Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Leftovers, Season Three, Episode Four: G'Day Melbourne

Kevin and Nora are on their way to Australia, supposedly to investigate the group which offered to send Nora where her family is.  Rather than talking to Kevin about how to bring the 20K into Australia, Nora chooses to smuggle it in herself. This is a risk Nora didn't have to take because if she had talked to Kevin, she could have divided the money between the two of them. Instead of talking about this, they have frantic sex on the diaper changing station in the bathroom. Yes, please say eww because that's disgusting.  This one scene pretty much encapsulates their relationship in so many ways. Both of them are suffering and trying to so hard to understand and negotiate the world around them but neither of them is willing to have a simple conversation. When Kevin and Nora are lost or desperate, they don't speak, they fuck as though the physical connection could somehow make up for the myriad of ways in which they don't actually trust each other. 

Safe in the hotel room, Nora brings up the book of Kevin, which Kevin claims to have read on the plane there.  Nora quizzes him to find out if he's telling the truth, never once thinking that maybe Kevin knows what happens in the book because he lived it or at least a part of his delusional mind did.  This is yet another subject that the two are unwilling to talk about.  

Nora is adamant that she has to see these people by herself and Kevin doesn't push the issue.  Even though Nora has no jurisdiction in Australia, she's told Kevin that she's going to find and expose these people. It screams absolute bullshit because clearly, Nora is going to take the leap in the hope of being with her family again, something else they don't speak about.  Nora's phone rings and she's told that a bus will be out front in fifteen minutes and that she's to board it and stay on it until the last stop.  Nora goes rushing outside.

As Nora waits for the bus, a woman approaches and asks if she is a mother. When Nora says yes, the woman asks Nora to hold her baby while she does an interview. The woman is convinced that if she goes in with a baby that she won't get the job. Nora hesitates because she knows that she cannot afford to miss the bus and the woman begs.  Nora finally agrees to take the child. Not long after the woman walks off, the bus arrives. Nora is informed by the driver that if she misses this bus that she'll have to wait another 45 minutes. Nora begs the driver to wait and rushes into the restaurant to hand the woman back her child, announcing that it's illegal to discriminate on her way out.  When Nora makes it outside, the bus is just pulling away. Nora races and get lucky because the bus stops and she's allowed to board.

Kevin is still in the room and he trying to read the book but is annoyed by the television. After finding no way to turn off the tv, he calls down to the front desk where they promise to reboot the tv from there.  Kevin vaguely pays attention to the television and he hears that there are two missing Kevin's. One of them is a sheriff and the other of course is his father. As the camera pans to the crowd at G'day Melbourne, Kevin spots none other than Evie Murphy, who's supposed to be dead. Evie is holding a sign which points to an apocalyptic passage from the Koran. Of course, this is when the television reboots. Unable to turn the tv back on, Kevin rushes to the site where G'day Melbourne is being filmed live.  To do this, he has to walk right past Nora, who at the time is waiting for her bus.  It's yet another indicator that these two are going their separate ways. 

Kevin manages to catch up with Evie, except she says repeatedly that she doesn't know him.  Kevin of course is absolutely insistent and demands to know what else is wanted of him. The woman Kevin believes to be Evie gives a different name and says that she's not the person he's looking for.  It's clear that Kevin's become unhinged and even a little desperate.  A passerby notices the confrontation between Evie and Kevin and intervenes. For his trouble, Kevin is head butted but he does manage to snap a photo of Evie as proof.  

Kevin calls Laurie, who's just finishing up a session with someone looking for peace.  Kevin wants Laurie to get on the internet and track the name Evie gave him, the way she does with people who come to her looking for closure.  Laurie of course does not believe that Evie is alive and so Kevin sends Laurie the picture he took.  Laurie lets slip something about the public library and tells Kevin to stay away from it but of course that's exactly where Kevin goes.

Nora has arrived at a factory like building where she meets two scientists who are playing Aha's Take on Me of all things and arguing. Nora is put through some medical testing which she seemingly passes. Nora's heart rate doesn't raise and and she's calm.  With that out of the way, it's question and answer time.  The scientist are still arguing and this time, it's about whether Nora, despite all of her calmness will actually go through with it. Nora is insistent that she's not turning back and asks the doubting scientist why she doesn't go. The scientist explains that she doesn't like the odds. Given the state of the universe, there's no guarantee that there would be breathable air, let alone food and water that they could consume. The scientist suggests that for all she knows, when Nora arrives, she could find nothing but millions of corpses. That would be enough for me to hit the pause button but Nora is determined to go through with this. 

