Written by Damon Lindelof & Kath Lingenfelter
Directed by Carl Franklin
Nora Durst facilitates the Department of Sudden Departure's benefit questionnaire. She encourages her interviewee to be forthcoming, even with difficult questions, to increase the likelihood that his claim will be processed.
Nora sits outside the preschool her children once attended and stares down a teacher, the woman who was sleeping with her husband. Next, Nora heads to the grocery store and buys enough food for a family. She returns home and throws away her stock of untouched groceries.
"What happened to you?" - Angel
Paralyzed by memories of her lost family, Nora flips through the newspaper to find an ad that promises "Nothing is forbidden" and makes an appointment. When "Angel" arrives, Nora requests to be shot. Disturbed, Angel tries to leave, but Nora assures her that this isn't her first time - plus she'll be wearing a bulletproof vest. Angel negotiates a higher rate, and as rock music blares, Angel shoots Nora, propelling her customer's lifeless body onto an air mattress. Angel takes the money and flees. Moments later, Nora gasps for air.
Nora obtains a divorce and opts to keep her married name. On her way out of court, she runs into Kevin, who is also filing for divorce. The pair discuss their respective failed marriages and in an unguarded moment, Nora invites Kevin to Miami. Things turn awkward and Nora walks away, embarrassed.
"I'm sorry, Sir or Madame, I'm not qualified to analyze the data from our questionnaires."
- Nora Durst
At the Department of Sudden Departure offices, Nora and her boss discuss the weekend's upcoming Departure Related Occupation & Practices (DROP Conference). Nora confirms she's prepared to speak at a panel and promises to avoid answering specific questions about the data she collects. Her boss asks her how she's presenting question 121, since 100 percent of her applicants answer
the question affirmatively. Nora assures her boss she's phrasing the inquiry objectively and shares how she responded: "I said yes, all three times."
Nora arrives at the conference amid dozens of protestors. As she moves through the crowd, a man shoves a fake grenade in her hand that reads "any time now."
Nora checks in to her hotel and signs a code of conduct pertaining to her stay. Next, she arrives at registration and is informed that her identification badge has already been picked up. When presented with a "Guest" badge, Nora is irritated, explaining that she's a legacy - meaning she lost someone on the 14th - and needs the correct badge with stickers identifying herself as such. Searching for her badge, Nora enters a mixer where she meets a man named Marcus.
Nora arrives at a lecture about the "Prophet's Dilemma" and is perturbed to find her name on the sign-in list. As the lecturer speaks to the rise of false prophets, Nora locks in on a familiar face. The woman heads to the bathroom, where Nora confronts her - only to learn that the woman doesn't have her badge. The woman looks familiar to Nora, she explains, because they met at last year's conference; Nora called her a "heartless bitch" after the woman brought up a trend in the Departure of children.
"I want them to have something real." - Marcus
Nora heads for the elevator and runs into Marcus. He pressures her to come to the hospitality suite, and she agrees to "go down the rabbit hole." At the party, the group discusses "What's Next," the book DROP attendees received in their registration tote. The author is Patrick Johansen, a legacy who lost four people. The group commiserates at how obnoxious legacies are, with one woman remarking, "How many times and I supposed to say 'I'm sorry'?"
Later, high and drunk, the group discusses Nora's job at the DSD. The questionnaire only prevents people from collecting benefits, one partier asserts, since insurance companies refuse to pay for the Departed. Talk turns to Marcus' job selling "Loved Ones," replicas of people who departed that can be buried or cremated for $40,000. Marcus maintains that he's serving families by providing something tangible to say goodbye. Marcus asks if he can kiss Nora; she obliges by straddling and planting one on the Loved One modeled after him.
"Jesus. Your whole family... What are the odds?" - Security guard
"One in 128,000." - Nora Durst
The next morning, Nora wakes to knocks by security guards, who throw her off the premises after claiming she violated the hotel's code of conduct. Undeterred, Nora finds a copy store and crafts a fake version of her conference ID badge, to which she affixes three pink stickers. Although realistic, the badge sends up a red flag, and Nora is detained when she reenters the hotel. She reveals her background and security agrees to see if someone really has taken her identity. They enter the panel to find an imposter in Nora's spot on stage. Nora rushes the microphone to confront the woman. The panelist immediately admits that she's not Nora Durst and launches into a tirade, asserting that the Department of the Sudden Departure is a conspiracy designed to silence the public.
Later, Nora heads to the hotel bar, where she runs into author Patrick Johansen. They begin to discuss their respective losses, and Johansen infers that it's time to move on and find new happiness. Nora loses her temper, yelling, "If you were in pain, you'd know there is no moving on."
"Surely a live dog is better than a dead lion." - Holy Wayne
A man follows Nora out of the hotel and tells her that Johansen is a fraud. He offers to "prove it," and leads her to a dingy apartment. After paying $1,000, Nora walks through a curtain to find Holy Wayne, who explains that he took away Johansen's pain. Wayne articulates exactly how Nora feels, bringing her to tears. He assures her that she deserves hope and that she'll never forget her family. Then, he hugs her.
Nora goes home to Mapleton, where she buys enough groceries for one person. She saves a voicemail from her estranged brother Matt and tidies her apartment happily. Kevin visits to tell her that he did not take their awkward encounter personally. He asks her to dinner and she accepts.
Working again, Nora runs through the DSD questionnaire. She gets to question 121: "In your opinion, do you believe the Departed is in a better place?" Her interviewee answers no.