The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 8: The Book of Nora Review

If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.

Synopsis: After two percent of the world’s population disappears, those left behind struggle to understand. (IMDB)

Writers: Tom Perrotta and Damon Lindelof

Director: Mimi Leder

Rating: TV-MA

Running Time: 60mins

Wow is all I have to say. Last week’s episode started with the first season’s theme so it’s fitting that this episode start with the second season’s theme. Now that the whole seventh anniversary story has come and gone, it was time to put the focus on Nora and to redeem a character that has gone through a lot throughout the series. She was previously rejected for the reunion machine by the physicists, however, she did not give give up. The last time we saw her, she was with Matt and they had found them and their machine. They finally agreed to help her and the episode started with Nora going through the steps, first starting with her testimonial. Of course they questioned her sincerity but she proved herself again, telling them of the lengths she had to go through just to be there.

They explained the process and it did not seem pleasant, being almost drowned in some metallic liquid. Before she went through with the process, she and Matt had one of the episode’s great emotional moments where they said their last goodbyes to one another. They mad lib-ed her obituary and reminisced about old times. Matt explained how he was scared about what was going to happen to him, whether he died or what he would have to do if he survived. Then, Nora stripped down metaphorically and literally as she thought about her children while approaching the machine. She got in, turned it on, and then a time jump occurred. We were now reunited with the older Nora we saw at the end of the first episode of this season.

How did we get here? We had to wait for this, however, it was well worth the wait. As we already know, this Nora lived a solitary life, handling doves and other animals in a remote house in the Australian countryside. We got to see the continuation of that flash forward scene where Nora, or Sara, learned that a man named Kevin was looking for her. Once she returned home, she frantically packed some clothes, looking to get away but although was interrupted when an older Kevin knocked at her door. He pretended to downplay their relationship and lied about how he found her. She did not believe this at all. He wanted to invite her to a dance in town but she wanted none of it despite getting emotional.

Laurie was still alive so Nora called her, thinking she told Kevin where she was and she denied it. Laurie thought she called her because she wanted permission to go to the dance with Kevin but Nora got defensive. A quick side note, the episode featured a lot of Nora riding around on a bicycle throughout the beautiful Australian countryside. Nora eventually decided to go to the dance which was really a wedding reception. Kevin still did not tell her the truth about how he found her. She did not want to participate in the reception by not grabbing a necklace of beads or writing love messages. The messages were attached to Nora’s birds and the beads represented sins and the necklaces were attached to a goat that was sent forth into the wilderness. Nora and Kevin danced to their first song and things got too emotional, prompting Nora to leave. She went to the nun, worried that her birds were still gone. Later, her bicycle got caught in some bead necklaces and she fell. She then saw the earlier goat stuck in a fence so she rescued it. Back home, the goat was eating some of the messages and when she went to pick them up, she found one that appeared to be Kevin’s.

Kevin then showed up and told her the truth. They had another great emotional moment. He didn’t believe she was gone (because of the machine). He didn’t want his last words to be what he said in the hotel room. He couldn’t stop looking for her every year during his vacation (for a long time since they are both much older now). He wanted to start fresh with her and she was okay with it. Matt died and everything else was still the same about Kevin and everyone else. She didn’t tell Kevin where she was because he was right about what he said about her in the hotel room. She told him about her experience with the machine. She told him about her time on the other side, it was a mirror image of this world but with less people. There was only so much this world could have done with the amount of people they had. She gained some perspective when she understood that these people lost a lot more than they did. She eventually found her family and when she did, she saw that they were living a happy life. She felt she didn’t fit in so she changed her mind and found a way back. My complaint with this episode, albeit a minor one, was that we didn’t get to see any of this but Nora’s emotional story more than made up for it.

Nora couldn’t stop thinking about Kevin, however, so much time had passed and she thought Kevin wouldn’t believe her but he did. They held hands. looked into eachother’s eyes, and all of Nora’s birds came back.

Overall, this was an amazing episode and a fitting end to what has been one of the greatest television series of all time and it would be a crime if doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. In this episode, and every episode for that matter, the score was amazing and added to the emotion of the episode and it featured Emmy-worthy performances by Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, and Christopher Eccleston. I am definitely sad to see this go but I’m glad that it ended on such a high note.

(edit: I didn’t think Nora lied and I prefered that they left this up to interpretation)

Score: 10/10

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