‘The Leftovers’ season 2, episode 4 review: Bringing Rick-rolling back in 2015

Leftovers -We are now four episodes into season 2 of “The Leftovers,” and this is a show that is at the moment clearly providing just about everything you could hope to see and then some. Do you want a scene of Patti singing Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” to Kevin? You’re going to get that. The same goes for a really depressing sequence set to a somber “You’re the One That I Want” from “Grease” (which we had admittedly heard before in a commercial).

“Orange Sticker” was an interesting installment for the show mostly in that it continued to show us the Kevin Garvey that he wants to be perhaps more than the one that he is, the creature who comes alive at midnight and seems to have mysterious relationships, causes carnage, and set in motion the events with the block of stone and a rope. The fascinating thing here is that we’re not sure Patti is lying all too much about this man’s actions.

The relationship between Kevin and John Murphy is already almost as complex as between Kevin One and Kevin Two. We don’t think either man fully trusts the other, but in the face of other potentially enemies, they are fine to work with each other. This led John to a violent altercation after blaming Isaac’s prediction for what happened to Evie … which makes us wonder what actually happened to her. Was this another Departure, did she just run away, or is this yet another mystery the show is going to make us try to wrap our head around?

While we will not say we’re careless as to the answer, it’s not the most important thing. Instead, it’s about how the show handles it, and right now they are doing it with nuance, with excellent performances (Carrie Coon was fantastic when Nora thought Kevin had vanished), and with enough creativity to keep this from being the bleak drama we once thought it was. While there were some minor dips in the middle this week, “The Leftovers” remains fantastic, and easily the most-improved series of 2015. Grade: A-.

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