Where in time are we? Are we?
The episode begins with the Vermillion trimming Ptonomy’s mustache when Kerry asks if he remembers fun. More than that, she misses Cary and laments how everything has changed. She drops it, accepting that she misses Cary.
All of a sudden, the Vermillion and Ptonomy start to glitch. Kerry soon finds herself cradling Ptonomy, who asks what happened to his mustache.
Time and space begin to jump all over the place, as Kerry finds herself in Syd’s quarters. Turns out she just told Syd that something is wrong with time, and Syd realizes that this is David’s doing. They’re being attacked, so they need Cary. Before they can leave, they blink out of this period as the apple on Syd’s desk begins to disintegrate.
We jump to a calmer setting outside a home with Lenny and a pregnant Janine resting on the grass. Janine believes that their child is a girl, though Lenny is skeptical of that. Lenny starts thinking up baby names like Salmon, but Janine suggests “Violet” instead. Or maybe “Violence,” as Lenny suggests. Violence Lollipop Busker. Sounds like a winner of a name, am I right?
Lenny then confesses that she’s ready to put in her two weeks’ notice, even though she’s the Breakfast Queen. True, but maybe it’s lunch time. Janine will follow Lenny regardless.
Suddenly, David and Switch- bleeding from her mouth- pop out of a time hallway, with David insisting that they go back again so he can warn his mother. They end up in the same spot over and over again, but Switch implores that David stop. They’ve done this before. And too many times at that.
Up in the air, the Vermillion and Ptonomy inform the others that there is indeed a universal problem with time and space. Time is a unified field. Gravity affects it, but nothing else. Ptonomy zeroes in on a certain point, and Syd realizes that this is how David destroys the world.
She tells Ptonomy to shut it off, but each time he does, time rewinds. Suddenly, a creature’s hand starts reaching through the glass. Everyone is suddenly frozen in place, but in enters Farouk, who vaporizes the creature, leaving its charred arm.
Back in his compound, David meditates. He remembers his mother singing to him as a baby, but his thoughts are interrupted by Lenny’s arrival, who tells him that the others are ready for him. He goes over to her and cradles her face without a word, even when Lenny asks how he’s doing.
We then jump to David speaking to his happy hippies, saying that he’s had a hard day. They’re not mad, but Lenny informs him that they have a problem with the clock. Now that they’re calm, David asks Switch about time looping and what happened.
Switch explains that there are demons in the hallway of time. Predators, even. In the future, David wants to know about the time demons. Switch says that they live in the space outside of time. She can hear them when she travels, and they giggle. She doesn’t know what they look like, but perhaps blue cats. Instead of playing with mice, they play with and devour time.
David assures his followers that he will protect them, but they’re still scared and want him to make them feel good. Indeed he does just that with his telepathy and they’re all knocked out.
But not Lenny, who still wants to know the plan and is tired of David’s ego jerk. David wants her to be nice, but Lenny wants him to get angry and use his powers to save all of their asses. So David decides to get honest: he tells Lenny that no matter what it takes, he’ll fix this. He’ll slay anyone who comes his way, because this is David’s time, and he’s got things to do.
Despite Switch losing another tooth, David calmly wants her to take him back again, despite the risks. David asks Switch if he’ll have to force her, and time slows down. He’s the Alpha and Omega and eats monsters for breakfast. As the room darkens, the three hear laughing and a blue-eyed creature lurking in the room. Switch realizes that “they” are here. With that, David tells the two to leave.
The creature pops in all over the room as David’s happy place starts to lose its color. Soon, it rushes towards him and David finds himself imprisoned in a cell.
He hears the sound of his mother’s humming and then approaches the cell. Inside, the inmate tells David about the inmates who are rounded up, saying that this is the beginning of the end. Indeed, David comes face to face with his Mommy.
After watching a scene from The Shield, we jump to Division Three, as Farouk tells the others that the laws of time don’t apply to Time Demons. Since David released the creatures, they are too powerful to fight, though, so the Division must face them at the time between time. A rift, if you will. As for what they’ll need- just a lot of courage.
Syd, meanwhile, explores the ship, but in due time, Farouk transports himself, Kerry, and Clark out of the ship. Syd continues to explore the ship. She enters her quarters and speaks with someone wearing a dress very similar to hers.
Yes indeed, Syd is talking to a younger version of herself. Like anyone else, Syd decides that she needs a drink. Young Syd wants a drink, even though she’s 15 years old. Or 16 years old. Nonetheless, Syd pours a drink for her younger self and explains that she’s the future version of the young Syd.
