The following is a review and recap of the fourth episode of the third season of The Leftovers (HBO). Expect Full Story Spoilers.
In the fourth episode of the third season – G’Day Melbourne – Nora (played by Carrie Coon) meets with the group that claims to be able to reunite her with her lost loved ones, while Kevin, Jr. (played by Justin Theroux) sees someone he thought was dead on Australian television.
“Going out of my mind. Don’t even know my own name half the time. How did I get so blind that I couldn’t see, what was right in front of me?”
The title theme of this week’s episode couldn’t be more accurate for G’Day Melbourne. It is the song “This Love is Over,” by Ray Lamontagne and the Pariah Dogs. The quote above very much describes a part of this episode. The song, of course, refers to the ‘love that is over,’ but it could just as easily work as an explanation of how Kevin feels throughout the episode. The song is, of course, used to describe the state of Kevin and Nora’s relationship, which becomes the focus of the very end of this masterful episode.
“Why didn’t you just give me half?”
The opening of the episode perfectly sets the stage for Kevin to realize what his relationship with Nora has grown into. Nora doesn’t really think about her partner. She hasn’t told him ‘her plan,’ she hasn’t told him why she needs to use her ‘Global Entry’ status to bypass the regular process, and she doesn’t even think to wait for him once she has successfully smuggled the money to the other side.
Later in the episode, Nora tells Kevin that he can ‘tell her anything,’ but here Nora has no intention of telling Kevin anything about her ‘mission’ until he confronts her about it. They both keep their true intentions and secrets safe from each other — they always have. Their relationship is built on silence and physical attraction.
“I came down here to be with you!”
Once they get to their hotel in Melbourne, Nora asks Kevin if he’s going to look up his dad while they’re there. Kevin has no intention to, obviously. Kevin was just tagging along to be with his partner. Of course, that won’t fit into Nora’s schedule.
She’s following the steps laid out by this mysterious organization, and the only thing she gets to do with Kevin, before rushing out of the hotel to get on a bus, is to test his knowledge of Matt’s book. The book represents the one major thing that is kept secret from Nora. Kevin is afraid to tell her that basically everything in the book is what he remembers. He did push a girl down a well, he did do all of these crazy things, but the last time he told her his truth she reacted really poorly.
“I think a part of you wants to escape.”
And then, once Nora has left the hotel, Kevin starts seeing things. Out of nowhere, he sees Evie on Australian television and promptly runs to the studio to come and find her. The woman claims that her name is Daniah Moabizzi, she speaks with an accent, and she doesn’t seem to know Kevin at all.
After having been knocked out, he calls Laurie, who is smart enough to not point out that Kevin is having a psychotic break again, and immediately goes to confront ‘Evie’ at a local library. We soon find out that Laurie had asked Daniah to act as if she were Evie to calm Kevin down if they were to meet again, which in my book seems fairly risky considering what Kevin has gone through.
Laurie believes that he left town and flew to Australia not to be with Nora, but to escape. Some part of him needs to escape. He has always had that need. It is the same reason why his relationship with Laurie fell apart, and it’s the same reason why he was cheating on his wife during the Sudden Departure. This concept of wanting to escape also reminds us of Kevin waking up after having attempted suicide in the lake, and, of course, it reminds us of earlier this season where he regularly would bring himself to the edge by asphyxiating himself.
“Kids die every day. What’s one more? And I get to cure cancer? Of course, I nod.”
Meanwhile, Nora has made it to her meeting with the ‘mysterious organization,’ which asked her to complete a physical as well as spend some time in a box. When she is released from the box, one of the two women representing the organization tells Nora that she was surprisingly calm for someone in that situation. Nora never panicked.
They have one final question for Nora: would you kill a baby if it meant that it would cure cancer? Before Nora really answers the question, she seems very sure of herself — almost as if she has figured out the whole thing. They have been testing her since she landed in Melbourne. To me, that seemed like the biggest problem for the organization — that Nora didn’t really seem to take it seriously.
Now, Nora answers yes and the women reject her. You may remember that, in Crazy Whitefella Thinking, a guy lit himself on fire because they didn’t accept him after answering no. To me, it seems like this organization isn’t worried about the answer itself, but more so about your attitude while answering the question.
When Nora is rejected she shows her true colors. Even thought she may not want to admit it to Kevin, she is upset because they took away her chance of seeing her children again, not because her ‘mission’ failed.
“You can’t have a kid, because then you’d have no excuse. You couldn’t be a victim anymore, you’d have to be okay. No one would feel sorry for you.”
Nora can tell herself that she has ‘uncovered a massive fraud,’ but, really, she has just been rejected and has no evidence of anything else. When Kevin returns home, he gets to see her at her worst — just like she gets to see him at his lowest. They have both been exposed. Kevin had a psychotic break and Nora’s gaping whole in her heart was exposed by her rejection. And when they’re stripped down, all they have to talk about are their regrets.
As Kevin, Jr. meets with his father and Grace, and Nora sits in their hotel room with the water of the sprinklers in their room masking her tears as she laments the end of their toxic relationship, I was in awe of what we had just seen, which I believe might be Carrie Coon and Justin Theroux’s best scene together. Theroux’s Kevin gets to spit venom in Nora’s face as their relationship burns out. It is a gloriously sad scene to end on and it bookends another absolutely fantastic episode of the final season of the series.
– Jeffrey Rex