Legion: 2.05 Chapter 13
Lenny Busker is back! In a physical body it seems. The hows and more importantly the whys were left unanswered until the episode's end as Lenny turned out to be the physical embodiment of that classic trope, the unreliable narrator. In more ways than one, thanks to the writers. Trapped in a disorienting and explanation-free upside down interrogation room Lenny went through questioning with the various members of Division 3, slowly revealing more about herself as she desperately sought an audience with David. She had a message for him but we had a little digging to do before we got to that.
Begrudgingly having to confirm personal details about herself to confirm her identity, we learned of Lenny's first brush with addiction when her Grandmother Lenore, who she was named after, would make her drink vodka from a soda can at age nine. Though her parents were around they weren't truly present, an offhand comment about her father's habit of watching underage internet porn highlighting both the crappy home life she must have had and finally proving Legion isn't set sometime during the latter half of the Cold War, despite the retro aesthetic.
Though being a self confessed fuck-up, Lenny showed a sort of vulnerability we'd never seen before in her. Messed up by her family at a young age, turning to drugs and then subsequently crime to feed her addiction she wasn't all that bad. There was, as she pointed out, a difference between herself and the true evil of a man like Amahl Farouk.
Aubrey Plaza had pretty much always been the MVP of Legion but with this twist, seeing this side of Lenny from her, her talent was showcased whilst simultaneously heightening the mystery as to Farouk's plan. What exactly was he up to? How had he brought Lenny back to life in a new body? And why did she find herself staring back at her interrogators with blue eyes when they had previously been brown? An odd fact especially considering that beyond the show I think it's fair to say Aubrey Plaza is recognisable and as such those blue eyes were very visually jarring.
Even Ptonomy, the man with the flawless memory, didn't catch that her eyes were a different colour to that which he remembered, though with his subsequent freak-out it seems there are bigger issues with him still to be resolved. Ultimately though, Lenny got to meet with David and warn him that Farouk knew the location of his body and was en route to find it. That's where the episode played its biggest trick on us.
Cutting back and forth to Farouk and Oliver road-tripping across the desert in their search for the body they sought was wonderful, as we hadn't really gotten to see just these two enjoy a bit of back & forth banter. It also impressed upon us the urgency of the heroes' peril as Farouk drew closer to his prize. Left alone it was great to see Oliver resisting Farouk, even if he couldn't yet control his physical actions but instead only concoct a plan to get even with Farouk for all that he'd done. “I'm going to kill you” Oliver promised, giving only cryptic clues as to what weakness in Farouk he had found. It gave me hope that Oliver might well have a “hero moment” before this season is over and not just be a vessel for The Shadow King, as fun as that has been to behold.
Finding the body they sought raised the stakes but also answered one of the weirdest questions I found myself asking of Legion. What exactly could Farouk do with his presumably dead body? It seemed he didn't need the whole thing but just a genetic sample of it so he could overwrite his DNA onto another host, courtesy of the device stolen from Division 3 earlier in the season.
I was left somewhat floundering as to what was going on next though, as Oliver and Farouk tracked down and followed a doughnut van shaped like a submarine along the desert highway. Perhaps it was something from season one that slipped my mind? I don't know. It didn't help that when we were shown exactly why this submarine-van was important, I didn't recognise the man driving it, because the character had apparently been recast. Very confusing. But once I saw her, I knew exactly what was happening. Or more importantly, what had happened.
You see in being that she was an unreliable narrator, even if she was by The Shadow King's machination, Lenny had misdirected us into thinking that the scenes with Farouk and Oliver where happening concurrently with her interrogation. A mad countdown to the when Farouk found his body. But he wasn't wasn't looking for his body. Not yet. He had instead found Lenny's and planned to fashion her a new body out of an unsuspecting yet not entirely inappropriate victim for his scheme.
The revelation that the doughnut guy was in fact Amy Haller's husband was a nice twist. It does makes sense to track her down via her partner with the unusual job. Though I do question the logic of driving around in a themed food van when you're meant to be lying low under protective custody. But with Farouk in full control, Oliver made his way inside, turning both guards and husband alike to ash before pinning her to the dining room table and re-writing her DNA with Lenny's, simultaneously dumping Lenny's consciousness into the new vessel.
It was marvellous to see Amy again as I had really rated Katie Aselton's performance in season one, but this was painful to watch. In that wickedly good Legion way though. All that time Lenny had been staring at us, at David, through his sister's eyes. Lenny had been given a new lease at life, at the expense of one of the people David cared about the most. Now we knew how, but most importantly we knew why. Left twisted with anguish and rage, David swore vengeance on Farouk, bound to do something rash, bringing to mind Future Syd prophecy of exactly how Farouk met his end and David's fate beyond it.
The simple back & forth between the interrogation and the impending doom of the Shadow King's subplot, only to reveal that the bad guy had already done the bad thing and in fact Lenny's very presence was living proof of that was masterfully handled. Even the jarring blue eyes on Plaza played a part in trying to warn us in advance that something was very very wrong. Legion hasn't often played around with timelines outside of flashbacks, but here it was done supremely effectively.
I'm fast realising, as I just this week recommended Legion to yet another friend, that Noah Hawley may just be my favourite TV writer. The fact I've never watched anything else he's written is a huge faux pas on my part, one which I definitely plan to rectify.