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The Leftovers Season 1: “Guest”

By Eleonora Iafano on Aug 4, 2014 to The Leftovers

This episode gave us a closer look at the life and turmoil of Nora Durst. It was great to see yet another episode that was almost exclusively from the point of view of just one person. It gave us a better understanding of why Nora comes across as being so brittle and cold. After the Rapture, and the loss of a spouse and two children, anyone would feel frozen and lost, trying to make sense of what happened. Moving forward isn’t that easy for some people that cling to the idea of hope.

“Your ad said nothing was forbidden”

The episode opens up with Nora calling someone named Angel in the personal ads, with a very peculiar request. For a large lump sum of cash, the adult escort is asked to shoot Nora – who donned on a Kevlar vest for the occasion. Weird, but then again, this may be some sort of coping mechanism that Nora has adopted, to make her feel pain and sorrow.

durst2We see Nora going about her daily life, replacing the food items in her pantry and somehow, still waiting, thinking and hoping that if she keeps everything the same, maybe, just maybe her children and husband will somehow magically reappear. Unfortunately, this never happens. Nora is an empty shell of a human being, who goes about her daily life and appears to be extremely efficient at her job with the Department of the Sudden Departed. We also see Nora sitting in her car, which is parked out on the road near a preschool. And she just stares at a young woman – and we instantly know that the young woman in question is the one her husband was cheating with. The first time we saw Nora’s character, she was austere and cold. She also carried a gun. The Nora we now see is one who is trying to move forward – one such task she completes with absolute certainty is filing for a divorce. While walking out of the court, she bumps into Kevin Garvey. He’s on his way to obtain a divorce, while she just had one granted. I am still of the mindset that these two are going to hook up, somewhere down the line. Well, why not? They are two lonely, tormented souls, trying to find pieces to a puzzle that will never be complete. Nora brazenly asks Kevin to go with her to Miami, as she’ll be on business and he was genuinely surprised to be asked to go. Her reaction was a bit gruff and she quickly realized the error of her ways and made an awkward exit.

“Question 121”

Nora is quite adept at her job. So much, in fact, that she appears to be a regular at an annual conference in New York. Her boss asks her what she does while asking clients the questionnaire. It appears that Nora has a perfect track record with question 121. Every single client answers “Yes” to the question. We find out what that question is at the end of the episode. However, not knowing makes the audience wonder exactly what that question entails.

New York Conference

While registering for the conference in New York, Nora finds out that someone has taken her exclusive conference identification badge. We see a hostile and angry side come out. After wandering around, she literally bumps into a man, who is there with a group of people. The guy tries a pick up line on Nora and she doesn’t take the bait, but walks off. Later on, she meets up with the same guy and his crew and ends up having a good time. In fact, they all have a very good time in the concierge suite – drinking, popping pills, loud music, dancing around, flirting and fooling around. Nora finds out that the fellow in question sells life like replicas of people’s departed family members. It’s kind of eerie when you think about it, but from a business perspective, that’s quite the market to get into: especially when you know that so many people need some sort of closure and need to have a body to place into a casket. They need to have that, in order to say goodbye and move on.

While partying it up with the folks in the concierge suite, Nora gets out of character and out of control. The next day she is kicked off the hotel premises. Undeterred, she gets a copy of her badge and heads back, only to have two things happen: security detains her and then, once let back into the panel discussion area, finds out that there was a woman impersonating her. The woman begins a tirade and starts to spout things to the audience about “lies,” “being duped,” and “they’re never coming back.” Wonder why she was impersonating Nora at the panel?


“This is Holy Wayne”

After drinking at the hotel bar, she ends up meeting Patrick, the author of a book called “What’s Next.” Only after a brief discussion, Nora becomes angry and proceeds to make a scene. Look, I get that you’re in a very bad state of mind, having lost your spouse and two children, but screaming at people and using profane language aren’t going to endear you to anyone. She attempts to leave the hotel when, on her way out, a man follows her and agrees with her tirade. Nora, flustered and angry, doesn’t want anything to do with this stranger. Until, she decides to go with him and meets Holy Wayne. (Hey, Wayne, where have you been, dude? A lot of people seem to be looking for you) Nora pays some money, and Wayne does the rest. You see Wayne holding Nora and tears flow down her face.  What is this mysterious power that Wayne has? Is he a healer? A fraud? Does he prey on people, in order to scam them out of money and fill them with false hope? Shortly after, we see the new and improved Nora, and wouldn’t you know it, she is actually smiling while purchasing groceries. Heck, Kevin shows up at her door and guess what?! They make plans to go out for dinner!

The episode ends with Nora on the job, asking yet another client the long questionnaire. Only this time, the client does not answer “Yes” to question 121. “Do you believe that your loved one is in a better place?” The client, with tears in her eyes, replies, “No.”

So, if she doesn’t believe that the departed is in a better place, then where did they all go?  Here’s a look at next week:

  • Jef Dinsmore

    In my opinion THE LEFTOVERS is getting better as it goes along. It never fully answers everything, but it peels away the layers from the characters slowly.

    We know more about Nora and her job and see Holy Wayne offer his gift firsthand. It proved a good episode. It will be interesting to see what happens to Nora Durst in her rebirth. It will also be intriguing to figure out Holy Wayne.

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