Warning: Major spoilers from
“The Leftovers” Season 1, episode 6, “Guest” are contained in this article.
Oh you Jamisons and your stand alone episodes. After the brilliantly executed episode 3, where we got a glimpse inside the Reverend’s world, episode 6 digs a little deeper into the psyche of Nora Durst.
Despite outward appearances, Nora is not the stoic woman she’s walking around town personifying. The real Nora still goes to the grocery store and buys the sugary cereals and enough milk and eggs to feed her departed family of four. Oh and has a bizarre habit of hiring hookers to come over, not for sex, but to shoot her while she wears a bullet proof vest — insanity. This seems to be the only thing that makes Nora feel alive.
The town’s saddest woman does make a rational decision and divorces her cheating husband. Interestingly though, she declines the offer to go back to her maiden name. It is at the courthouse, after filing her paperwork, she runs into Kevin Garvey — who is also saying goodbye to the old ball and chain. What’s worse — your spouse being one of the departed or still being around, but has a new identity as part of the Guilty Remnant? In a moment that makes one think Nora might be the craziest woman in town, she invites Kevin to go to a departed conference in Miami with her. Briefly we imagine Nora and Chief G. frolicking on the beach blissfully together for a weekend — but then we remembered, this is “The Leftovers.” When Kevin mentions his daughter as an excuse for not going, Nora curses her and totally blows the moment. This is just another reminder he has someone left and she doesn’t.
Before Nora leaves for her conference, she meets with her boss who mentions all of her benefits applicants answer yes to question #121 — Do you believe the departed is in a better place? He then suggests maybe it would help people if she shared some of her personal experience when she conducts the interviews.
Once at the conference, Nora is disturbed to find out someone has already picked up her badge and is running around pretending to be her. She is given a guest badge and begrudgingly heads in. Inside, she meets a fun, party boy, who looks a bit like a walking Ken doll with perfect hair named Marcus. He suckers Nora into partying with him and his friends and for a brief moment in time, Nora gets to experience a release in her “Guest” existence. To her new friends, she is not Nora, the one who lost everybody that meant something to her, she is just an average girl. Nora has a wild, drug-induced night with her new group, which includes a make-out session with a fake corpse — so weird. Was anyone else secretly wishing Nora would have just thrown all caution to the wind and spent the night with carefree, departed doll-maker Marcus?
After a crazy morning that starts off with security waking her up from her drug and alcohol fueled sleep, Nora finally comes face to face with the woman who has been impersonating and causing trouble as her at the conference. Turns out she is just someone who is against the whole departure benefits thing — way less scandalous of an outcome than we were hoping for.
A few hours and bizarre interactions later, Nora finds herself paying $1,000 and standing face to face with Wayne, who if you can’t recall, is the huggy healer with a passion for young, Asian women. He asks her if she is ready to stop feeling the way she has been and after his promise she will never forget the people she lost, enters Wayne’s arms to hopeful release.
Cut to Nora back home from the conference and appears to be a changed woman. She is no longer buying groceries for four. She’s still not ready to forgive her brother for being the bearer of bad news, but maybe in time. She is visited by Kevin, who says he looked up her address, which would be creepy if he wasn’t so hot. Nora accepts his dinner date invitation and doesn’t seem fazed after he warns her about being a total mess. The old Nora certainly didn’t seem ready to date. Also, another change — in an interview after her return, Nora receives her first no to question #121.
What does all this mean? Did Wayne’s hug really take away Nora’s pain or is it just the act of having someone offer her a way out that allowed her to let go?
What did you think of “Guest?”