Legion Episode 1.6 “Chapter 6”
Written by Nathaniel Halpern
Directed by Hiro Murai
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 15th, 2017
Fresh off the news that FX has already renewed the coolest and most original superhero property on television, Marvel’s Legion returns tonight after its most bonkers episode ever last week. And THAT is saying something. We finally got to see David (Dan Stevens) use his powers with reckless abandon and it was glorious, as he literally exploded his way through Division 3 soldiers in order to free sister Amy (Katie Aselton). It was from her he finally learned some real truth; he was adopted, he’s not crazy, and he may or may not have a mutant living inside his head… the Yellow Eyed Devil… or is it Lenny (Aubrey Plaza)? Lenny, who terrorized David and girlfriend Syd (Rachel Keller) in a wild and scary finale, which all led to the jaw dropping climax where everyone was casually sitting around a therapy circle, and LENNY was the shrink! I am not exaggerating when I say the closing moments of each of Legion’s episodes have left me floored. The show is awe inspiringly original, the visuals and sounds… so immersive. I look so forward to each week. Let’s get to it.
Spoilers below for this week’s episode of Legion:
We pick up in therapy with a spectacled Lenny questioning Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) about the delusion of her frozen man ex-husband. Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris) is next; he’s a “time traveler” trapped in a memory. Cary and Kerry (Bill Irwin & Amber Midthunder) are in therapy together. They continue to be hilarious finishing each other’s thoughts and sentences. This whole opening scene is such a quiet disconnect from the insanity in the final moments of Chapter 5. The way this show refuses to bend to any normal thread is just amazing. This is obviously Lenny/Benny taking over David’s mind and controlling and contorting the situation… or it isn’t, half the time I have no idea what’s real.
David gets his time with Dr. Lenny and he loves it there; reading, painting, his relationship with Syd; he feels he finally has balance. And then… because of course… we ANOTHER epic dance sequence as Aubrey Plaza has a Bond opening/Flashdance-esque sequence, that in and of itself should earn her a Best Supporting Actress Emmy nomination. She – Lenny that is – dances through David’s psyche and has imprisoned everyone there. David and Syd meanwhile feel their connection growing, and their romance is quickly becoming one of my favorite parts of this show.
The Loudermilks are adorable, and Bill Irwin has one scene where he morphs into Mr. Noodle from Sesame Street and I smile. Everyone in the hospital has strange dreams, and Cary sees a giant iceberg that transports him to the Astral Plane, where he encounters Oliver in his deepsea diving suit. Syd is disturbed by a door that appears and disappears in the hallway. She begins to think that the whole hospital may be some alternative reality. David starts to get very weird and Syd bails, and soon everything begins to come together in her head, her memories gain clarity. Just then, Lenny sneaks up offering a new therapy that zonks Syd out. The soft music mixes so well with the ominous dread that hovers over the scene.
Everything about this show is so subtly perfect – the color palette, the costumes, the music choices. The show sends the viewer into sensory overload. Just when you think things can’t get weirder and scarier, The Eye (Mackenzie Gray), also trapped inside this epic delusion, stalks Kerry like a child predator. That scene made my skin crawl. Melanie manages to find a wormhole into their frozen reality, but Lenny is watching all.
It all comes out in one final therapy session as we find out Lenny is David’s fungus, growing inside him from the womb. She figures that with their combined powers they can rival God. But since David is so preoccupied by love and Syd, he has become expendable and he’s left in a state reminiscent of the “sunken place” from Jordan Peele’s Get Out. This episode belonged to Aubrey Plaza. She shines throughout, managing to be alluring, horrifying, and all out insane all in the span of an hour. Plus, that dance scene is just fantastic. This show continues to defy every convention you may have about superheroes on television. It occurred to me as I was watching Legion and my wife was watching Arrow in the other room, that some viewers may be turned off by Legion for that very reason. The DCEU, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., even the MCU films adhere to formula so rigidly sometimes, that to the casual fan, Legion may be too far out there. While a Marvel property and technically part of the X-Men universe there is nothing about Legion that conforms to formula. That is why I love the show so much. It is like nothing else on TV.
Legion returns next Wednesday at 10:00pm ET only on FX.