We won't lie - we liked being taken through the house of horror known as David's mind.
The bathroom scene between David and Syd was beautiful down to every detail.
Not a big deal, but we are sticklers here for continuity so how did Ptonomy lead the whole team into memory work without his trust table and handles?
A dangerous trip into David’s mind nearly leaves Inception-style results in Legion “Chapter 3”
New abilities and a group quest for answers were in store for us with Legion “Chapter 3” this week. Fresh off his accidental projection into the interrogation room at Division 3, David is even more determined than ever to save his sister. He travels back to the scene, unbeknownst to the others, and is distraught by images of Amy being tortured with leeches and threatened with her life. However, since he promised to remain at Summerland until he has better control over his powers, David submits himself to another session in the MRI machine. Unfortunately, this triggers yet another episode of telekinesis resulting in Syd unintentionally coming along for another astral projection.
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One of the interrogators, known as The Eye, somehow spots the two of them as the head of the division tries to intimidate Amy. They narrowly escape his grasp and return to Summerland, where Melanie chides David for his impulsive act. However, understanding his need to rescue his sister, she agrees to hasten his memory work. Syd wants to go along this time, but David adamantly refuses, hurting her feelings. He later admits that he’s afraid her feelings will change once she sees what he’s done in the past. He eventually relents, and she, Melanie, and Ptonomy travel inside his mind, where they meet little boy David. Soon, they find themselves in his childhood home, where they are separated from one another. A harrowing escape from the Angriest Boy leaves Syd stunned, while Melanie becomes victim to the yellow-eyed devil.
Now that we have had a taste of the horror film that is David’s mind, let’s try to stay alive by figuring out all the clues in “Chapter 3,” shall we?
Summerland may be another school for mutants, but Melanie is no Professor X
Legion is a Marvel comic that coincides with the X-Men universe, so it’s not surprisingly that Summerland reminds us of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. They both have stunning landscapes, a sizable school with boarding, a secret location, advanced technology, and is staffed with previous graduates or current students. They are both run by a knowledgeable leader, but that’s where the similarities end. Melanie Bird (Jean Smart) appears on the surface as a genuine, kindhearted woman who wants to help improve the lives of the mutants they come across. Her husband, in partnership with Cary (Bill Irwin), built Summerland to be a safe haven and actively sought out people like them. After the way David’s been treated most of his life, we are glad to see he’s found someone who understands his gift and is willing to nurture it.
David: “Why am I so important?”
Melanie: “Because we’re at war, and we’re losing. And you may be the most power mutant alive.”
Syd: “You want to fix him so you can use him?”
Melanie: “No. I want fix him because he deserves to be healthy, and he deserves to be happy. And then I wanna use him.”
While we do not know yet what has happened to her husband, Melanie has taken over in his stead. It is implied that he likely had some sort of power himself, so we are left to wonder if that caused his untimely demise. Melanie, we believe, has no demonstrable power of her own other than the ability to bring out those in others. She comes across as a mix between Professor X and Magneto, as she is genuine in her desire to help like the former, but also the first to admit her willingness to take advantage like the latter. This makes us wonder if she is trustworthy, or if she’s part of an even bigger picture we’re not aware of. No matter her intentions, she is helping David retrieve his memories, so for that, we applaud her. We’ll just have to wait to find out more about her and what her stake in all of this is.
A desperate act by David results leaves his team in a precarious position as they enter his mind
After barely avoiding capture by The Eye (Mackenzie Gray), Syd and David return to find themselves in a confrontation with Melanie. She is quick to explain that her anger stems from concern over protecting Summerland and its inhabitants from falling into the hands of Division 3, but she also admits that she is particularly interested in keeping David from them. She acquiesces to his demand that they speed up his training, but we get the sense that it’s more to keep him from leaving than actually wanting him to be healthy. The entire team enters his memories once more as David is sedated to prevent resistance. Once inside his childhood home, a series of terrifying events separate the three. Ptonomy is kicked out, Syd is chased (along with adorable little boy David) by the Angriest Boy, and Melanie gets a book violently slammed on top of her hand by the yellow-eyed devil.
Melanie: “You’re not just a telepath. You can control objects with your mind.”
David: “Control may be an overstatement.”
Even though Melanie and Ptonomy believe strongly that it’s David who has been keeping them from his memories, sedating him seems to have done nothing but unleashed more terror. Interestingly, we are surprised when Syd is the only one of the three who sees the terrifying cracks in the wall and the devil peeking through. She is also the one trapped with little David, who takes her through a rather intimate memory before eventually leading her out of the trap. The fact that writer Peter Calloway made sure Syd is the one we follow tells us that she is important in what’s to come.
The other revelation we have is that the Angriest Boy and the yellow-eyed devil must be more than just creations to protect David’s mind from intrusion. The fact that they actually become more aggressive when he’s sedated means he’s actually been protecting the team from them. Does that mean they are somehow real, or are they evidence that David is in fact insane?
