We can't say this enough - Nathaniel Halpern's script is simply perfection!
Jemaine Clement's Oliver Bird is quirky, thought provoking, and demands a repeat performance.
Although we love the narration, sometimes it was just too much to keep up with alongside the jumping timelines and shifting perspectives.
That beatnik poetry...oy, our ears are still bleeding...
Reality and imagination collide when the Summerland team goes in search of the truth in Legion “Chapter 4”
Where do we begin? This week, Legion brought back the fractured timelines and trippy visuals we saw in the series premiere, but unlike then, we’re prepared (sort of). It starts with a slightly distracted narrator who tells us about two types of stories. Then, after a confusing montage of images involving Division Six, Syd, and Ptonomy, we realize that the team is incredibly concerned because David hasn’t woken up from sedation. Cary reveals that there is no medical reason he should be asleep, leading to them hypothesizing he is in the astral plane.
Melanie sends the team out to find clues to David’s past, hoping that they’ll find a way to bring him back. While retracing his steps, they stop by Dr. Poole’s office and visit his ex-girlfriend Philly, they begin to realize the memories they’ve seen in David’s head may all be lies. Syd stubbornly refuses to believe that her new love is as dangerous as the clues suggest, and they continue to search for answers. They find themselves following a path that has been traveled before, and end up falling into a trap that they just barely escape from.
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Amy makes a discovery of her own when she realizes that her cellmate is Dr. Kissinger, the psychiatrist who treated David at Clockworks. She reveals to him that she has always suspected her brother of something more, and she recounts the various incidents of psychic power and telekinesis she witnessed. In the meantime, Melanie is convinced that there are signs her husband Oliver is coming out of his own unexplained coma when she sees a projection of him in the astronaut suit. We later see David meeting Oliver for the first time, but he is more cryptic than helpful.
While David does save his friends from certain harm, they’re not out of the woods yet. With so many revelations crammed into just one hour, it’s worth slowing things down and revisiting “Chapter 4,” don’t you think?
Cary and Kerry finally tell their story, and we’re more confused than ever
Marvel loves a great origin story, and Legion is no exception. This week we finally had a chance to figure out just what is going on with Cary and Kerry. Are they one person? Are they two? The answer surprised us all. While taking a break in the woods with Syd and Ptonomy, Kerry (Amber Midthunder) finally reveals the extraordinary relationship the two have. It seems that we’re not the only ones who didn’t know their story (ahem Syd), and it makes us curious just how long this team has been together. While her parents expected a Native American baby girl they were going to name Kerry, a Caucasian little boy was born instead. The couple split and her mother Irma raises Cary (Bill Irwin) alone until the age of eight, when he finds Kerry in his room. They eventually figure out that they share the same physical space, although they are of two consciousnesses.
Syd: “You’re a person too…with feelings. I’m asking what it’s like for you.”
Kerry: “He does the boring stuff, okay? Eating, sleeping, whatever it is you guys do in the bathroom. I get all the action. He makes me laugh and I keep him safe. If that’s…weird, I’m okay with it.”
Even after Kerry explains their situation, we don’t quite understand how the two of them really share the body. After all, they look different and are able to be in two places at once, right? Even the little tidbit Melanie points out about the two of them aging at different speeds only serves to confuse us more. Well, we get a partial answer when Kerry gets caught along with the others in Division 3’s crosshairs. Every move she makes as she fights off her attackers, Cary mirrors in the safety of his lab. When she is shot, he feels the pain as well. That, of course, begs the question: if she doesn’t survive, does he die as well? If they both lose their life, that could severely cripple Melanie and the progress they’re trying to make with David. Even worse, with Cary being a founding member of Summerland, could that spell the end for the institute?
David’s constant buddy Lenny the druggie is, in fact, Benny the drug peddler
Just when we think we have a handle on everyone who plays a major part in David’s life, we’re given a giant slap in the face. We have watched as self-proclaimed best friend Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) dragged him into chronic drug use and a life of crime before accompanying him to Clockworks. We also saw her reappear after dying, repeatedly telling David (Dan Stevens) that those at Summerland are untrustworthy and out to use him. This week, we are given the news that Lenny may be a complete figment of David’s imagination, and our jaws hit the ground. Philly (Emily Ariaza) reveals that Lenny is actually a drug pusher named Benny, which throws everything the team has seen and heard into question. David later runs into her in the astral plane, and after showing him images of Syd about to be knifed by The Eye, she successfully shoves him back into consciousness.
David: “Who are you, really?”
Lenny: “I’m you, I’m me, I’m everything you wanna be.”
David: “Please! The truth.”
Lenny: “Here’s the truth pal, we gotta get outta here. Okay? You and me, ‘cause wherever you go, there I am, and I can’t hang out in this shit stain no place any longer. I’ve got things to do.”
David: “What does that mean?”
