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The Leftovers - Don't Be Ridiculous - Review: "Perfect Strangers"

Sunday night's episode of The Leftovers was a neat little venture into Nora's world (although nothing could compare to her season one episode, Guest). The music and instrumentals were spot on as usual and I think this season is going to get better and better.

We know quite a bit about Nora Durst. Or should I say Nora Cursed? However, what we find out in this episode is truly heart-wrenching. She has probably lost more from the Sudden Departure than anyone else in the world and nothing ever seems to stay good for too long in her world. Speaking of which, Carrie Coon is one of the most talented actresses; the scene in the hotel with Mark Linn-Baker you could see the emotion on her face as she went from hopeful to skeptical to pitying him.

Because nothing ever stays good for Nora, we finally learn what happened to Lily. It's as though Nora experience another Sudden Departure when Lily was taken from her. It was sad when she made the detour to see her on her way home from St. Louis. AS a result of Nora experiencing all these events in her life she is extra critical of anyone attempting to say they saw another person "depart". That's why she gives Sandy (Brett Butler) such a hard time about what really happened to Pillar Man (RIP: Pillar Man) and also why she became a fraud investigator for the Department of Sudden Departures. The music selection for the scene when Nora pays her respects is perfect - "Hallelujah I'm A Bum".

It is also revealed why Nora has a cast on in this episode. One of the orderlies saw her slam a card door on her arm. The reason she did that was to cover up the tattoo she received to cover up the tattoo of her children's names. The following scene, after she tells Erika about the Wu-Tang Clan tattoo is one of my favorites so far. Watching Nora and Erika's faces light up after everything they've been through is really cool to watch. The episode had some tough moments to watch such as Nora meeting Lily after so long; having the piano version of the Perfect Strangers theme song playing on her way to see her was a really nice touch.

There were so many great scenes to talk about from Sunday's episode. The final scene that finally takes us to Australia, where most of the rest of the season is supposedly taking place, is a good indicator of what is to come. We saw four women on horses attack a chief of police named Kevin. First, it's clear that these women are to represent the four horsemen of the apocalypse (I'm not saying these women are, but we are talking about the apocalypse as we get closer to the SD anniversary and they are on horses, so it's a nice visual that was done on purpose). Second, the weatherman predicts Hell-fire, Locusts, and boiling blood, which is very apocalyptic heavy. And lastly, for some reason, these women are looking for a police chief named Kevin to kill. Apparently, one of them heard or knows of one that has died and come back and they want this man to do that for them. I am thinking our Kevin, from Mapelton, will somehow get to meet these women, especially since Kevin Sr. is involved with them somehow. And wouldn't you know, next week's episode is all about Kevin Sr.'s journey since arriving in Australia.

The episode is a great window into Nora's life and, wow, is she ever cursed. I don't think anything went right for her throughout the entire hour (even Tom was a little rude to her). She had trouble with every screen and machine she needed to use as if someone or something was preventing her from moving forward. As always, the music in the episode was top notch and nothing could top that trampoline scene. Everyone she met throughout the episode is a "Perfect Stranger" to her practically. Carrie Coon did a wonderful job showing the range of emotions that Nora has to go through. And now that we know the last episode of the series is titled "The Book of Nora" we might very well get to see a repeat performance...let's just hope it goes a little better for Nora than this episode.

Music from the Episode

- "Perfect Strangers Theme" - David Pomeranz
Title and throughout

- "Song of The Pious Itinerant (Hallelujah, I'm A Bum)" - The New Christy Minstrels
Kevin and Nora walk through crowd paying respects to the Pillar Man

- "Meet Me in St. Louis" - Judy Garland, Georgie Stoll & His Orchestra
Nora travels to St. Louis

- "Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)" - Wu-Tang Clan
Nora and Erika jump on the trampoline

Thoughts and Discussion

- How tough was that to watch when Nora got the kiosk that was stuck on "Are you traveling with an infant"? Maybe she really is cursed...

- I remember watching Perfect Strangers when I was a kid. Mark Linn-Baker is a very good actor.

- I like how we finally find out what those guys that bought Nora's Mapleton house were doing there back in season two. I also like how the radiation they think caused the SD is LADR - it sounds like "ladder" if you say it like the acronym is spelled. Kind of like Ladder to God or something. Is that a stretch?

- I love that the song "Miserere Mei, Deus" by the Trinity College Choir was playing when Nora was looking at the testimonials of all the people that went through the experiment of their own free will. 'Miserere Mei, Deus' means 'Have Mercy On Me, God".

- It's not a coincidence that the episode has Blue and White tones everywhere. Or that Nora, at one point, is wearing all white and smoking. She is the show's representation of the Sudden Departure, which is why we see all the blue (Departure Blue) highlights throughout the episode.

- I love how, up until this episode, the show only focused on the religious aspect of the Departure. Now we get to see the Science community and what they tried to accomplish explaining the departed. It's a great Science vs. Religion commentary that parallels today's world.

- So, Kevin is not crazy, he just gets close to suicide to "feel". Interesting.

- Did you notice...In the Australian Police Station, there is a poster that reads "You Can Stop Really Bad Days"...someone should show Nora this poster.

- Why does Kevin Sr. need crutches?

- Did you notice... Lindelof and Perrotta are credited on-screen under the pen names "Tha Lonely Donkey Kong" and "Specialist Contagious". The names come from Lindelof and Perrotta putting their names into a Wu-Tang Clan name generator.

- Of course, Nora knows what the odds of 3 out of 4 close-knit people departing is, Mark.

Thank you for checking out my Review! I will be posting an advanced preview for episode two by tomorrow.