Oh, he’s a slippery one, that Farouk. Every word out of that sly mouth sounds utterly reasonable. He can twist your best arguments into an unrecognisable shape and use them to trip you up repeatedly. Not only is it infuriating, like having a conversation with someone who turns everything you say into a pun, but it’s also rife with danger. You can see it etched into David’s face as Farouk bamboozles him with hollow logic and the arcane meanings behind words like ‘villain’.
There are effectively three influences in play here. There’s future Syd, guiding David with her sparkler writing in the dark, there’s twisty, cunning Farouk, and there’s the monk – although the latter finally opts to take a long walk off a short roof, rather than let David discover the location of Farouk’s body. That leaves two, both of whom want the same thing. I don’t know about you, but that makes me suspicious.
The monk is loose in Division III, and it’s he who is spreading the chattering madness of The Catalyst like wildfire, not Farouk, as we previously suspected. A flashback shows us that the monks all started to go mad once they agreed to hide Farouk’s body, some getting a laughing madness, some going suicidal, others developing the chattering teeth. Our last surviving monk infects Ptonomy, Melanie, Kerry and Syd, forcing David and Cary to venture into Ptonomy’s mind, giving us our first proper understanding of what The Catalyst is. Ptonomy is stuck in the maze of his own mind, consumed by his greatest desire: to be able to forget. Cary and David rescue him and bring him back, demonstrating the growing strength of David’s powers, before the trio rescues Melanie from her own mind maze, where her greatest desire is to be able to control everythin.
Chapter 11 continues the season’s remarkable upward trajectory. There are no dance routines this week (boo!) but there are some stunning visuals, especially in the physical manifestations of Ptonomy and Melanie’s minds. There’s a nice juxtaposition between the bright, calm greenery of Ptonomy’s maze, the pitch black of Melanie’s and the throbbing red lights of Division III in lockdown.
It turns out that the monk is after a weapon said to be hidden away in Division III, but Admiral Fukuyama says they never built one. Of course, the actual weapon is David, but the monk – quite rightly – has reservations about David’s trustworthiness. We end with the aforementioned plunge and David discovering a chattering Syd on the roof, diving into her maze to try and pull her back out. I’m fairly confident that what he discovers there is going to have a massive bearing on where we go next.
Questions, questions, questions
- Our Jon Hamm segment this week is about the nocebo effect and conversion disorder, essentially the power of the mind to make an idea into an illness. Did you know that the twitching cheerleaders story used to explain the concept actually happened in real life?
- Can we just have an entire episode of Cary teaching Kerry about eating and pooping? Amber Midthunder’s work as Kerry is hugely underrated.
- This is just a hunch – and my hunches tend to be wrong – but are we all convinced that future Syd is actually Syd? Is there any chance that future Syd is some manifestation of Farouk? The fact that David can’t read her mind makes me suspicious.
- Did Lenny’s background suicide attempts remind anyone else of Harold & Maude and Groundhog Day?
- Where’s Oliver?
- What is up with that cow?
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