Strap in, because Lenny’s ready to have some fun.
The episode begins at Division Three as we revisit Melanie leaving her room to knock out Clark. We flash back to 13 days earlier as Melanie continues to toke up in her room, day after day after day. Later, we revisit her calling out to Syd to join her in her room. They discuss David’s return. The Admiral has asked if Melanie is ready to return to work, but Melanie is too focused on how others distract her from the things that matter.
Destiny calls. What kind of bitches would people like Melanie and Syd be if they stood in the way of their men? Meanwhile, the tea kettle cries for dear life. Melanie then says that ‘vacant lot’ are the two saddest words in the English language.
One evening, she awakens and finds Oliver in her room, and he’s corporeal. But Melanie’s got a gun at the ready. Oliver is bewildered, saying this isn’t her, but Melanie wants to know where Oliver went this time. He brings up the rooftop from Bombay from their past, but that’s changed. Melanie is upset about Oliver leaving her, but that girl from the past is gone.
To prove it, Melanie turns and sees a younger version of herself in the mirror. She admits that she was worried when Oliver returned. After all of those years, did they make her unrecognizable to him? Oliver then brings her in for a kiss.
Then we cut to a much younger Melanie diving into Farouk’s pool. Farouk arrives and tells her that they must leave soon to find the monk. He asks if she’s seen the monk of the Mi-Go Order and if he’s at Division Three, as he alone knows the body’s location. Melanie suddenly remembers.
In her present state, she awakens to find her younger self and Oliver observing the diving suit finds Oliver observing the diving suit. He wanted the body burned, as wouldn’t have been stuck in that ice cube. As a result, he’s still tied to his corporeal form.
If Melanie had burned him, maybe that wouldn’t be the case. He could’ve danced through a multidimensional cosmic field. As for Melanie, Oliver can take her to the beyond where the real action happens. There was a time when Melanie would’ve followed Oliver anywhere.
That’s true, and Melanie notes where this brought her. Oliver realizes that things have changed between the two of them. And then Melanie awakens yet again. Kerry eventually asks if she’s ready to come back to work, but Melanie asks if life is just a dream. Kerry knows that she’s real because when she hits people, they fall down.
That could be cause and effect. Maybe Kerry is just Cary’s fantasy and deep down, he yearns to be a strong, young woman. Kerry is Cary’s delusion. Or maybe Cary is Kerry’s desire for authority. Cary could be Kerry’s delusion. Reality is a choice. Melanie then brings up her former marriage to Oliver, who was later confined to living in an ice cube. Melanie wanted to return, but Oliver was concerned about the world.
All these years, she’s been focused on saving the world that she overlooked one crucial fact: there is no world to save. It’s all in the head. When Kerry leaves, Melanie smokes up again.
While Kerry returns to training, she and Cary suddenly share a vision. They need to head to the Blue Octopus and Cary suddenly remembers David implanting the image in his head because David must have a plan.
So Kerry heads off to grab the weapon that they need. They find the blue car that they need. Kerry decides to drive, even though there’s no indication that she’s ever driven. Nothing about this sounds like a good idea, but hey, Kerry’s a bad-ass, so what’s the worst that could happen?
Having escaped Division Three thanks to David’s help, Lenny arrives at some sort of flop house, where a bunch of druggies are busy getting high as hell. She joins one member, played by Vanessa Dubasso, and asks for Janine, who turns out to be the new Barbara. As for what happened? She turned into a ladybug and flew away. Lenny introduces herself to the girl who likes Lenny’s new eyes.
Then someone else realizes that the Queen has back. He recognizes Lenny as the original Cracker Jack.
Then the night picks up with a kick as Lenny and all of the other druggies engage in some wild drinking, drugs, and dancing.
In the middle of all of this, though, Lenny spots a laughing, grinning Amy Haller, also letting loose on the dance floor. As Lenny enjoys her new playmate, she remembers the body swap and then sitting in the desert with a rifle.
The next morning, Lenny sees a vision of Amy, who asks if this is how she did it with David. Lenny apologizes for the body switch, but she admires the much healthier body. Amy tells Lenny that she could just give back her body, but Lenny has no idea how to do that. Doesn’t help that it’s not Lenny’s fault, either. Lenny tells Amy that if she’ll hang with her, she’ll see a lot of nasty shit.
