Time for Crisis on Infinite David Hallers.
The episode begins with a tale of several Davids. We begin on the mean streets of somewhere as we find a bearded, much hairier, and homeless David Haller sleeping by a fire.
In another reality, David is an affluent man with tons of wealth and a lovely home. He looks outward into the distance, but not within.
But in another reality, David is a much older, senile man who grumbles as he’s given his soup. As he gets ready for bed, his caretaker helps him with his needs.
As a schizophrenic David Haller sits on a bench- in which Amy Haller sells real estate- the busybody intern David heads into his office carrying tons of coffee. He arrives at Davidoff Capital Advisor and overhears the thoughts of someone sitting nearby as he thinks that he’d love to screw the secretary.
He joins the team, who is discussing a merger. The executives are thinking that despite the risks, David’s coworker, Laura, played by Molly Hagan, should sign anyway, but they obviously don’t let her in on the dangers. When David asks to speak with her, he’s escorted out, as he’s apparently nobody. Before being removed, he tells Laura that she’s not being told everything. Still, she’s implored to sign.
Instead, she goes out to meet David, who explains that the others are keeping quiet about this merger. As for how he knows, he says that he’s psychic. He hears Laura think that he’s stupid, but tells her that he’s read her thoughts about how she tweaked her ankle. He tells her to ask about faulty relays and to see what happens.
She heads back in and does indeed ask about the faulty relays and how many fires there have been. The executives are caught off guard, but David hears their thoughts and signs to Laura that the number is 302. With this, Laura goes on the offensive and declares the talks done. She then telepathically tells David to come with her.
But let’s return to homeless David, whose only friend seems to be his shopping cart full of goodies.
Worker David, meanwhile, moves some dairy boxes into place as if playing a real-life game of Tetris. He receives a call from his doctor, Amy, who reminds him that it’s time he take his pill. The very bored David fishes the bottle of pills from his pocket and is told to take the pills while he has Amy on the phone. She instructs him to take one, as he should remember what happened last time.
He soon takes it, but his manager tells him to get back to work.
Then, we jump to schizophrenic David, who talks about multiple realities and worlds. There are multiple choices and outcomes. Each outcome actually happens, though. Like a tree branch, every branch is a different outcome. David presents a number of scenarios. He’s an addict now, but also homeless, rich, or married with a wife and two point five kids. David’s description, not mine.
Each time David makes a decision, the future can go into different directions. Those branches make their own branches. To illustrate, we cut to the happy, married David with his wife and two kids.
Then we cut back to a conversation we saw David and Amy have back in Chapter 2, as the two discuss Philly. Amy believes that Philly really understands David. He can’t have what everyone else has, though, because he’s sick.
Suddenly, we jump to bored, desk employee David, who is mystified by a mouse that crawls onto his desk and starts singing Bryan Ferry’s
But it’s time to catch up with homeless David, who continues rambling as he walks the streets. He finds an overturned and empty shopping cart, which he remembers was used when he and Benny went for joyrides.
As he goes on his way, he almost runs into a car, and who would be sitting in the backseat but Syd?
As night falls, David rests in a tunnel. In a scene that feels very inspired by A Clockwork Orange, David receives a visit from four strangers and tell them that they were sent by no one but the Lord above, and they hate David’s stench. David rambles and soon gets the hell beaten out of him until he starts glowing with energy that soon vaporizes his attackers. That’s one way to get rid of bullies.
Then, bored worker David listens to music at home, Amy arrives and asks how his day went. Aside from boxes and milk, that’s about it. She puts on his headphones and finds that he’s listening to jungle sounds. He doesn’t want to take any more pills, saying that he’s better, but she notes that he’s wearing two bathrobes, which can’t be all that normal.
David maintains that he can’t think right now, but Amy doesn’t want David to go back to the hospital. After all, he could hurt someone again…like her. So they will have pot pie and ice cream. Though David isn’t a child, he still can’t overlook ice cream when given the chance. When Amy goes off, he goes back to his jungle sounds.
Affluent David is about to become the richest man in the world, once he signs. He wants to know how this is possible, and reminds Laura that he can read her mind. He tells her that God gave him a gift- he is His chosen vessel. In the ancient days, men built a tower so high that it threatened to touch Heaven, so God cursed us with foreign languages and the inability to communicate.
