Lenny is back, but whose body is that? What possible maleficent role could Farouk intend for her? And most importantly, whose body is that?
Legion – “Chapter 13”, Season 2, Episode 05
Airdate: May 1st, 2018
Director: Tim Mielants
Writer: Noah Hawley (creator)
Based on the Marvel Comics Created by: Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz
What You Should Know:
When we first met David, we were also introduced to his friend, Lenny, a quirky and beautiful junkie spending time in the asylum with David. After David experiences Syd’s powers for the first time and the two switch bodies, Lenny is among the casualties. Seizing the opportunity, Farouk takes Lenny’s consciousness into his own and uses her to torture David through most of the first season of Legion. Upon taking over Oliver’s body, however, Farouk’s role for Lenny is gradually lessened and lessened, leaving an increasingly bored and desperate Lenny begging for a way out of this astral hell she has found herself in. At the end of Chapter 12, however, Lenny has returned. The questions of how and why are on everybody’s minds.
What You’ll Find Out:
The episode begins with Clark and Lenny in a nightmarish interrogation room, in which Clark plays the role of the man asking all the questions the audience has (“Are you The Shadow King?” “How are you here?” Whose body is that?”) while Lenny plays the role of victim of Farouk, but also a victim of a broken home and a dysfunctional family. Lenny’s desperation to talk to David harkens to her desperation to medicate, possibly indicating a likeness of David to a drug for her.
Playing into the question of whose body Lenny is in, we follow Oliver and Farouk on a drive through the desert in search of a body, a body the audience would assume to be Farouk’s given Lenny’s admission that Farouk knows where the monks buried his body, but we are to eventually discover that the body they seek is not that of the Shadow King—it is Lenny’s body the two dig up in the desert and attempt to resurrect. Along the way, we see an interesting development in Oliver since we first saw him lounging in the astral pool with Lenny. Where once there was a cool indifference with a touch of madness, Oliver’s anger begins to swell in this episode, culminating in the promise that he will find a way to kill Farouk eventually.
Ptonomy takes a turn at interrogation, plaything role of the good cop to Clark’s bad cop, waxing poetic on the nature of the present through the science of the movement of light until Lenny brings to his attention that her eye color has changed, the first hint at whose body this is. When Ptonomy attempts to use his powers to peer into her mind, however, the earwig from a few episodes back finally rears its ugly head, not only acting as a block for his access to Lenny’s memories but manifesting into a visage of Admiral Fukuyama. The first glimpse behind the basket occurs in this dream-like state revealing a monstrous face that may or may not be the actual Fukuyama. Upon emerging from the vision, Ptonomy is found attempting to choke Lenny to death, at least implying that perhaps Fukuyama is behind the earwig rather than Farouk.
Once David finally gets the chance to spend time with Lenny, it doesn’t take him long to discover that she is, in a sense, still carrying out Farouk’s bidding, however, the compartmentalization of information by Farouk is strong, and even Lenny does not why she is there or what happens next save for the red herring of Farouk having found his body. Suddenly, David begins to see brief flashbacks to his childhood with his sister as he pushes into Lenny’s mind, foreshadowing the origin of the blue-eyed body, as though sister Amy’s memories are bleeding through.
As we begin on the path to the process of planting Lenny in Amy’s body, Amy recounts a dream she had while awake referencing Fukuyama and her playing the role of one of the Vermillions. Any possible link between Amy and Division 3 in that intimate of a sense is still unclear, but what is clear is that Oliver and Farouk use a stolen piece of Division 3 technology to place Lenny into Amy and then send Lenny to Division 3 as part of a plan to, in theory, derail David.
What Just Happened?
In the standard, John Hamm-narrated segment of the episode, the topic being discussed is humans and their inherent need to seek patterns for survival and how that relates to the relationship between Coincidence and Conspiracy. Coincidence does not fit into any logical patterns save for some forms of Chaos Theory (which is intentionally not mentioned, I would imagine, because Chaos Theory begins to deconstruct the argument presented). Because coincidence does not fit the pattern, the resulting patterns yield conspiracy instead. In the context of this episode, I believe this segment is intended to challenge the very notion of coincidence, and though the narrator seems to press the notion that coincidence is a real but cast-off possibility, the episode reinforces the reality of conspiracy through the meticulousness of the narrative. Is it a coincidence that the desert in which Lenny’s body was buried was in close proximity to the secure holding location of Amy and her husband, or is this part of a greater conspiracy?
And on the topic of conspiracy, why would Farouk go for Lenny’s body before his own? Either this move is a part of a larger conspiracy, or perhaps the answer is the simpler one—that Farouk’s body would be so decayed that he could not re-enter it. Hence, upon finding Lenny’s body nonviable for Lenny, she became a test subject for inhabiting another body. This theory is problematic for the over-arching narrative, however, as Farouk’s body has been portrayed as having a power unto itself so it would stand to reason that there must be a way to recover the body and repair the post-mortem damages.
Just prior to the hostile takeover of Amy’s body, Oliver and Farouk engage in a discussion of morality in reference to mutants and humans. While this show is mutant-centric, actual discussion of mutants as homo superior is rare, so worth noting here that Farouk views mutants, not as elevated humans, but non-human entities above humans, and thus the destruction of humans by mutants becomes an amoral debate.
One final moment that I found compelling in the subtext is that there appears to be a study in the nature of addiction when it comes to the newly reborn Lenny. Lenny still craves escape in nearly any form she can find it, from Bennies (an intentional callout to the persona she seems to be based on, a mystery not yet sufficiently investigated) to Twizzlers. Often addiction is portrayed both in the physical impact on the body and brain receptors, and also a psychological condition related to a sort of re-wiring of those receptors. In the context of Lenny, no re-wiring has occurred on any physical level in terms of addiction, as the brain is not her own, yet the cravings remain, suggesting a more psychosomatic cause for addiction being asserted by the writers.
Final Thought: Only one episode remains before a short, midseason break, an episode that is currently available (my apologies for my lateness to my readers). It stands to reason that next episode will mark a turning point for David and company.
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