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Legion - Chapter 6 - Review: "Power" + POLL

As some of us expected, this reality our friends (plus an adversary) were trapped in was all conjured up by Lenny, it becomes clearer as the episode goes on in what I believe to be, Aubrey Plaza's most impressive episode yet! With every episode that has aired, the quality has never faltered. Chapter 6 was written by Nathaniel Halpern and directed with exquisite precision by Hiro Murai. Seriously, some of the scenes the camera highlights/directs are such a joy to watch unfold. Bravo FX, Marvel, and everyone involved with this fantastic show.

We open the episode at Clockworks, in the same private counseling room David's used. This time, Lenny is advising them, starting with Melanie. Between the two, consellor and paitent, a figure of two hands held in unison is set between the two chairs seperating them in the foreground. Visually, it's just pleasing but is also a nice gesture of support (and a callback to the pilot ending shot) even if it's lacking.

"Be honest, you miss him"
"And so you came up with this idea, the frozen man. He doesn’t age, he doesn’t change. You don’t like change."

What's noteworthy about these sessions is we get small pieces of information about our friends from Summerland. Even an interesting quick chat with The Eye, as the scene shifts from each session with ease.

"But you see it right, how you’re the one that’s frozen."

We officially know that Oliver is "frozen in some kind of cryogenic chamber". We also learn a lot more about Ptonomy. His mother died whilst loading the dishwasher and his Pops was stationed in Germany. Later on in the episode, we see his mom fall to the ground in a startling manner, like perhaps it was a heart attack, maybe she was targeted, I'm not sure, but it's perculiar that her ear had a tissue in it, sticking out. Was she drowning out noises or is it something else?

"I like to think I'm a time traveler, I go back, back, back but all I can do is watch" - There's a fundamental realism in his words here, we all have that ability to look back into our memories, at least those we still have a tight grasp on, to relive them but our capability stops because we cannot change them. We don't have the power to undo what's been done, that which is set in stone, as painful as it can be, makes you feel powerless, this I think a lot of people can relate to.

"We're basically the same person"
"Who's it hurting?"

Kerry and Cary were very quirky in their session, Amber Midthunder and Bill Irwin have this sweet twin-like bond that the camera just relishes. The Eye, on the other hand, wasn't so happy to be there, his posture alone spoke volumes. However, he said much more than we've heard before, for the most part, Mackenzie Gray's performance is very physical, his facial expressions convey the majority of his emotions and carry his character along. I was fascinated by how Lenny recalled his becoming a man in such a blunt manner. His delivery during this was really intriguing, it showed he has depth and that he thinks in the long run, something all good villains or antagonists need.

"It's not a race what a boy goes through"
"What matters is where you end up."

Next, it was Syd's session. Rachel Keller continued to shine, her delivery on the feeling of Deja Vu was wonderfully genuine. The feeling of something being not quite right was absolutely evident on her face. I personally loved that shot, whereby Lenny is behind Syd, with a cup of water, she stands there in the midground, there's this photo hanging in the background with the characters hands raised up and then Syd sitting on her chair in the foreground, it was so perfectly framed that it caught my eye.

"It just doesn’t for some reason feel real"
"Something's wrong, like a dream, folding laundry, eating, everything seems normal but somehow you know."

Once daily sessions were completed, we moved into the main living area. What's most bizarre in this reality, though quite appropriate, since it's sort of a nightmare, was having David's sister, Amy, inhabit the role of a demeaning nurse. This is a huge departure from Katie Aselton's sweet and loving Amy, who had always been depicted in a kind light to David. It's also taking Amy, his sister with such a big heart and turning her against him (unknown to him), this way he's isolated, without a familial tie. Lenny destroying that connection with this invasive new character of which Katie did a great job with felt like it was to prevent David from having anything to look forward to beyond Clockworks. I really felt bad for Syd when Amy so aggressively patted her down, the camera captured Syd's face with that trespassed expression in such a heartbreaking fashion.

"Everybody loves dogs"
- "Not me," says David. It's interesting how in this reality Lenny makes David appear more normal, more complacent so he won't want to escape, she makes those around him seem even more problematic so that he's normalized in a way. I like how quite a few scenes in this episode are new alternate ones to the pilot, instead of David and Lenny watching the man drool, it's now David and Ptonomy. Syd mentioning the bedroom door she saw in the south hall was immediately promising. She could've seen it by accident, I don't necessarily think Lenny left it there for her to find because she nixes any discussions about it quite fast so I like that our friends, a few, had begun to fight against this facade. How creepy was it when Lenny was staring right at Syd whilst she mentioned that door, Aubrey Plaza inhabits this role was such a delightful deviance that few villains have.

