A Look at Legion- Season 1, Episode 5: “Chapter 5”

So now that David has escaped the astral plane, it’s time he got back to his training so he could prepare to save his sister.  Or he could let forces from within take control of the driver’s seat on this very tense episode of Legion that goes from zero to 100 as we return to David and Amy’s home.  Welcome to Chapter 5.

The episode begins with Syd, David, and Ptonomy bringing Kerry into Summerland, where Cary meets them.  As Cary gets to work, David tells Melanie telepathically that he met her husband.

Later, Syd joins David at the lake and tells him that Cary managed to stop Kerry’s bleeding.  She then tells him about the digging into David’s past, but David already knows what he is: the magic man.  He’s found a way for the two of them to be together, but in the mind.

We enter a white room that David created- he tells Syd that this is all an illusion.  Syd, though, feels uneasy.  When the two touch, they’re of course not really touching in real life, but it’s as close as Syd will ever get.  At last, the two get their kiss while maggots crawl all over the strawberries.  Someone could’ve eaten those strawberries.

Cary informs Melanie that Kerry’s swelling is down, but she’s unresponsive.  Melanie suggests that Cary absorb Kerry, but he’d just go into shock.  It’s a very delicate ecosystem.  Then Cary learns from Melanie that David saw Oliver in the astral plane and he may be able to bring him back to this world.

David knows where Amy is being held.  He tells Melanie that he’s leaving in the morning to find her and Syd insists that she’s joining him.  Melanie still wants to assess the situation, given that Division Three will be ready for him.

Then David tells Melanie that Oliver lives in an ice cube.  In February, Oliver will have been in the plane for 21 years.  In the beginning, Oliver was just like David and had similar psychic powers.  One day, he found a place where he could rule and be a creator. He spent more time in that place and oftentimes, Melanie would find Oliver just staring into space.  One day, Oliver just didn’t awaken.

In her mind, Melanie asks David if Oliver asked about her.  David says that Oliver remembers very little.  Now, Oliver makes his own reality.  Melanie asks if she can see Oliver.  She doesn’t want to visit the astral plane- just asks that David bring Oliver home.

While Kerry finally awakens and Cary joins bodies with her, David and Syd make a plan to visit Division Three tomorrow to kick some ass.  Syd asks if they can go back, and they do.

And they have sex.  Well, why not?  Syd tells David that her first time was with one of her mother’s boyfriends who was a journalist.  They had a flirtation and Syd was curious.One night, Syd swapped places with her mother, who had passed out after drinking.

She then went into the bathroom as the boyfriend was taking a shower.  But the change didn’t last long and when he was inside of her, Syd changed back.  And mom saw it.  Shit, that’s traumatic.

Syd then asks the proverbial question: who teaches us to be normal when we’re one of a kind?

Syd asks David to promise that if they get lost, they’ll get lost together.  Later, in a bathroom bathed in red, David talks with Lenny, who advises him to ditch Summerland.  They have to go now.  As the two talk, Syd awakens and enters the bathroom, only to find it empty.

While Ptonomy, Melanie, and Rudy, played by Brad Mann, make plans for taking on Division Three, Syd enters and tells them that David has left because he heard voices.  Melanie wants everyone awakened.  Ptonomy balks at the idea of going to Division Three without a plan.  This is war that’s bigger than David and Amy, but Melanie isn’t losing David.  Ptonomy guesses it’s because David might be able to bring back Oliver.

But that’s not the case.  Melanie’s reason is because David is too powerful and things could go badly if Division Three turns David.  Melanie asks Syd how David seemed when she was last with him, as she realizes that something has changed since David returned from the astral plane.

Syd reveals that David found a way for the two of them to be together.  Syd didn’t mention running the talks with Philly or Dr. Poole, though.  She insists that she’s not treating David. Unlike Melanie, Syd doesn’t think that David is fragile.  But that’s the point- him not being fragile worries Melanie.  Anyway, the four soon hop in the car and drive off.

They arrive at Division Three and it looks like a war zone, littered with dead bodies all over and limbs sticking out of the ground.  Inside, with alarms still blaring, they arrive at a fork in a hallway and decide to split up.

