Spoilers lie within for the episode. Don’t complain to us if your brain explodes after reading…
We’ve talked a few times in previous reviews about how Legion avoids most of the usual superhero TV tropes – there isn’t a mission of the week, for example, with the show sticking to its longer arc figuring out David’s powers and his need to rescue his sister from his enemies. Well, guess what? This week, Syd, Ptonomy and Kerry Loudermilk go… on a mission! And surprise, surprise, it still works in the context of the series, showing some real flexibility. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that writer Nathaniel Halpern and director Larysa Kondracki play tricks with the narrative, introducing key information early on that makes the later, more traditional moments pulse with extra tension and danger. It’s also good to see the focus shift from David for a decent portion of the show: he’s naturally had the lion’s share of the spotlight so far, but learning new information about the others (especially the intriguing, vaguely tragic but also symbiotic story behind the Loudermilks sharing a body) just expands our understanding of these people, which proves crucial for empathy.
Of course, we do eventually properly catch up with David, and find out what is going on with him. Well, probably – the show has a habit of keeping us off-kilter, blending fantasy and reality as it wanders through memories and mindscapes. But when an angry David does push back into reality, the sequence at the end is played well, with Syd having switched places with the Eye. Not that David, even with his great abilities, can tell that…
A true highlight of the episode is the proper introduction to Melanie’s spouse, Oliver (a delightful Jemaine Clement, who rocks a beard and even manages a musical moment later on, despite not singing), and a more thorough look at what has happened to him. Turns out he’s not dead, just seemingly locked in a mental state that has his mind existing on another plane of psychic existence. Yeah, that old story… Kept alive in a diving suit within a frosty cryo-chamber, his real-world situation bleeds into his seemingly safe space elsewhere in reality, and the visual of him in his ’60s lounge within the ice block is both striking and somehow emotional. He also (unsurprisingly) offers some of the bigger laughs this week, undercutting David’s beliefs about the monster that hunts him even here. We’re offered more information about David, but in such a way as it never seems to be (pun intended) cold exposition.
Propelling things forward, Chapter 4 should delight those hoping for a little more momentum, while still keeping to the style and tone of the show itself. The sequences set at the lighthouse, when the Eye’s trap for Syd, Ptonomy and Kerry is sprung, is a triumphant montage. Not only does Kerry get to be a badass (if only for a short time), we also see the effect of her combat on Cary, as dancing and fighting become one choreographed moment. It’s such a well-shot sequence, and culminates in a fantastic stand-off between Syd and the Eye, who really should know better than to let her touch him. Roll on next week! And please let Kerry be okay… For Cary’s sake.
Is Amy’s cell conversation a trick?
In catching up with Amy this week, we find her still imprisoned by Division 3. Seemingly in the next cell is David’s former doctor, David Kissinger (David Ferry). Anyone else concerned that he might be a plant to ferret information from her?
What’s the deal with Benny/Lenny?
So it appears that either David’s warped, creative mind – or someone else in there – swapped his best friend Benny for the Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) we’ve come to know and love. Wonder if that was always the plan, or whether it’s a clever nod to the fact that creator Noah Hawley told Plaza he originally wrote the role as a man and hasn’t changed the dialogue.
So young David’s dog isn’t real?
Looks that way! Most likely a cover for him to talk to another personality lurking in his brain, though wouldn’t an invisible friend be easier to explain away? We’ll see where the show goes with this one.
Legion airs on FX in the US on Wednesdays and Fox TV in the UK on Thursdays.