On this week's Legion, David reunites with an old friend, The Shadow King's plan moves forward, and a shocking secret is revealed.
SPOILERS AHEAD for this week's Legion, "Chapter 13."
Last week's episode of Legion was a rather intimate affair, in which David journeyed deep into Syd's mind to view her memories and gain a better understanding of the woman he loves. It was beautiful, complex, and at times terrifying, but perhaps a necessary interlude amid all the bizarre sci-fi hijinks that have dominated so much of Season 2 so far. Then, a bomb dropped in the form of Lenny, somehow in a fresh body and in the custody of Division III. It's there that we pick up with "Chapter 13."
Held in a strange upside-down interrogation room (which is never explained, and in this case that feels more like the show saying "look how weird we can be" in a distracting way), Lenny is still very much Lenny. She speaks in fragments, sentences that never finish or never seem to have a beginning, and mixes those with hyperspecific monologues about things like her alcoholic grandmother. Her hair's longer, she's very much on edge, but she still seems like Lenny, particularly when she begins asking Clark -- her first visitor in the room -- for drugs. Something is obviously off about her, though, and Clark wants to know what it is.
It's been well-established by Legion so far that this is a world where various means can transport consciousnesses between bodies, and we know Lenny was begging Farouk to let her out of his captivity (inside Oliver's body, where Farouk also dwells for the moment) and put her in a new form. Apparently Farouk somehow pulled that off, or something even stranger happened, and Clark wants to know what that is. Lenny, as you may remember, "died" in Season 1 when David (actually Syd in David's body and losing control of his considerable telekinetic powers) got her stuck halfway in and halfway out of a wall. That particular body was definitely not in great shape when Lenny was done with it, and time can't have been good to it, wherever it is. So... where, and how, did Lenny get the body she is in, and why does it look like her?
Right away, this episode is a showcase for Aubrey Plaza, who's been very sparingly used this season after so much time spent as part of David's mind and memories in Season 1. Free from Farouk's captivity, Lenny is free to be not only desperate, wild-eyed old Lenny as often as she wants, but also to be vulnerable and shockingly wise in a way we haven't seen from her before. It's the best performance Plaza's given on the show so far, and that alone makes this episode worth it.
As Clark's leaving the room, satisfied that he's not going to get anything else out of Lenny, Lenny essentially gives us her driving message for the whole of the episode: She needs to see David, and Farouk knows where the monks hid his body.
Meanwhile, out in an unnamed desert, Oliver is driving with Farouk in the back seat, and Oliver's questions revealed that they are indeed going to excavate a body. Oliver, who'll have to do all the physical labor, isn't too happy about this, but Farouk's in control, and it's clear the mission before them is one of great importance. In between debates over the nature of reality and morality, they keep driving, finally arriving at a site where Oliver starts digging by night. When he finally drags up what does seem to be a coffin, though, it doesn't seem to be the white capsule we saw Farouk in, the arm extending out does not seem to belong to Farouk, and Farouk himself says "There she is." That's when we get a rather interesting revelation.
Remember when The Shadow King, in Oliver's body, broke into Division III while David had the rest of the team distracted? You know, that time when they killed several people messed up Cary and Kerry, and gave Melanie the idea about the Monk in the first place? It turns out they weren't just looking for the Monk. They were looking for something else: a gun-like device that Oliver retrieved from some kind of weapons case. Now, in the desert, he holds it up while Farouk (really Oliver, but Farouk is projecting himself into the moment like they're two people working together) pulls a small piece of skin from the corpse's rotting arm and places it inside the device. From there, they're off to their next destination.
Meanwhile back at Division III, it's Ptonomy's turn to talk to Lenny and attempt to use his memory powers to figure out how she got her in this body, and where the body came from in the first place. Lenny, to prove to him that something is wrong that even she doesn't fully understand, covers her eyes and asks Ptonomy to use his unfailing memory to tell him what color her eyes are. He gets it wrong, and that's because Lenny's eyes were brown in her old body. In this body, whatever it is, they're blue. So, Ptonomy tries to go deeper into reading her memories more directly, and that's when things go very, very wrong. We see flashes -- sunflowers, blood, a vase falling -- and then we flash back to that little creature crawling into Ptonomy's ear, and a vision of Admiral Fukyama that reveals something very disturbing behind that basket. When Ptonomy comes to, he's strangling Lenny, and has no idea why. He leaves, and we're no closer to knowing exactly how Lenny is here, and why her eyes are the wrong color.
I must confess to still being a bit confused by what's going on with Ptonomy, not in the sense that I can't predict what will happen next, but in the sense that I'm still not sure what the show is trying to convey with moments like this. As with most things in Legion, I'm content to wait patiently in the hope that all will be revealed, but I'm still not sure if that little creature in his ear was metaphorical (it was, after all, introduced during one of the narrated textbook segments) or literal, and whether it's Farouk's fault or not. Whatever the case, I've always wanted the show to go deeper with his character, and it seems we're on the verge of getting even more of that, vague visions or not.
