The Leftovers recap: 'G'Day Melbourne'

This episode expands and personalizes the series' preoccupation with apocalypse

Justin Theroux as Kevin in The Leftovers.
(Image credit: Ben King/HBO)

The eighty-first sura of the Qur'an is a visceral, lyrical description of the end of days, when "the stars lose their light/And when the mountains are blown." The verses pair images of natural beauty with wild violence, promising a "hell made ravenous" and "the paradise brought near" — which makes this sura fitting as the narrative and thematic lynchpin of "G'Day Melbourne," an episode of The Leftovers that expands and personalizes the series' preoccupation with apocalypse. Though this final season has presented itself as a countdown to mass catastrophe — whether that manifests in the global flood that Kevin Senior and Matt Jamison expect or another onslaught of sudden departures — "G'Day Melbourne" is about what happens when the love loses its light, and people's hopes are blown.

Shortly after he arrives in Melbourne — and Nora (Carrie Coon) rushes off to meet the team of professionals who will zap her with transmogrifying radiation (you know, work stuff) — Kevin (Justin Theroux) paces listlessly through his hotel room. When he turns on an aggressively inane morning talk show, he sees Evie Murphy among the audience, wearing an orange headscarf, and holding a sign that reads Surah 81. She stares directly at Kevin like some spectral emissary with a message just for him; in her eyes, echoes of Patti Levin's singular intensity — another way (beyond the hotel setting, the otherworldly visions appearing on a large flat-screen TV, and, of course, the overt flashbacks) that Kevin's arc here serves as a sequel (of sorts) to "International Assassin." That episode wrung great pathos out of the idea that, to truly purge Patti — his ghostly foe and the avatar of his darker, crueler impulses — he had to understand, and end, her pain. Nora may mockingly read from The Book of Kevin (which they've brought on the trip, since snarking about it allows them some semblance, however strained, of real coupledom), but the image of Kevin ruefully pushing little Patti into that well evokes an empathy that, ultimately, he can't find with Nora. Eventually, he joined Patti at the bottom of the well, a hollow of tears and stone; he and Nora will spend their days on opposite sides of the city, and different emotional hemispheres.

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Laura Bogart

Laura Bogart is a featured writer for Salon and a regular contributor to DAME magazine. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, CityLab, The Guardian, SPIN, Complex, IndieWire, GOOD, and Refinery29, among other publications. Her first novel, Don't You Know That I Love You?, is forthcoming from Dzanc.