Breakdowns, Breakups and Breakthroughs in “G’Day Melbourne”

It probably isn’t possible for Kevin and Nora to have a simple relationship. While fans have rooted and hoped for the darker side of these characters to find some light together, what happened in “G’Day Melbourne," wasn’t necessarily unexpected. The hour featured many major occurrences, but when the credits rolled, the fight between Kevin at Nora was on the top of everyone’s minds.

Variety’s Sonya Saraiya writes, “I wasn’t expecting The Leftovers to offer up a breakup scene — it’s more direct than I expect of the show — but it is so fitting that it would be punctuated by elemental rage. You can see the firelight flickering on Nora’s face as she confronts Kevin. And in the final moment, the water pouring down her face looks like eternal tears streaming from her eyes, as if she is mourning the entire weight of the world.”

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The inevitability of the split seemed clear to everyone, including Noel Murray of the New York Times, who says, “The characters seem disconnected and despairing as they stumble through crises of their own making.”

“The both of them are splintering apart, but they haven’t yet realized it,” comments Vox writer Todd Van Der Werff. “This is a dead relationship that both partners continue because they don’t know how else to exist.”

While Nora and Kevin’s relationship bookended the episode, Kevin’s mid-hour breakdown didn’t go unnoticed. Murray responds to Justin Theroux’s performance:“Kevin’s combination of frustration and despair — brought on by his deep worry that he won’t ever shake free of whatever psychological or supernatural condition is plaguing him — becomes heartbreakingly palpable.”

This led to Kevin’s journey to the library, flagging two stellar (and classic-style) Leftovers nods. “There’s a terrific moment when Kevin approaches a gigantic koala,” notes Van Der Werff, “the music building as if he’s about to meet the next mentor on his spiritual quest, only for said music to cut out when he asks the koala (who’s just a man in a suit) which way he can go to the public library.”

Saraiya points out, “It struck me that Kevin ends up going to the city library for answers — asking for a book called The Assassins, in another cheeky nod to “International Assassin” — as if, at this point, mere information would be able to solve any of his problems.” 

Other thoughts brewing from our time Down Under?

A-ha’s “Take on Me.” “Nothing The Leftovers does even once is an accident, let alone three times in the same episode, and it’s hard to hear the song and not think of how its famous video is reflected by both of this hour’s POV characters,” writes UPROXX’s Alan Sepinwall.

The burning man’s question. He answered no; Nora answered yes. “Apparently, it’s not the words in the answer that matter, but the attitude of the responder,” wrote Murray.

An explosion that left all planes grounded. Murray voiced, “What the heck is happening in downtown Melbourne when the Garveys meet up?” 

So where do these characters go from here? Leave your thoughts and theories in the comment section below.

Watch new episodes of The Leftovers Sunday nights at 9 pm on HBO.

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