Older Syd brings up the first drink when she was nine years old, and young Syd only gets one drink. She is a minor, after all. If young Syd is lucky, this will just be a dream. If not, then time is collapsing and then none of them will be anything at all.
Cary works on creating a device while the time demon continues to screw with reality. It gets closer and closer. Cary then approaches some bluish material left by the cat and as he examines it, he suddenly remembers when David and Lenny brought him under their control. The treachery of it all, he proclaims.
He soon stalks the empty hallways of the compound and eventually heads to one of the doors. Upon opening it, a few of David’s followers spill out. Also inside of Switch, who implores Cary to hide, but Cary is prepared to save her. That would be more assuring if Cary had some abilities, but okay. Where they’re going, she won’t have to hide.
He approaches one door, but as he gets closer to the women near it, Switch stops him, telling him that anything that gets near them freezes. Indeed, she demonstrates this by throwing flower vase at the women, but it ends up frozen in place. So Switch decides to utilize the tunnel that brought her here.
Back in the cell, David tries to use his powers to free Gabrielle, but they have no effect. Gabrielle tells David that she cried for her mother two, when she was captured. She and her family were Gypsies. David asks if she has any family, but to Gabrielle, that doesn’t matter now. It does matter to David, though, as it’s his history, but to Gabrielle, there’s no history. When they’re gone, no one will ever know that they existed.
David is confident that they can fix this thanks to his friend, but obviously his friend isn’t here now. He could change the past, but Gabrielle asks if David can free the prisoners and raise the dead. David says that this isn’t about the world, but him. He knows that Gabrielle will have a child and eventually meet a man, but she can’t let him go on his trip. Gabrielle cuts David off, saying that she’s crazy, too. How reassuring.
He wants Gabrielle to remember him when she holds him in her arms, and says the name David. Finally, David manages to freeze time, but he finds three uniformed prisoners behind him. He unmasks two of them and they turn out to be time demons. As David approaches them, they reset time to set him back at his original spot. Over and over again they do this.
Out in the middle of nowhere, Clark, Farouk, and Kerry appear in the time between time, where the time demons should have no advantage here. Time passes…
Cary and Switch escape David’s compound and re-enter whatever passes for reality as the two enter a phone booth. Cary makes a call and rings up Ptonomy and the Vermillion. He requests emergency drop ship extraction, but he receives an error message 181- a time code error. Cary tries to instruct a manual override and engage a fail safe, and he does.
This manages to thrust him and Switch onto the Division vessel. Switch wonders what could happen if the time demons continue to disrupt time and if they eat enough time to send them back to the stone age. How can they fight them if they were never born? Cary asks if the time demons have an intention or are just feeding. Ptonomy can come up with a calculation in…three years. Yeah, we’ve got enough time for that.
At least Syd and Syd are having fun. Older Syd hopes that younger Syd will make better choices. She brings up how she never got to meet her past self, but she would’ve asked the same question about who teaches you to be normal when you’re one of a kind. Young Syd asks older Syd just what she is, and older Syd confesses that people get too close. They get too close, disappear, and then they’re inside you.
When you get back, someone else’s smell is inside your nose. Her power is like taking a vacation and being a tourist in someone else’s body. But every time she comes back home, she feels dirty. Young Syd just wants to be left alone, but hey, people do die of loneliness or even kill themselves.
Young Syd brings up how she swapped bodies with her mother to make love to her boyfriend. We remember that ugly moment, as young Syd just wanted to feel something. Young Syd thought that sex was about love. But that was her first and only time. People talk about sex, but young Syd just remembers her face being pushed into wet glass. Hardly romantic.
She then asks older Syd if it gets better, and older Syd simply says that Syd falls in love, and that’s all that matters. As for marriage…that’s a bit complicated. The man in question is unstable and has powers. It’s magical for awhile, but then he turned Syd around. Syd has thought about giving up, but then, young Syd points to Syd’s tattoos of “Me First.” Truth be told, Syd is afraid.
Young Syd wants to know if the two will switch places if they hug. The two do indeed hug…
…but then Syd awakens and find herself facing one of the time demons. Indeed, seems that one of the time demons just took this opportunity to screw with Syd. How rude.
Back to Lenny, who is searching high and low for Janine. She soon finds her right in the middle of labor, and in no time at all…she actually gives birth! But then both she and the baby vanish, leaving just Lenny?
