David might’ve just arrived at Summerland, the superhero mutant camp, but playtime is officially over. Someone’s life is on the line, and our heroes are charging into David’s most painful memories to get him ready for war. But something evil lurks inside him, and it’s clawing at the gates to get out.
The latest episode of Legion, “Chapter Three,” is entirely about David’s evolving mind. His time at Summerland has started to focus his abilities, and we’re seeing them manifest in new and more powerful ways. In addition to the telekinesis and mind-reading, he’s now able to transport himself and others across great distances. He also takes his girlfriend Syd into his latest vision, where he finds his sister Amy being tortured by Division 3 for information. Dr. Miranda Bird knows that David wants to go on a rescue mission, plus she wants to “use” David to gain an advantage in their war, so she’s amped up his treatment.
Instead of cautiously swimming through David’s mind, giving him closure piece-by-piece, they’re now diving head-first into his most tragic memories. They’ve discovered that David’s power manifests when he’s afraid, which means he’s unpredictable, so they’re trying to find his biggest mental blocks and resolve them, in hopes he can gain control over his powers. This is really hard on David, who is unwilling (or unable) to share parts of himself with others.
It especially hurts his budding relationship with Syd, after she insists on joining one of his mind sessions. At first, he doesn’t want her to see the worst parts of his past, like when he stole from his therapist to pay for drugs... hence leading to his fight with his ex-girlfriend that inspired the kitchen telekinesis meltdown. But they eventually come to an understanding, which really strengthens their bond. She wants to be there for him in every way she can, which means emotionally and mentally, since she can’t be there physically. It’s interesting seeing their relationship develop, given they can’t touch each other, and the visuals do an excellent job at showing the divide they struggle to maintain.
Unfortunately, David knows something is still going on with him, and it’s not good. While chatting with Syd in the locker room, he shares that he’s worried he’s both a mutant and mentally ill, and he’s scared of what that would mean. On the surface, that doesn’t seem far-fetched. Frankly, Dr. Bird’s insistence that his mental condition is only a side effect of his ability sounds kind of ableist. But the truth might be more complicated than all of that. Parts of his memory are blocked, and he scared of what opening them would unleash, because some scary shit is happening in his mind.
There are a couple of scenes in this episode that are downright terrifying. We see the character from the book his father read to him, The World’s Angriest Boy in the World, manifest itself in Syd’s dreams, and later David’s mind... and it’s creepy as hell. It sort of looks like the Boy of Silence from BioShock Infinite, and it’s something you definitely don’t want catching up to you while you’re running away. It’s still unclear what that book’s about, and whether it means David’s father is more important than we realize (he’s been in shadows the whole time). In the comics, David’s dad is Professor Charles Xavier, but why would he read David such a monstrous story? Patrick Stewart isn’t that mean.
The Boy isn’t a solo agent, though. It seems to be connected to the Yellow-Eyed Demon, who makes more of an appearance this time around. He’s seen hopping around David’s memories, to David’s everlasting terror, even though he can’t seem to ever remember the demon afterward. In fact, Syd is the only one who’s able to recognize the gross blob as a threat: Dr. Bird and Ptonomy don’t even notice it crawling through the walls like a demon from Hell. It’s most likely because she and David temporarily switched bodies in the first episode, so they’re connected. We’ve seen moments of how that continues to affect them, like when David talks about reaching for his “phantom hair,” thinking he’s in her body again.
As eerie as these moments are, it isn’t until the end of the episode that things get really intense, because that’s when the Yellow-Eyed Demon attacks. Specifically, it attacks Dr. Bird, who he tricks into believing she’s broken her hand. She feels the pain in her mind as if it’s real; and although it’s not, that kind of ability is something that could have dire consequences later on. It’s still unclear whether the YED is an autonomous figure inside David’s mind, or a manifestation of his abilities, but it’ll take awhile for us to find out... because we end the episode with David trapped in his brain, struggling to drown out the voices.
Legion seems to be moving both quickly and slowly. Not a lot happens in the real world during this episode, but so much is going on inside David’s mind. And really, that’s what matters here, because the show continues to be a journey through David’s point-of-view. It might not have broken new ground in our story, but it definitely scared the hell out of me.
- We learn a bit more about the curly-haired guy who likes making wood figurines. His name is Walter, and he used to attend Summerland, but he’s not there anymore because he liked “causing pain.” Honestly, unless this builds to a huge reveal later on, all this slow teasing doesn’t seem worth the time.
- Those holes in Amy’s face after she got tortured by leeches. Gross.
- It was super sad when Dr. Miranda Bird kept asking the coffee machine, which was voiced by her not-present husband, to tell her stories. It wasn’t quite Black Mirror-levels of heartbreaking, but I was still deprimée. It sounds like her husband died, but it was unclear to me. I might’ve missed something.
- There was another rat in this episode, this time running in a maze in front of Cary’s machines as he examined David during an experiment. David is totally a rat in a cage, guys, and I don’t trust Cary one bit.
- Bonus: Cary and Kerry Loudermilk inhabit the same body, which seems like it should be a bigger deal than it is. Neither of them is particularly dynamic at this point; hopefully that’ll change in subsequent episodes. I’m guessing Cary will probably betray them, because he’s creepy and I don’t like him.
- My favorite moment was definitely when Syd hugged the “inner child” version of David in his mind after they drugged him to lower his inhibitions for memory work. I’m curious if this will affect their real-world interaction.