David may have been rescued from Clockworks, but Syd may not be done saving him yet
We already know that Syd was instrumental in saving David from both Clockworks (although unintentionally in this case) and Division 3. However, despite all efforts by Melanie and Ptonomy so far, they have only been successful in unleashing unpredictable bursts of telepathic power. David remains frustratingly difficult to decipher, and when they decide to enter his mind again, they want him sedated. Syd demands to come along, but we see how worried David is about her seeing everything. She grounds him, and he’s terrified of losing her and does the one thing he’s good at – push her away. Luckily for him, Syd knows better than anyone that pushing people away serves no purpose but to make you miserable. She refuses to abandon him, and he finally reveals his reason for not wanting her in his mind. When she does go in, she turns out to be the key to getting everyone else out safe, so thank goodness for that!
David: “I use to be a junkie. Before we met, before Clockworks. I was high basically all the time. I lied to people, I stole…”
Syd: “We all did things.”
David: “You know, my doctor used to say that the word monster is not a noun, that to be a monster you first have to do something monstrous. If you come with me tomorrow, you will see things…”
Syd: “I can handle it.”
David: “You will not feel the same about me.”
The quiet exchange between David (Dan Stevens) and Syd (Rachel Keller) in the communal bath was beautifully done. Peter Calloway’s written exchange between the two lovers, especially the part where David talks about being a monster, really tugs at our heartstrings. We all know what it’s like to feel bad about ourselves, but few of us ever think we are monsters – David does. Stevens delivers the lines admirably, and from the working of his jaw to the hesitations in his words he conveys the shame that David feels. Keller’s facial expressions during his speech shows us that Syd does not agree in the slightest. The flippant way she says “we all do things” and “I can handle it” makes it feel as though she doesn’t take him seriously, but in fact, it’s just a reflection of how much faith she has in David. The way Dana Gonzales chooses to light the scene, with warm light in the background but both characters cast in shadow, reflects how each is surrounded by darkness.
Final Verdict: David is coming into his own, and his potential excites us in Legion “Chapter 3”
Legion “Chapter 3” gave us science fiction mixed with horror this week, and we loved it. Seeing David using powers that he didn’t know he had until days before shows us how much progress he’s already made. We like how rescuing Amy has assigned him a purpose, something he hasn’t had much of most of his life. It’s focused him and given him a reason to commit to his training. We also had a chance to visit more with both Melanie and Syd, and seeing their interactions with David gave us a better understanding of their perspectives and of them. We certainly didn’t begrudge the short horror film montage of being chased by a scary villain, and the slight tip of the hat to Inception was great too. Overall, this is the best episode so far, and definitely makes us itching to tune in next week.
Now that our hearts have stopped pounding and we’re breathing normally again, there’s so many unanswered questions this week! At the very least, we found out that Melanie and Ptonomy were completely wrong when they thought that David was the one causing all the ruckus in his memories. Which of course, begs the question, why can Syd see what he sees but not the others? Why are his memories like a terror-filled fun house? How did they get out of his mind? Are they going to go in again?
It seems that the structure and pacing of this episode would have been ideal as the pilot. We’ve gotten used to the psychedelic visual effects, and with more storyline to follow we were more engaged than ever. The only flaw was more of a discrepancy than anything else. All the memory work previously had been in the room with the strange metal handles, but in this episode, they are all in a seating area. How did Ptonomy manage to enter and control the memories if they were not grounded?
Despite the change in continuity, everything was much smoother in this episode. It feel as though everyone has settled into their different roles and are coming together to present a complete package, with Michael Uppendahl at the helm guiding everyone along. Rachel Keller gave us a deeper look into Syd’s personal struggles, as well as her determination to help save David from others as well as himself. She took full advantage of the memory work and the bathroom scenes with David to show us a different side of Syd, one that is unguarded and loving.
With the team now aware of the potential traps in David’s mind, we know Melanie will need to regroup and find another way to approach things. We also see that the Angriest Boy and the yellow-eyed monster are a little more than just figments of David’s imagination, although we do not know exactly what they are just yet. It seems that Legion has finally gained a footing this week, and it’s definitely on the right path with us now.
“Chapter 3” served up an exciting new entry in David’s progression, and that’s a good thing. We’re getting more into the lore that we Marvel fans love, and we’re just as curious as those at Summerland when it comes to David’s past. We also love the creative twist that the villains are not just Division 3, but strange beings within his mind as well. Will we be tuning in next week? That’s a resounding yes!
The questions never end, do they?
- What exactly can Walter/The Eye do? What is his power? Why does he want to hurt people with it?
- Who are the Angriest Boy and the yellow-eyed devil? Are they real?
- What is this war Melanie keeps talking about?
- Why did the yellow-eyed devil attack Melanie? Why can’t she sense or see him?
- What happened to Melanie’s husband?
- Are we ever going to find out more about Kerry or Cary?
- Why the communal shower? Can Summerland not afford separate bathrooms?
- How come only the guys get to wear multiple colors?
Legion returns next Wednesday March 1st, 2017 at 10/9C on FX.
Legion “Chapter 3” Review