Legion: Chapter 14

"It wasn't supposed to be like this."
"I know. But it is."

That was not what I expected it to be. At all.

Generally speaking, when a show decides to visit the alternative universes, the paths not traveled, it's to show that certain things will always happen, no matter what. Certain characters will always meet, certain events will always take place, that sort of thing. That was what I expected, especially once Syd appeared in the back of that car. That's not what happened. We only saw Syd that one time, and we only saw Kerry once. There was no kind of fated meeting.

So, then I thought that maybe this was an exploration of David's character. Two episodes ago, we explored Syd, last episode was about Oliver and Lenny, and this episode is about David. I do have to give Dan Stevens gold acting stars for this episode. He played at least ten versions of the same character, and they all felt like the David that we knew. They felt like plausible ways that David could have ended up.

But that's not what really happened here either. There wasn't a through line that linked the stories of the various Davids together like you would expect there to be. There were flashes of a coherent story. The Davids seemed to be grouped in pairs: Coffee Boy and Billionaire, Mustache David and Old, Bald David and Old Homeless Guy and Young Homeless Guy.

The first pairing was the most explicit with David stating aloud the connection. That pairing may have also been the scariest. I really loved Coffee Boy David, how he seemed to have a handle on his powers and his life and used them when he thought was right. I have no idea how that turned into the very creepy Billionaire David. It's no accident that he was mirrored with Farouk in the final scene; a lot of his dialogue sounded exactly like something that Farouk would say. What could have pushed him into believing that he was God's chosen? Is that something that can happen to our David?

The second pairing is a little bit less clear because I think that it had two different endings. Mustache David is the David that took the pills and stayed with Amy as opposed to going to Clockworks. (I think.) All of his scenes just made me very sad. The pills put him in a kind of stupor, and that manifested itself as a kind of mental disability. The scene where the police confronted him was incredibly difficult to watch and hit fairly close to home as an American considering the various debates currently going on about police behavior during arrests and confrontations. Like I said, that one has two endings: one where David dies and one where he is paralyzed. Old, Bald David listened to jungle sounds in the bath, and the subtitles called the older woman taking care of him "Amy."

Then, we have the Homeless pairing. Granted, this one is kind of tenuous, but I'm going off the fact that both of them had a shopping cart. If any of the pairings were going to form a coherent story, I was sure that it was this one. The younger of the two, the David that saw Syd, seemed to have some knowledge of "our" timeline. He was excited when he had the flash of David and Benny. But then he just kind of disappeared and we didn't hear from him again.

Then we had multiple, miscellaneous Davids, like the one that was married with two kids, or the one that was explaining alternate universes with fries. The only one that I don't know what to make of was the one in the dark room with cabinets. Why was there a singing mouse? What was that David supposed to represent? I honestly have no idea.

I suppose if there was one thing that we were supposed to get from this and keep in mind was the fact that David is extremely powerful. Old, Homeless David took care of those Clockwork Orange rejects like they were nothing, and if Kerry hadn't cut him down, then he would have taken out everyone else too. Mustache David unleashed his power when Amy was threatened, but did similar amounts of damage. He crushed that one police officer in a way that was eerily similar to how Lenny crushed the Eye last season. And, of course, there was Billionaire David who made Amy's nose bleed.

All of the signs this season point towards David being the one who caused whatever future Future Syd came from. There are enough signs that I'm beginning to question if this all won't be one big red herring, but we shall see. We might end this season with David positioned as the next Big Bad.

All of this is great, but it doesn't tell us what this episode was actually about. I didn't get it until the final moments of the episode. This was a mediation on Amy and David's relationship with the various Davids showing the permutations that that relationship could take. Amy was kind of an odd character last season, and functioned as a plot device and motivation for David more than everything. Now that she's dead, it was very important for Legion to show us just how close the siblings were, especially if her death is going to motivate David's warpath for the rest of the season.

Amy, "our" Amy, obviously loved David very much, even if she couldn't always comprehend or understand what he was going through, and it was obvious that David felt the same way. Their scene in the car before David went to Clockworks was incredibly powerful. David, with marks from the extension cord still around his neck, just sounded so scared when he asked Amy to promise that Clockworks would only be for a few weeks. And the look on her face when she promised was heartbreaking. She was clearly lying, but also trying so hard to put on a brave, positive face for David.

And I think that this mediation on their relationship makes the episode far stronger on a repeat viewing. "Chapter 14" isn't really about exploring what could have been, or about planting the idea that David would turn Dark Side, or anything else. It's a momentary pause in the story to give context about and celebrate a relationship that has had a profound effect on David's life. In that sense, this was a very beautiful episode, even if it makes Amy's traumatic death in the last one that much more horrifying.

Without the Meds, It's Really Hard to Keep Things Straight

We didn't really learn anything new this week, so I won't repeat myself here. I'll just take the time to say that I really enjoyed all of the Season 1 callbacks. They were fun.


So, this episode wasn't plot heavy like I wanted, but it was hauntingly beautiful. I'll accept that.
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An Honest Fangirl loves superheroes, science fiction, fantasy, and really bad horror movies. And sometimes she writes about them.

2 comments:

Sam Smith said...

I'm a bit suprised i havent heard more about Amy on the internet after these last two episodes. She is a female character that almost completely revolves around a man, and was "fridged" to cause him pain. It feels a bit cheap to me in this day and age that her only relevance is to davids pain. Or that weird connection to the vermillion could turn out to be very important, lenny could turn back into amy, and she could be the protagonist next season. I truly have no idea where this show is going to go.

Anonymous said...

I read this first, and then watched the episode. If I hadn't, I don't think I would have gotten it at all, except, "ok these are possible versions of David's life." Instead, I was sad through the whole thing, and even more sad at the end. It was heartbreaking.
Sooze