One of the things I love about Legion is how utterly unpredictable it is. Even from the most general overview of what you think an episode will contain, Legion will defy every expectation. In the case of ‘Chapter 14’, it went one step further and gave me something I was pretty sure I didn’t want to see and turned it into its most moving episode yet.
Trying to trace the show’s evolution from ‘Chapter 1’ to ‘Chapter 14’ is like trying to trace a dream from your point of waking back to its beginning. You know how a conversation or a train of thought bends and loops and dives off down tangential paths until you can’t remember what you were initially talking or thinking about? That’s what Legion feels like to me. It feels spontaneous, experimental, elusive, actively alive through each moment. It’s a genuine marvel (no pun intended). I watch each episode wondering how the hell it even occurred to Noah Hawley to take the story to these limits.
‘Chapter 14’ could be titled ‘What If?’ We track numerous Davids through various alternate realities, where his abilities lead him to great wealth, an ordinary life of blissfully ordinary happiness, numbing sadness, utter devastation, tragic death and, eventually, the door of Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital. One of the common conceits with alternate realities is the idea of how different choices lead us to radically different places, but what’s evident through so many of these stories is how few choices David ever seems to make. The world happens to him and his success, failure or death seems to be predestined.
The real constant is Amy, which serves to make the events of ‘Chapter 13’ all the more upsetting in hindsight. Amy, her own happiness and dreams – even her own safety – sacrificed again and again to protect her brother from something she doesn’t quite understand. Is her loss of her own body in last week’s episode her final sacrifice for her brother’s sake? In the final seconds of the episode, David is presented with two pieces of advice. One is Farouk, saying “You decide what is real.” With David’s abilities, he could choose any of these other worlds, one where Amy survives to nurse him into debilitating old age, one where she lives and he dies, or one where he’s rich and cruel and she’s cripplingly unhappy. But the wisdom he listens to is Amy’s from right before he steps into Clockworks. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” he says. “But it is,” she replies.
Back in her mind maze, Syd told David that he needed to be strong. Presented with a way to bring his sister back into being and run from his grief, David chooses to live with the pain of losing her. Maybe he’s learned Syd’s lesson after all.
Questions, questions, questions
- Did David make the right choice? Personally, the beautiful wife, cute kids and swimming pool looked pretty good to me.
- Can we take a moment to applaud Jeff Russo’s inspired musical cues in this episode? His collaborations with Hawley on the soundtrack has thrown up some amazing moments, especially this episode’s covers of ‘I’d Love To Change The World’ and ‘Superman’, which some of you may know from R.E.M’s cover version.
- No Lenny in this episode, except for right at the end. That would suggest to me that there can only be Lenny or Amy, never both, and that Amy is well and truly gone now.