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