Post Mortems

Leftovers' Boss Damon Lindelof Addresses That Patti Twist — Plus: Departure Mystery Solved?

The Leftovers Season 2

The Leftovers‘ big Season 2 mystery took a WTF?! turn in the closing minutes of Sunday’s episode when we witnessed, via flashback, a barely conscious Kevin stagger out of that dried-up stream with a brick attached to his leg. Did those interminable “visits” from his dead nemesis Patti drive Miracle’s newest resident to attempt suicide? Or did Patti herself somehow manage to drag him to his waterless grave (the same way she pushed him into that stove)?

Series co-creator Damon Lindelof is certainly not about to spoil that cliffhanger for fans, but the EP did speak to TVLine about the episode’s two other perplexing questions: Who — or what — is Patti? And are the MIT students who purchased Nora’s house about to solve the show’s biggest mystery? Read on for Lindelof’s two cents on those Episode 2 humdingers.

TVLINE | The MIT students gave Nora hope that there may be a scientific explanation behind the Sudden Departure. I read that as, “Damon is going to give us an answer to the question he said he’d never answer!”
That was not our intention. [Fellow EP] Tom Perrotta and I have been very [clear] about the fact that the show is never going to answer where these people went, or why them. But we did start to realize that the characters on the show don’t know that we’re saying that. And so, aren’t we cheating by not having some characters on the show say, “Hey, we’re still looking.” Because they would be. You and I are never going to get the answer as long as we’re alive to, “What happens when you die?” The same is true of the Departure. But that doesn’t mean people don’t spend their entire lives investigating what happens or adopting a belief system. So the MIT guys are approaching it from the scientific route of, “We believe that your family disappeared from this table because there is something happening in this room, radiation-wise… ” And even if their data supported that, it’s still not going to answer where they went. It will just answer why them.

TVLINE | What is the deal with Patti? Is she a ghost? Is Kevin just going crazy?
That’s certainly a question that we want the audience asking over the course of the first several episodes. And if this show didn’t have a genre premise, there would be only one reasonable explanation for Patti, which is Kevin is suffering from mental illness. But over the course of the first season, [Kevin’s father] claimed that he could hear voices. And now in Season 2 he says the voices have now gone away because he started doing what they told him to. So it has to be on the table that this voice that Kevin is hearing is real. He would rather be crazy than believe that Patti is communicating from some other supernatural realm, and this season deals with this concern very specifically. But I think the larger issue for Kevin is, “What do I have to do to get rid of this? How do I make it stop? Because I can’t live my life with Patti following me around telling me what to do.”

TVLINE | She seemingly pushed him into that stove, so there’s the assumption that she can materialize…
There’s a suggestion that she has corporeal and physical reality. But I would also argue that, following Fight Club rules — and I don’t want to spoil any other shows that are currently on the air — there is a precedent for characters injuring themselves. So if Kevin is suffering from mental illness [he can] smash his own head into a stove.

What do you make of Kevin’s current predicament? And did you, like me, think (hope?) that the MIT subplot was a sign of big answers to come? Hit the comments!