Back in the desert, Oliver and Farouk have another little moral debate as they watch a group of miners crawl out of a hole and walk over to a van shaped like a submarine. It's selling donuts, but why it's doing so out in the middle of nowhere in a submarine guise is anyone's guess. Farouk knows it's important, though, and so they follow it, after Oliver has a moment of clarity in which he promises Farouk, "I'm going to kill you." This little wrinkle is particularly intriguing, as we tend to forget that once upon a time, Oliver was a powerful mutant in his own right, complete with a lengthy voyage through the astral plane. We never got much time to get to know him before Farouk took him, but now he's deepening and darkening as his mission becomes clearer, even through the haze of mind control.
Then, back at Division III, Lenny lifts her head off the table to find David has finally arrived to talk to her. For all the confusion and all that he's been through lately (we don't know exactly how long it's been since he came out of Syd's mind), he's still happy to see his old friend seemingly back in physical form. He sneaks her a Twizzler and they talk like pals for just a moment, and that's when David drops some truth on Lenny, and Dan Stevens joins Aubrey Plaza for a terrific collaborative performance.
David is convinced Lenny is somehow still working for the Shadow King, and while Lenny doesn't deny it, she claims that she arrived mostly because she wanted to see her friend again, and to tell David that Farouk has found his body and he wants David to know that. This shouldn't be surprising, as the two were working together, but why didn't Farouk just contact him astrally if that was the case? Why the messenger? David's not convinced, and starts trying to read Lenny's mind. He sees memory fragments that confuse him, and though he keeps pressing Lenny, she keeps professing ignorance. He looks deeper, sees a memory that shouldn't be there, sees Lenny's new blue eyes that shouldn't be there.
And then the episode descends into one of the most effective and horrific sequences in Legion so far.
This whole time we've been watching David and Lenny in the present (relative to whatever the show's timeline is, of course) while Farouk and Oliver were in the recent past. The body they dug up is Lenny's, the skin sample they took is her's, and the submarine van they were following led to a house guarded by Division III soldiers. Inside that house is Amy (Katie Aselton), now in hiding with her husband (who was driving the donut van for work) after being tormented by the Shadow King in Season 1. Apparently at some point during the Division III/Summerland merger, she got some added protection. As it turns out, they don't matter. The guards simply vanish, Amy's husband turns to dust, and then she's left in silence as Oliver/Farouk infiltrates her home, a home where there's a vase full of sunflowers, and a linoleum floor we've seen before.
Yes, Lenny's new body is a merger. The device somehow combined Lenny's DNA with the raw material of Amy's and that, combined with Farouk's psychic abilities, led to Lenny arriving in a new body that mostly looks like Lenny but has remnants of Amy, hence the blue eyes. Lenny doesn't really remember this, and seems just as horrified about where her body might have come from as David does. It becomes clear (or as clear as Legion can be) that Farouk didn't want to tell David he found his body. He wanted to send Lenny to tell him he killed his sister, and possibly that he has the device. As the show ends, a horrified David simply vows to Farouk "I'm coming for you."
I wasn't as wild about the pacing of this episode as I was about previous installments, even though structure and the building tension does end up working in the end. The final act of the episode is pitch-perfect in its crescendo of horror and psychic weirdness, but some of the earlier scenes (Clark's in particular, though he is the interrogator) felt like they were there to make us wait. Which is kinda the point, but still...
The shining stars are, of course, Stevens and Plaza. None of it works without their incredible performances, and it's going to be absolutely fascinating to see how they -- particularly Lenny -- evolve in the wake of this revelation. Legion still has me hooked.
- No Syd this week, and no Cary or Kerry either. We were either in that little room with Lenny or out in the desert. That might be best for the way the story's unfolding now, but Cary and Kerry in particular are due for something meatier soon.
- The room Oliver stole the device from was full of other devices -- including something that looked like some kind of Cerebro headgear -- that could be put to use in the battle to come. As for what they are and what they do, well... we better hope Cary's around more in upcoming episodes.
- Remember the narrated scene from earlier in the season describing how teaching someone wrong (as in the wrong answer to a math problem) will condition them to behave dangerously later in life? Well, Oliver asked Farouk what 1+1 is, and when Farouk answered "two," Oliver said "incorrect." A picture is emerging.
- Farouk, further setting himself up as this series' version of Magneto, used that fabled X-Men term this week: "Homo superior."
- Amy apparently had a dream very similar to the Fukyama vision Ptonomy saw, in which she himself was one of the Vermillion. It's hard to parse out exactly what that means at this moment, but, like her husband said... dread.
- "Nothing's felt real to me for a very long time." Same, Oliver. Same.
And that's it for this week! Join us next week for "Chapter 14." Honest!