“You’re here, in the astral plane. You went too far in the make believe and got lost in your mind.”
Last week was pretty amazing in regards to FOX’s latest X-Men offerings. Not only was there a new and awesome episode of Legion but the latest film in the X-universe was released. You can read Jack’s thoughts on Hugh Jackman’s latest (and final) outing as Wolverine in Logan here, but I think I can safely say it’s one of the best superhero films ever released. And with Legion as well, FOX are really giving Marvel a run for their money in the superhero department. And if it wasn’t for Logan I’d say this weeks Legion was the best superhero related thing all week. It had the shows trademark humour and kookiness but this episode changed up the formula as it was prominently a David-lite episode focussing on a road trip between Syd, Ptonomy, and Kerry.
After last weeks extremely scary jaunt into David’s mind, this week saw our characters following up that with a trip to the places seen in David’s mind. First up was David’s old psychiatrists office to figure out exactly what went down there and why David’s memory of the events there seem so, to put it mildly, odd. This investigation led them to David’s ex girlfriend and later David’s old psychiatrists house – or rather light house (“I’ve always thought of myself as a light house keeper,”) – where a trap was sprung by ‘The Eye,’ Mackenzie Gray’s creepy’s mutant and ex Summerland founder. With David still not around due to the result of the memory work last episode this trip was just for Syd (Rachel Keller), Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), and Kerry (Amber Midthunder). Syd and Ptonomy are doing a sort of private investigator thing, slowly and carefully tackling the questions to try and find some answers, while Midthunder’s Kerry just wants to fight someone. Kerry’s strange powers (her and Bill Irwin’s Cary share a body) are defined a little more here and she quickly becomes one of the best characters with her fun and upbeat regard to kicking ass. The scene where she is fighting the division 3 goons while we cut back to Cary alone in at Summerland mirroring her actions is awesome and strangely, a little sad. If something were to happen to one of them it would deeply affect the other. We see Syd’s powers again this episode as she switches places with the Eye. This seems to be a good thing right up until David reappears and mistakes one for the other and completely messes things up.
How David got to Syd’s location from his deep trek in to the astral realm is an entirely different story and is the episodes other focus. After the close call with the memory work last episode David is still ‘under’. Not unconscious or sleeping though, rather his mind has taken a wander to the astral plane. There he meets possibly the show’s best character and definitely the most interesting; Jemaine Clement as Melenie Bird’s (Jean Smart) long lost husband Oliver. We get some idea what happened to him when Melenie visits Oliver’s body after witnessing his ghostly apparition. It’s not clear why he’s appearing now (after apparently been lost in the astral realm for years) but it’s almost certainly connected to David’s trip to Oliver’s giant ice cube house on the astral plain. There David and Oliver listen to some awful jazz and Oliver laments the decline of free love. It’s a wonderfully strange sequence, punctuated with some horror as we see the Devil with the Yellow Eyes stalking just outside of the room. The trippy imagery is really something and it only increases from there as David tries to find an exit from the realm. The imagery is truly inspired, from Oliver’s old timey divers costume, to the ghostly bedroom David finds himself in, to the strange, circular ladder David ascends to Oliver’s ice cube that vaguely resembles his ex-girlfriends ear rings. Hopefully the show finds time to visit Oliver and his wonderful world again.
The direction in this show is consistently amazing too, and this weeks director (Larysa Kondracki) was no different. She has previously worked on some impressive film and TV, most notably one of the most visually interesting and action packed episodes of The Walking Dead. Not even including the beautifully surreal astral plane imagery, the episode had some wonderful direction and editing. A particular highlight was the montage scene where we cut between Kerry fighting, Cary back at Summerland mimicking her, Syd using her powers on The Eye, and Oliver dancing in his ice cube. It was certainly something to behold. The music is on point too, from the awesome surreal track permeating the episode to the obnoxious jazz Oliver forces David to listen to.
The resolution at the end, with Kerry being shot by the Eye due to David’s mistimed heroics, will undoubtedly have consequences. And for someone who is already as unstable as David is I’m sure they won’t be good. The show has crossed the half way point now; there are as many episodes left as there has been. Usually by this point in a shows existence you have some idea what it’s end game is going to be. While Legion is a more dense show than most (ok, all) things are definitely ramping up. The revelation that Lenny was actually Benny is one that could be missed amongst all the other craziness. And that Lenny is not just the funny quirky voice in David’s head but rather an evil force is worth remembering too. I’m more intrigued with this show than I think I have been with a show in a long time. I’m not sure how exactly it will be wrapped up but the show has been amazing so far and with Hawley’s amazing track record I sure we won’t be disappointed.
Reviewed by Tom
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