The child quickly grows older by the second to the point that even she’s got a child and is lecturing Lenny on how stubbornness runs in the family. Eventually, the daughter grows older and thanks Lenny for always being there.
Lenny soon finds herself on the ground, alone at the stroke of midnight as she lets out a horrifying yell.
Back to the Power Point presentation adventures of Kerry, Farouk, and Clark, the two attempt to take on the time demons- Farouk even pulls a sword out of his damn mouth!
David continues to be reset over and over by the demons. Nothing that hurts or hates him is real. As he is indeed God, he sets one of the demons on fire. He tells the remaining time eater to eat shit and tell his friends that it’s David’s time to shine. The demon can leave or David will kill every one of them.
Indeed, the time eaters all begin to fall back. David finds Lenny on the pavement and tries to help her, but she turns him down, saying she needs to feel the pain.
David returns to his compound and stops his followers from surrounding him. He wants Switch, but one of them tells him that the scientist took her. This gets David’s powers intensifying, but he’s suddenly calm. He realizes that it’s time to go to war.
Perhaps David should have listened to a few of Switch’s Lessons in Time Travel, because his attempts to change things are, again, leading to a ripple effect that just make things worse in the end.
But as the premiere has shown us, as has been done often in fiction, are there risks in traveling through time? Yes, and we’ve seen what happens when David tries too hard to mess with the fabric of reality. But Legion takes it a step further this week in a very innovative episode that is, as you’d expect, a royal mind-fuck that shows once again how David Haller is no longer the hero of the story, if he ever was.
What works in this episode is though it’s a cautionary tale about time travel, we’re not revisiting past moments in the series over and over again. Well, we do with Syd and Cary, but those are just glimpses instead of having that entire sequence play out again. Here, David using Switch to go back over and over again creates an endless loop that has consequences for everyone around him.
It shows just how far David will go in order to try and clean up his messes or right the world. This doesn’t and shouldn’t make David the hero in anyone’s mind. To the show’s credit, we aren’t being made to sympathize with David. We may understand where he’s coming from, and his scenes with his imprisoned mother do a good job at softening him, but this also furthers David’s attempt to fix things.
In addition to David being a world breaker, he’s also a time breaker at this point. He’s so resolute in his quest to travel through time that he doesn’t give a damn about the consequences. All that matters is his happiness even though, as Syd said, he would still remember what he did. This isn’t multiverse theory, mind you. We don’t have thousands of Davids running around. As far as I know, anyway.
Director Daniel Kwan, one half of the directing duo behind Swiss Army Man, steps behind the camera this week and gives us an equally trippy episode. We also get more horror elements brought into this episode with the time eaters and this reminded me a lot of the Catalyst from Season Two, minus the chattering teeth.
But their glowing blue eyes and strange looking bodies fit well within the world that Noah Hawley has created. More than that, they represent just how far David has gone with his attempts in meddling with time. Watching things reset over and over and over again wasn’t frustrating so much as it was mystifying. To what length would these creatures go to disrupt time?
Hell, did they manage to disrupt the episode itself? As someone who hasn’t seen The Shield, I was thrown when we returned and suddenly saw Michael Chiklis, but it wasn’t until folks on Twitter pointed out what the show was that I realized this was another example of how the fabric of time and space had been altered.
Alternatively, since Chiklis once played The Thing in Tim Story’s Fantastic Four films, this would probably be the closest yet that we got to an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover in live-action, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Back to the episode, the best example that we saw of shifting realities, I feel, came through Clark, Kerry, and Farouk. Though I’m still giving the Shadow King the side-eye, he comes through in a pinch when it comes to helping the Division.
The three of them being frozen in time and having their sequences play out like a photo slideshow was very comic book-esque. Their remarks even came up like thought or speech bubbles in comic books. It’s another example of how the series pays respect to the comic book medium while simultaneously being a show first and a comic adaptation second.
Hell, if they leaned on the fourth wall just a bit, then it wouldn’t have been too far-fetched if Deadpool showed up.
But they’re not the only ones having to fight their way around David messing with time. Like Melanie, Cary recognized David’s potential early in the series. He was crucial in helping remove the Shadow King from David’s mind and since then, he’s been willing to assist whenever necessary. His intentions are pure, and therein lies the problem.
Cary is far too good for this. He’s not an idiot, but he’s also not an ass-kicker like Kerry. I say this all to say that there’s more vulnerability when it comes to him being controlled by David and Lenny. Granted, Kerry wouldn’t have fared much better, but she’d put up more of a fight. Cary’s not a fighter- he’s a scientist and wants to put his abilities to good use.
