From what little I know of "the rest of" Judas' story, he committed suicide due to the overwhelming regret of his actions (the manner of which are under dispute), which may have had to do with a period of doubt.
Examining Laurie's existence on The Leftovers Season 3 Episode 6 made me wonder if she was in the same spot because she wasn't faithful. She didn't believe in, well, much.
Helping others find their way while lacking spirituality of your own seems to exact a cost larger than when you believe in something.
Everyone we've come to know and love on The Leftovers has been helping others. Those who doubt the spiritual component have it the worst. They're in pain. They're not out partying like it's 1999 on the anniversary and possible end of the world as they know it, but trying to reconnect and discover meaning in the Sudden Departure.
If they haven't found it by now, it's the end of the line for some. They've come far enough and are not willing to go any farther, at least not without giving it the ol' college try for some concrete answers.
We've already been through Nora's story and where she's trying to go, but Laurie was helping her to find the physicists so they could track them down and Nora could get to the machine.
Matt: They don't look like physicists to me.
Nora: What do physicists look like?
Matt: I don't know. Shouldn't they be wearing lab coats or something?
Matt was in tow, as well, having decided to stay far away from Kevin and his original plan to return him to the States. Rather he was on board with getting his sister to the "suicide machine," as Laurie was determined to call it.
I don't know why it struck me as so funny when Matt thought the physicists should be wearing lab coats. Matt and Nora in the van were so different. They'd reverted to siblings again, and Nora was almost childlike in her need to get to her destination.
Laurie: Oh come on. You're not going to let me see this suicide machine for myself?
Nora: It's not a suicide machine.
Laurie: It's not? It sure seems like an incredibly elegant way to kill yourself.
Nora: If I was gonna kill myself, I'd just go scuba diving.
Laurie [laughs]: What?
Nora: There are lots of ways to die when you're scuba diving. Your oxygen tank can break, you can get a bubble in your blood and have a stroke.
Laurie: I know. I'm certified.
Nora: And Laurie Murphy was certified. She'd logged hundred of hours under water, but accidents happen. What a senseless tragedy. And then Jill and Tom and John are standing there at the funeral and they're protected. They'll never know that you twisted the knob the wrong direction because you wanted to. And just like that, you're gone. Clean, quiet certainty. Fully explained. Now that's fuckin' elegant.
Even so, that didn't mean Laurie wasn't listening intently to every word she said. It was only upon a second viewing the conversation in the van stood out with so much importance. The first time, Nora merely sounded petulant and defensive about her desires to get to the machine.
When you watch a second time, and it must be similar when any loved one looks back at the final days of the life of that person after they commit suicide, all of Laurie's actions and the way she perceived conversations is much different.
The lighter, which held so much significance in the van, she willingly gave to Kevin when they said goodbye.
It was horrible watching Laurie's earlier suicide attempt play out seven years ago when she decided to join the Guilty Remnant.
She came so close to chucking it all away once before because she couldn't handle what she had personally gone through nor sitting through what everyone else was laying on her.
Yet it was for John that she felt sorry for dragging into her current line of work when he believed Evie was alive all this time. What about her? She should have never gone back into it if it was going to be so painful for her.
Laurie: Look, death is easy. People just want finality, an end to their grief. But with Departures, there is not end, and if we indicated otherwise, just by saying we were able to communicate with those individuals? It made their loved ones very, very angry because they didn't want closure.
Nora: I want fuckin' closure.
Laurie: I know. That's why we're here.
Laurie puts on a very good game face, but people don't join cults because everyone around them is suffering. Some of the strongest women on The Leftovers joined the Guilty Remnant, not because they didn't care, but because they had no outlet for all the pain the felt.
They had no way of expressing it, for making those around them understand they, too, were suffering. The entire way through "Certified," Laurie kept up the game, supporting others why she slowly cracked.
Even while she supported Nora going to the machine, she was hoping her kindred spirit would make a decision unlike hers.
So is this the part where you call the DSD and shut this operation down?Laurie
Will that be the last we see of Nora Durst? Is her decision set in stone? It's hard not to believe Nora's decision affected Laurie's in a significant way.
In the last hours we saw Nora, she was laser focused on her mission. Laurie discovered where Kevin was, and Nora's only comment was everyone should be with family on the anniversary.
She remained childlike when they found the device, recalling a moment of happiness with Matt that was destroyed by a man with a job she'd never want. Matt continued his role as her big brother, offering to stay by her side until the end, to which she uttered a squeaky, "OK."
If Laurie couldn't stay to see what happened there (I would have been dying to know), there was no way she was going to be able to stick around to watch her ex-husband die.
It was unclear why Laurie poisoned everyone at first but that it was as simple as she wanted to talk to Kevin alone wasn't at all surprising. The conversation with Grace about her children without shoes leading Laurie to the pills was an interesting touch.
Thinking back to The Leftovers Season 1 and how broken Kevin and Laurie were, they shared a beautiful final scene. Even though the two have never stopped grieving for the world they lost, they've managed to find their way back to each other.
Laurie finally shared with Kevin her secret about the Sudden Departure, and the two realized they weren't ready for that anyway. Even so, it changed their lives irrevocably.
And if Laurie had any doubts about what she was considering, their discussion likely put that to rest.
Laurie: Are you scared?
Kevin: Scared of what?
Laurie: Scared of them strapping you to a seesaw until you drown?
Kevin: The last time it happened, where I went, it was so real. Maybe I was dead, but I had never felt so alive. No. I'm not scared.
Laurie: Then I'm not scared, either.
Kevin: And it could work. I could come back.
Laurie: I really hope you do.
Kevin: Will you stay?
Laurie: I can't.
Laurie doesn't believe what Kevin has gone through, but she trusts him. She believes he believes it, and that seemed to be enough for her. Their goodbye was very simple, with Laurie even bequeathing him her last worthwhile possession.
Laurie kept her word to Nora, too, and unless Matt returns, Nora's secret may be kept forever.
Will Laurie's be kept forever, too, or will her kids find themselves in a scenario much like Nora mentioned in the van?
I started crying right about the time Laurie asked Nora if that was the time they call in the DSD. "Certified" was a very heavy episode, and we might have lost the two women at the heart of The Leftovers.
At worst, we may never see either of them again. At best, Nora might have changed her mind. Maybe she's the person we saw peddling around with birds in old age episodes ago. Maybe the world doesn't end. Laurie could come back up for air.
But Laurie has already tried to kill herself once before. How many second chances does someone get? Not even a call from Jill and Tom pulled her away from the ledge.
Amy Brenneman owned this hour. She gave Laurie facets she'd been hiding for three years. Her performance was raw and fearless. She gave Laurie all the strength, pain and beauty the character could possibly handle and stretched it just a little further than she had before.
It was one more episode in a season woven with spectacular performances.
Whatever is coming to wrap things up, it's happening very soon. There are only two hours remaining. I'm gutted. Tears well up in my eyes at the thought these characters are going away.
What kind of an ending do you want for them all? For the world?
As you watch them all struggle, do you consider your own faith? Do you want to have faith in those around you and hope for what's to come? Could it save us from a life of loneliness and despair? I once thought the love of family would do it, but even with that, people still shrivel up inside and die on the vine.
How do we keep our souls alive and thriving? Is it a mystical answer? Spiritual? Faith in oneself? Share your thoughts.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.