The Leftovers S3 E4 Review: G’Day Melbourne
We have officially reached the halfway point of the final season of The Leftovers, and my word is it a beautiful time to be a fan of television. What this series has done consecutively well, in its brief three-season stint on HBO, is to always have a level of sci-fi intrigue, while also keeping the drama grounded and emotional. In this Kevin and Nora-centric episode, G’Day Melbourne, that conspiracy is present throughout, and the drama is at an all-time high. Kevin and Nora travel to Australia, where she continues to track down the masterminds of an elaborate con, while he catches a glimpse of an unexpected face from the past, forcing him to confront the traumatic events of three years earlier.
The events of three years earlier were his traveling to a limbo-stage hotel, pushing the young Patti Levin down a well, and almost getting nuked. Nora, who can’t take the reality of her boyfriend talking to dead people, is also confronting the traumatic events of her past. She was previously invited to Australia in order to “pass” into the place where all the departures went on that day in October seven years ago.
Massive SPOILERS ahead!
Before their trip to Melbourne, it’s apparent that Nora and Kevin aren’t seeing eye-to-eye anymore. The communication (or lack thereof) between the two has all but faded, leaving only a shadow of the vibrant couple that we met in season 1. In keeping with this season’s different theme song for every episode, Ray LaMontagne’s “This Love Is Over” plays, as the opening credits roll. The song is about a broken heart and lost love, which leads us to the episode’s conclusion, the inevitable breakup of Kevin and Nora.
Before we get to that, let’s talk about the events that lead to this, shall we?
Once in Australia, Nora wastes no time seeking out the supposed scam artists. She receives a call telling her to catch a specific bus, or her window to use the machine will be closed. After an encounter with a women asking Nora to watch her child, she rides the bus to the last stop, as instructed. She receives a medical exam, is put into a box that simulates the dimension jumping machine, and is questioned by the two women in charge.
Things seem to be going normally (as normally as The Leftovers can be), until Nora is asked her final question. The question is: Would you kill a baby, if its identical twin will grow up to cure cancer? It will be a quick and painless death of someone else’s baby, and you don’t have to do it. But you do have to nod.
Nora nods, only to find out that she cannot pass through. The glimmer of hope that took Nora all the way to Australia has now transformed into a reality. She believes that this machine will work, and is furious at the fact that she cannot go.
Meanwhile, Kevin is back at a hotel talking to someone on the television. That someone just so happens to be the pronounced-dead Evie, who is in the crowd during an episode of G’Day Melbourne. Naturally, Kevin goes back into psychotic mode, and heads down to the live show after the hotel concierge resets the television in Kevin’s room.
After tracking Evie down, Kevin takes a photo of her on his phone and calls his ex-wife, Laurie. Kevin eventually confronts Evie at the public library where she works, only to find out that she isn’t Evie at all. Laurie talks Kevin through this over the phone, as we flashback to the iconic “International Assassin” episode from season 2. These flashes are more poignant now than ever, as Kevin rides the line between messiah and crazy.
The final eight minutes of G’Day Melbourne is what an onscreen gut-punch to the heart looks like. The breakup between Nora and Kevin is one of the best acted and emotionally resonate scenes of the series to date. Nora calls Kevin “Jesus Christ Superstar” for hanging onto the gospel that Matt wrote about Kevin. In the heat (pun intended) of the argument, Kevin burns the only copy of the book, screaming at Nora that, “We don’t talk about anything.” Nora demands to know why he didn’t stop her from giving Lily back to her birth mother. Kevin says that she never even asked. Nora says he was relieved, and Kevin is pissed.
While all of this is happening, an explosion goes off in Melbourne. We don’t see it, we don’t know where it is, or how many people got hurt. We are, in this argument between the two flawed lovers, feeling the same relief and pain that they are going through. When Kevin says what may very well be his final words to Nora Durst, the room is in flames from the pages of Kevin’s gospel, lit by Nora’s cigarette lighter. “You should go be with them,” (as in, with your departed children) Kevin says in a way that causes all of our jaws to drop, including Nora’s.
The amount of dedication both Justin Theroux and Carrie Coon bring to these characters is breathtaking. Scenes with the two together are unapologetically real, oozing with just the right amount of chemistry that is almost too real to be acting. The progression these two characters have faced, both together and alone, is some of the best of any series in recent memory. We want them to be together, but understand completely why they are breaking up. When a show can do that, it’s an unexplainable feeling that just doesn’t happen often in any form of storytelling.
No sooner does Kevin (and we) find out about the bomb, than Kevin Sr. finds his son outside with Grace. All flights around the world are grounded, Kevin and Nora are stuck in Melbourne, and we have no ungodly idea why.
G’Day Melbourne does what The Leftovers does best: asking big questions, putting the characters that we love in complex situations, and leaving you hanging and yearning for more.
The Leftovers airs Sunday nights on HBO.