Ptonomy and Syd soon find Dr. Kissinger.  He tells them that David already came and rescued Amy, who had already been to the room with the big light.

Meanwhile, Melanie and Rudy find a room filled with monitors and security footage. of David easily overpowering the Division Three soldiers and in full control of his powers.  On one monitor, though, the two spot see footage of soldiers taken out not by David, but by the Devil with Yellow Eyes.

Back at Summerland, Cary overlooks footage of David’s first MRI while speaking with Kerry.  He’s startled, but wants Kerry to watch his back.  The footage flickers between adult David, child David, and the Devil with Yellow Eyes.

Back at Division Three, Ptonomy and Syd find Brubaker, who is missing some limbs, on the ground and admitting that he was wrong.  When David arrived, Division Three fought hard, but David had so much power.  Also, it wears a human face.  He cautions the two to be careful before he finally dies.

The four head back outside.  Cary contacts Melanie, who updates him about the situation.  Cary then admits that the approach to treating David was wrong.  He has two personalities: the monster isn’t David, but a parasite- another consciousness that burrowed into David’s brain when he was young and it has been there, feeding on him ever since.

Every time David sees this creature or realizes that it’s there, the creature makes him forget by rewriting his memory.  It also might have made Melanie forget.  Because David is such a powerful mutant, this creature has been unable to split him apart.  This creature may be an older mutant whose consciousness separated from its body and has lived inside David for 30 years.

Back in David’s world, David plays what might be the most morbid version of Rainbow Connection on his banjo while Syd enters the red room and finds both a dog and the creature from the children’s book.  She closes the book while David continues to play.

As she looks through the telescope, we cut to the present where Syd tells the others that David has returned to where this all started: his family home  As the four leave, The Eye follows not too far behind…

David and Amy return to their childhood home.  Amy is still nervous and in shock about what David did to save her, but David is certain that Amy knew what he could do.  She admits that she was scared, but David assures her that she has no reason to be scared anymore.  When Amy asks why they’re at the old house, David tells her that his new friends will be here soon.

For now, David wants to talk.  To begin, he wants to know Amy’s secret, as he can smell it.  He probably always could, but now it’s clearer.  Lenny enters through the mirror and tells a now frightened Amy that she’s King…or David…or Benny.  Maybe even the figure from the book.

When David snaps back from his sudden seizure, Amy admits that David was adopted.  David asks who, but Amy doesn’t know.  She was young at the time.  Mom and Dad would’ve said something, but David was always upset because of his ‘illness.’  David reminds Amy that he doesn’t have an illness, and Amy now knows that, but at the time, the parents thought it would make things worse.

Cary works on a device that could isolate the entity and let them talk to David privately.  He argues with Kerry, who soon separates and tells him that there’s always a fight.

The others arrive at the old home, with Melanie cautioning them because they might be in David’s world.  After a loud ringing, the four find themselves mute and unable to speak or hear anything.  They enter anyway- as The Eye watches from a distance- and the figure from the book soon rushes past Syd and upstairs.

Then Cary arrives and also finds himself unable to speak.  Kerry separates from Cary and, armed with a spiked bat, heads upstairs as the others follow.

Syd finds Amy sitting on the floor when Lenny surprises her and tells her that she’s in the listening place, not the talking place.  Lenny straddles David and kisses him while telling Syd that the people at Summerland put ideas and voices in his head.  As Lenny’s voice grows more demonic, the others enter and find David suddenly fine.

Then The Eye, disguised as Rudy, enters and shoots at David, but Syd grabs him and the two enter David’s world.

Here, a fearful David tells Syd that he can’t stop it.  While David remains frozen in place, the Devil with Yellow Eyes enters and pursues a frightened Syd as the room grows redder.  It continues making its way towards Syd as she falls onto the bed.

But then Syd awakens and finds herself back at Clockworks in the middle of a therapy session with David, Rudy, Cary, Kerry, Ptonomy, Melanie, and The Eye.  The doctor, Lenny, reminds Syd that she was talking about how her father’s death affected her.  Okay, Syd is ready to talk.

Damn.  Just damn.  Five episodes in and this may be my favorite episode of the series yet as Legion leads the Summerland team in a race against time.  With David now more in control of his powers than before, he could be less an ally and more of a dangerous threat both to himself and everyone else.

