The Leftovers recap: 'Guest'

Nora takes a bullet and finds hope from Holy Wayne.
Ep. 06 | Aired Aug 3, 2014

NAMELESS Nori Durst is able to gain anonymity at the Departure Related Occupation and Practices conference.

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

Nora is moving on in at least one way. Since her brother Rev. Matt spitefully blabbed that her husband was cheating on her with the kids' preschool teacher, she's been unable to forgive or forget. She drives near the playground during preschool hours to see the guilty-looking young woman who engaged in the affair, and she goes to court to divorce her Departed husband.

Why bother? Why divorce a Departed husband? Out of principle? Maybe it has something to do with Question 121, Nora's survey query that was flagged because 100 percent of her respondents answered, yes, they believe their Departed is now in a better place. Nora's boss asks how she'd answered the question, back when she was on the other side of the survey. "Yes," she replies, "all three times."

To truly believe that a deceased or Departed husband is in a better place—with your children—can make a mother feel abandoned, left behind. Then, to discover that he was cheating...? A wife might think, "No, you don't get it both ways. You don't get to be in some better place with our children AND be lionized and mourned as a saint by me and others who knew you in Mapleton."

Or... is this just another way for Nora to elicit sympathy? Not only is she the woman who lost her entire family to the Departure, but her husband was cheating on her, too.

She's not the only person finalizing a divorce. Chief Garvey is also at City Hall, signing off on Laurie's request to end their marriage. He seems at peace with it, a far cry from where he was emotionally when she asked for it and when he told his daughter about it. And Nora seems lighter, too, after her divorce is made official. "Do you want to go to Miami?" she asks him on a whim. Um, huh? Chief would actually probably love to go to Miami, but he has this job and he lives with his daughter, so... "Oh, f--- your daughter," Nora blurts out, which is always, in every situation, a conversation killer.

With Miami nipped in the bud, Nora has no choice but to attend the DROP conference in New York City. That is the Departure Related Occupation and Practices conference, where she's scheduled to be a frustratingly vague panelist representing the DSD. The conference attracts all sorts of protesters, including Guilty Remnant members who give out hand grenades that read "Any time now," conspiracy theorists who blame the government and the World Health Organization, and Christians holding up John 20:31 signs.

Inside, at the registration desk, Nora discovers that her identification badge was mistakenly given to someone else, leaving her with a generic "Guest" pass. This will not do. Nora protests, that she needs her personal name tag because she's on a panel, and oh by the way, she's a legacy, meaning she lost family in the Departure. Did you feel the reverent and delicate tone of the conference's representative on Nora's voicemail? Who's going to give her the proper attention and sympathy if she's just a simple Guest? She needs to be recognized as Nora Durst, with three decals on the badge representing her loss.

But being a mere Guest grants her a certain anonymity she's not used to, and she's recruited by a coven of attendees who reside on the periphery of the Departure business, thinking perhaps that she's one of their own. They're there to party, and Nora decides to "go down the rabbit hole" with them, popping pills, chugging vodka, and shedding her inhibitions. The slick fellow who eyed Nora in the first place sells Loved Ones, the lifelike dolls that people can purchase for $40,000 so that they can have a proper burial for their Departed family member. "Am I soulless?" he asks Nora, though his entire spiel is a shameless come-on. She answers him by electing to make out with the Loved Ones doll which is modeled after him rather than the real him.

NEXT: Nora needs a hug

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