Legion Episode 1.5 “Chapter 5”
Written by Peter Calloway
Directed by Tim Mielants
Created by Noah Hawley & Stan Lee
Starring Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, Jean Smart FX Network
Air date: March 8th, 2017
FX’s 2017 hot streak continues as their wholly original Marvel comics adaptation, Legion, returns tonight for episode 5. Last week we delved deeper into David Haller’s psyche and it is both fascinating and horrifying. David (Dan Stevens) has unknown power, and may be purposely misleading Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris) and Syd (Rachel Keller) from finding out the truth to his abilities and his past. When they are unable to access things in David’s mind, they seek out truth the old fashioned way, tracking down David’s ex and find out one crucial piece of information; Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) is actually Benny… a dude. Why is David openly hiding this? Is he openly hiding it? Could Lenny/Benny be the evil Yellow Eyed Devil that haunts David? District 3 is getting close, and they spring a trap for Syd, Ptonomy, and Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder), that sees Kerry (and by extension Cary Loudermilk) left injured, as David returned right in time.
Spoilers below for last night’s episode of Legion:
They bring Kerry’s body back to Summerland and Cary (Bill Irwin) is shaken up. David surprises Syd by creating a new world where they can be together despite her power, where he can touch her. Syd seems both scared of David and eager to kiss him and be touched. Bugs eating strawberries in this alternate state are likely symbolic of David’s mind being eaten alive. Back in reality, he tells Melanie (Jean Smart) that he’s going to rescue his sister Amy (Katie Aselton) in the morning. David appears more confident now, more in control… or less. This show messes with your mind.
Kerry recovers enough to be reconnected with Cary, in a great scene where he inherits her bruises for her. David and Syd discuss the impending rescue attempt. David seems excited, “It’ll be fun, kick some ass, save the girl, get a snack.” Her response, “They’ll kill us, you know that?” They have their first sexual encounter in David’s mindwarp. She tells him about her experiences and adds this great line, “Who teaches us to be normal when we’re one of a kind?” Rachel Keller is killin’ it this episode with more tremendous deliveries, standing up to Melanie about her man. Learning David left for Division 3 without them, the Summerland crew follows, and finds a scene of epic chaos and violence. Mangled bodies lay everywhere. They reach the detention cells but only Kissinger (David Ferry) remains, begging to be set free. The find the security cameras and David is acting like a power-crazed supervillain. On one screen, the terrifying image of something big and blob like destroying D3 soldiers… the Yellow Eyed Devil perhaps, having taken over David’s consciousness.
Syd and Ptonomy find a D3 doctor near death, half imbedded in the floor. “So much power, it wears a human face,” he warns them. Cary chimes in from Summerland with a hypothesis; David IS schizophrenic. There is a personality, a beast that attached itself to David as a boy and has fed on his mind every since, a conscious mutant alive for 30-years inside of him.
Syd is transported to a white room, where David serenades her to “Rainbow Connection” on banjo… puppet Hitler and his imaginary dog in the bathroom. David takes Amy to their childhood home where Lenny emerges from his head in a legitimately frightening scene to torture Amy into revealing that David was adopted. “My whole life is a lie,” he says. Meanwhile Cary develops a piece of tech to neutralize the entity inside him, leading to a disagreement and separation with Kerry. I LOVE their relationship. They bicker like actual siblings despite the complex mutant symbiosis they share.
It all comes to a head as the team arrives at the home. As has become the usual for Legion, the final 10-15 minutes are balls out nuts, and so different from anything else on either TV or in films regarding superheroes. I won’t give away spoilers but from an aesthetic standpoint, creator Noah Hawley and the directors take such spectacular eye popping chances. The makeup, sets, and sound design in this series, and particularly that last scene are just the stuff of legends. There were moments of this episode where I was truly terrified, and moments like the ending that left me mouth agape in shock and awe of what I watched. I read my plot summaries back, and I questioned my own reality after watching Legion. Dan Stevens was in the same one hour episode – charming, sexy, scary, confused, frightened, nervous… amazing. Aubrey Plaza steals every scene she is in, and I can watch a whole spin off of Kerry & Cary. In a world with countless X-Men films, and an ending amount of superhero content across all mediums, Legion is in a class all its own.
Legion returns next Wednesday night at 10:00PM ET only on FX.