The Leftovers

The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 8 Feedback | The Book of Nora

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The Leftovers 2017: Season 3 Episode 8 Feedback - The Book of Nora

Listen to the Podcast:

Sit down, grab a hot cup of tea, and unburden your beads of sin as Antonio Mazzaro (@acmazzaro) is joined by his podcasting gecko Rob Cesternino (@robcesternino) to take your feedback questions, comments and theories following the series finale of The Leftovers.
Thanks for joining us on this epic journey! Until we meet again.
  • GeekFurious

    I’m 12 minutes in and I can tell there is no way they are going to read my email since I answer this question they are discussing right now. I also don’t understand Antonio’s question about why she is still in Australia… she’s in AUSTRALIA. It’s huge. If she got on a plane, she’d leave a trace of herself. You can’t leave without a passport. You can’t enter any country without a passport. She would leave a trace. If she wanted to stay off the grid, she had to stay where she was. It only further elevates the argument she never left.

  • TrentC

    Thanks Rob for better articulating some of my thoughts. I wouldn’t say the finale exempted everything supernatural or mysterious that we had seen before that moment in time, more that it rendered everything preceding it as unimportant.

    My thought is Nora tried to commit suicide. She lost her two children and husband during the Departure and then became self destructive doing things like hiring prostitutes to shoot her while wearing a bullet proof vest.

    When her soul mate in weirdness Kevin tells her to eff off and that she should be with her children, it’s the final straw. She decides to try the machine thinking there’s about a 1% chance it works and a 99% chance she dies. That’s where the series pointed the suicide propaganda after deciding Laurie wouldn’t commit the act.

    It’s the oldest story in the book. Her lover spurned her and she had nothing left. She bailed from the machine and rather than risk further embarrassment she ‘died’. If you watch Carrie Coon closely through the entire finale, she’s about one inch away from spitting at all times. There’s a plain emotional undercurrent of anger and hurt throughout her performance.

    Nora lied to protect her vulnerable side. As Antonio mentioned, she had a tough time admitting and dealing with personal weakness. The 2% world couldn’t sustain itself for a lot of logical reasons, and one element of her story is too unbelievable. A mother who lost two children and a husband without explanation finds them seven years later. She wouldn’t leave them again.

    I should be clear, I felt it was a fine and fitting ending to the series. I welled up when Nora and Kevin were dancing before her story and both started crying wordlessly while the camera revolved around them.

    The overriding thought from most viewers is – just let the mystery be, it didn’t matter if Nora lied, who cares how we got here, the point is that we’re here now. The thing that holds me back from letting go and joining that opinion is similar to what Rob explained. If none of that matters, Pattie, Meg, Matt and his wife, John, Erika, the town of Miracle, Kevin Senior, not to mention Kevin Junior’s death experiences…all of their wild and wacky adventures fall into the So What pile. Especially on a rewatch.

    As mentioned, I don’t need a 10 point scientific explanation behind the Departure. But since the event itself was so incredible and the cornerstone of the show, maybe just a little bit of the past mystery could be hinted at?

    • Andiamo

      Do you think if they’d never raised the possibility of an answer to the Departure in the finale that you would still feel like you needed one? I’m just curious, because all along they said they wouldn’t answer it, so I let it go. I was fine with it, and it made sense for the audience to have some uncertainty about it along with the characters. I’m also okay with some ambiguity around the Hotel world.

      What I didn’t like was that they raised some little mysteries along the way that they just dropped (Grace, David Burton, Kevin’s coming back to life. etc.) To me that’s more lazy storytelling and doesn’t really deserve the “Let the mystery be” treatment.

      And most importantly, what the h*ll happened to the nun paying Nora in leather straps? In this episode we see her giving Nora cash instead. Was that just a continuity error? If so I want the time back that I spent racking my brain over that one.

      • Charles Bikle

        Let the continuity be.

        • TrentC

          My Mom caught me doing something and she said – let the mystery be, or you may go blind.

      • TrentC

        lol! I was wondering when the straps would come up. I think we (the internet we) made an assumption based on a camera angle. She was holding a roll of bills and if the straps were forefront, they may have been from the bird’s legs?