It’s been years since she’s let loose between the hospital and everything else, so Amy needs to strap in. Or she could just walk away. Amy gets on the bed and repeatedly asks Lenny if she’s a good person. Lenny doesn’t see a difference since it doesn’t matter.
It gets so annoying that Lenny yells for Amy to shut up, until her playmate awakens and Lenny realizes that she’s not yelling at anyone. Lenny covers it up under the guise of practicing for a school play. Yeah, that works.
Back on the road, Cary and Kerry arrive at their destination. Kerry hates this plan, though Cary just wants to focus on delivering the weapon. Right now, they have to trust David. Still, Kerry hates the idea, but Cary hopes that David will contact them.
At the flop house, Lenny’s new playmate pokes around in the ceiling while Lenny has visions and then sees the Angriest Boy in the World. Remember that monster? She asks the two if they’ve ever seen an electric octopus. After the new lady friend pokes a hole in the ceiling, water crashes through. Don’t you hate when that happens?
Lenny then awakens with Amy at her side. Lenny tries to smother Amy, but it’s obviously no good. Amy tells Lenny to follow her orders, as David is waiting and needs Lenny. Amy brings up the electric octopus. Amy asks if Lenny is prepared to do whatever it takes. For David, perhaps. Amy guesses that Lenny loves David.
But there’s always Syd, though, but she can’t do what Lenny can do. And this is what gets Lenny on board. Amy then states that neither Helsinki nor Stockholm are in Switzerland, thus answering Lenny’s previous question. When Amy vanishes, Lenny looks outside her window and spots the neon sign of the blue octopus.
And then in enters Lenny’s new playmate, who states that they’re going to have a little prince. Congratulations are in order, I suppose.
Cary and Kerry decide to dine at a restaurant. Kerry senses that something is wrong with Cary, who is worried about Melanie. She’s feeling blue, or melancholy. For Melanie, it could be a symptom of being alone, even though she’s surrounded by people. A person in a crowd can still be alone, even though there’s people around them.
Then Cary comes out and states that he’s going to die, and then Kerry will be alone, just like Melanie. Kerry is confident that Cary won’t die, as she’ll stab death twice in the heart before it could get Cary. Then Kerry and Cary spot someone heading towards the car- it’s Lenny.
She gets into the vehicle when the car door suddenly shuts by itself. As Cary and Kerry approach, the car suddenly ups and vanishes. Luckily, Cary put a tracking device on the weapon, so they can follow it.
They’ll have to follow it for quite awhile, as Lenny is transported to a desert. Just as she walks away from the vehicle, she remembers to go back and grab the case with the weapon. And good thing, too, because once she does, the car goes up in flames.
Elsewhere in the desert, Melanie communicates with Oliver telepathically, but within the halls of Division Three, it just looks like Melanie is talking to herself. She wonders what he wants and brings up the letter, which I assume is the letter that David left for Syd before he decided to go after Farouk alone. She then wonders why this always ends in violence, as we revisit her knocking out Clark.
Melanie then finds herself walking through the hallways of some sort of underground tomb, where she reunites with Oliver as the episode comes to a close.
Well, that was a quick trip, even for Legion, but there’s something worth noting. It was reported recently that this second season would have an additional episode added to the season’s run and that it would be directed by the man himself, Noah Hawley. This got people alarmed, as if this raised the possibility that the added episode would bookend the series, were it to get the axe, but I don’t see it that way.
For one, there were inklings of a potential 11th hour prior to the announcement, and given that this episode both fills in some blanks and does advance the story without focusing mostly on David and Farouk, I think it’s fair to conclude that Chapter 17 is the additional episode. It certainly seems like the case, given that we don’t immediately follow up with the search for the Shadow King’s body.
And given that we ended last week with seeing Melanie after so long, this could all have been part of the plan for the season. The strength of Legion is it’s weirdness and this episode definitely doubles down on the weird. No surprise, given that the show’s creator is the one behind the camera this week.
