The Leftovers: “Orange Sticker” Season 2 Episode 4 Review

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Rather than the hyper-focused narratives of the first three episodes, “Orange Sticker” showed that season two of The Leftovers has settled into a groove and is ready to move faster. As we head into the middle of the season, this less-ambitious hour had to take place, just to keep the show from taking its sweet time, as beautiful as it was.

The opening scene with Nora thinking there was a second departure was very intense. Her freak out set her up to be wrong, but it was jarring nonetheless. Even if it was obviously false, the show had us thinking about what a second departure would mean for these characters and the world as a whole. It also captured the chaotic randomness of the first departure. Carrie Coon sold it all beautifully.

From there, “Orange Sticker” settled down. The Garveys joined the Murphys in their search for the three missing girls, including their daughter. The sequences are the most “normal” The Leftovers has gotten in season two. The plot moves swiftly, with Kevin joining John on a potential revenge trip. John gets shot by the man who’s house he burned down in the premiere. Kevin has to take him to his wife, who pulls the bullet out of him. All of this occurs while Kevin is being nagged by Patti. The former leader of the Guilty Remnant spews nonsense at Kevin throughout the episode, teasing him about the truths of everything that’s been happening. I have to admit, the show made me forget a few times that Kevin is likely making all of it up in his subconscious. It’s more disturbing and unsettling than any of Kevin’s mental issues in season one, even if using Patti to personify it is a little too easy of a device.

The episode ends with Kevin finally talking to this figment of his imagination and then going to bed with Nora. No real answers are given for anything, obviously, which makes the faster pace of the episode feel unwarranted. In the case of The Leftovers I prefer when it isn’t rushing us to a plot point, but instead sitting us down to illustrate a feeling. “Orange Sticker” was the least lyrical episode of the season, which is a blessing and a curse. One would hope the faster forward movement of the narrative will benefit us in later episodes. It had to happen some time, not all the episodes this season were going to be like the first three. And if this is what The Leftovers looks like when it’s forced to tell us a story instead of showing us a feeling, we’re still miles ahead of season one. Grade: B+

Some Other Notes:

  • I’m mixed on Patti. This narrative technique is overused, but then I couldn’t help but be engrossed in some of the ideas she was presenting, especially since they represent Kevin’s dormant thoughts. Still, this episode maybe had too generous of an amount of her.
  • Season two Jill is WAY better than season one Jill. Her maturity is refreshing when you have a show jammed with characters making excuses. The budding romance with Michael feels genuine too.
  • I was worried that next week we’d see this episode again but from the Murphys’ perspective, which, based on the preview, doesn’t look to be the case. This new narrative structure for the show definitely keeps you guessing.
  • So is Virgil the guide through the inferno that is Miracle?

By Matt Dougherty

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