Speaking of the end of the world, during the (chilling, terrifying) moment when Kevin first saw Evie on the television, she was holding up a sign that said “Surah 81,” which happens to be a section in the Qur’an that lists signs of the Day of Judgment. So was Evie holding it, or the librarian? Is Kevin really delusional, or is he seeing things for a reason? Is Kevin really trying to escape—not just escape Mapleton, but escape existence itself?
This was such a loaded, fascinating episode, especially on the back of last week’s “Crazy Whitefella Thinking,” which spent possibly more time with Kevin Sr. than necessary, as unlikable as he was. Every single event that happened in “G’Day Melbourne” seemed fraught with significance, which even Nora noted, when she asked the Finnish scientists if the woman who asked her to hold the baby was part of a bigger trick. Everyone seems to be suspicious of everything, and at this point, who can blame them? As viewers, we’re all sitting here too with our magnifying glasses and our pause buttons, trying to find clues in minor details.
Spencer, I’m curious of what you made of Nora’s trip to the warehouse, particularly the question about whether she’d kill a baby if it would cure cancer. This was precisely the ethical quandary the self-immolating Russian was ranting about in the Outback last episode, only the way he put it, it seemed like he’d given the opposite answer to Nora, and had been rejected all the same. So what is this ploy? Is it an easy excuse for the scientists to reject people whom they think are too fragile? Are they playing a longer con? Or are they conducting some kind of psychological experiment that has nothing to do with radiation and everything to do with lying in packing containers for several minutes?
Nora, as we saw in the scene at the airport, is definitely not doing so well. She’s thrill-seeking by smuggling international currency (note her unpersuasive “Huh” when Kevin asked why she didn’t simply give him half the money to carry), she’s conducting rogue operations without jurisdiction, and she really seemed desperate when the scientists drove away without giving her the opportunity to follow Mark Linn-Baker and go “through.” Whatever uneasy peace she’d formed with Kevin over the last few years in Jarden was shattered when the two had their epic showdown in the hotel room. And both knew exactly why: Their relationship is built on secrets, not trust, and the ugliness of their honest confessions seemed to explain it. Nora suspects that Kevin is enthralled by Matt’s wild idea that he might be the second coming of Christ. Kevin thinks Nora is addicted to being a victim, and that she simply wouldn’t be able to function if she let go of her pain.
Both are right, and wrong, I’d argue. Nora’s instability now seems to come from the fact that she has tried to let go of her grief over the last few years, settling down with Kevin and climbing the ranks at the DSD. But it hasn’t worked, and she’s unhappier and more erratic than ever. And Kevin is both enticed by and terrified of what’s been happening to him, because he can’t shake the suspicion that he really is crazy, just like his father. But is he? (Either way, “I fucking love it, it’s riveting, I read it fucking cover to cover,” is a hell of a book review.)