The Leftovers “Certified” Review (3×06)

21 May

“I want fucking closure.”

At the beginning of “Certified”, Laurie sits in her office talking to a woman who lost her child during The Departure. In fact, this is the same woman we saw in the very first scene of the series, and seeing her again here transports us back to the good ‘ol days of season one. We’re transported back for a very good reason, though: witnessing Laurie’s story come full circle. She hasn’t simply done a 360; she’s grown and changed and regressed and struggled, a process very true to life (and especially true to life under these extraordinary conditions). However, she is at the point of suicide once again.

The episode is bookended by two suicide attempts, the first of which sparked her decision to join the Guilty Remnant and the second of which involves her–as Nora mentions earlier in the episode–plunging into the water in her scuba gear. Some might dispute that she’s trying to kill herself at the end, but that’s simply how I read it. This is a woman who left her family to try to figure shit out, someone who nearly lost that family as a result and has struggled to find her way back. She’s now sort of back, and we see evidence throughout the episode that these people truly do care for each other, family or otherwise. The amount of affection that bubbles to the surface during her scene with Kevin, the fact that her children are calling to verify something trivial at the end, the heartfelt hug between her and Nora.

I say “sort of back” because she’s still as isolated as ever. She’s made a career out of essentially taking on some of other peoples’ pain, but the paradox of the situation is that her necessary empathy has ultimately distanced herself in a way. It’s a tough job and a tough position to be in when she’s dealing with her own Departure-related conflicts, and it’s understandable why she might act the way she does here. So, she uses pills the second time around arguably out of love for those people, but also because she can say goodbye to Kevin because she knows what she’s going to do.

“We’re all gone.”

Laurie sits in her boat, pulling on her scuba gear as the sun shines down on her. She gets a call from her kids, and she laughs listening to them finally be their carefree selves. Then she stares up at the sky for a bit, so much being said in that one tiny expression, so much pain and joy and confusion and acceptance all bundled up into one. There’s an inevitability about it, a calmness, but it also hurts so damn much.

Then, she slips into the water.



-One of my favorite scenes: Amy Brenneman and Carrie Coon giving it all in their final scene together. The gorgeous music, the brilliant acting, and especially the thematic heft of Nora’s beach ball scenario. After all, one could say that Nora has been the one to take away beach balls before, and she realizes it.

Also, that choked up “Okay” after Matt says he should be with family. My goodness.

-Opening credits song is “1-800-Suicide” by the Gravediggaz. Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam” scores the opening suicide attempt.

-The Judas conversation at “The Last Supper” is quite interesting to unpack. What I take away from it is this quote: “He betrayed him anyway because he was sure he believed in something. And he acted on it.” And then he kills himself. It really gets to the heart of the questions swirling around this show, questions about faith, life, and ultimately death.

Photo credit: HBO, The Leftovers

One Response to “The Leftovers “Certified” Review (3×06)”

  1. Keith Noakes May 21, 2017 at 10:44 pm #

    It was definitely nice to see Amy Brenneman get the spotlight for once.

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