As the tease makes very clear, this Sunday’s episode of The Leftovers is all Nora, all the time. So what can viewers expect to see? A better understanding of Mapleton’s most grieving woman? "I feel like in this episode we do give several answers," writer and supervising producer Kath Lingenfelter says.
Lingenfelter spoke to WatchingTheLeftovers.com about the three big questions addressed in the Nora-centered hour. Watch a preview of "Guest" and read what Lingenfelter's teases below.
1. What is it like to be Nora Durst?
"We were deciding to do another character study – a stand-alone episode – and Nora's name came up. We've only briefly seen Nora Durst and she is certainly one of the most intriguing residents in Mapleton. People probably ask themselves, 'Oh my god, I wonder what it feels like for her to have lost her entire family?' To the outside world, who Nora is as a person is secondary; her loss is primary. [Co-creator] Damon Lindelof would like to say, ‘Her loss comes off her in waves.’ There are many levels to it. It's like a badge of honor. It's a tremendous battle scar that precedes her. The whole episode is framed on the idea of Nora Durst's identity. What being Nora Durst means changed and was taken out of Nora's control in the wake of the Sudden Departure. The idea is: Is she interested in taking that control back? This episode challenges that."
2. What are the wider effects of the Sudden Departure?
"I'm excited for this episode because it takes us out of Mapleton. It gives us a sense of the world at large and that the Sudden Departure isn't just in this town. It reminds us that it was a global phenomenon. The episode is full of examples that examine all of these small adjustments in the world that we know. For the most part in the episodes that have lead up to this, we've avoided directly talking about the Departure, and now we're going to take one of our characters and put her in the situation where all they're doing is taking about the Departure."
3. What's the gun for?
In "Penguin One, Us Zero," Jill spots a handgun in Nora's purse. Lingenfelter teases that the weapon will make another appearance and explains how the scene played out. "In the writers room there was certainly some fear whenever we came up with an idea and the first thought was: I don't know how to do that… That's when Damon's eyes would light up and he'd be like, 'Well, that's what we're doing. Let's take the hardest of the choices and challenge ourselves and figure it out.'" The scene that explains the gun, Lingenfelter admits, was one of those moments: "This was a big idea."
For more insights on The Leftovers, follow Kath Lingenfelter on Twitter at @retlefnegniL.