Nora is then presented with an ethical dilemma. There are two twin babies and if one of them dies, the other will grow up to cure cancer. All Nora has to do is nod to indicate her approval of the baby being killed.  Nora leaps to the conclusion that this is all a set up based in the fact that she was handed a baby before she got on the bus.  The scientists claim to have no knowledge of what Nora is talking about.  Nora then questions if either of the babies are hers and if the child will die painlessly. Once assured that the babies aren't hers and that the death will be painless, Nora agrees that the child should die.  Nora explains that babies die everyday and at least this death will come with a purpose.  This is enough for the scientists to call for a halt and decide that Nora isn't the right fit. Nora is absolutely incredulous and chases after them as they leave the room. The scientists tell Nora to accept their decision, as they get in a car and leave her standing in shock in an alley. 

Kevin shows up at the library and asks for Evie with the new name she gave him. Kevin claims that she was helping him look for a book and when asked for a title, Kevin says, "Assassins". Assassins is not an accidental choice given last years episode in which Kevin pretended to be an assassin to commit murder in a different place. Kevin has weirded out the librarian enough for her to call security but before he can be lead out, the woman whom Kevin believes to be Evie arrives and agrees to talk to him. 

The woman admits to being Evie and says that she doesn't want to be in contact with her family and is moving on with her life.  She suggests that now that she's confirmed her identity that Kevin needs to leave. Kevin of course has questions and isn't going to be easily pacified. Finally, Evie says that the woman she talked to on the phone, told her that if she admitted to being Evie that this would be enough for him. 

Kevin realises that Laurie called and so in rage he calls her. Kevin starts off being very threatening and out right abusive. Laurie does her best to calm him down and brings up an earlier conversation about why it's important not to tell the person who's having a delusion that what they are seeing isn't real.  Laurie is concerned that Kevin will do harm to himself.  For the first time, Kevin stops talking and starts to listen.  Laurie tells Kevin that there's a reason that he called her and not anyone else. Laurie tells Kevin to look at the picture that he sent her and when he does, he sees that it's a photo of woman who looks nothing like Evie.  Kevin swears that what he saw was real and Laurie assures him that it's not and that he needs some help. When Laurie begins to question where Nora is, Kevin hangs up the phone.

When Kevin returns to the hotel, he finds an angry and dejected Nora waiting for him.  Nora at this point is determined to find the scientists and prove that they are nothing but frauds. She's in an absolute rage and at first doesn't notice that something is wrong with Kevin. It's not long before the two are yelling at each other about their inability to talk. Kevin points out that the last time he was open and honest, Nora handcuffed him to a bed and left and she questions what she was supposed to do when he revealed that he was seeing people who weren't there. Nora brings up the baby and it seems that she blames Kevin for them not fighting hard enough to retain custody.  That's enough for Kevin, who believes that Nora doesn't really want to be a mother because then she would stop being special. Kevin sets the book on fire in the sink and walks out leaving Nora there.

When Kevin steps outside, his father pulls up in a truck. How exactly did Kevin Sr. know where to find his son? Kevin is ushered into the truck by his father. In the room, the fire is still blazing as Nora lights a cigarette and the spinkler system activates. Our last look at Nora is of her sitting on the bed, smoking a cigarette with water from the sprinkler falling down on her.  

Kevin and Nora have been done for awhile, they simply haven't made it official until now.  They don't trust each other and certainly cannot share their secrets with each other.  I must admit to being be surprised that The Leftovers went there and actually filmed a scene with them calling it quits.  The sex scene in the bathroom, really defines their relationship. They are fuck buddies, they aren't confidants.  This is where their relationship started and this is where it ends. 

There's a finality to this scene with the burning Book of Kevin literally representing the implosion of Kevin and Nora's relationship.  The truth of the matter is that Kevin and Nora's relationship ended long before they flew to Australia, even if they don't admit it to each other in the moment because they are too busy with recriminations.  Nora flew across an ocean to attempt to join her family and she didn't bother to discuss it with Kevin. Nora's plan was to simply disappear. For the entirety of Kevin and Nora's relationship, they have been on the run and now finally they've come to recognise that they cannot run together any further. The co-dependent nature of their relationship is actually toxic and no amount of sex is going to save it. 

Kevin is seeing things and it cannot be an accident that the anniversary of the great vanishing is approaching.  Why exactly did Kevin choose to come to Australia? He's the sheriff of a town and is needed there and yet he felt compelled to go to Australia with Nora.  Kevin is running from what he believes the truth to be, no matter how he attempts to deny it to others.  It's why the book is like dead weight in his hands. It's why he has to reject it and denounce it at every turn.  In some ways, Kevin and Nora are polar opposites. Kevin believes without wanting to and Nora disbelieves even as she wants to believe with all of her heart.