the man in the tower, who we know is sending letters to a mystery man named David Burton Australia. A man presumed departed also emerged from a cave in the country, and Kevin Garvey Sr. has been wanting to go there. Australia may hold some of the answers we’re waiting for.
Or is it Japan?
Agile viewers may have noticed the walls of Virgil’s brightly lit trailer in Sunday’s episode. Redditor paperfisherman noticed that Japanese characters were painted on the wall behind Virgil where he sat and shot himself. According to him, the characters mean Futagami-Jima, a fishing island in Japan that literally means “Twin Gods Island.” That may mean nothing, but the same exact village was featured in an article from the May 1972 issue of National Geographic, the very same magazine that Kevin’s father wanted him to has last season. I’m not totally sure what the connections between Kevin Sr., Virgil, this Japanese island and Australia are yet, but there’s something going on there. Like Liv Tyler says in the new preview teaser, this is hard, not knowing what’s going to happen. (Thanks for rubbing it in, Lindelof.)