By Ryan Keating-Lambert
After a slightly unsatisfying first episode where we lost some major characters and took a Lindelof Lost-style leap into the future, episode 2 brings back that real Leftover’s vibe and character centred plot that we’ve come to love – all through the one and only Nora (Carrie Coon).
Like old HBO series Six Feet Under, Episode 2 begins with a rather odd death scene. The man atop the tower in the Miracle (or Jarden) Town Square falls to his death after what is revealed later to be a fatal heart attack. We also learn that his wife was the crazy religious woman in the camp on the town border in the last season.
After fabricating a story that the man departed, which Kevin himself as Chief of Police backs up to keep the peace, Nora naturally turns against the idea, both because of her job at the DSD and her own loss. From that moment on, everything is 100% Nora, and it’s fantastic.
The Leftovers, despite its bleak subject matter, is a character driven show and we absolutely love seeing these people deal with these extreme post-departure/rapture type situations. Nora’s character has made a steady and mesmerising arc over two seasons and made a lot progress through her relationship with Kevin, but is still in mourning from the loss of family on the 14th.
Losing baby Lily to Christine, whom I certainly did not expect to see again, was probably the icing on the cake for Nora as she was dealt yet another harsh blow on the family front. But she soldiers on, and that’s when we get another series-best episode.
Nora’s ability to deal with loss is beautiful and undeniably human, which is why despite her taking up the opportunity with previously ‘departed’ actor Mark Linn-Baker was no real surprise. However, the real reason for her visit to St Louis was obviously to visit Lily.
Probably the most stand-out scene in the episode, and now that I think about it maybe even the whole series, was the moment that Nora visits Erika Murphy (Regina King) for a spot of counselling. She’s back! Then, there’s the trampoline. WOW. A sequence that was exquisitely done in slow motion with two of the most talented actresses in the series. Surely one of the most human moments in the show so far.
The origin story of Nora’s broken arm was also totally unexpected, and the fact that the tattoo was a Wu-tang clan logo made for an interesting contrast when the music popped up later in the episode. The Leftovers really benefits from playing with unusual soundtrack selection, and I’m pleased that they chose to rely more on original songs rather than on the now sometimes repetitive Max Richter theme.
Then there was the moment that Nora and Kevin accept each other’s ridiculous problems once again, and move on. A refreshing spin on the season’s direction which seemed a little too optimistic in the previous episode. We’re glad they’re still a little f-cked-up. It makes them more interesting to watch.
So, now we’re heading off to Australia in pursuit of answers and Kevin is tagging along for the ride. Where does everything go from here?
We know that Kevin’s father is still there after a Victorian police chief is murdered by a gang of women on horses. How do they fit into the picture? Is this happening in present day or is it still in the ‘future’ like the finale of episode 1?
Either way, it seems we might be seeing more of Nora and Kevin than other characters this season, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.
Photo: Screen Rant