        I have never needed an answer to the Departure. My leftover issue (see what I did there?) was what Rob alluded to, what I’ve mentioned on a handful of posts and what you spoke about in your larger post above. I’ll quote myself, please forgive the arrogance in that. It touches on Rob saying in this podcast everything that happened pre-finale, we can now consider as not being supernatural. Kevism, The International Assassin storyline, Pattie etc.

        “I wouldn’t say the finale exempted everything supernatural or
        mysterious that we had seen before that moment in time, more that it rendered everything preceding it as unimportant.”

        I learned a few things from David Chase, creator of The Sopranos. (paraphrasing) The writer/director/producer team creates every image and sound a viewer sees from scratch. Everything we put in a frame is there for a reason. There is filler, and there are red herrings, but for the most part that team creates a canvas and there should be no wasted seconds of fluff. That’s poor storytelling.

        I completely understand The Leftovers is a character piece focused on the reactions of people after a horrible, mysterious event. The show and the writer/producers have flat out told us – We will not tell you how the sausage is made.

        But like Rob said and you have said to a degree in posts above, leaving all of the backstories behind and not giving them any significance, kind of relegates them all into red herring territory, even if that wasn’t production’s intent.

        I like the Kevin and Nora story and they are two of the most interesting people in the series. Leaving almost every other character out of the finale somehow throws them in the rearview without so much of a wave goodbye. And some of the supporting characters had great stories…Virgil and the folks you mention.

        Sigh, I guess it’s like a rich tapestry has been created and we are only allowed to see one corner of it. Or we watch three great seasons and then they say – Most or all of it may have been a dream, but Kevin and Nora are in love and found each other. I already suspected they were in love…

        It was a bold and creative finale. To have the biggest skeptic address the elephant in the room during one conversation was brilliant. I just wish we could have checked in with more people and events.

      • Anna

        “Do you think if they’d never raised the possibility of an answer to the Departure in the finale that you would still feel like you needed one?”

        Like you, I also let that mystery go and never expected an answer. Of course, we as an audience had always thought about the possibilities (just a couple podcasts ago Josh and Antonio speculated about the 2% Mirror Universe), but to actually hear one of the characters on the show, Nora of all people, offer a possibility was a bit too much of an “answer” for me. My gut reaction watching that moment was that I didn’t like it.

        I felt a similar way about the reveal of Kevin’s “heart condition”. After thinking about it more, I realize it doesn’t exactly change any of Kevin’s past experiences, but I still didn’t need or want to learn that. I don’t think it adds anything to what was already a perfectly ambiguous mystery.

        I’m one of the people who loved the LOST finale and I found a lot of satisfaction and closure in it. With The Leftovers finale, while I was still emotionally satisfied in the end, I found myself more confused and asking even more questions than I had gone into the episode with.

        • Bobby Marasa

          I also absolutely loved the LOST finale and I think it definitely holds up on emotional level and for the most part holds up from a plot/mystery perspective as well. I also loved The Leftovers finale and actually liked it better on the rewatch because when you first hear Nora’s story it is a bit jarring because it’s not something I was expecting to be addressed.

  • Charles Bikle

    In terms of scrutinizing Nora’s story, you have to remember that she was probably giving the Reader’s Digest version to Kevin, perhaps omitting or glossing over the dangers and/or unpalatable details of her time there. Maybe Earth 2% was in worse shape than she’s letting on and her finding her family went south somehow ?

    • GeekFurious

      It’s just much more likely she was lying. As Rob pointed out, there are too many variables that DON’T make sense and perfect-scenarios that had to play out for it to be real. And the point I made earlier, about her needing to use her passport to travel and that’s why she stayed in Australia, even further elevates the theory she never left. Unless you believe she traveled back to Australia in the other world, before being sent back. Imagine how insanely long that would take. And then consider the logic of doing it. She had a whole planet where she could have lived. Empty areas. Why go back? Why would the maker of the machine send her back but not advertise it and send the 2% back?

      As I said in the previous chat, if they read my email, you will hear my argument for why I believe she is not only lying, but how the lie makes the final moments better.

      • Charles Bikle

        Maybe, but how she described her travel to Earth 2% was told bluntly, very matter-of-factly and with little-to-no embellishment; I didn’t get the sense she was lying, so much as not getting sidetracked explaining more about the difficulties of life over there or possible side effects from traveling there and then coming back & other issues. We perhaps got a very streamlined account of her adventures on Earth 2%.