"I really feel like I've found myself here"
"The world is starting to make sense" - Ha, couldn’t be further from the truth.
"I just don't want to mess things up you know? Now that I have balance"

Kerry and Carry flipping food into each other's mouths was a fun moment. Amy being super mean when David reached for pie was unsettling. Another moment I really liked was not the bugs being present in Syd's food, similar to those in the White Room when she pushed them off the table but the way Lenny's face was edited into the red pie filling. It led into her exceptional dance number. I wasn't expecting Lenny to have a music video of sorts, this femme fatale montage full of villainy was so much fun! Lenny's display of power, the way she strutted through each of David's memories (whilst he hadn't a clue, had no power to do anything), dancing around freely was brilliant. Dance is a form of expression and Lenny used it to her full advantage. The cover of 'Feeling Good' reiterated her feelings so well. I really liked the silhouette feature that was utilized in this entire scene, what an outstanding scene with flawless editing. How entertaining was that? After she's done with the dirty dancin', she just exits the room, which is revealed to be the one Syd's been mentioning in the hallway, like nothing at all happened.

Syd meanwhile dreams of the true nature of her reality, seeing flashes of what once was. We then see her bedroom door open, there is no sign of feet entering to signify a person walking in, the door then shuts, no feet or representation of a human being is present at all. The camera pans up and it's David in a yellow shirt with a long pillow ready to divide space between the two, a complete parallel to what Syd did when she visited him in Chapter 1.

"You ever have that feeling like somethings happened before but differently?"

I found the discourse between Syd and David to be eye opening, I think it was perhaps Lenny as David, mostly because we didn't see any feet coming into the room but also because of the responses whereby David seems more than happy to "grow old in a mental hospital and die" there. The use of mind games on Syd was evident when David asked "not even for me?" when she said she couldn't "stay here" forever. That form of subtle manipulation makes me think something was really off about David but thankfully Syd is obviously too smart and aware to conform so easily.

Conveniently, the next morning, Syd walks down the hallway and the bedroom door has disappeared.

"I'm in a room, it’s not a room, full of people I can’t see and there's this feeling that we're already dead and we just don’t know it."

Back in the main room, dreams are discussed. Cary dreamed on an ice cube, Kerry dreamt of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea whilst Melanie dreamt of love, seemingly all tied to Oliver (Kerry and Cary appear to have been dreaming of two halves of the story that make up Oliver in some sense).

Moving on, whilst walking down another hallway, Cary's friendly display of a magic trick for Kerry was sweet. I have really enjoyed those small moments between Kerry and Cary, it adds more life and heart to them. However, what was sweet then turned sour. Cary excuses himself to the boy's room and we see The Eye watching her, like prey, from afar. The camera closes up on him in such a creepy way. Legion was never advertised or known to be a creepy show, at least to my acknowledgment but what the directors, light technicians, and sound/music supervisors have done is truly amazing especially how they play with the viewer's psychology. Upon returning to their rooms to sleep, Cary mentions that he's just a room away, which I thought was really compassionate. I liked how their rooms had glass window frames behind their beds so that you could sort of have that person's presence close by which is better than a thick, isolating, opaque wall.

Just as Cary is about to sleep, he sees Oliver's ice cube (I assume, there can't be more than one) hover above his bed. It sort of calls out to him or rather, he's drawn to it, reaching his hand further and the way the director films this is simply perfection! The perspective that he's lying flat down lifting up is changed as the camera shows he's now leaning against his bed which then pulls away as the scene shifts to reveal he's in the Astral Plane. I alone with my mundane words can't grasp at the majesty that that was: it was so cool! How fun was it when Cary started saying phrases in different languages to get the diver's attention but then realizes it won't work and follows along.

"A version of reality and not reality itself"

Back at Clockworks, David is busy painting Syd. We see this quick glimpse of what he's done so far and it's peculiar that one of her eyes is sort of glassy like The Eye's eye. Not sure if that was just because David didn't get to painting that region yet or if it's a metaphor that the eyes show everything and hers are kind of clouded right now because she can't pinpoint what's wrong.