As far as Melanie is concerned, I’d go as far as saying most of the life decisions that she’s made haven’t been one of choice, but more obligation and some devotion to Oliver- the man of her life. Summerland wasn’t her idea, but she followed Oliver’s move. That eventually led to her being the mentor figure to David and the other mutants, but again, that all spurred from the decision to establish Summerland in the first place.
What’s her purpose? She’s still distraught over losing Oliver and is now lost in her own, personal hazy maze. That devotion to Oliver’s original mission has bought her here, but with him gone and David already tapping into his mutant abilities even further, there’s little for her to do. From a character standpoint, that would explain why Melanie’s taken a backseat compared to the rest of the characters.
But at the same time, like the other character-centric episodes of the season, it fills in the blanks for her and, more importantly, allows us to see more of Jean Smart’s great acting. And as per usual, Smart is fantastic at showcasing just how disillusioned and tired Melanie is. The only solace seems to come when she reunites with Oliver at the end, seemingly giving herself over to Farouk completely if she can be with her love.
Now let’s back up a minute and look at the bigger picture. David and Farouk are in a race to find the Shadow King’s body. Farouk has the advantage, as far as I can tell, but I believe that David has a long term plan as well. Freeing Lenny, placing the implant in Cary and Kerry’s mind, and the fact that he’s been in Melanie’s mind all make me think that there’s more to his plan than we know.
Hey, let’s use that to talk about the others. It’s always nice to see Cary and Kerry working together, if not just because of the chemistry between Bill Irwin and Amber Midthunder, but they had a very nice heart-to-heart conversation as well…Cary did, anyway, when he flat out tells Kerry that he will die one day and she will be alone like Melanie. But Kerry disagrees.
Kerry is the ass-kicking pragmatist. She doesn’t indulge Melanie’s discussion of reality and delusions- she’s knows people are real because she can hit them. And she doesn’t accept the possibility of Cary dying because she’ll fight tooth, nail, and claw to make sure that doesn’t happen. She’s a realist and is more practical about life, while Cary, the scientist, is more analytical than her in some respects.
Plus, Kerry doesn’t see herself as alone because she’s surrounded by so many people. In that regard, she’s right, but she doesn’t realize how living without Cary could set her down the same path that Melanie’s walking as far as being without your partner.
By the way, I would like some explanation on Kerry’s skill-set or at least her knowledge. Not too long ago, she didn’t even get the concept of going to the bathroom, but now she’s able to drive a car. It’s not a problem at all- hell, I find it a bit humorous- but I would just like to know even though, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not necessary.
With a new body at her disposal, Lenny is free to go back to her fast-paced life filled with drugs and booze. It’s nice to see someone on this show let loose and unwind and Lenny would be the prime candidate for that. Plus, that means more Aubrey Plaza. The visual flair when she’s on the dance floor mirrors the experience that young Syd had when her powers were put on display.
Problem is that Lenny can’t just go back to how things used to be. While Lenny was, for the longest time, the devil on David’s shoulder, she now has an angel on her shoulder in the form of Amy. Luckily, Amy isn’t vindictive about, you know, being dead and all, and not like it was Lenny’s fault. But right now, Amy is here to at least steer Lenny in the right direction on the path towards doing some good.
I do like this approach. For one, it’s more Katie Aselton after I didn’t think we’d see her again. But two, Lenny’s not necessarily a bad person, just someone with some psychological problems. Amy can keep Lenny at some semblance of being level-headed and bring out the good person, what with her constantly asking Lenny if she’s a good person.
Plus, Lenny does still have feelings for David and I stand by the notion that out of everyone in David’s life, Lenny is probably the one person with whom he has a personal connection unlike anybody else. And as David asked Lenny if there was any of Amy left in her, Amy being the angel on Lenny’s shoulder could factor into David’s plan to overtake Farouk. We shall see.
With two episodes to go for the season, Legion gives us another strong, character-driven episode driven by the choices and actions made by the characters in the race for the Shadow King’s body. With Melanie giving herself over to Farouk and Lenny on the way to potentially help out David, it’s anyone’s guess who will get to the finish line first…
Meanwhile, here’s the preview for Chapter 18: