The Leftovers episode “Guest” went back to focusing on a single character and it might be something to mine further – the single focus episodes seem to be more intriguing. Flooding the audience with a multitude of characters wallowing in despair is too much to handle for 50+ minutes.
This week the single focus character episode lent its eye to Nora Durst – the woman who lost her entire family – a husband and two children – during the departure.
The episode opens by showing a day in the life in Nora, well what life it is. Nora has not moved on. She still lives her life as if her husband and children are with her. She still goes to school in the afternoon to pick up her children who aren’t there, she buys the cereal they enjoy only to place it in the cabinet to soil and even refuses to replace the empty paper towel holder because it was empty when her family departed.
She gets away from her daily routine when Nora flies to New York to attend a conference dealing with the departed and her job. She is jolted to discover someone has claimed her badge, when she arrives at the conference, and is impersonating her.
Wearing a guest badge, she meets a group of people who are the convention just to have a good time. Begrudgingly, Nora hangs out with them, even enjoying some booze and a drug that will take away her feelings.
Nora is jolted awake, after her partying, by hotel security asking her to leave. It seems the person impersonating her broke the mirror in the hotel bar and Nora is being escorted from the hotel. Intent on making the panel she is set to be a panelist on, she tries to sneak back into the hotel but is caught. After telling her tale, and also mentioning she lost her whole family, the head of security agrees to escort her to the panel to see if the imposter is there.
Guess what, she is. And she tries to use her impersonation of Nora to spout her agenda.
The hotel offers Nora an open tab at the bar as compensation for what they did to her. At the bar, she meets the man who wrote the book that was circulating the convention. Nora is enraged at how cavalier he is about losing his family.
After she rants and raves at him, the man leaves. This opens the door for another man to approach Nora and he tells her if she wants to know what the man found out to follow him.
He tells her for $1,000 he can give her the same answers the author of the book got. After paying, Nora is taken into a room and there sits the self-proclaimed prophet Wayne.
Wayne tells Nora he can take away her hurt – can give her peace. She leaves the hurt fresh, even having a prostitute in the opening of the episode shoot her with a gun while wearing a Kevlar vest, just to feel.
What is Wayne offering? Does he have some magic hug to take away all her pain and give her peace? No, he just listened to Nora. Wayne is a stranger that lets her have her release, cry, and let go of her stoic façade.
Was it worth $1,000 bucks? Maybe not, but at the end of the episode, Nora has moved past her grief and re-entered the land of the living. So, maybe that small amount of cash is worth it to get back Nora’s peace of mind.