But David knows what’s in the mind of everyone on Earth. Gone is the division. David is the great unifier. Without power, who would listen? David is then told that his sister has arrived.
She asks why Laura is kept around, and David likes that Laura resents him. He knows that Amy wants, not needs, a new house. Her husband, Harvey, is screwing his masseuse, but so is Amy. David then uses his telepathy to mess with Amy’s mind, giving her a nosebleed, and tells her no more houses.
We remain with rich David as he reflects. And we get a brief glimpse of Farouk with him as well. Or perhaps, maybe this is Farouk.
But let’s get back to homeless, caveman David. He awakens just as Division Three soldiers approach. When they attempt to tase him, David knocks them back with telekinesis. A drone is sent in and emits a powerful sound that neutralizes David to the point where he’s brought to his knees.
He appears to surrender just as his powers begin to flare up again, but before David can do any damage, he’s cut down to size and split down the middle. By Kerry.
Then we return to the moment when David, sick of the voices, decides to end it all and attempts to hang himself.
But if that’s too morbid, let’s go back to old David, who is given a sponge bath by an equally old Amy.
Lame employee David leaves work one evening, waiting for Amy to pick him up when, all of a sudden, he spots one of his worst fears as the Devil with Yellow Eyes approaches.
At the same time, two officers pull up and attempt to calm David, but he’s already freaked out over seeing the Devil wherever he looks. When the officers attempt to subdue David, Amy arrives and tries to diffuse the situation, telling David to remain calm. When one officer shoves Amy to the ground, David loses his temper and flings one of the officers into the air.
The other officer attempts to open fire, but David has him shoot his cruiser instead. David then folds the officer to death, similar to how Lenny killed The Eye. Other officers arrive, one managing to plant a bullet right in David’s abdomen. He falls to the ground, but his power soon activates as the earth begins to tremble. Soon enough, all of the officers are gone and all that remains are David and Amy. However, he remains lifeless.
Senior citizen David is done with his sponge bath and then is put into his wheelchair.
As office space David goes back to work and schizophrenic David continues rambling about branches, family man David has fun in the pool with his family.
After revisiting David as a baby, we then cut to his grave, which simply reads David Haller- Taken Too Soon. Amy soon arrives and rests flower on her brother’s grave.
On a rainy day, David tells a distraught Amy that he thought hanging himself would stop the voices and things that he sees. He promises to take the pills if he doesn’t have to go where he’s headed.
David doesn’t know why things have to be this way, but they are. Amy talked to Dr. Kissinger and confirmed that David will have a room ready at the Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital, just for a few months. The two hug and David soon parts ways with his sister as he’s escorted into Clockworks.
Then we get an abridged take on David’s life in Clockworks as we revisit his first encounter with Syd, ending up in the pool, using his powers, and fleeing Clockworks, the training at Summerland…it’s essentially Season One in a nutshell, down to David and Kerry running into each other and the darkness heading towards Oliver.
And we return to present day as David remembers Farouk telling him that he decides what is real. After all, it’s his will.
While meth head David’s explanation of multiple realities may have been on the nose, it didn’t feel out of character for a character as schizophrenic as him- drugs or not- to ramble on as he did as Legion took us to multiple universes in light of David’s recent tragedy.
It would be easy to make all of these worlds and scenarios feel very similar and not differentiate between them, but director John Cameron manages to make each reality feel distinct, while still maintaining Legion’s odd tone in what is another tragic episode.
Perhaps in one of these branching realities, or just the main one that we’re following, Amy wasn’t supposed to die. Farouk wouldn’t have stripped her from David in order to harm him in the worst way possible. Things didn’t have to be this way, as David and Amy said in their conversation, but they are. However, it’s still a loss for David who could immediately move forward and pursue Farouk.
And indeed, that could be the case here. As we see by episode’s end, everything we see play out only seems to take a matter of seconds in real-time because we end up back with David and Lenny in the interrogation room. And like the episode that focused on Syd, some could see this as filler, but it’s important not just for David’s character, but showing that he can’t just jump into another reality.
