by Josie Kafka
For any other show, this would be a very special episode. Sedate yet tense. Atmospheric yet character-based. All with a wham-bam musical interlude. But, for Legion, it’s just “Chapter Six.”
Last week, Syd asked David to whisk her away from the Eye (masquerading as Telekinesis Guy) and his machine gun. I had thought that it was a physical whisking, but An Honest Fangirl pointed out that it might not be. She was correct! This entire episode takes place in the slow-mo time between the bullets leaving the gun and hitting our heroes.
And that makes it even more beautiful, as it focuses, especially in the first half, on the characters and their deepest troubles. Legion has presented us with the idea of a parasite: David’s mutant powers combined with his schizophrenia allow the Devil with the Yellow Eyes to piggyback on him through the world. At the worst moments, David is the husk that hides the Devil.
But don’t we all have parasites? More metaphorical, to be sure, but the faces we show the world are never our true faces. We all hide the deepest traumas and needs—not to mention the quietest hopes—from those around us. Otherwise, we’d all be live wires, sparking one another until we burned up the world.
Aubrey Plaza’s Dr. Lenny plumbed those depths. Ptonomy’s vivid memories of his mother’s death. The Eye’s awkward adolescence. Cary and Kerry’s bond. Melanie’s love for her husband (who is really frozen? You see it, don’t you?). And Syd, who feels like the whole thing isn’t quite real.
Because it isn’t. After the Devil infiltrated the white room, David took everyone to a mundane version of Clockworks, the institution where the show started. He made some tweaks, though, to keep things safe: Syd doesn’t really body-swap, she’s just delusional. And David isn’t schizophrenic. He just has bipolar (and a tendency to mansplain, which was not very appealing). David doesn’t even seem to love Syd as much in this version of Clockworks. He’s turned down from 11 to 2.
However, although I said that David took everyone to Clockworks, that may not be accurate. Is the Devil really in charge here, too? Dr. Lenny, the public face of the Devil, plays the Nurse Ratched figure in this scenario—manipulating, scheming, and trying to tear everyone down while she lights it up.
As with the door. Syd noticed it: a door unlike the other doors. But it doesn’t go to Narnia (#secretwish). It goes to truth, if you will. The truth of David’s memories, which Dr. Lenny dances through in what may be the coolest Bond-inspired musical sequence I’ve ever seen.
Many of those memories were replayed in Clockworks: instead of David and Syd walking almost hand-in-hand down the hallway, Syd walked alone. Instead of Syd going to David’s bedroom, he came to hers.
But, although Syd begins to understand the truth, it’s Melanie’s husband who starts to rescue them from the frozen-time world of a fake mental institution. Visiting them in their dreams—either in his space-suit public face or as a window into the real reality of the bullets flying at them—Oliver Bird managed to jog people awake even as Dr. Lenny tried to distract them.
I didn’t expect this episode to end with Melanie reuniting, however oddly, with her husband as a bullet traced a line of stars through a half-real room, but it did, and it was as wonderful as that sounds.
But, in the house the eyes in the wall (the house has eyes!) know what is happening. In Clockworks, The Eye is chasing Kerry at a dreamlike pace. Cary is trying to wake everyone up. And we only have two episodes left.
Without the Meds, It’s Really Hard to Keep Things Straight:
• Ugh, the pie has bugs!
• Bill Irwin (Cary) got to get his clown on in his scene with Kerry. He was a clown. A professional clown. Perhaps he still is. Perhaps you never stop clowning.
• I loved Cary and Kerry perfectly synced in Ping Pong. And at throwing food into each other’s mouths.
• Dr. Lenny, aka the Devil, knows David’s father, who sounds like a sanctimonious hypocrite.
• In this week’s Hair Report, as Billie says, Dr. Lenny pulled David’s straight up, just like the iconic comic-book representation of him.
Three out of four spacemen scuba divers.
Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)