Some Thoughts on Legion: “Chapter 5”

Legion’s fifth episode is a story told in contrasts. There is a constant push and pull with its characters. Syd talks about her first sexual encounter. It was with her mother’s boyfriend. She switched places with her, and had her own first intimate experience. However, it was then quickly ripped away, as she says “when he was inside me, I changed back.” Syd tells this story to David while they’re in the dream-like state he created. It’s a place where they can truly be together. They lay in a blue-tinted room, one that was previously all-white. These colors reflect more than just David’s state of mind. They represent the purity of Syd’s and David’s relationship, of the intimacy they are now able to share. So then why does Syd wake up to find David gone? Especially after she tells him to “promise me if you get lost, we get lost together”?

Legion-1.05-Chapter-5-Rainbow-Connection

From what we’ve learned in this episode, it’s because David is corrupted. A bowl of strawberries sits on a table in the white room, but they’re crawling with flies. Next door is an all-red room, in which we see Lenny talking to David, manipulating him. It’s also the last we see of him before he takes off on his own to rescue Amy from Division Three. The people surrounding David have wondered whether he is gifted or just mentally ill. I think it’s pretty clear that he’s both. As Kerry theorizes, David might be infected with a parasite in the form of the “monster” we’ve seen terrorize his mind all season. If this is the case, he’s schizophrenic. The parasite alters his memories, forcing him and anyone else to forget the memories exist. It would explain all of the seemingly horrific things he’s done.

Syd now becomes closer than ever to David. She can physically touch him for the first time (on purpose). She empathizes with his internal torture, desperate to make sense of it all. This makes it all the more devastating when she comes to the realization that she might not really know who David is. As she and the group scour Division Three, walking through the sheer devastation David has left behind, they come across one traumatized man who was there during the attack. He warns them to be careful, and that the monster he saw “wears a human face.” It’s important that we don’t witness David’s attack firsthand. Instead we see it on security cameras alongside Melanie and Ptonomy, which is reminiscent of how they experienced David’s memories in previous episodes. Things become more surreal when they follow David back to his childhood home. Much of the sequence is silent, as the group loses its ability to speak or hear one another. If this is a part of David’s mind, it’s a stark contrast from all of the voices he was constantly harassed with in the past.

I won’t even pretend to have an idea about where this series is going. All I do know is it’s spectacular. Its use of sound, color, and perspective are unlike anything I’ve seen on television. With that ending, this episode could have been a finale, and a satisfying one at that. Luckily we still have three more sure-to-be captivating, mind-bending hours to go this season.

Other observations:

  • I’m glad to see Kerry and Cary make it out alive after last week. The scene where he absorbs her — and all of her pain — was truly beautiful.
  • Aubrey Plaza could be playing the show’s big villain, and that has me very excited. The darker her character becomes, the better she is.
  • If I wasn’t already questioning Melanie’s true intentions for recruiting David, I am now after hearing about her plan to free Oliver. What happens to David once she gets what she wants?
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