The pattern wasn't just any old pattern. It was Not Just Plain Jane's Renaissance Shawl. Remember, beware of the green paper? She went back to the project after a hiatus.
Repeat 1 - correct.
Repeat 2 - stitch count is off and a sk2togp (slip 1 st, knit two stitches together, pass slipped stitch over) had jumped ship.
Repeat 3 - wasn't starting out with the right stitch.
With the loops safely secured, we took stock. We were 2 stitches short in the repeat. We had to reintroduce a sk2togp to make it right. The loop on the bottom was the k2tog portion of the dropped sk2togp. I pulled up yarnovers out of the slack you see above on either side of the k2tog and redid the sk2togp.
So here's the tip: When you have a mistake that seems really puzzling, walk away. It's always better to approach it with fresh eyes after a break. It's even better if you have a good knitting buddy who can look it over as well. She/he will have an easier time being objective. Stay calm and have safety pins or locking stitch markers as you slowly work over your problem.