        Also, what we know of Nora is that she’s blunt and in fact, not inclined to short term lying, let alone maintaining a lie that big and I don’t think she’s imaginative enough to add those details, like the lack of resources for air flight.

  • Charles Bikle

    So what about that cave woman that gave birth in the beginning of Season 2 ?

    • Let the mystery be, Chuck

      • Charles Bikle

        I’m gonna try that line the next time I get pulled over at a DUI checkpoint.

        • GeekFurious

          Don’t drive drunk, Charles.

          • Charles Bikle

            Let the mystery of my sobriety be.

    • Stylez

      They pretty much admitted they only put that scene in to try to neg Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan of “The Watch” podcast on The Ringer.

  • Charles Bikle

    NORA: “Oh and I’ve been talking to Laurie, but don’t be mad at her for not telling you.”

    KEVIN: “Why would I be mad ? Just because I’ve spent my vacation time, for 14 years trying to find you and Laurie knew all along ?”

  • Andiamo

    To me, one of the biggest problems with the finale is that it felt like a series finale, but it wasn’t a proper ending to this season. The majority of the season was about whether or not Kevin was the Messiah, whether or not the world would end on the 7th anniversary, and what would it mean to these characters if these things didn’t happen. How do they cope when they’ve committed murder, left their loved ones, and set aside all logic in service to this story, and where do they go from here? We got no resolution to that. Why even introduce Grace and the strangeness of her story?

    So although they spent almost the entire season delving into the mindsets of the all of the characters, they basically decided to drop everyone to service the Kevin and Nora story. Even the Laurie episode was made pretty pointless by having her live, and it seemed like they negated her character’s arc just to cause some confusion in the finale. It’s possible that if there were a couple of more episodes that dealt with the others I would’ve been more okay with devoting the end to just Kevin and Nora, but their relationship was never the most interesting thing about the show to me, so it doesn’t feel worth it.

    I really didn’t need or even want an answer to the mystery of the departed. The whole structure of the show was built around how that uncertainty profoundly impacted the world and drove the emotions of the characters. I don’t think the story makes any sense in and of itself, but I also feel like it doesn’t fit in with the direction of the show. If I view the story as a coping mechanism, then it fits much better to me.

    • Charles Bikle

      Maybe Lindelof thought he’d have more episodes for the final season and didn’t realize he’d have to truncate the Grace story as much as he did ?

      • TrentC

        I left Grace out of my list of people that got left by the wayside.

        It does seem her late series appearance had a lot more depth annd possible plotlines than we saw.

    • GeekFurious

      “The majority of the season was about whether or not Kevin was the Messiah”

      That’s what you think it was about.

      • Andiamo

        That was one part of my sentence.

    • TrentC

      I’ve made at least three similar posts and you’ve encapsulated all of my thoughts more succinctly here, well done Andi and thanks.

      Do you think Nora lied about her trip? I posted that after Kevin walked out on her, Nora felt there was nothing to lose and part of her intent using the machine was to die. Maybe a very small part of her thought – if it does work, that’s all the better.

      • Andiamo

        I agree that Nora seemed ready to go, regardless of where that was. I guess that adds to the ambiguity of what happened. But her story makes zero sense. There are a million threads to pull that make it fall apart. And because it’s so hard to believe logistically, the only way I like it is if it’s all just in Nora’s head. Otherwise, if it’s meant to be real, and not some kind of crazy universe like Kevin’s which doesn’t follow rules of logic, then the writers didn’t think it through enough.

        Still, I don’t know if she’s lying to Kevin exactly. She could be, but she could also be lying to herself so deeply that she’s convinced herself it’s true. Or maybe she experienced something that felt real, like Kevin did, while she was in the machine. Either way I choose to believe it’s not true.

        • TrentC

          Could her story be a response to Kevin’s lie? I’m not sure what he hoped to accomplish by pretending their relationship never happened. If I was Nora, that would be a huge insult to me. I know he explained his reasoning basically saying he wanted to reset everything, but playing with people’s minds in that world isn’t a healthy thing to do.

          Nora lies about her death for decades, Kevin lies about the entirety of their relationship and then Nora responds by lying about going to the 2% world. That’s a bad game of emotional poker.

  • Charles Bikle

    NORA: “So what else have you been up to ?”

