Legion: 2.09 Chapter 17
More “filler” from Chapter 17 but this jaunt into the world of Legion once again used character to tell its story. So, whilst Syd and David are stuck in Le Desole – not appearing in this episode at all – we were transported back a couple of weeks earlier and shown exactly how Farouk, through Oliver, could take control of poor Melanie. Jean Smart has been underutilised this season, so it was nice to see an episode somewhat focussing on her. Even if she did spend most of the episode getting high.
Going back to her appearance in the first episode of the season we were once again witness to, when whilst speaking with Syd, Melanie’s rebuking of the men in their life for “leaving their women behind”. Sinking into a depression and relying on drugs to keep her afloat, we got to see how the Shadow King had been working his evil magic on her slowly over time, Melanie’s grip on reality beginning to slip.
Oliver, more accurately Farouk wearing Oliver, played upon her greatest fears, manifesting them in a way that made me question an aspect of Melanie and Oliver’s relationship I had never considered before. Namely the age difference between the two. If Oliver was frozen for literally decades and came out looking like Germaine Clement does now – handsome as hell but certainly a man of advancing years – then he was certainly much older than Melanie when they first got together. It makes her story and all the “lost years” all the more tragic. “Oliver” made Melanie young again, at least in her mind’s eye, thus starting her down the path symbolically of recapturing what they once had, even if she was very resistant to it at first, sticking a gun in “Oliver’s” face.
But then the power dynamic of their relationship was played with somewhat, as “Oliver reprimanded Melanie for keeping him frozen instead of cremating him and allowing his consciousness to be free on some astral plane. As if the young Melanie should ever have had that sort of decision on her conscious to begin with. But of course, though the words were based in truth, they were all subtle manipulations by Farouk over Melanie, to make her feel desperate to do anything to reunite with Oliver, to never be without him again. It tinged their story with a hint of something unwholesome, marking it in that way The Shadow King always does. Spoiling it, tarnishing it forever. And unfortunately, it looked as though Melanie was lost to it.
On a more light-hearted note, it was genuinely fun, to see Cary and Kerry go to work. As David’s subliminal plan kicked in, telling them to take a weapon from storage and drive it to a place with a neon octopus sign, we got to see a little more of the odd brother-sister (bordering on father-daughter) duo. Cary trying to further prepare Kerry for a life without him, something Kerry wasn’t exactly ready to accept or indeed even conceive of, was kind of heart-breaking. Not only due to the age difference between them (Actor Bill Irwin may look great for his age but he’s nearly 70!) making it all the more inevitable that Cary will die before Kerry, but in that sort of self-aware way a TV show prepares you for major changes to come for characters leading into a season finale.
Though there’s still a chance that Cary will survive all this, seeing as he did seem to create the time travelling orb that kick-started this season, seeing as the whole point is to somehow avoid that timeline, I think it’s a safe bet that not everyone is getting out of this unscathed.
Lenny though! Oh Lenny. Lenny managed to find her way back to her old drug den pad, slipping quite easily back into her old lifestyle of boozing, partying, getting high and getting laid. But just when you though Lenny was lost to her old ways – BAM! – Legion threw us a curve ball revealing that Amy was still alive inside that head of hers. What's more, she is going to haunt the ever-loving hell out of Lenny, unless she stopped fighting the compulsion David had planted in the back of her head to do the right thing.
Having Lenny walk around with someone’s else’s conscious in her head (or is it Amy’s head?) is an interesting spin on pretty much how we’d come to know Lenny throughout Legion, with Amy even forcing Lenny to reveal she cared for David, in some fashion. If Amy stick’s around, I don’t know but as I’ve already stated my admiration for Katie Asleton I hope so. I really believe there could be a lot of mileage out of her opposite Aubrey Plaza. (Though at this point I think Plaza not acting against everyone in this show at some point would be a waste.)
The neon octopus sign as it turned out, wasn’t just some random imagery. As Amy got Lenny to look out at the world outside her window, figuratively and literally, she saw the phosphorescent cephalopod, revealing that Cary & Kerry had very deliberately been compelled to bring the weapon right to her apartment. But just as two huge pieces of the puzzle that is David’s plan came together, with Lenny heeding her calling and getting in the car, the bloody thing just went and teleported itself to the desert. Just like that.
Now I know David has reality warping level abilities but just casually doing stuff like that really undermined the point of planting his plan in the other’s heads. Why bother have Cary & Kerry drive the weapon to a specific place if David could just teleport it to literally wherever he wants it to be? Even in the world of Legion, where the rules are regularly bent, they really shouldn’t be broken otherwise what’s the point?
Now I’ll forever be asking “Why doesn’t David just blank?” Maybe one last surrealist spin to knock me off my sense of stability after some very real world elements managed to actually make sense. And with the Minotaur previously seen in Melanie’s head threatening to make its presence felt sooner rather than later, heralding whatever it is meant to represent, I have a feeling that the last two episodes, originally meant to be one 90-minute finale, is going to be mind-bending as f**k.