Legion 1.05 Review – ‘Chapter 5’
Wow. There hasn’t been a bad episode of Legion yet. But I think Chapter 5 might be the best episode we’ve seen so far. This week, we delve into bigger questions of reality versus illusion—and how much that actually matters when you’re on the inside of the human mind. The Devil with Yellow Eyes made an appearance that allowed for a chilling discovery. The World’s Angriest Boy in the World is no less angry, and we begin to wonder if King the dog isn’t shorthand for something (or someone) else entirely. Expect spoilers for Chapter 5 to follow.
David has figured out that he can create illusions of places he can actually bring other people to—Matrix-style. We got hints of this last week when David hung out with Melanie’s husband, Oliver. Oliver’s situation is kind of what the Three-Eyed-Raven warned Bran Stark about on Game of Thrones. If you stay in a fantasy world (or any world that isn’t the same one your body is in), you run the risk of being trapped, or getting disoriented from where you’re supposed to be. Oliver has been in mental limbo for over 20 years. Melanie hasn’t lost hope. In fact, once she learned that David spoke to Oliver, her resolve increased. David is less interested in Oliver than in finally being able to kiss his girlfriend, hold her hand, and yes…get his giggity on. Watch for Syd to ask a haunting question, “Who teaches us to be normal when we’re one of a kind?” Too bad she hasn’t met David’s comic-book father. Speaking of father-figures, the story of Syd’s first sexual experience…yikes!
The Loudermilks have got their own struggles to deal with this week. Kerry is in rough shape after being shot by Division 3 guys. She’s going to be okay though. We’re treated to some cool scenes of them merging and unmerging. We don’t’ spend too much time there though, because David has announced that he’s going to get Amy. David seems especially creepy and sinister this week. That shouldn’t be, because wanting to rescue his kidnapped sister is a fine and noble goal. Melanie objects to David’s plan, but when they realize he’s serious, they start to prepare for a battle. By the time they’re ready to get real about it, David has already gone to Division 3 by himself. And man…it’s a bloodbath.
There are a few important takeaways from this first half of the episode. One, Syd considers herself David’s girlfriend and partner, not part of his therapy team. Melanie seemed surprised by this, which she shouldn’t have been. This is a common problem with people who think they’re following a noble path—they just assume everyone else agrees and is onboard. There’s also another guy on the team with Melanie, Ptonomy et al. Who is that guy? Is it Rudy? They never say his name. Also, Ptonomy has very little patience with David, nor is he convinced of his value to Summerland.
When the team gets to Division 3, it’s like a supernatural war zone. Tortured bodies half in the ground, smoking boots with no soldiers in them, clear signs of gunfire and actual fire. Amy is gone, and David can be seen on some hilarious security footage. Was that supposed to be as funny as I found it? David appeared to be having the best time we’d seen him have so far…killing people. So yeah, he’s really unnerving this week. Dr. Kissinger, who had the cell next to Amy Haller, was still there. Not sure what’s up with that guy, who seemed pretty normal before. Now he’s crazed, which I guess can happen when you’re locked in a giant ant farm and the people bringing you food are now dead.
Is David schizophrenic? Is TV misusing the term schizophrenic to refer to dissociative identity disorder? Chapter 5 seems to suggest that while David Haller may or may not have organic mental illness, he’s also possessed by one (or more, because come on!) other entity. This further suggests that the Devil with Yellow Eyes is Fiend from the comics. Melanie is right about one thing—David is absolutely too powerful for them to risk Division 3 turning him bad. But why would David go bad? Well, like many mentally ill people, he has conflated a single lie told by his family into decades of psychological torment. That’s why David took his sister to their old house (or an illusion of it), and convinced her to reveal an old truth that was not even hers to tell.
David was adopted. Comic readers know that already, but David had no idea. He perceives that as an enormous betrayal by his sister, which is pretty unfair for her. We also see the dog, King, who we now know never existed. Does this mean that the dog memory is a distortion of X-Men nemesis The Shadow King? Or does it simply illustrate how real things seem even when they’re totally invented by our minds? Then again, Angry Boy is clearly invented, and doesn’t look real at all.
There’s a consensus among the elders this week, Melanie and The Eye and the Division 3 guy from the first episode. They all say that they’ve made a mistake, that they’ve misunderstood. David isn’t just David. The Devil with Yellow Eyes is inside him, part of him. Dw/YE can invade David’s memories, his illusions, and his body. Not only is David not in control of himself or whatever is inside him, he’s not in control of his tremendous, enormous, incalculable power. “He wears a human face.” Does he mean the Devil with Yellow Eyes? Or David? Or could he even mean The Eye, who kept showing up this week even though he didn’t do much. At one point, The Eye seemed to morph into one of Melanie’s guys (Rudy?). Cary figures some of this out and creates a device to isolate the parasite inside David—the one that rewrites his memory. One that’s been there for about 30 years, or when David’s life started getting cray. Whoa.
The last act of Chapter 5 is light on dialogue and heavy on amazingness. As David deals with the family secrets, Melanie and her team (Ptonomy, Rudy?, Cary, Kerry, and Syd) arrive to a soundless confrontation. No one can speak or hear speaking, still they manage to communicate pretty well. We see that the Eye is watching from a distance. He must super-hate this team by now. The scene goes without sound for a time, then a slow, eerie build and an explosive music cue. It’s an incredibly well-crafted scene that keeps us as off balance as the team. Watch for Syd and David to shed the same single tear (he at learning the secret, she at seeing the Angry Boy). As David is about to be taken out, he and Syd escape to the White Room. But wait…the Devil with Yellow Eyes. He shouldn’t be able to invade this illusion, but he is.
But wait…what the hell is Lenny doing? Why is she tormenting Syd? Is she the Devil with Yellow Eyes? Could she be some random demon, or just another powered personality living inside David? Has she been the bad guy all along? That would make sense, since she wrote herself into David’s memories—which is why she’s not a big ugly dude. Is it a triad, comprised of the real David, Lenny and the Devil with Yellow Eyes? Could that be why his shirt this week has a triangle inside a circle? Was there ever a weird blue drug they smoked out of a frog?
Chapter 5 ends on a truly disturbing note. Syd Barrett is back in therapy group. Her fellow patients include Cary and Kerry Loudermilk, Ptonomy, Melanie, The Eye, and David. They all look rough, like they’ve been living at Clockworks for a while. And the therapist—Lenny! Wuuuuuut! Syd observes this, and decides, “Okay, let’s talk.” Holy Flurking Snit! Even the silent credit sequence was disturbing after that. I was blown away by this episode, and am more stoked than ever to see where Legion takes us next. We’re over the halfway hump of the season, with only three eps remaining.
See you’s next week!