Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Matthew McConaughey Explores A Watery World In New Poster For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Matthew McConaughey Explores A Watery World In New Poster For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' 'Fantastic Four' Moves Back As 'Assassin's Creed' Falls Off Release Calendar 'Fantastic Four' Moves Back As 'Assassin's Creed' Falls Off Release Calendar First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' First Look: Cobie Smulders & Guy Pearce In Andrew Bujalski's 'Results' Watch: Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain Are At War In First Trailer For 'A Most Violent Year' Watch: Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain Are At War In First Trailer For 'A Most Violent Year' Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike XXL,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different” Matthew McConaughey Gazes At The Stars In New Poster For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Matthew McConaughey Gazes At The Stars In New Poster For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Casting: Chris Hemsworth Heals In 'I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive,' Theo James Leads 'Underworld' Redo & More Casting: Chris Hemsworth Heals In 'I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive,' Theo James Leads 'Underworld' Redo & More Ranked: The Films Of Terry Gilliam Ranked: The Films Of Terry Gilliam Watch: Martin Scorsese’s 32-Minute Commencement Address To 2014 Class Of NYU’s Tisch School Of The Arts Watch: Martin Scorsese’s 32-Minute Commencement Address To 2014 Class Of NYU’s Tisch School Of The Arts Still Waiting For That 'Inherent Vice' Trailer? Here's An 8-Minute Tribute To The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson Still Waiting For That 'Inherent Vice' Trailer? Here's An 8-Minute Tribute To The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson Richard Linklater Starts Casting 'Dazed & Confused' Spiritual Sequel 'That's What I'm Talking About' Richard Linklater Starts Casting 'Dazed & Confused' Spiritual Sequel 'That's What I'm Talking About' TIFF Review: 'Kill Me Three Times' Starring Simon Pegg, Teresa Palmer, Alice Braga, Luke Hemsworth And More TIFF Review: 'Kill Me Three Times' Starring Simon Pegg, Teresa Palmer, Alice Braga, Luke Hemsworth And More Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... 21 Movies About Weird, Kinky Or Compulsive Sex 21 Movies About Weird, Kinky Or Compulsive Sex From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 15 Best Documentaries Of 2013 The 15 Best Documentaries Of 2013 The 15 Best TV Shows Of The 2012/2013 Season The 15 Best TV Shows Of The 2012/2013 Season 16 Great Revenge Movies Worth Hunting Down 16 Great Revenge Movies Worth Hunting Down

Recap: 'The Leftovers' Season 1, Episode 6 ‘Guest’

The Playlist By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 3, 2014 at 11:00PM

In the world of “The Leftovers” there is no character who has felt the weight of loss more than Nora Durst (Carrie Coon). Losing both her husband and children on October 14th — odds of 1/128,000 she cooly notes in this week’s “Guest” — have made her an odd symbol in the town of Mapleton. She's a human monument to the town's collective mourning, and a reminder even to those that did lose family members and friends, that their situation could be even worse. But three years on, Nora's grief — coupled with the revelations about her husband's infidelity — now weigh like an anchor around her neck. The more she tries to live with the pain or understand it, the more she is sent into a spiral of guilt and self-loathing that will take a miracle to overcome.
2
Paterson Joseph in "The Leftovers" on HBO

However, when morning comes, the fun is over. Nora is given a rude awakening by security, accused of destroying property in the hotel bar and thrown out of her room and the conference. Her pleas that someone else is at the conference using her badge go unheard, but she's not about to give up yet. Nora cleans herself up, heads to a local copy shop, creates a new fake guest badge, and heads back to the hotel…where she is again intercepted by security. But this time she's able to come up with a plan to prove who she is. She's due to speak on a panel that afternoon, so she tells the security to accompany her there and whoever is sitting up on stage behind the name Nora Durst will be the imposter. And the scheme works, with the fake Nora giving herself up and revealing herself to be a "truther," using her brief moment on the panel to put forth her belief that the Department of the Sudden Departure is a "smokescreen," with benefit payments used to silence any further inquiries about what happened, and the questionnaires incinerated instead of analyzed. It's a faulty assertion — before her trip Nora is told that one particular question in her questionnaire is getting results in the affirmative far too often – but an indication of the variety of ways October 14th has manifested itself in the culture for good and bad.

Later in the day, Nora hits the hotel bar for a much needed drink and strikes up a conversation with Patrick Johansen, the author of the memoir "What's Next," which has been given out as swag to attendees of the conference. Patrick has lost four people close to him, and yet he doesn't seem to carry the same weight of pain on his shoulders as Nora. He describes the ongoing emotion not as "grief" but as "ambiguous loss" — and this infuriates Nora. She explodes in the bar, calling Patrick a fraud who doesn't know the real, deep, wounding pain of loss exclaiming, "What's fucking next? Nothing is next!" But she'll quickly learn that a life to be lived and enjoyed can be found.

The Leftovers

As she storms out of the hotel, she's approached by a man who has been in the background of the entire episode (he was pointed out briefly by Marcus, and seen at the periphery of a couple scenes), and he asks Nora a simple question: "Do you want to feel this way?" She doesn't immediately take the bait, until the man promises to show her how Patrick is a fraud. He takes Nora to shabby building, up an unending flight of stairs, into an even shabbier apartment where a man sits with a laptop. She's told that for the price of $1000, she can go through a curtain and see "what happened" to Patrick. She's dubious, maybe even a little conceded, but certainly curious and she authorizes payment via PayPal on the laptop and goes through the curtain to whatever awaits. And on the other side? Wayne (Paterson Joseph).

It's a terrific reveal, but Wayne is not in the best of spirits. He tells Nora he doesn't "give a shit" about her, he's "exhausted" and treats her initially like just another client, walking in to be healed. But Wayne softens when he sees she's truly suffering, and tells Nora what she probably already knows deep down inside — that feeling this despair is the only way she knows how to live, as difficult as it is. "Hope is your weakness. You want it gone because you don't deserve it," Wayne observes. "You do deserve it. I've seen my own death and it's coming upon me very soon, so this is your one chance, you only chance, and the question remains the same: do you want to feel this way?"

"Will I forget them?" Nora asks.

The Leftovers

"Never." And with that Wayne takes Nora into his arms and for the first time this season, we see him take the pain from someone. And while the conference warned of fraudsters and would be prophets, there is no denying how real this moment is for Nora. She is emotionally released, entirely. And as the episode closes, there's a lightness in Nora that we haven't seen before. She's no longer obsessed with stalking the woman who slept with her husband, a trip to the grocery isn't an ordeal in preserving the memory of October 14th, and she even makes a date with Kevin, who comes by her house rather charmingly to give her another chance to make a better impression (while he adds, "You should know though, I'm a fucking mess").

But perhaps the biggest signal of the change in Nora comes from how others perceive her. On the questionnaire, Nora had been told that the answer to question 121, "In your opinion, do you believe the departed is in a better place?" had come back disproportionately with the answer, "Yes." Perhaps the respondents had been sensing Nora's own faint hopes and aspirations for her own family, and telling her what she wanted to hear, because when she asks her next client at the end of episode the same question, the answer is, "No." And it's a sign that Nora, perhaps for the first time, is able to live with uncertainty, or with what Patrick described as "ambiguous loss," without the guilt of moving on with her own life to hold her back.

This article is related to: The Leftovers, Television, TV Reviews, Reviews, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates