***Spoiler Warning: Spoilers for Legion through Season 2, Episode 6 follow. Spoilers***
In the horror-scape that is David Haller’s broken mind after last week’s heartbreaking loss, a mutant’s recovery (if such a thing is even possible) depends on reality … or should I say, myriad realities? For as with any emotionally traumatizing event, the PTSD experience can wildly vary, may vacillate within a single timeline. Never-minding the comic for a moment — or forty-six minutes, forty-four seconds — with “Chapter 14”, Noah Hawley sends us on a viscerally affecting journey through our antihero’s multiverses, spinning around with no earthly order, until we’re left collapsed and nearly as crushed as David(s).
Tripping through Homeless David, Old David, Striped-shirt David, Water-boy David and File Room David, the one constant is loyal, long-suffering Amy who in the end, may endure more than all. An aside through (ex) Coffee Boy David’s fortuitous mind-reading leads to success and ego beyond anyone’s — especially Laura’s (Molly Hagan) — comprehension; “God blessed me with a gift, do you understand? I am his chosen vessel”. As his version of quantum mechanics is explained by Meth-Head David, the million different possibilities (configurations), each outcome of his life actually happens in alternate timelines; for Haller, most of his realities are nothing anyone would want (“Why can’t you have what everyone else has? A nice home. A family?” “Because I’m sick.)
Wearily winding and weaving — at least we got a Yo! Waffles reference (“Daddy, Daddy, we want waffles!”) and the dolor was broken by a singing mouse — among Haller’s houses (“No more houses”), withstanding beatdowns, breakdowns, his capture and a Kerry-cleaving; through his infancy and death, and an all-too-real police encounter, finally we slide into more familiar territory: the Clockworks reality where momentous memories morph to the moment of David’s chosen (“You decide what is real or not”) existence, where we all must relive his sister’s torturous death. And in the somber last moments of his reliving, we’re left to wonder which David will become.
Though some people may be bothered that there wasn’t a lot of forward plot movement in these past two chapters, I thoroughly enjoyed (well, maybe “enjoyed” isn’t quite the right word) the character focus. Whatever asides Noah Hawley’s doing, I’m there for them, and I have no doubt his story arc will play out in an intriguing, thoughtful way. Looks like next week, all the players are back.
Homeless David’s beating takes on Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, when Alex’s DeLarge’s droogs beat a vagrant, with dialogue directly from Anthony Burgess’ novel: “Men on the moon, and men circling around the Earth, there’s not no attention paid to Earthly law and order no more.” (David says “Men spin around the earth … “)
When David wipes out his attackers, their shadows (not unlike Hiroshima reality) remain.
Speaking of shadow (Kings), even in that alternate reality, David felt Farouk — he was evident everywhere. “Did he send you? Is he here?”
David also ran into the Devil with the Yellow Eyes this hour and, of course, Syd did a (literal) ride by.
The reality of the cops stopping a mentally ill person, the way they handled him and the way David tried to explain as best he could — “My sister’s picking me up, I work here … I’m sorry. I take medication, I’m sorry.” — couldn’t have been more perfect. Hawley addressing the way we treat people suffering mental illness in the middle of a Marvel comic show? Brilliant. And then, when things got out of control — terrifying. This was terrifying.
Powerful David, of course, reminded of dear old dad (Charles Xavier/Professor X), whom we all hope to see in some form on Legion one day., and of another marked-by-trauma, powerful character, Legend of Korra‘s Kuvira. He also, unfortunately, spoke a heck of a lot like a certain person currently spending time in the oval office. “I am the great uniter.”
Dan Stevens beautifully carried this entire hour, stretching those acting muscles about as far as they can go. I have to say that even in the smallest scenes, I find Katie Aselton’s Amy so affecting.
Meth Head David was pretty great. I especially liked his demonstration with french fries.
The office where Haller worked as a coffee boy was called “Davidoff Capitol Advisors”; heh, David off …
David’s tombstone read: “David Haller Taken Too Soon”.
Mary Sunshine Artisan Milk? Effin’ hipsters …
Songs This Hour:
Jeff Russo and Noah Hawley, I’d Love to Change the World (cover of Ten Years After)
Bryan Ferry Slave to Love (performed by mouse)
David: “Right now, we’re in this scenario, eating whatever bullshit, cold fries …”
Amy to David when she drops him at Clockworks: “It’s just a few weeks.”
David: “No more pills, I can’t think.”
Amy: “I know, but you don’t want to go back to the hospital. So, we will have pot pie and a pill?”
David: “I’m not six.”
Amy: “So, you don’t want ice cream?”
David: “I didn’t say that.”