You can see this as a way of David trying to escape. Each branch has a different outcome, but they all have a layer of tragedy to them. Even when David is a happy family man, Amy is nowhere to be seen. When sedated, sure he has a regular job and lived fine with Amy, but he had been effectively neutered. There was nothing to his life. He had his powers, but David overall was inert.
It’s using his powers that got him into trouble and earned him a bullet in the back, thus setting him up to become the bald, elderly David that had to be cared for by his sister yet again. And since he couldn’t move, that would explain the wheelchair.
Whether intentional or by accident, this felt reminiscent of Logan caring for Charles in Logan and how, despite Charles’ state, Logan still cared for him. There, though, Charles did still have his telepathy, but we’re not with old age David long enough to see if there was anything left to him. Not that we needed to, though. Nonetheless, it’s another small connection the show has made between David and Charles.
And in another possible X-Men connection that I’m sure others have made before, David attempting to hang himself, as well as being given drugs, reminds me a lot of how the young Charles Xavier in X-Men: Days of Future Past became addicted to a drug in order to silence the cries and voices that he heard in his head.
As is often the case with Legion, not everything is spelled out, and it’s fun to go back and try to connect the dots. With this episode, even in the different timelines, we jump all over time. We see an elderly and paralyzed David, but don’t know what happened to him until towards the end, thus connecting the seemingly disparate storylines.
Similarly, we see intern David start off as a coffee man while at the office, but it’s his telepathy that not only helps Laura, but helps him rise up the ranks to become the wealthiest man in the world and, if I had to guess, probably still the most powerful mutant. But this also comes at a price: he abuses Amy with his powers, and aside from Laura, David seems a very lonely man.
He has wealth, powers, and sees little wrong with his actions. He feels like Adrian Veidt from Watchmen if Veidt was a mutant. But David is alone with no one besides Amy and Laura, both of whom he could easily dispose of if he so desired. And based on that brief glimpse of Farouk, there’s a possibility that this could be Farouk in David’s mind. After all, the world is David’s oyster and he knows what everyone thinks.
Sounds like this would be the perfect timeline for Farouk to use David as his vessel.
The constant to these scenarios is that, while they all have a layer of tragedy to them and no matter how low David gets, he still has his powers. The key is what incident may be the trigger to him tapping into them. Even homeless David, a shell of his former self, can still be pushed to do something he doesn’t want to do. Though cool to see his powers in use, it’s still sad to see him as such a broken man.
And like most mutants, it’s the usage of his powers that gets the attention of authority figures, as we see when Division Three comes after him. And by the way, I don’t care what universe we’re in, we need to see Kerry use that sword again at least once.
But as many branches and universes that exist, most end in tragedy, both for David and Amy, save for the happy family, though that scenario doesn’t appear much. And I wonder- do all of these options merit just one outcome or do we attempt to change it? After all, that’s what David is trying to do, based on Future Syd’s warning. And maybe David exploring these branches would show if Amy’s fate would wind up different.
That wasn’t the case, no matter the branch.
No matter what branch or reality we ended up in, this episode was definitely Dan Stevens’ time to shine. Rachel Keller and Aubrey Plaza stood out in the previous two episodes, respectively, but this was Stevens’ hour and he’s excellent at portraying the various faces of David. He’s rough and ragged, rich and affluent, and deranged and schizophrenic. And Stevens does it all seamlessly as we jump to the different timelines.
Hell, both Stevens and Katie Aselton were in top form here. Though we haven’t seen much of Amy this season and I doubt we will going forward unless it’s in flashbacks, Aselton brings the same confidence and demeanor to Amy that defined David and Amy’s relationship in the first season. It’s still sad to see Amy go, but Katie Aselton went out on a high note, bringing more depth to the Haller sister.
David may not have created the Age of Apocalypse timeline here, but he did manage to create many hectic timelines here that, for the most part, showed a grim future for the psychic mutant. Things might not have had to turn out the way they did for Amy, but they did.
This is David’s reality. As Farouk said, David decides what’s real as it’s his will. What will he decide is real as the season moves forward? We shall see. Here’s the preview for Chapter 15: