Previously on The Leftovers, “The Book of Kevin”
In season one, Nora Durst was “okay.” Just a few years after her entire immediate family departed, she was working for the Department of Sudden Departures. She was also paying escorts to shoot her and grocery shopping for the exact last things she bought for her family, and let’s not get started on the stale jellybeans in her car.
In season two, Nora Durst was “okay.” She was living in Jarden, Texas, in a new relationship, and had just adopted a beautiful baby. She also paid $3 million for a house unseen because she needed Jarden to be the miracle it claimed to be. And let’s not talk about throwing rocks through her neighbor’s window.
Now, three years later, Nora Durst’s version of okay is getting a tattoo of her departed children’s names on her arm, immediately regretting it, covering it with a Wu-Tang Clan tattoo, and then purposely breaking that arm so a cast can hide that tattoo. So, yet again, Nora is not okay.
Nora finds herself again targeted by possible Departure scammers; this time, Mark Linn-Baker (Perfect Strangers), the actor who faked his departure after his three sitcom co-stars disappeared. Under the guise of proving it’s a hoax, Nora travels to St. Louis to meet with him after he calls and offers her a chance to be with her children again. After he explains there’s a rogue team of scientists looking for willing test subjects, Nora watches a video of the people who already agreed to be blasted with radiation in the hopes that it will reunite them with their departed. These people all look normal. They look sane. They look okay.
This trip also served as an opportunity for Nora to see Lily – whose name is no longer Lily – again as she drives to Kentucky and spends a brief, heartbreaking moment with the little girl who was once her daughter, but now has no idea who Nora is. Christine has custody of Lily, is married, and the mother of another baby.
Nora keeps losing.
She visits Erika when she returns to Jarden, and asks her friend how she’s not going crazy. Erika explains that she was able to bury Evie, and this, presumably, brought her a sense of closure. Also, the trampoline she purchased didn’t hurt. Then we got a scene that only The Leftovers could deliver: Nora and Erika jumping on the trampoline while Wu-Tang’s “Protect Ya Neck” played.
Any comfort Nora received from this visit is gone when she runs into Tommy, who needs to assure Christine that Nora isn’t going to be a problem. When Nora admits she wishes Tommy had never left Lily for her, he reminds her that he didn’t; he left the baby for Kevin.
If there’s one thing we know about Nora is that she will lash out in spectacular fashion when hurt. She wastes no time doing just that when she places an enlarged photo of the Pillar Man’s corpse in Jarden’s town square, thereby exposing the story that he’d Departed as a lie. His widow, Sandy (Brett Butler reprising her season two role), came up with the story to give the five years he spent on the tower some meaning. Matt agrees to keep quiet about the truth in order to give her husband a Christian burial, also he can relate to losing a spouse you’d spent years caring for when they were incapable of taking care of themselves.
Nora then arrives home, early, just in time to witness how not okay Kevin is — she sees him suffocating himself with a plastic bag. He swears he always stops in time and that he doesn’t want to die. She reveals her tattoo and says it’s fine. It’s okay. Not okay enough to have a baby, apparently, because when Kevin says he wants to have one with her, she laughs in his face.
Despite several attempts to resume a normal life, we’ve seen Nora still entertain the sketchy opportunities to feel better or learn what happened to her children. Seven years after The Sudden Departure and that still hasn’t changed. When one of Mark Linn-Baker’s associates calls and tells Nora to be in Australia next week with $20,000 in cash, she agrees. And when Kevin asks if he can accompany her on this “business trip,” she says yes — probably because she’d just laughed in the poor man’s face and because she can keep an eye on him and plastic bags if he’s with her.
Speaking of Australia, a police chief there, also named Kevin, comes home to find four women on horses waiting for him. When he won’t come with them willingly, they knock him out and then drown him. One of them, Grace (Lindsay Duncan), is positive they’ll see him again shortly; the others aren’t so certain. When the dead policeman doesn’t wake up, they realize they may have made a huge mistake. And when Kevin Sr. appears on the porch to ask what they’re up to, we’re left wondering if he just made one as well.
Leftover Questions and Observations
Assuming the four women were looking for Kevin Jr., it appears the final scene also took place in the future, though not as far off as the time we saw Nora delivering doves, because Kevin has yet to arrive in Australia. Also, Grace recited something that sounded like scripture and definitely referenced the younger Kevin Garvey:
“And he looked at them and raised his hand, but they did not wave in response. And so he clutched the stone to his chest and jumped into the water.”
How do they know the story of Kevin’s suicide attempt in Jarden? If this scene takes place in the present day, when Kevin and Nora are preparing to go to Australia, then it stands to reason that the Book of Kevin already spread.
Unless they’re from the future. dun. Dun. DUN.
Everyone’s waiting for the apocalypse, and now we have four horsemen?
Was the Australian Kevin living with Kevin Sr.? Quite a coincidence that they’d be at the right place and encounter the wrong police chief Kevin.
Last week, Kevin hesitated to burn the book. This week, through Nora busting his chops about it, it’s clear he’s debating the importance of the book. He really didn’t want her taking the book on her trip because “Matt said it’s the only copy.”
Pleased to see Nora’s D.S.D. colleague, George Brevity (Joel Murray), is back. I wonder if he ever confronted her about the questionnaire that went missing after she asked for it and after she sat behind him at Evie’s memorial.
When George approved Nora’s plans to travel to St. Louis, he hangs up the phone and says to his co-worker, “She’s going.” He says this as if they’d already discussed Nora taking this trip before she was asked to make it. Also, two people are listed on IMDB as D.S.D. employee/hotel clerk and D.S.D. employee/hotel patron. Is Nora being set up or investigated herself?
Erika looks amazing and it’s interesting to note that unlike her ex-husband, Erika believes Evie is dead.
But the big question is:
The Leftovers S3E2
"Don't Be Ridiculous"
The Leftovers – S3E2 – “Don’t Be Ridiculous” | Starring: Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Regina King, Christopher Eccleston, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Jovan Adepo, Amy Brenneman, Kevin Carroll, Scott Glenn, Margaret Qualley, Liv Tyler | Written by: Tha Lonely Donkey Kong & Specialist Contagious (Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta) | Directed by: Keith Gordon