If you’re reading this we assume you’re watching along with us. This Spoiler Dive contains spoilers (obviously) for ‘The Leftovers’ Season 3 Episode 2 (S03E02) ‘Don’t Be Ridiculous’.
The Leftovers started airing April 16th on HBO.
What an episode. I mean seriously, this was a magical time. I went through all sorts of emotions, and that’s what The Leftovers does best of all.
The first thing you might notice this episode is that something is off. It’s the same opening credits from season two, but gone is Iris DeMent’s song “Let the Mystery Be”. The new theme song is actually the theme from another show; “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me Now” from 1980’s sitcom Perfect Strangers. As amusing as this all is, this isn’t a one-off gag, it all pays off later in a huge way.
As mentioned in our first dive the show is following a character per episode. Last time it was Kevin. Now we’re onto Nora. Carrie Coon is in every show at the moment, you may have seen her in Fargo which has also started airing its third season. Have her on all the shows, why the hell not?
Nora is interviewing suspects due to the man on the tower in the centre of town falling to his death. Witnesses (there were none), including his widow, swear he departed. Nora is the world’s greatest detective (sorry Batman) and she marches over to her brother Matt and tells him to dig up the body.
She gets a mysterious phone call from actor Mark Linn-Baker, who starred on Perfect Strangers. Told you we would be getting back to it. How very meta! He says Nora can see her children again. Apparently the other three series regulars were taken in the departure (October 14, 2011) and left Mark feeling a little left out. He went deep underground and discovered a mysterious group who took their findings to be examined by Switzerland physicists. They named the types of radiation found around the sites of departures as LADR, and constructed a device to blast out the same radiation to send people to the afterlife, wherever that may be.
It’s a concept very similar to the premise of the new Netflix film, The Discovery, where the afterlife is scientifically proven so people commit suicide to get to there. Of course Nora sees right through the bullshit (or does she?) and tells Mark he’s delusional, that people are only incinerating themselves. He gives her a thumb drive with testimonials of many people (with high IQ’s of course) saying they are of sound mind before vaporizing themselves. We don’t get to see the vaporising part.
“They’re not sending people to some magical place to be with their loved ones. They’re incinerating them.” – Nora Durst
The whole scene is incredible, a perfect mishmash of meta, sci-fi, drama, and dark comedy. Now I’ve heard of but haven’t actually seen Perfect Strangers so I can only imagine how this scene plays to those people who have. Still off the high of meeting a real-life sitcom star in this world, it gets dark pretty quickly. It’s unnerving how convincing Mark is in his delusions (or are they?) of providing a one way ticket to the afterlife.
This episode answers some questions I had about the mysterious absences of several characters. We learn that Nora gave custody of Lily back to Christine and is still having a hard time moving on, especially after losing her family, and then losing it all over again. What a double whammy. Erika’s living on her own but we don’t know exactly what happened, suffice to say John has moved on. Perhaps they couldn’t handle losing Evie, and like a lot of relationships, drifted apart.
Her broken arm is revealed to be a cause of her own doing, to cover up a tattoo, the logo of the Wu-Tang Clan, which was actually to cover up a tattoo of her children’s names. A cover up of a cover up. Nora really is messed up at the moment.
“I’m Nora Cursed. Ask me about my poor departed children.” – Nora Durst
In a moment of spite Nora prints off the photo she took of the man on the tower (who Matt buried and dug up again) and places it in front of the portrait of him ascending to heaven. Proving once and for all he wasn’t special, he didn’t depart and died a boring normal death.
Nora arrives home in time to see Kevin suffocating himself with a bag over his head (like we saw last episode). He says he rips it off every time. They have an emotional conversation where Kevin admits he wants children and in response Nora bursts into rolling laughter. I seriously laugh cried in this moment. Just the look on poor Kevin’s face, meanwhile having the complete understanding of why Nora would laugh manically in that moment from all she has been through.
Nora receives a phone call from the mysterious vaporizer group, saying to bring $20,000 to Australia. And Kevin asks if he can come with thinking it’s just a work thing. Alright, so Nora and Kevin are finally going on that trip to Australia. Not moving like they did to Jarden, but as a trip, a sort of holiday if you will. We’ll have to see if they make it back, or Nora gets herself incinerated (please don’t Nora, we love you).
“And he looked at them and raised his hand but they did not wave in response and so he touched the stone to his chest and jumped into the water.” – The Book of Kevin
In this final scene we’re back in Australia with no aged Nora in sight. We meet some Aussie police officers in rural Australia. The Chief of Police is coincidentally named Kevin, and along come four Australian women on horses including Grace Playford (Lindsay Duncan), one of the main new characters introduced for this season. They recite some of the book of Kevin, and so sure he’s that Kevin they tie him to a see-saw and submerge him under water until he goes limp. They drowned the poor bugger. But in those few moments we spent with him he was a bit of a dick, so we don’t feel too bad about it.
Out comes Kevin Senior (Scott Glenn) – it’s been a while – asking what all the fuss is about.
Boom goes the dynamite. The episode cuts to black. Now that’s something you don’t see on TV everyday now is it?
I have questions (still)
- How did those Aussie lasses read The Book of Kevin? Did Matt put it online in a subReddit? Did Kevin Senior read it to them?
- Are we going to see what Kevin Senior has been up to since arriving in Aussie?
- Is Mary okay? By the sounds of things, she’s skipped town.
- What the hell has Christine been up to? Why did she want Lily back after all this time?
- Theory: Nora uses the device and it sends her to the past where she has to live until she catches up with the present and talks to Kevin and her past-self. Now I’m entering Lost territory here. Or it just wipes her memory and prematurely ages her. Occam’s razor and all that.
Until next week…