TV - The Leftovers Season 1, Episode 6

The Leftovers

Nate McKenzie professes his love for all things Nora as he reviews The Leftovers episode 6, Guest...

Much like episode three was single-character-centric, revolving around Reverend Matt's failures to save his church, episode six, Guest, is solely focused on Nora. Each week I am summarily impressed by the way the team of writers and directors is able to create an independent story that makes the entire series the sum of it's various excellent parts. This episode is no exception.

Nora, amidst her routine of shopping for the same grocery items that will never be opened and asking the same endless stream of questions for the Department of Sudden Departures, seeks something more visceral in her existence. So, she hires a "professional" woman to come to her house where Nora asks her to take the gun (which has made numerous cameos in this young series) and point it at her Kevlar-vested chest and pull the trigger; which the woman does after much coaxing (and a generous payment of $3000).

Not a bad end to your day, I suppose... if you're into that sort of thing.

At work the following day, Nora is asked by her boss about a trend that his superiors are noticing involving "Question 121" on the DSD questionnaire. Every one of her interviewees has answered "Yes" to this question; which, of course, the actual content of, we are not privy to - whereas her co-workers, asking the same question, receive a more logical amount of No's.

This encounter comes as a prelude to her trip to Manhattan to attend a conference of those involved with the DSD where things... get weird for Nora.

The rest of the episode involves a Nora impersonator, a very infectiously verbose salesman (sporting a haircut that 1990's era Devin Sawa would be proud of), a slight bit of almost-necrophilia, and the appearance of the mysterious Holy Wayne.

Carrie Coon amazes me. Her character is meant to display only a fraction of emotion in her time on screen, which she manages - but not without conveying the subtleties of what it must be like to have lost a husband and two young children on the Day of Departure. I almost feel as if, were I to meet her, I would insist on giving her a hug. Nora is a major part of my love for this series.

I was intrigued the entirety of this episode. I appreciate that in the few weeks that The Leftovers has been airing the storyline has revealed many questions but treated the viewer with enough respect to answer a few of them, even while simultaneously posing more. That give and take has me feeling involved in each scene; not to mention, the Easter Eggs that I catch when I re-watch previous episodes (after this episode, watch Two Helicopters and a Boat again and watch for a commercial on the television).

(Speaking of Easter Eggs...)

I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: the musical selections in this series are some of the absolute best that I have ever heard. As a huge fan of music and its part in film/television I can not applaud Max Richter enough. From the growls of Slayer's Angel of Death playing on Nora's speakers as she begs to be shot to Agnes Obel's Pass Them By over the end credits the music is as much a part of the mystery of the show as the Departure itself, giving a wink-and-a-nod to those that bother to pay attention.

Image - IMDb.