This The Leftovers review contains spoilers.
The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 4
The Leftovers opening theme song this week was “This Love Is Over” by Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs, in a display of heavy foreshadowing. After a brutal, gloves off verbal confrontation, Kevin and Nora’s relationship appears to be done. After the things Kevin said, I can’t imagine these two are going to patch things up. The writing was on the wall for Kevin and Nora throughout the entire episode; the theme music, their separation at the airport and Nora’s joke about their “toxic co-dependent relationship” all hinted at the impending falling out.
Who could be surprised that this is where we’ve ended up with these two? Their courtship began after Kevin revealed that he cheated on his wife. Nora was ready to break up with Kevin before she found Lily on his doorstep. They make love, share a home, share a bed, but don’t share their lives. Nora bought a house in Jarden, Texas without consulting Kevin. Kevin drank poison and believes he visited the afterlife, but the first time Nora hears about is from a book written by her brother. They are both consumed by their own personal tragedies and strictly follow their own agendas. Nora strapped $20,000 to her chest without even thinking about asking her boyfriend to carry $10,000 himself; Kevin may have sang “Homeward Bound” to get back to Nora, but he’s still putting a plastic bag around his head every morning.
Kevin and Nora only work because they don’t talk; they just keep their anger, grief, and mental health to themselves. When they finally do open up in this episode, it isn’t pretty. Nora can’t hear about Kevin’s lapse into his illness, yet is angered when she learns that Kevin called Laurie before he called her. She accuses Kevin of secretly loving being painted as a Messiah, while he rebuttals with an ugly comment about Nora not wanting to have a new child because then people wouldn’t feel sorry for her. Kevin selfishly wants Nora to move past her grief, but she remains steadfast that her children aren’t dead, just gone. He coldly delivers the last blow by replying, “Then you should go be with them.”
That’s exactly what she’s trying to do. Nora can pretend that she’s running a secret sting operation, she can leave as many angry voicemails for George Brevity as she wants, and she can talk tough to the LADR scientists, but she cannot fake her reaction when she answers the baby question (giving a different answer than the man Kevin Sr. stumbled upon) wrong and the LADR scientists inform her that she will not be proceeding. The desperate, frantic way that Nora pleads with scientists as they drive away proves that Nora wants to be zapped by their magical device, even if the place she is sent to can’t sustain human life. It doesn’t matter; wherever her kids went is where Nora wants to be.
While Nora jumps through hoops only to be let down, Kevin sees a familiar face on TV. Unable to turn his television off or change the channel, Kevin notices the face of Evie Murphy in the background of an Australian morning show. When he tracks Evie down, he notices that she’s using a strange new accent, but he’s able to snap a picture and calls Laurie at once. As it turns out, Kevin is only projecting Evie on a random woman, which Laurie discovers when Kevin sends the photo. Laurie tells Kevin that he’s having a psychotic break, suggesting that he is seeing Evie because he sees a kinship in the way she decided to abandon her family. Whether consciously or unconsciously, Kevin has been trying to distance himself from his loved ones from the beginning, whether it be cheating on Laurie or trying to drown himself in Miracle.
While that’s some keen insight from Laurie, Kevin mistakenly seeing Evie raises other questions. Since the end of last season, I’ve been digesting the events of the series as if something supernatural is actually happening. Based on what’s presented in episodes like “International Assassin” and Kevin’s frequent flashbacks to its events, I’ve been led to believe that The Book of Kevin could be legitimate, but tonight’s episode reminded the viewers that Kevin is not a reliable narrator, and that all of these things could be as fake as Evie’s reappearance in Australia. I watched Kevin Sr. run around last week like he was actually doing something to prevent a flood, but I should always remind myself that I’m witnessing these things from the point of view of some unstable people. Kevin Sr.’s claims should probably be viewed the same way as the guy’s at the airport who was screaming about Antarctica and the apocalypse.
Speaking of Kevin Sr., he arrives at Kevin’s hotel just as Kevin is leaving after his fight with Nora. After greeting his father warmly and lying and saying that’s in the country alone, Kevin gets in the car with Kevin Sr. and Grace. We also here word about an explosion, which will surely be explored next week. This was an emotionally draining episode of The Leftovers, featuring raw, electrifying turns from Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon and piercing direction from Daniel Sackheim, who delivers a final shot of Nora, water streaming down her eyelids, that feels like a series defining image. The love is over, but our time with The Leftovers thankfully isn’t, at least not yet.