[Editor’s note: The following review contains spoilers for the “The Leftovers” Season 3, Episode 4, “G’Day Melbourne.”]
I doubt there’s a more telling shot for “The Leftovers” than the close-up of Nora sitting on the hotel bed, post-fight, as water from the sprinklers streams over her eyelid, masking the tears rolling down her cheek. Not only does it sum up the episode (and the pivotal final scene, which began with her putting tin foil over the smoke detector so she could have a cigarette), but it reflects the series’ predominant themes of grief and the misleading expressions of that grief.
Nora was crying, but anyone who walked in the room would just see water on her face — not tears. Anyone who walked in on her getting shot in the chest during Season 1 would see just that: a shocking act, not a woman trapped in a permanent cycle of mourning. If someone found out Kevin was talking to dead people, they’d see a man in the midst of a psychotic break, not a father and husband trying to cope with the loss of his family.
The point being, you have to dig deeper than the surface to find out what’s going on inside, and Episode 4, “G’Day Melbourne,” was all about stripping away the exterior shrouds Nora and Kevin have used as shields from their greatest fears. “What do you want to talk about?” Nora asked Kevin in the hotel. “What do you want to talk about,” he countered. For her, it’s about Lily; it’s about Kevin protecting their family; it’s about safety and not being alone anymore. Kevin feels the same way, but he’s scared if he tells Nora everything — from seeing Evie to his otherworldly trip to the hotel — she’ll leave him again.
They both want to know they’ll stand by each other, but they’re both afraid to say what they’re really feeling. Nora can’t admit she might want to get inside that machine, or at least talk about why she’s so drawn to it. Kevin can’t admit he believes a lot of what Matt wrote; that he knew the answer when Nora asked, “What happens next?” not because he read the story, but because he lived it. They’re too scared to tell the truth to each other — to trust one another with their burden — and it’s torn them apart.
You’re shying away
I’m coming for you anyway
Take on me
Take me on
If only it was that easy.
1. Nora wants to know if that machine really works.
Nora was clearly tempted by the promise of seeing her children again, and she seemed to be hedging her bets with this trip. We found she’s been angry at Kevin over Lily, which explains why she’d be a bit wary of trusting him (you know, with something like legally carrying $10k into Australia instead of Nora duct-taping it to her stomach). Combine that with an invitation to reunite with her old family, and boom — Nora has a better reason than ever to see what’s really going on with this machine.
Now, that spells trouble. With Nora and Kevin on the outs, her “safest” bet to find a family before October 14, 2018, is reuniting with her old one — even if that means killing herself to get there. If she used her job as a mask for what she really wanted — to see if this machine might work — meaning she may follow through on her promise to “find them and destroy them” [the doctors]. Obviously, that won’t help anyone, especially Nora. Dr. Bekker (Victoria Haralabidou) and Dr. Eden (Katja Herbers) don’t have the answers she seeks — including whether or not their machine actually works.
2. From the beginning, the episode made it quite clear Nora and Kevin were going to break up.
Written by Tamara Carter and Haley Harris from a story by Damon Lindelof, “G’Day Melbourne” did an incredibly thorough job of setting up the hidden rift between our couple. On the outside, all signs pointed to a healthy relationship: They took a trip together. They had sex in an airport bathroom. They talked about what Nora was doing “for work,” and why Kevin wasn’t seeing his father.
But (other than the explicit new song in the opening credits, “This Love Is Over” by Ray Lamontagne and The Pariah Dogs) it’s what went unsaid that mattered: “Are you two together?” the airport security guard asked at the start of the episode. Nora said nothing, making for an awkward beat filled awkwardly by Kevin. Then, she didn’t even think to ask him to help carry the money over the border. Their sex was detached and a distraction, especially for Nora. They weren’t on the same page about his book, and Nora didn’t want Kevin with her when she went on a dangerous mission in Melbourne.
We knew Kevin and Nora weren’t the ideal for healthy couples since the season began. Nora’s broken wrist spoke to that, as did Kevin’s penchant for suffocating himself (and their entire discussion at the end of Episode 2). But Carter and Harris did an exquisite job of building toward “G’Day Melbourne’s” fiery climax, as the episode earned its big moment as much as the season did.
Continue reading for the big questions we have after Episode 4, and our explanation for Nora’s fateful answer to that loaded hypothetical.