    KEVIN: “Well, I helped my Dad cover up the murder of two police officers…”

  • Anna

    I agree with Rob about Laurie… I felt a lot of closure at the end of “Certified” believing that Laurie killed herself. Seeing her alive in this finale was so jarring for me, felt like a cop out.

    All along I believed that the International Assassin stories were Kevin traveling between the afterlife and the present world, and that he is uniquely able to do this due to some supernatural/savior ability. And I will continue to choose to believe that there are supernatural elements, even if Lindelof dismisses it, because it makes the story much much more satisfying to me. Because of that, I think I was unknowingly expecting a more LOST-like finale, with some part of it taking place in an alternate world. So, while I wasn’t unhappy or unsatisfied with the finale, it wasn’t ultimately what I expected, which bears at least some disappointment in itself.

    • TrentC

      Great post.

    • Andiamo

      I agree completely. I’m ignoring that Lindeloff comment, because the show works better for me if I do. I also think he’s been a little all over the place with his comments and intention. I don’t know how you can say the International Assassin world has no supernatural elements, and then say in an interview that when Kevin blew up that world, he stopped being able to come back to life. That is not a psychological phenomenon.

  • Anna

    Also, I just want to take a moment to really thank Antonio for these podcasts! Of course Rob and Josh are amazing as always, but I just wanted to give a shout out to Antonio who, between this and Better Call Saul, has been consistently an amazing host on PSR. The level of analysis and thought that Antonio is able to give on these podcasts constantly impresses me. I love hearing him think out loud and he always brings up questions and ideas that I had never even thought of. So, thank you Antonio and keep up the great work!

  • Jeff Spence

    I’ve always loved Rob’s podcasts- almost since the beginning. I listened to the Leftovers feedback podcast for about 15 minutes and I finally crossed a threshold- the majority of him doing Post Show Recaps, unless it is Better Call Saul or Game of Thrones, is to listen so him nitpick the most finite detail of every aspect of every show. The leftovers is one of the best shows ever and hearing Rob dissect each aspect of it and finding something to complain about in the finale is just a downer and made me want to stop listening. He shreds TWD every episode and Josh or Alex tries to politely say well, dude, the another interpretation is… over and over it makes the podcast so much less fun. I cite his review 4-5 years ago of Die Hard as an example. What a fun movie and a great escape from reality. But the podcast was a nonstop barrage of “this wouldn’t have happened” or “that guy wouldn’t have done that”. Sorry Rob- in my opinion this ruins the fun of Post Show Recaps.

    • Charles Bikle

      Often I disagree with their opinions as well, ,however, that being said, I’m a big fan of the Recappers giving their raw and occasionally, unpopular opinion on the episodes they just viewed and,really a lot of time they’re just kidding anyways.

  • Chanan

    Who’s Bruce??

  • Bobby Marasa

    So as I was listening to this a random thought popped into my head. If Nora’s story was true it’s kind of messed up to think about what happened to Lauries unborn child.

    • TrentC

      Yikes, very true.

      And how about all of the people who need regular medical assistance like diabetics and cancer patients? There’s no way the 2% world of 140 million people have that sort of infrastructure set up to support the various needs.

      If that world does exist, it would be survival of the fittest.

      • Stylez

        I would love a spinoff about life in the other world/reality. It is really wild to think about.

        • Anna

          The Leftunders

    • Stylez

      I had this same exact thought

  • Asher Forrester

    How dare you guys question the “Book of Nora”!!! Nora’s word is Gospel~!!!! xD

  • Asher Forrester

    I believe Nora’s 2% world is just like Kevin’s International Assassin world – I totally believe she believes she went there during the 30 seconds she was holding her breath in the machine – just like when Kevin needs to drown himself in order to visit his world. 30 seconds for someone that is about to die could be as long as 30 months or years etc etc…After that maybe she yelled STOP and they let her out. She just decided to leave that part of her experience out and only focus on the part she saw in her head. That would also explain why the 2% would still function in her alternate world. To me that is the essence of The Book of Nora. >_<

    • Blaise Mouttet

      I was thinking of a similar explanation but I would go a step further and say that everything we see in the episode after Nora going into the machine is happening in her mind in the last second before she dies. Her last remaining moment creates a world to provide a resolution and peace before the machine ultimately kills her.