David manipulating Syd further by saying that she has been "seeing things that aren't there", giving her the symptoms of his diagnosis was really cruel. To twist words and make someone think they are crazy is a dark game to play, especially when the mind is so fragile in the hands of loved ones. It's interesting to note, both times David was mean to Syd he was in a plain yellow shirt, perhaps a metaphor for Lenny possessing David at the time?

"I don’t have crazy thoughts"

As David talks about how they had Syd in "straps", there's this glitchy score that becomes more prominent playing in the background hinting at a malfunction to which she then leaves his room. In a hallway, once more, Syd finds herself noticing a sort of blemish in the wall, oozing, beating like a heart. Upon touching it, she's reminded of what really happened and that everything she's living in now is a lie. Like a killer, Lenny appears from behind with an uncanny look etched across her face who then gives Syd some headphones as she's had "luck with music therapy", cornering her into listening to it. Like an evil witch, she pricks Syd's finger, or rather ears, and sends her off into a sleeping curse. The music, crickets at first, then sort of slumber-like field was neat however the way the camera filmed her falling asleep was yet again, flawless. The way Syd starts to descend downwards, slowly, then lying flat, as the camera captures her hovering across the hallway in a very Sleeping Beauty-esque way was beautiful, she even reaches her bed and is tucked in. I cannot praise the camera work enough, more shows need to be as inventive and risk-taking with their depiction of certain moments like Legion does, it's such a pleasure to watch creativity unfold.

"Young, not too young"
"Careful, I bite"
"Me too"

From one dream to another, we move to Ptonomy, in his dreams, watching his mother die yet again. We then shift to Kerry who wakes up in shock. She knocks for some sort of reassurance from Cary. Unfortunately, he's been called away to the Astral Plane unbeknownst to her but like clockwork, The Eye is waiting. The way he comes into the room, uttering "what big eyes you have says the wolf" was terrifying. He also mentions she was burning up, which he could sense, another hint at his powers perhaps? was maybe just the shock and scare of not having Cary close by and The Eye's presence. Real great work from Mackenzie Gray and Amber Midthunder.

As The Eye comes closer, the tension is explosive, the way he shuts the door and touches her coat, displaying his power is startling because you're not quite sure what will happen.

"Did you ever eat an animal that was still living"

Kerry runs out horrified daze, arms flailing around like an injured bird searching for solace whilst The Eye hauntingly stands and watches, "you can run my love, there's just no place to go". Just when you think The Eye can't get scarier he does.

We then see David walk down the hallway (post fight with Syd) noticing the door Syd's been mentioning. He hears music, drawn towards it, follows but is disrupted by Amy. Her cruel and deplorable responses, "we adopt you because we have too" were heartbreaking, David's reactions especially. It's a big change from Amy wanting to protect David when learning of his adoption in reality. Amy making quite literal and physical vomiting noises and expressions were brutal, I felt so sorry for David, he even started to gag in response which sucked. Yet it was all a mind trick to prevent him from seeing the truth that the door would alone, give to him.

Now, we move to Melanie, who's presently in the main room doing gardening. A nice easter egg I noticed was that same person in the green background landscape is still present from Chapter 1. Transitioning to her bedroom, we see Melanie praying and subsequently, her husband (I assume it's Oliver like at Summerland) appears to her. The shot is gorgeous, the background he appears in front of seems like a hallway, the lighting illuminates his surroundings giving the illusion of space but when Melanie walks up to touch it it's just a normal wall. That distinction was great, reality and transcendence. After placing her hand upon it, her body passes through it into a passageway, she's then taken to another hallway with a chamber door at the end. Upon opening it, we return to the scene we left at the end of Chapter 5 and Melanie exits in the same manner Lenny did, through the looking glass.

Noticing everything and everyone frozen in time, Melanie tries to move things, the bullet determined to shoot burns in its defiance when trying to alter it's trajectory whilst Syd's body remains stubborn. Whilst this is occurring, two eyes appear on two walls where a door arch divides them, this then transitions to a shot of Lenny watching. Yet another fantastic motif that was truly startling.

Now we return to Lenny in a session that wasn't scheduled, the scenes taking place show her 'interrogating' David. The discussion of fungus, the cycle of spores being spread was fascinating, to use such a metaphor, to want such a violent outcome gives us some clues into Lenny's dangerous endgame. She compares herself to a fungus, not a parasite is also interesting. Aubrey Plaza was phenomenal throughout this entire sequence, she was really in her element here.

