If you thought Legion’s previous episodes were a bit weird…
It’s time to buckle your seatbelts, folks as Legion takes another trip to even trippier places than the inside of David Haller’s head. That’s right – Legion: Chapter 4 manages to top the surreal images we find scattered throughout David’s memory by taking us somewhere that might be even weird – the Astral Plane.
That’s right, David seems to be having an out of body experience.
Well, sort of. But it’s a bit more complicated than that…
Chapter 4 begins with an oddball 70’s kind-of-guy giving us a weird lecture on the nature of children’s stories. Apparently, what we tell our kids are stories about either fear or empathy. And at first glance, it had me wondering whether this strange new narrator would turn out to be David’s dad.
But it’s far more interesting than that.
What we have here is a man who’s stuck in the astral plane – encased in a weird, disco ice cube, surrounded by infinite nothingness. But it isn’t David’s father. It’s actually Oliver Bird – Dr Melanie bird’s husband.
I know, right? I have to admit, I assumed the guy was dead… even though it was a little odd that nobody actually confirmed that when we heard about his last episode. But no, it turns out that his body is encased in a weird diving suit in a very, very cold room at Summerland.
His mind? Well… that’s not so straight forward.
Thankfully, Legion doesn’t feel the need to make it easy for us. Instead, we’re drip fed clues about what’s going on throughout the episode. In any other show, it might be difficult to get to the bottom of what’s going on… but Legion has done something miraculous with its last couple of episodes – it’s trained us exactly how to watch the show.
Oddball concepts of out-of-body experiences, and the notion of your conscious mind ending up in a place outside of time and space could be difficult to really grasp… but Legion makes it a whole lot easier in how it’s all presented. The way time plays out doesn’t always make a lot of sense in Chapter 4, but we’ve been taught through the previous episodes to pick up on flashbacks with a shift in aspect ratio. We get real style and tonal changes when we’re in new places… and it really helps us orient ourselves as we watch the weird and wonderful story play out.
So what’s going on with David?
Well, at the end of Chapter 3, he went missing. Sure, his body is still laid out on a gurney at Summerland… but his mind is gone. Cary quickly explains that there’s no scientific reason for him to be unconscious. It’s as though his mind has just dropped off the radar.
It turns out that he’s ended up with Melanie’s husband – lost on the astral plane.
Oliver Bird is both weird and wonderful, and he’s a welcome distraction in an episode which presents us with some pretty heady concepts. He’s a man out of time, clearly having been lost since the ‘70s. He listens to weird jazz instrumental music and has the most amazing suit I’ve ever seen. “Is free love still a thing back in the real world, man?” Sadly, not… and he’s a bit disappointed that bras have made a comeback.
Still, he does (in a weird sort of way) help David get back to reality.
Pointing out that David has brought his demons with him, we find the monster from his memories stalking him on the outside of the giant ice cube. And after a visit from Lenny, David loses his temper – triggering a psychic explosion that seems to rip him back through reality into the real world, to exactly where he needs to be.
The problem? As it happens, David’s and the monster’s face are one and the same.
Clearly, David has issues. Whether they’re actual psychiatric issues or a product of his powers, he’s a man who clearly has different aspects of his personality manifesting in a variety of ways. And as the show progresses, it becomes clearer that David might just be suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, like his comic book counterpart.
But what about his Summerland pals?
Well, after he goes ‘missing’, Syd and Ptonomy are tasked with tracking him down. Eventually, they track down his former therapist… and in the process, get a glimpse into David’s mental wellbeing. It’s implied that the reason David was in Clockworks Mental Hospital is because he severely beat his therapist after being found breaking into his home.
But that might not be entirely true…
You see, when the gang finally track the good doctor down, he confirms their suspicions.
But wait – it turns out that we can’t rely on that little testimony, because it isn’t really the doctor at all. Instead, it’s The Eye – the shady Division 3 operative who has been hunting David down from the very start… and it looks as though he can mask his identity in a way not dissimilar to Mystique from the X-Men.
After an impressive shoot out with Division 3 soldiers, it looks as though all is lost… but Syd uses her own body-switching powers to take The Eye’s identity. And in the process, it looks as though she may have saved the day.
Unfortunately, David comes along.
That’s right – escaping the Astral Plane, he ends up in the path of the Division 3 truck they’re using to escape. But he doesn’t realise that Syd and The Eye have swapped bodies… and as he’s tricked into letting him escape, we get our first casualty – Kerry.
Of course, the Cary/Kerry debate has raged since we first met them at Summerland – it turns out that Cary and Kerry share a body, with her ‘coming out’ of him. Born the same time, to the same mother, they’re kind-of siblings. It’s very, very weird but also rather touching. And when she’s shot by The Eye, we also see Cary slumped on the floor back at Summerland.
But the biggest revelation? It’s Lenny.
Through Syd and Ptonomy’s investigation, we find that David’s friend outside of Clockworks was actually called Benny – not the girl we saw in the hospital. Now, Lenny was real – at least, the Lenny we saw in the hospital. But David’s memories of her in the outside world are false. And at the very end of Chapter 4, a vision of the female Lenny appears over David’s shoulder, her grey hand mimicking that of the Devil with Yellow Eyes.
Could she be the monster we see in his memories?
It certainly seems that she’s been manipulating him. But for now, we have to wait and see.
Legion stars Dan Stevens as the titular hero, alongside Rachel Keller, Aubrey Plaza, Bill Irwin, Jeremie Harris, Amber Midthunder, Katie Aselton, and Jean Smart.
Legion returns to Fox next week, 9 March 2017.