      • Asher Forrester

        I also had the same thought while I was thinking of Nora’s 2% world – that she may be in some sort of afterlife plain – where people go to when they die. But I rejected that theory cos Matt was revealed to have died too, and somehow we didn’t see him with them there….so if it is the afterlife, Matt should be there too, right?

        Your explanation of it all being in Nora’s mind however, may just bring that theory to life – anything could happen in her world. It would also explain why everything felt like a happy ending for everyone – even Matt’s death felt like a happy ending for him. That would also explain why Laurie was alive – cos she didn’t know about her suicide! Everyone lived and had a happy ending, cos it was all in her mind.

        The reality was that she died – and everything after was her own interpretation. That is definitely a much darker and sadder way of looking at the finale, which also makes sense – cos the show was always pretty depressing from the start; which would be fitting to end the series on that note too.

        I just wanna add that even though the reality may be she died – it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone else died too. Kevin and company may very well still be alive and living – the only difference is that the world they live in is a world where Nora doesn’t exist anymore. Which on the flip side can still very much be a happy ending. But just imagining Kevin losing both Laurie and Nora in that reality feels extremely painful and depressing… I can totally understand why this is an unpopular theory, even though it could very much be true.

        That’s why this show is so great…..cos it allows for multiple different interpretations on many levels, depending on how we as individuals view the show and it’s story!! >_<

  • Stylez

    I wonder if he answered that lingering question about what happened when everyone departed (despite saying he wouldn’t) as a direct result of the lost backlash. Was this him placating thinking he was giving everyone what they wanted?

  • Matthew Murphy

    Loved hearing Rob’s take on season 3. The thing about us being Kevin having to be okay with whatever Nora’s story is/ the ending to the show really hit me. Wondering whether she told the truth or not is a cool way to end the show and I’m sure it’ll be debated as we reheat the Leftovers in the years to come. Can’t wait for Damon Lindleoff’s season and a half tv series that’s flawless.

  • Stylez

    From everything i read/heard lindelof didn’t want it to be a question as to whether nora really crossed over. He wanted to have a seen, similar to season one, where the baby disappeared from the mother’s car, only it would be in the 2% world with the baby alone crying in the car, but the guy who created the novels knixed it.

  • Ann Pantazes

    I don’t know if Antonio and Josh did their final. I’ve listened to a lot and am know totally comfortable with Laurie being alive. I think she still thought that she could help Nora (and thus took the cigarette pack agreeing to be her therapist. Maybe Nora was the one she could help). Nora did not go through the process but the journey was still long for her. It took her a long time (with the help of Laurie) to deal with the idea that her kids are ok and then a long time to deal with living in this world without them. This Jives with her story. And best of all Kevin bought it. And I want a happy ever after for them.

  • DanG

    Not that anyone cares, but – 15 days later and I’m coming to the conclusion I am not happy. Book of Nora was a FINE episode- but not a great series CONCLUSION. For the better part of 24 episodes and 3 years, I’ve been getting close to feeling TLO was one of the greatest t.v. series ever– but, now it seems the final message is “I’m here now”-that’s all that matters… then NOTHING that came before means anything… National Geographic means nothing, dogs mean nothing, the International Hotel means nothing, Cigarette smoking, hugs from prophets, guys on towers, twins, lions, nuclear explosions, huge incinerators, dead birds, live birds, women in cars asking if I’m ready…nothing…none if it matters… “Just be happy, this is as good as it gets”… isn’t good enough.

    LOST’s end was frustrating, because it would have been a good ending after 3 seasons, but after 6 years it was a bit anti-climatic. I hated the Sopranos ending at first, but have come to appreciate it- and it hasn’t detracted from re-watching any of the episodes. But, I feel like there’s no point to re-watching TLO..

  • Dear psrecaps family and our beloved hosts Josh and Antonio, and the occasional co-host Rob,

    I just realized this show is now over and that I won’t be able to watch the on-going life journey of Kevin and Nora. Because I was so busy and occupied with life and work, I couldn’t fully get into the show and feel it. But all of sudden, now, today, at this time, I’m realizing this show is over and I am just about to cry with no particular reason to do so. The show means so much to me, it proved me that I can emotionally attach to someone’s life. It helped me with processing my feeling with having lost someone very important in my life.

    Thanks a lot for the recaps during the last three years and I really appreciate the community built around this show. 🙂


  • disqus_9wdfHLV2X3

    When is the final wrap up discussion coming? Anyone know?