When somebody joins the Guilty Remnant on The Leftovers they must leave the trappings of their old life behind including the clothes they used to wear. Nora’s change of costuming and the way she wears her hair when they move from Mapleton to Miracle (or rather Jarden, Texas)is less dramatic, but noticeable nonetheless.
In season one the most memorable item from Nora’s wardrobe is her denim jacket because it is the boldest color she wears; everything else is in the neutral wheelhouse with plenty of grey, navy, beige and black. In fact her Mapleton costuming is pretty similar to Kevin’s in that he doesn’t tend to stray from this color palette either – throw in some white tees for Kevin – and their instant connection can been seen on both a surface and deeper level. Cut to Miracle and the change is apparent; Nora’s suddenly wearing a whole lot of red and pink and Kevin is still in the same tees and undone button down shirts.
Kevin and Nora haven’t taken the traditional route toward moving in together and it is what you might call rushed. Before they had even been on a date Nora suggested they take a trip together and this idea of getting away from the town which holds so many bad memories was planted long before Kevin’s dad recommended the same course of action. Kevin also warned Nora before their first date that he is pretty fucked up and these two have been very forthcoming in the secrets they share. The fantastic confession scene at the start of this week’s episode “A Matter of Geography” is indicative of why the Kevin and Nora relationship works; even after they’ve revealed the parts they are ashamed of they still want to make a go of it.
Or rather it shows how Nora and Kevin are fundamentally different as he thinks his secret will be the bomb that blows this whole thing up and she sees it as a sign they can be okay. Kevin repeatedly hits the self-destruct button throughout this episode beyond this confession scene; he digs up Patti’s body and then purposefully gets pulled over by state police and then he reacts in rage to the state of the new house. Full disclosure is not an easy prospect even for the most transparent of relationships; Kevin’s secret is far bigger, but we don’t know how much Nora has told Kevin about the theory the MIT researchers have about why some people disappeared and that it might happen again.
Jill gets it and it is a matter of feeling safe which is why Nora has gone all in on this property and place. For Kevin, Miracle is no different from Mapleton as his demons have followed him here. And by demons I mean Patti and her presence is just as strong. Secrets can eat away at you and this one is doing just that and his spiraling takes him to an almost deadly place when he wakes up half drowned in a body of water that is no longer there with a cinder block tided to his ankle. Patti is there to keep him company much to his dismay.
He has told Nora so much, but this secret is just too big and I think he is probably scared what might happen if he reveals this humdinger. There is a certain element of denial he can maintain if he keeps it to himself and yet headphones and loud music can only drown out so much. The season 2 artwork puts the focus on this couple and actually points in part to Kevin’s new ankle accessory; he is reaching for Nora and there is a push/pull between his mystical darkness and her new found optimism. From what we have seen in the way of Nora’s reactions to Kevin’s secrets I think she will be able to handle this and the more he tries to deal with it alone, the worse it will get for everyone involved.
All the trappings of Kevin’s old life are still there; the restlessness, secrecy and look of panic etched across his face. Nora does bring out some calm and this union could be soothing if he would only tell her what the fuck is going on.
They’ve made a pretty big commitment to each other and the child they have adopted, but even that was not smooth sailing thanks to a broken washing machine. Kevin doesn’t have much luck with household appliances this week. But they look pretty complementary costuming wise in their appointment and they are both emphatic about their relationship status. Yes, Nora sounded far more convincing.
Also this baby is the most adorable.
Nora has worn her hair straight for pretty much the entire run, all with the exception of the pre-departure episode “The Garveys At Their Best.”
So it is significant that she has returned to this look when moving to a new town where they don’t know what happened to her family and now she has a new one.
Between the waves and the injection of red and pink tones into her costuming Nora’s look has been softened and moves away from her business wear styling from season 1. She is embracing motherhood and there is added femininity to her attire. Especially when she is holding both Lily and a freshly baked pie.
Nora isn’t all floaty skirts and dresses and it is worth noting there is some mirroring of Jill in the scene above wearing a vest (red once again) and jeans. Carrie Coon discussed Nora’s relationship with Jill in this wonderful Vox interview mentioning how Nora “wants to be cool! She wants to be the best pal” and this is evident here. Jill has moved from the dreaded annoying teen position to someone I want to spend more time with and part of this is down to dialing down her antagonism levels.
There is now a certain kinship between Jill and Nora; instead of eye rolling her way through her dad and Nora’s confessions Jill instead cracked a joke showing acceptance. The chemistry between these three actors is excellent and there is a strong sense of salvation in this second chance. Potential issues could occur down the road, but at this point Jill has Nora’s back because Jill knows what a good thing her dad has got despite the peeling wallpaper and lack of lights. So Kevin, please don’t fuck this up.
One item I hope Nora has brought with her to Miracle is her perfect hat for spying and head protection is vital in a hotter climate.
Shopping montages and throwing out old clothes were absent so everything we see Nora wearing in Miracle could have been in the suitcases she already had packed ready for her escape. Plus there are items such as her denim jacket and penchant for wearing necklaces that have made the transition.
This isn’t Nora removing herself completely from her old life, instead this style change is indicative of a new location and embracing the family she is now part of. For Kevin despite the changes that have taken place there is still this firm grip he can’t shake so items such as his aviators and Apple earbuds are a vital shield. Plus those glasses do look really good.
For the Guilty Remnant the white uniform is their way of shedding any kind of connection to their past and any form of personal identity. Nora’s costuming/hair evolution points back to the past as well as welcoming her present; it is why she is so desperate to get away from the town that took her first family to a place where there were no departures. Red is a powerful color and adds weight to the idea that Nora is the heart of this family unit while also showing the gulf which grows as a result of Kevin’s big dark secret.
Jill’s words to her father are worth repeating “Please don’t fuck this up.” Even if we know he’s gonna.