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TV Review: Legion - Season 1, Episode 6 - "Chapter 6"

03.16.2017

EPISODE 6: CHAPTER 6

SYNOPSIS: David goes back to where it all started.

REVIEW:

FX’s LEGION was positively killer tonight. I’m talking about some legit, right-out-of-the-gate goodness here. Now that we've established that, let's dig in. First and foremost, I want to give it up for Aubrey Plaza and her insanely hypnotic performance throughout the events of tonight's episode. I love that the Lenny Busker character has given Aubrey a chance to really stretch her acting muscles and tenaciously sink her teeth into a role that is multi-faceted and fun. I enjoy Ms. Plaza's adorable but dead-pan April Ludgate persona from Parks & Recreation as much as the next fan, but the work she's doing on LEGION is some next-level business, in my humble opinion. We'll talk some more about Plaza and her Lenny Busker character in the paragraphs to come, I just wanted to place her on the front lines for a moment, as I feel she deserves much of the praise for this episode in particular.

Chapter 6 opens with Lenny playing psychoanalyst to the Summerland mutant crew as Dr. Busker. If you remember the final and despairing moments of last week's episode, Lenny transported the main cast into a psychic reconstruction of the Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital - a place where their mutant powers are nullified and made to appear as if they're mental illnesses rather than gifts. As Dr. Busker, Lenny is now psychoanalyzing the crew, pushing them to talk intimately about their fears and insecurities. With Dr. Bird (Jean Smart), Lenny chooses to instill doubt about Melanie's husband's well being, when she talks with Ptonomy (Jeremie Harris), they travel back to the moment in which he witnessed his mother's sudden and tragic death. In regards to Cary (Bill Irwin) and Kerry (Amber Midhunter), the pair speak on the uniqueness of their bond, while Mackenzie Gray's The Eye delves into the details of his propensity to isolate himself from others. Each incarcerated character in these moments appears twitchy, and it's for a damn good reason.

Just now, I purposefully left Syd (Rachel Keller) off of that list of people talking with Dr. Busker because I think we need to examine her discussion a bit more thoroughly than the rest. You see, there's a part of Syd that just isn't buying into Lenny's made-up world of psychiatry, patients and pills. Nah, Syd can feel it in her bones that something is wrong, and dammit, what is with that door in the hallway that for no rhyme or seems to disappear and then reappear (seemingly) at random? Yeah, my girl's got questions, man. Do you know who doesn't like being questioned though? That's right, Lenny. In fact, now that she knows that Syd isn't as accepting of her psychic construct as the rest of the bunch, she's got to devise a way to silence her before David gets hip to Syd's skepticism.

David (Dan Stevens), the last of the Summerland mutants to sit in the hot seat for a little therapy session with Dr. Busker. Here's the thing though, Lenny has designed this construct entirely with David with in mind, as such the whole thing has been tailor-made to make him feel at ease. The problem is that it's working, and perhaps a little too well. As David sits with a blissful grimace across his lips, he remarks to Dr. Busker about just how delighted he is with his life at the Clockworks facility. He's got his girl, his routine, and an appreciation for life in general that seems to grow with every passing day. At first, Dr. Busker seems to delight in the news. But then, as her smile cultivates into a crooked smirk, the good doctor realizes that she'd be having a lot more fun if she were to f*ck with David's head rather than allow him to remain content. What comes next is perhaps one of the most inspired moments of the entire season.

Okay, I'm just going to say it, holy hell! I had no idea that Aubrey Plaza could crank up the heat like she did for her provocative dance routine to Nina Simone's "Feeling Good". I sat straight up in my chair during that entire number, doubtlessly loving the manner in which Lenny prowled her way through several acts of vandalism and bloody Bond girl-style silhouettes. Just like the Bollywood dance number in the show's pilot episode, this explosive musical moment took me completely by surprise, and only added to my enjoyment of an already superlative episode. As I've stated in previous reviews, one of the highlights of LEGION for me has been the show's soundtrack. Every week this program manages to sneak a really cool track into the mix, be it a stylish cover tune or a relatively unknown gem from a chart-topping pop band's rich catalog of melodies, LEGION knows how to deliver some damn good vibes. I love that about this show, so very much.

After Lenny was through making my heart go pitter pat, we come into a quieter scene in which Syd and David are discussing the nature of them being patients at the Clockworks hospital. At this point, Syd is all but convinced that the facility isn't real, and that something otherworldly is happening all around she and her friends. However, David is so deep into believing that Lenny's construct is the real deal that he admits to not feeling quite the same as his "delusional" girlfriend. Pssst ... hey David, I know you were trying to tread carefully but perhaps calling your girlfriend crazy (in so many words) wasn't the best idea, buddy. After all, you've got to look at the facts: You're off in some drug-induced La La Land, your friends are having vivid nightmares about ice cubes, dead relatives and divers, and The Eye is walking around being Creepy McCreeperson at his leisure. In case you hadn't noticed, David, something is clearly wrong with your world!

I want to switch gears for just a moment and talk about how much I enjoyed the performances of both Bill Irwin and Amber Midhunter tonight. During the events of Chapter 5, I felt like the Loudermilk's merging back together was way overshadowed by the myriad of other things happening in the episode. The impact of Kerry healing and once again joining Cary as his more feminine, agile half felt dulled for me personally, so you can imagine my delight in seeing the pair share some real tender moments in the latter half of Chapter 6. I've really grown to treasure how patient Cary is with Kerry, and how although Kerry is quite deadly she can still appear quite childlike in the presence of her other half. Their bond presents this unique and endearing push and pull that I feel both actors balance very well, and their collective talent for making that magic happen on screen was front and center tonight.

Moving right along, and perhaps past a detail or two, we arrive at the moment in which Dr. Busker and David get down to brass tacks. Alright, so you and I both know that as Dr. Busker, Lenny is poisoning David's mind and shattering what's left of his already-wavering confidence, right? Her newest and perhaps most sinister approach is to convince David that he has no concept of what love truly is, and that it's certainly not something he feels for Syd. Alas, when that doesn't appear to work, Lenny steps things up a notch by telling David the terrible truth: She's been f*cking with him since childhood, she knows who his real father is, and that she's not about to let her stranglehold on his mind go anytime soon. She's simply having too much fun. This is where the episode got real deep for me, and solidified it as one of my absolute favorites of the series.

I'm just going to say it again, because it bears repeating; Aubrey Plaza slayed tonight. Once the gloves were off and she was free to be as nasty as she pleases, LEGION went solid gold. In her conversation with David, Lenny asks him, "What is the point of life?" Her response is that God, or better yet, that power is the point. Lenny then proceeds to confess to David that she's aware of his true potential and that together, their combined powers will rival that of God's divine will. Ah, but that's just it, isn't it? That for all the time that Lenny/the Shadow King/Dr. Busker has been haunting David's mind, it's been so that she/he could break him down to the point of agreeing to a super-villain team-up scenario!

 

How ridiculously sinister is that? In all seriousness, how many years has Lenny been eating away at David's confidence? How long has she/he been whispering, influencing him? Furthermore, where is Professor X in all of this? Is that our finale? Will Charles show up to do some damage control by the season's end or will David be able to break the spell and rescue his friends? We'll just have to keep watching to find out. 

SCORE:

STINGER: David tries to find a way out of his predicament.

Extra Tidbit: During an interview on Conan, Aubrey Plaza revealed that, in the pilot, the part of Lenny was written for a middle-aged man.
Source: joblo.com

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