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The Leftovers “Don’t Be Ridiculous” Review (3×02)

23 Apr

“I just want to take some fucking control.”

In my opinion, Nora Durst is the most fascinating character on television right now. A lot of that is due to Carrie Coon’s performance–she is incredible, and I could praise her to no end–but a lot of that is also due to the writing for her character. She’s held up as a contrast of sorts to people like the faith driven Matt, her determination palpable when it comes to disproving Departure related incidents. Actions like printing out a picture of Pillar Man’s corpse don’t exactly speak kindly to her as a compassionate human being, but if you look at her actions in the context of her past, you see that this all develops out of a deep reservoir of pain.

Like others in the series, she wants some form of control–taking the shovel from the kid is a nice encapsulation of that idea–but it seems as if every aspect of the world around her is out to get her. The little things build up over time, and we see that play out here as anything from a GPS to a parking meter doesn’t seem to want to go her way. We see her crack several times, her emotions bubbling to the surface in rage or in laughter or in tears, and it’s extremely difficult to watch. When she makes her way to Erika’s place or talks to Tommy about Lily, we’re hit with powerful, devastating conversations that place things into perspective. You see, I think Nora has a bit of hope inside of her, maybe irrational…but then again, maybe not so much given the time and place. She desperately wants to believe and desperately wants not to believe at the same time, and these two floods of emotion look to be converging in Australia.

I’ll conclude by saying that what makes this episode so compelling is its ability to manage shifts in tone. We’ve seen a perfect blend of absurdity and drama before, but “Don’t Be Ridiculous” continues to show us why The Leftovers is the pinnacle of television at the moment. The perfect example: Nora’s conversation with Erika at her counter is followed up by the two of them jumping on a trampoline, Wu Tang’s “Protect Ya Neck (The Jump Off)” playing over the scene. It’s funny, it’s poignant, and it’s also a little ridiculous. It’s absolutely perfect. Just for a second, maybe Nora can forget about the world.

GRADE: A-

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Once again, a very interesting epilogue to the episode. I’m not sure exactly what it all means, but it’s very interesting that the police chief is named Kevin. Also, Kevin Garvey Sr.? Either way, that’s probably the only bit of the episode keeping it at an A-. It just feels out of place after the character-driven emotional devastation of the preceding hour.

-The whole Perfect Strangers tie in is delightful, especially given the use of the theme for the opening credits and the fact that Mark Linn-Baker actually shows up here.

-So glad to see Regina King again.

Photo credit: HBO, The Leftovers

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2 Responses to “The Leftovers “Don’t Be Ridiculous” Review (3×02)”

  1. Georges Fadel April 27, 2017 at 4:50 am #

    Nice review. This episode has many similarities with the third episode of Season 1 : “Two Boats and a Helicopter”. Both episodes are character centric (Nora vs. Matt). In both episodes the main character is determined on taking a journey and ignores several warning signs that should make her/him realize that pursuing the journey is not good. At the end of episode 3, Matt loses his church to the Guilty Remnants. I fear that Nora will soon be faced with a similar tragedy that may explain the epilogue.

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