FX

A evaluation of tonight’s Legion developing simply as quickly as I train you how one can use the lavatory…

Jon Hamm opens up “Chapter 11” with a proof of the nocebo impact, the place a affected person is made worse by one thing that shouldn’t change their situation in any respect, in an inverse of its extra well-known cousin, the placebo impact. We as soon as once more journey into the all-white room for a sequence of beautifully-shot and unsettling examples of the phenomenon, together with a squad of highschool cheerleaders who move the identical facial tic alongside to 1 one other.

“And so my query to you,” the previous Don Draper proposes, “is, if the thought of sickness can grow to be sickness, what else about our actuality is definitely a dysfunction?”

Legion exists in a universe the place superpowers — notably the psychological variety — are actual, utilizing them as metaphors for psychological sickness in the identical means that Buffy as soon as used monsters as metaphors for adolescent rites of passage. So not lengthy after we witness the cheerleaders tormented by the identical phantom tic, we see nearly everybody in Division three frozen by the chattering enamel plague, which it end up is handed on not by the Shadow King, however by the monk who’s been hiding from him. Nothing ought to be improper with any of those individuals, but right here they’re, nonetheless as statues, whereas the kid troopers have been led off, Pied Piper-style, leaving the place largely defenseless. What’s insanity, and what’s telepathy? In Legion, they’re one and the identical.

It’s one other visually ingenious episode that feels a bit low in energy, notably once we get to the compulsory sequence the place David travels into the minds of his mates to free them from the monk’s spell. That is acquainted style stuff, the sort each present like this ultimately tries as a result of it’s a extra attention-grabbing strategy to delve into the psyches of the characters than to, say, put them in remedy for an hour. And each Ptonomy’s imaginative and prescient of himself as an amnesiac florist, and Melanie’s of herself because the all-powerful god of an ’80s-style textual content journey sport, have been outstanding to have a look at, particularly because the present’s disabled Minotaur shuffled into Melanie’s sport

and the sentences started floating in vertically, one phrase at a time. However these sequences additionally really feel like a missed alternative, in that we don’t come out of them realizing any extra about both character than once we went in. Ptonomy specifically is among the many present’s extra thinly-written characters; mainly, all we learn about him are his powers and the horrible story of his mom’s loss of life. The concept that the reminiscence stylist with the tragic origin would want to overlook every part doesn’t give us new perception, any greater than telling us that Melanie — the abnormal human in a world stuffed with extraordinary mutants, who retains having her husband torn from her for causes past her management — needs she had the facility to manage every part. Each really feel in-character, however a lot in order that the scenes have been emotionally redundant, albeit cool to have a look at.

That’s twice we’ve seen the minotaur affiliated with Melanie now, and the disgusting hatchling creature from the season premiere crawls into Ptonomy’s ear whereas he’s sleeping earlier on this episode. At a sure level, will the Hammeo scenes be revealed as one thing greater than only a intelligent means for Legion to elucidate the Psychological Idea of the Week? May this be an actual factor — by no matter free boundaries of realism this present has — with Hamm showing as greater than a voice by the tip of issues?

The episode does higher by different members of the group, notably Kerry Loudermilk and her struggles to regulate to residing in the actual world on a regular basis. It’s each humorous and unhappy to see how little she is aware of about primary residing, but additionally candy to see Cary attempting to stroll his little sister via it. And although we don’t get to see greater than a quick glimpse of Syd’s personal psychological jail on this hour, with David strolling via a blizzard as our cliffhanger, the truth that she’s spending a lot time because the Division three cat, even after David’s return, suggests an ongoing disconnection between Syd and the present state of issues.

And after final week’s episode first began to handle Lenny as a personality unbiased of the Shadow King himself, this one hit a lot tougher at the concept she’s now trapped as his immortal plaything, unable to do or be something aside from what he needs, and to go wherever he goes. The astral airplane pool scene was primarily one other negotiation between David and Farouk, nevertheless it was most affecting for Aubrey Plaza’s efficiency, and for the best way Lenny saved trying suicide within the background of the dialog, to no avail. (When she shoots herself within the head, for example, solely bubbles come out.) There was some query final season about whether or not Lenny was ever an actual individual, or at all times a creation of Farouk, however she’s simply as a lot frozen in place as all of the victims of the monk. And the monk himself is ready to commit suicide the place Lenny couldn’t, going off the sting of Division three headquarters, thus ending the horrible run his complete order endured after they have been requested to cover Farouk’s physique.

Caregivers wish to say that suicide is a everlasting resolution to a brief drawback, however on the earth of Legion, the place you will be mentally imprisoned for all eternity in your worst nightmare, it’s solely frequent sense.

What did all people else assume?

Alan Sepinwall could also be reached at sepinwall@uproxx.com. He discusses tv weekly on the TV Avalanche podcast. His new e book, Breaking Dangerous 101, is on sale now.

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