Legion: “Chapter 5” Review

Photo Credit:http://www.ign.com/articles/2017/03/09/legion-chapter-5-review

How dangerous is David’s mind? The fifth chapter of Legion sets out to answer that question and largely succeeds. The beginning of the episode struggles a bit, however. With David suddenly acting all sinister after returning from the astral plane, there’s a bit of a jump here. I wish the previous entry had shown David’s return with a sign that he wasn’t himself. The narrative itself makes sense, as it was Lenny who egged him on to return, and this episode slowly turns Lenny into something of a villain separate from David’s mind, but a little signifier of David’s mindset at the end of last week’s episode would have made the beginning here a little less jarring.

That said, once David, drunk with power, leaves Summerland to save his sister, “Chapter 5” becomes a tour de force of mental trickery as shown through flat-out stellar filmmaking. Upon arrival at Division 3’s headquarters, Bird, Syd, and the rest find a massacre. This episode is a monster movie with David as the monster. Only through security footage do we see bits and pieces of David tearing through military trained personnel as if they’re clouds of dust. Bodies are stuck halfway through the floor. Limbs are everywhere. It’s here where Bird might even be starting to question herself. When Wallace asked her early in the episode if she needed David merely to get her husband back from the astral plane, she stalls for too long, as if she’s trying to convince herself. The fact is, however, that her answer is correct. David obtained by the enemy and used against them would be the end of their fight. Hell, just him traveling back and forth from the astral plane might be the end of their fight.

But as Cary points out, the infrared security footage doesn’t quite show David, but what we know to be the Devil with the Yellow Eyes. The fact that Cary and everyone can see this demon suggest something that Cary soon answers. David’s mind is less schizophrenic and more infected by a parasite of sorts, Cary says. Does that mean that the Devil with the Yellow Eyes is, in some manner, real?

The whole final sequence in David’s house was pure insanity. With Amy in David’s possession, Lenny seems to take over her brother’s body, officially showing us the dark side of David that has always been hinted at.

As Bird’s team arrives at the house, silence befalls them. As in, they literally cannot hear each other or anything. This is one of the plethora of clever ways Legion gets to subvert basic expectations to strike the precise tone it hopes to. The scene is that of horror film, with the characters slowly moving through a dark house with an unstable mind controlling their surroundings and potentially even their senses. Syd eventually finds Amy, which is when Lenny starts letting the house have sound again. She reveals her many faces, helping to clarify David’s character as more than just crazy.

But the pique of the episode’s horror comes when Syd and David hide in their safe space when the Eye starts shooting at them. Syd is there for just a second before the Devil with the Yellow Eyes, more constructed than we’ve seen him thus far, starts slowly following her around the room. The design of this creature is genuinely horrifying, and the only escape is apparently to a version of the mental hospital in which David and Syd met.

It’s a fascinating cliffhanger, but with three episodes left, the shape of Legion is rather confusing. David rescued his sister and murdered a ton of District 3 people this week. Are the remaining three episodes to be David fighting off this parasite Cary described? What about the Eye, who does he serve now? Legion continues to be exciting and beautiful to look at, while also a masterclass in tone-setting. But I do hope that the show doesn’t end up masking a lack of plot development with trippy visuals for much longer. Grade: B+

By Matt Dougherty

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