Admit it, you were just as stunned as we were when we found out Lenny may not be a real person, weren’t you? Syd saw her in the hospital along with Dr. Kissinger, so how could this be? As David has asked, who is she, really? We might have our answer in a split second frame in which David, Lenny, and a certain yellow-eyed devil all make an appearance at one time. The way Chris A. Anderson threads the three images together gives the distinct impression that all three of them are David – just different parts of him. This is confirmed later in the last scene, when we see him squatting in the road, Lenny over his right shoulder, and a devilish hand on his left. We get the feeling that something dark is coming, and we’re starting to think maybe it’s a bad idea for David to be at full power…
David finds himself in the astral plane, and his only companion turns out to be an amnesic philosophical astronaut
“Chapter 4” was filled with witty wordplay and well-placed metaphors, and many of them were delivered by a certain Oliver Bird. From piecing together the information we’ve been given so far, and the words he shares with David himself, it sounds like Oliver may have also reached too far into his own mind and got trapped into the astral plane. After initially giving us a Twilight Zone introduction to the episode, we come across him again when David runs into him in the astral plane. The scene that follows juggles humor, new age philosophy, beatnik poetry, and surreal visual effects. He imparts a vague sort of knowledge on David about “the monster,” but seems determined to wallow in the nothingness rather than leave with him. Towards the end of their conversation, there’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter egg. Did you catch it? (Hint – David strikes a particular pose when trying to open a door in the ice room).
Oliver: “Sorry, I forgot about your…um…I had a similar proclivity? Malady, I forget the word, what’s the word? I’ve been here a long time, and things tend to drift.”
Oliver: “Mmm…monster as metaphor, I like it, but wrong. It’s part of you, that’s true, but not like a symptom, but more like a parasite….Maybe it’s good that you’re here, figure some things out, defeat the dragon. Unless, you know, the dragon wins.”
We could go on and on about the numerous quotable moments in this scene and every other one in the episode, but needless to say, writer Nathaniel Halpern really did a phenomenal job on this week’s episode. Practically every line could be on a meme for inspirational or life quotes, and it felt like the whole thing was an homage to the art of the word. Jemaine Clement is brilliant in his role as Oliver, giving the character the unhinged quality that reminds us of the consequences of staying in the astral plane too long while delivering truth as smoothly as a motivational speaker. Of course, the surreal feeling of the scene was not complete without the visual effects (led by editor Mark Barber) and set design (Ide Foyle). The end result is a visually and mentally stimulating trip to the astral plane, and one that we’re really curious to continue visiting.
Final Verdict: Legion “Chapter 4” shares the fractured timelines and confusing images of the pilot, but delivers it in a much more satisfying manner.
From the opening scene to the final act, Legion “Chapter 4” filled our minds with non-stop stimulation this week. With each line as memorable as the last, meme and quote generators were working overtime during this episode. Although we were a little worried about heading back into the fractured plots and disrupted timelines, somehow everything fell into place this time around. What we were left with is the episode we had hoped “Chapter 1” would be – a cornucopia of sights and sounds that both thrilled and confused us in the best way. The writing by Nathaniel Halpern was simply divine, and the storytelling helmed by director Larysa Kondracki was extremely well done. It left us happily befuddled by the twists and turns, but still brought us to a satisfying stopping point until we can tune in again.
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With layers of information that we had to sift through in “Chapter 4,” it’s no wonder that we’ll be talking and thinking about it for days. At the very top of the pile is what’s going to happen to David. Now that it seems Lenny and the yellow-eyed devil have come out to play, what kind of person will that turn David into? Furthermore, did Syd’s little trip into The Eye’s mind give her any insight as to what Division 3 is up to? What if The Eye can see into hers as well? Now that we know Oliver is (sort of) alive, will Melanie’s list of uses for David go up by one – to save her husband?
Yes, “Chapter 4” was definitely more of a controlled ride through the darkness of David’s troubled mind, but it seems even with Syd doing the steering, we’re still getting lost. Although we appreciated the beautifully sculpted written lines, there were many times where our desire to hear what was being said took away from trying to make sense of what was being seen. This caused more confusion than necessary, and results in us having to watch the episode more than once to catch everything.
That being said, we can easily forgive that small misstep, because for the most part we were given a gift this week. We had action, romance, humor, mysteries, and so much more tucked inside sixty minutes of television. Jermaine Clement could not have been better cast as Oliver Bird, and we enjoyed his off-kilter performance, complete with dancing and beatnik poetry, more than we can say. We hope to see way more of his character, because our lives would only be richer for it.
After all is said and done, we’ve got ourselves a good ole fashioned mental scavenger hunt. Melanie and the other still have to find out just what is going on with David’s mind, and it looks like his little “guardians” are not going to make it easy on anyone. We’ve seen him terrified, depressed, angry, infatuated, and vulnerable, but it looks like we’re about to see David in full blown psychopathic crazy. Are we excited? Hell yeah.
“Chapter 4” was still a stunning episode stacked top to bottom with curious tidbits that bait us and keep us hooked. We must know if Cary and Kerry survive their wound, because we need more badass native girl and quirky white boy. We want to see Syd rescue David instead, because who wants to see another damsel-in-distress story? With its tendency to blow through standard tropes, we have no doubt Legion will continue to defy stereotypes, and we’re ready to go!
We need to need to heed the sign and slow down to ask some questions…
- Can The Eye dodge bullets? What the hell is his ability?
- Why is Syd seeing the Angriest Boy now? Is this a remnant of David’s memory, or is it something else?
- Where is Dr. Poole? Is he dead?
- Is Syd right? Did David finally reveal what the stars say and then wanted it back?
- Is Oliver ever going to remember Melanie and come back to her?
- Are Kerry and Cary alive? What’s going to happen if they die?
- What if David does have hidden memories?
- Can Ptonomy have more dialogue? We love his sass!
Legion returns next Wednesday March 8th, 2017 at 10/9C on FX.
Legion “Chapter 4” Review