That’s what David led him to believe he was doing when he used his powers on him. But when Cary figures out the truth and he calls it “treachery,” he aims to right the ship by helping Switch escape. Like Syd, Cary is seeing how far David has gone with using his powers to influence others to bend to his will. Like Charles, David could burn the whole place down if he wanted or lost control. That makes him dangerous.
Right now, since David is so unhinged and focused on painting himself as the victim, no one is safe. When he says to the time demons that nothing that hurts or hates him is real, we see how deluded the man has become. He wants nothing but peace for his followers. When that doesn’t work and he becomes angry, he tries to force his will upon others.
The visual of him marching towards the time eaters over and over again is a great representation of how much David believes himself to be the one in control. That’s the crux of what this boils down to: control. David can’t travel through time, so he tries to get Switch’s help. He can’t make her stronger, so he gets Cary to do that for him. When he can’t walk to the demons over and over again, he just kills one of them.
Even his conversation with Gabrielle starts off with him attempting to force a change through his powers, but they’ll only take him so far. He’s living in his own world where he is Alpha and Omega, but despite his powers, some things are out of his control.
Having said that, I did enjoy seeing David get to talk to Gabrielle. Granted, she was lost in her own despair and had no idea who this strange man was, but after the previous episode, I appreciate that we got a glimpse of her in the hell that she endured before meeting Charles. Despite David’s actions, him continually referring to his mother as “Mommy” was a sweet, sad moment.
By the way, him telling his mother about her holding him when he was born reminded me of the scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past when Logan told a young Charles to find and train Scott, Jean, and Ororo.
David wants to lull everyone into a false sense of security, but when he can’t do that, he literally breaks time in order to get what he wants. He’s willing to do whatever it takes at the expense of wearing out Switch, who might as well be David’s hostage at this point. We started off watching this unfold through Switch’s point of view, and only a few episodes later she realizes the full magnitude of what David is doing.
From what’s happening to her body, I again wonder if Switch going back too often will not just anger the demons, but possibly kill her as well. It starts with a tooth, but it could be much worse if David continued exploiting her powers. Luckily, she and Cary have escaped.
In the end, Farouk and the Division have the time traveler who was so precious to David. They have the one person who could give David an advantage over them, so just how far will David go? He says that he wants war, and I wonder if this could be how he brings about the end of the world. Either way, I’m nervous at the thought of David raining down hell(fire club) upon the world.
I was very surprised that we’d be revisiting Syd’s past to the point that she got to have a conversation with her younger self. In the end, yes, it was the time eaters messing around with her, but there was something eye-opening about Syd saying that she just wanted to feel something. In effect, she ended up destroying her mother’s relationship in the process.
Syd describing her powers like being a tourist makes a lot of sense when you consider the experience she had in David’s body back in the pilot, or even other characters like Walter. It’s a home away from home, but still invasive nonetheless. This doesn’t make Syd look any better compared to what David did to her and I don’t know if she’ll ever acknowledge that.
Now sure, Syd isn’t out to potentially destroy the world, as David is, and I do appreciate her giving some words of wisdom to her younger self, but I still feel there’s just a small lack of self-awareness on her part.
Nonetheless, it was good development for Syd’s character that we got a further understanding on how her younger self processed that fateful moment in the shower. Plus, it was nice that Pearl Amanda Dickson returned to play a younger Syd again, rather than getting another actress.
Oh, and how could I forget about Lenny? She’s been David’s accomplice since the beginning and continues to be the devil on his shoulder, but it looks like she’s ready to bail. After all, David has switched his priorities to Switch. Lenny is there to introduce more anarchy, as we see when she flat out tells David that she just wants him to get angry.
But when the time eaters start to fuck around with her and she’s forced to see her child rapidly grow up until she dies was heartbreaking, even for Lenny. Aubrey Plaza continues to shine with showcasing Lenny’s sadistic side, but there’s still a fragile, vulnerable character underneath that bravado and Plaza excels in her performance. I can’t get enough of her on this show.
I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face, but watching Legion is like watching a painting come to life. This episode was no exception to that. The time eaters and the sequences with Kerry, Clark, and Farouk made this feel like a much more cinematic experience than just watching another episode of the series.
But coupled with the innovation here, we got a ton of emotional moments that culminated in Cary and Switch’s escape from David’s clutches. Will the Magic Man finally achieve peace through war? Who knows? Either way, see you next week!