There will be SPOILERS for Season two, episode 9 of The Leftovers. You’ve been warned.
Meg has been on a fascinating journey. Until Ten-Thirteen, my assumption was that Meg’s issues stemmed from her mother passing away on October 13, the day before the mass departure. Suddenly her pain was overshadowed by loss on an unfathomable scale. It would be like a New York city resident having a parent pass away the day before 9/11. Would anyone have time for such a typical loss after that tragic event?
Ten-Thirteen gives us new insight into Meg’s mindset. When we witness her go to the washroom twice to snort cocaine during a brunch with her mother, we know she already is struggling. She seems cold and disconnected; her smile anything but genuine. She barely reacts when she comes back from the bathroom to find her mother dead. It’s hard to tell if that’s because of shock, being high, or some deeper level of emotional disconnection.
Meg takes a trip to Jarden, a place that seems to have been spared the departure. She goes to see a man named Issac, seeking insight into what her mother’s last words might have been. She becomes angry at his answer; probably that people don’t prepare profound last words if they don’t know they’re about to die. She’s been hoping her mother’s words, which she cut off by going to the bathroom to get high, might have given her a way to make sense of the loss she feels. Isaac warned her she wouldn’t find what she was looking for if he told her, but she asked for them despite his warning.
It’s always been unclear exactly what Meg is capable of doing. When she throws a grenade into a school bus full of children and bars the doors, the audience isn’t sure if it’s a fake intended to terrify. That action turned out to be a perverse play, but other things she’s done have been grotesquely violent. She kidnaps Tommy, has him beaten, ties him up, and rapes him. She lets him go after all of that, unlike the boy she has stoned to death for nothing more than seeing something he shouldn’t have in a barn.
When Meg shows up outside the gates of Jarden, we fear what might have brought her there. Matt confronts her. She tells him the people of Jarden were spared as if that is an offense against the rest of the world. She tells Matt the people waiting outside the gates of Jarden aren’t looking for safety inside. They could get in any time they want if that’s really what they wanted. They’re waiting for someone like her; someone to teach the people of Jarden about loss, and help them understand there’s no such thing as a safe space.
My sister’s phone kept autocorrecting Jarden as Garden, highlighting the metaphor. Evie is a girl from Jarden that has gone missing. By this episode, we know she’s with Meg’s group. She was what the boy saw in the barn; the reason he was stoned to death. If we follow through with the metaphor, Evie is Eve from the Garden of Eden. Her destiny becomes bringing damning knowledge to the people of Jarden that will result in them being expelled.