"What is the point of life? All of you running around, trying to what? Be happy, be fulfilled."

"There's only one being in the vast multiplicity of space, God. And do you know why God matters? Power." - The very expression of taking her foot and placing it against David's crotch was very significant, such a showcase of power.

"God matters because power"
"The Eye knows that"
- The shot cuts to The Eyes face encompassing the entire frame and expanding to show a somewhat wounded (I'm guessing based on her movements, did The Eye touching her do something or was it just the run of a fearful kid) Kerry, like a rabbit, this wolf follows. He even had the whistling down in this very dark Red Riding Hood-esque scene before the scene closes. Because Lenny compared herself to The Eye or rather their shared want for power, I'm sort of having the feeling he may himself be a parasite or fungus or share those traits. Lenny also mentioned earlier that he was a late bloomer, perhaps feeding/taunting on those younger than himself is his way of reacting to that? He pushes away everyone close to him so maybe it's tied to his childhood, why he acts in such a manner. Perhaps not as deadly as her, maybe he needs youthful energy, his comments in her room earlier make me think so. If not that, I'm not entirely sure why he's so dead set on Kerry unless it's to get to Cary. He fascinates and simultaneously shakes my very core.

"He thought he could hide you from me but he was wrong"

What a revelation, Lenny knew David's father! It seems David's father put him up for adoption so that he wasn't a target, "the guy that gave you away". Was it also perhaps because Lenny/The Devil with Yellow Eyes wouldn't be searching through Suburbia. Maybe it was drawn to strong mutant populations. Maybe his father wanted to distract this parasite away from David.

"You’re very own walking, talking, fungus" - Lenny starts whispering it into David's ear, the shot shows Lenny then flashes scarily to The Devil with Yellow Eyes leaning over David and then back with glimpses of that haunting red light in a seamless manner. Editing genuis is present throughout this show!

"I figured I’d just poison you and move on but then I thought our powers together. A cocktail, we could give God a run for his money."

I cannot express enough how impressed I was with Aubrey Plaza throughout this. The way she went from seductive to devilish was sublime coupled with the editing and terrified response from Dan Stevens created one of the most engaging scenes Legion has delivered. Each line delivered by her was uttered with a flair nobody else has. I think April Ludgate would be overjoyed.

"I'm beginning to think I’m going to have to go it alone."

"Come on we’ve known each there since the womb" - This response from Lenny makes me wonder, what was the point of David's father hiding him if they were together all along or did they get separated and Lenny found him again? Perhaps, Lenny altered his father's memories so he thought he could hide David but she was there or close by or knowledgeable of him all along? The possibilties are endless.

"Oh shut up, I tried making you comfortable, I let you have your friends, your woman" - This was kinda funny.

"Honestly, all I need from you is your body"
"I could give a shit about your mind"

What followed next was really worrying. David trapped in a box with a transparent lid, like a coffin but without the shape flooded by pitch-black isolation. His screams are drowned out by screams of strangers in such a terrifying manner. Such a fate he cannot escape, yet, I'm very curious to see how he does. That chaos that David is engulfed by is then seen to be coming from the headphones that Syd is wearing keeping her asleep, in a bed surrounded by stars, that like of David's bedroom. Waking her, unexpectedly was Cary in Oliver's diving gear. We have our unlikely hero in Cary. I wasn't expecting him to be the one to help her which is just awesome. Oliver was quite the guardian angel in setting Melanie and Cary free.

That cover of David Bowie's 'Oh! You Pretty Things' to close to the episode was ingenious. Especially the lyrics, "all the nightmares came today. And it looks as though they're here to stay", couldn't be more appropriate for the contents of Chapter 6.

With only 2 episodes left in the season, please don't miss Chapter 7 airing next Wednesday at 10 PM on FX and Thursday on FOX International. Also, we have reason to celebrate as earlier today FX renewed the show for a 2nd season! Can't wait to watch more chapters in this story reveal itself. Please share your thoughts, any at all, in whatever length, depth and or capacity you can, in the comments below, I love to read them. Legion is one of the rare shows that makes you think in such a profound manner that the discourse shared is so enlightening and to me, that's one of the markers of great television. As always thanks to all who read my reviews.

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