Are the leftovers looking for departure? Michael (Jovan Adepo) aggressively scrapes the “verified” sticker off his house because nothing is really verified in Miracle. Michael removes it like a formerly held belief system, but other homes still wear the label if only just to be verified of something. Miracle’s inhabitants are starting to catch up to the foreshadowing in earlier episodes.
We flashback again to the evening of the tremor-departure with shifted focus on Nora (Carrie Coon) and a tease of her potential fallout to another departure. But it’s corralled when Kevin (Justin Theroux) returns from the lake that evening caked in mud with that chronic disoriented look on his face. He used his sleepwalking as an excuse and told her that he lost his phone, which Nora doesn’t bother to question why he woke up in the lake of all places. But she protects him from an obviously bad decision to tell the cops he lost it. A search and rescue team canvasses the neighborhood for help, a perfect out for Kevin to retrieve his phone.
But he finds his muddy handprint over Evie’s car captured by a crime scene photographer before Patti (Ann Dowd) shows up teasing him with a game of “hot” or “cold” to locate his phone. She/he finds it. It’s too early to tell whether Patti is saving his conscience or leading him to self-destruction paralleling Kevin Sr.’s convalescence and his observation that the “voices” helped him recover. Kevin isn’t so sure either yet, ignoring Patti’s counsel as he climbs into John’s truck.
Meanwhile, adding to earlier arbitrary moments, Jill’s (Margaret Qualley) kitchen faucet suddenly geysers water everywhere when she seeks Michael’s handy arm. But she returns the wrench he left behind to find that he’s losing his grip, hard for Jill to understand because as he recognizes, she doesn’t believe in god—the departure is so much harder for those who believe in Christianity because it doesn’t help to explain an ordered universe. The exploding faucet is a symbol of Michael, and the scraping of the sticker is a precursor to an emerging full blown internal rupture.
But Matt (Christopher Eccleston) is still under Miracle’s glow in his intimate encounter with Mary before she fell back into a catatonic state. The Leftovers leaves just enough tangibility before kidnapping it, but what Matt witnessed was enough—which he’s holding onto, at least for now. And his confirmation to Nora that Miracle is real pairs perfectly with cheap bourbon and cigarettes she shares with Jill in denying her slipping belief of the community’s divination. How much more can really be taken, she asks. Nora suggests that Evie could have ran away, as Nora references a case she handled with the Fraudulent Cases Department—devoted to tracking down people who have used the Great Departure as a way to escape to their lives. Nora is escaping her life just as much as Kevin and everybody else are, but she’s using this context as a proxy for her fear.
And John (Kevin Carroll) attacking Isaac is really a witch hunt, and burning down houses is his retribution for false idol worship. In this sense, John probably perceives himself as the righteous terrorist trying to eradicate a damaging belief system. But what does Kevin believe? Patti, Kevin’s alter ego, knows the connection they share: that Kevin has a hidden duality in self-departure, drawing the awareness to our “death wish” counter-conscience. Could this be another theory of the Great Departure? That the departed wanted to leave in some respect? Nora and Kevin tie the cuffs committing to love through grief. I disagree with Patti, Nora and Jill are the reason Kevin hasn’t offed himself as the scrapping off of “verified” stickers will continue in the background.