Syd has what I think is the line or at least the question of the episode when she asks who teaches us to be normal when we’re one of a kind.   Indeed, even though the people of Division Three thought they were prepared for David, he’s unlike other mutants.

And we pull back the curtain on the Devil with Yellow Eyes when Cary explains that this parasite has rewritten David’s memory multiple times.  Combined with David’s abilities as a host, this parasite could and did turn David into an absolute killing machine.

Whether David would’ve attacked Division Three the way he did even without the parasite in him, I don’t know, but it does make you fearful of what David could do if he lost all control.

Like Oliver, he’s able to create his own world where he and Syd can at last touch, which is what they’ve wanted all this time.  And also like Oliver, it’s the place where David is in control of everything happening.  I’m left wondering if ever there would come a time when David would choose to remain in his white room if it meant that he could be with Syd.

But then, as the episode progresses, we see that even in his world or when he thinks he has a handle of the situation, David is still being pulled by something else.  At the end of the day, who is David Haller?  He’s not normal, but is it just him in his head?  Or maybe Lenny is the devil on his shoulder telling him that Summerland has been nothing but trouble.  Is the figure from the book a representation of David’s traumatic childhood?

There’s no way to tell and I like that Legion doesn’t do the obvious thing by spelling it all out.  Cary could’ve given us a long explanation of what each personality represents to David, but instead, we’re left to our own devices as David is torn from all sides within his mind.

Sure, Melanie has said before that she planned to use David for the war, but I doubt she meant having David leave people’s limbs in the ground or lay waste to an entire facility like a killing machine.  Forget about the possibility of Division Three turning David, Summerland has to contend with who may already be controlling him.  They can’t control someone who isn’t like the other mutants.

Syd seems just as conflicted on David.  She wanted him to stay and do the work.  And after being unable to touch David, she finally gets that opportunity.  It’s no accident that the world they were in was a brilliant white while the red room was inhabited by Lenny, David’s dog, and the character from the storybook.  This is as close to Heaven as Syd will get with David.

The story she tells about her first sexual experience was disturbing, to say the least.  Like David and even Oliver, she took the opportunity of being in another space to experience a new form of control and seek something she couldn’t have prior, but hers backfired at the worst time possible.  But unlike Oliver, there’s the possibility of her popping back to her body, while Oliver would prefer to remain in a different plane altogether if he was in control.

It’d be like if Kerry wanted to be the dominant one between her and Cary because she’s always raring for a fight.  Like David and the parasite within him, I like the slow unraveling of the relationship between Cary and Kerry.  It would be one thing if the two never got along, but in addition to feeling her pain, there’s genuine fear and concern on Cary’s face when Kerry is brought back to Summerland and I’m glad she recovered.

More than that, even though Kerry is more willing to fight and put herself in danger, that doesn’t just make Cary the lab geek, as he’s been just as important to this process as his other half.

Tim Mielants’ direction, from the moment we arrived at Amy and David’s home, turned the final few moments of this episode into a horror story.  In addition to the lights flickering on and off at Division Three, once the sound goes out towards the end, the cinematography and haunting imagery at the house- that damn dog- made this the creepiest episode of the show so far.

Neither we nor Team Summerland are in control.  As Lenny tells Syd, we’re in the listening place.  When talking, there’s a tendency to speak over one another and try to assert control of the conversation, but in the listening place, all we can do is sit down and watch as someone else dominates the situation.

Many have commented how much Legion doesn’t feel like your average comic book show, and that’s very true here where instead of a telegraphed jump scare, we get proper suspense, buildup, and a frightening payoff when the Summerland team arrives at the house all the way up until Syd is pursued by the Devil with Yellow Eyes while in what she thought was the safe haven.

Chapter 5 is my favorite episode of Legion as of now, as it has a healthy blend of character building and tension that ratchets up towards the end.

And to bring it back to Clockworks with Lenny as the doctor for the other characters is downright eerie.  Is this real or is David’s mind putting up defenses in order to keep outside influences from putting more thoughts and ideas in his head?  Either way, it’s a hell of a cliffhanger left me in suspense and anticipation for Chapter 6.

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