After last week, when I said that it’s a good idea to streamline the show a little bit so that we can get a few more answers than questions, and after that heartbreaking finale, I expected that we would go straight through with a confrontation between Farouk and David so that we could barrel our way to the ultimate climax of the season. Something to keep old and newcomers interested in.
Well, too bad! Because here’s a vague, slow, methodical, parallel universe episode involving many David’s in many branching timelines that is all brilliantly used as an allegory for grief. Also, it’s great, because of course it’s great. Great things usually end up making me eat my own words.
At first, in Legion’s grand tradition, we are shown scenes and images contextless to what is the grand scheme of things. All we see are David’s, but not the David’s we know. Know, I only knew a little bit of the comic book before I watched this show, but I knew about the idea that David had multiple personalities in his head, hence him being known as “Legion”. That’s what I thought this was in the first place. All these David’s seem so difference from each other that I sure that this was the episode of them coming out to play, because while the show has dealt with his mental illness, it’s never shown his multiple personalities beyond the Shadow King. But the Legion in this show isn’t his multiple personalities. The voices in his head isn’t personalities, but the minds of everyone around him. The legion of this show, to me, is the ensemble cast. They make him powerful.
As the show continued, and as we got information about all these David’s, the multiple personality thing went out the window from a bit and was flat out laid out to me by Meth Head David. This is an episode involving multiple timelines. Multiple timelines are tricky for me, because you start losing stakes whenever you can pull a character from a different time line (oh, hey Arrowverse, I didn’t see you there!), and since an important character, Amy Haller, just died, you would be justified in thinking that that was the direction that this episode was going, but that’s not the episode it was interested in showing.
I think I understood what was happening by the middle of the episode though, but before I get to that, let me ask, how do you grieve? Of course, it’s going to be different for different people, and even for the same person, different for different situations. There is usually hurt, and pain is different for everyone. I try and think of good times had with a person, and appreciate the time I’ve had with them, or miss how they are gone, and not know how I could go on, or sometimes, you just blank out, and not know what to do, as everyone else around you in visibly mourning. Not knowing what to say, or what to do, just stuck for the right answer. Grieving is part of life, and there is no wrong way to do it, but at the same time, there doesn’t feel like a correct way either.
This is where we get to David, and my theory. I think this is his grieving episode, after the loss of his sister. What I think is happening here is that he’s so distraught that he is literally looking though every timeline imaginable to look for his sister, and to see what different choices he’s made, and to see what his relationship with her is. Sometimes, she isn’t there at all, sometimes she is. Sometimes she is the most important person in his life, sometimes he will harm her because she asks for a favour. To me, he’s looking for what he did wrong in this time line to lead to the death of his sister, but the episode is displayed as several short stories about the life of David.
And these David’s are very interesting as well, because they start out as different David’s, but find out through circumstances, we find out a few of them are the same ones. There’s the aforementioned Meth Head David, who appears in one scene, but I believe was what happens if David continued to do drugs with (not really but basically) Lenny. I believe Meth Head David becomes Homeless David, because that’s the connection that I see, who has a scene that is an almost shot for shot remake of “A Clockwork Orange” scene, but with Homeless David liquidating the gang. He’s got a few nice scenes, before Kerry cuts him in half with a sword.
There is Billionaire David, who can be simultaneously cruel and kind with the people around him, who before becoming a billionaire, was Coffee Boy David, who incidentally helped with a deal, getting him his riches. But even before Coffee Boy David, he was Office Boy David (who I wrote in my notes as Stanley Parable David, which fits the theme of this episode quite nicely), a man so bored, he makes a rat dance on his desk to “Slave to Love” by Berry Ferry. Eventually becoming Old Man David, who’s sold his soul to Farouk it seems, and has his sister taking care of him at an old age.
Finally, there’s Emotionally Stunted David, which is my favorite story of the bunch, and I might be bias, because I played a character like him in a theater show called “Kiss the Moon, Kiss the Sun” (sans psychic powers). Emotionally Stunted David is what would happen if he was taking medication his whole life. It’s not that we’re being told that medication is bad, but we’re being show the dangers of being misdiagnosed. Emotionally Stunted David works at his job, stacking boxes, taking his medication, and has his sister take care of him at his house. I feel like this is the timeline Prime David was looking for, because this is the timeline where he had the closest relationship to his sister. Every scene was beautiful and shows a side of their relationship that I believe existed with Prime David and Prime Amy (in a different way), but didn’t see, because that’s not what the show is about. I couldn’t help but feel that this 45 minutes was for us to catch up on lost time in a unique way, to learn more about Amy and David’s relationship, because it’s never been better. Emotionally Stunted David ends with another heartbreaking scene, where the Shadow King is stalking him, and he gets scared out of his mind, and he can’t handle it because he has a mind of a child. Cops see him freaking out and try to arrest him, Amy tries to calm David, but it all goes wrong, as David decimates all the police officers, but not before being shot by one of them. David dies in Amy’s arms as she’s crying. Again, heart breaking stuff.
Something that gets brought up that is interesting to me is the fact that the Shadow King seems to be involved with every timeline. Makes me wonder if there was ever a timeline where he didn’t exist, or where David got rid of the Shadow King in a different way. Or maybe that’s the curse of David Haller from any timeline, cursed with a virus that makes his life hell.
The more I think about this chapter, the more I love it. There are other episodes that may be more fun, and more satisfying, but I usually have less to say about some of those episodes. It’s usually just me recounting what happened and saying whether I liked it or not. Chapter 14 kept me thinking for a while, because it’s so open to interpretation, and is a brilliant self-contained episode. It ends with Prime Amy dropping Prime David off to the Psychiatric Hospital, before the first episode. It’s a scene so great, that I feel that it was the shows way of saying goodbye to a character, that admittedly, got the short stick in this series. Noah Hawley seems to know that, and feel bad about it, so I think that’s why he wrote this episode. This is Amy’s goodbye.
So… Goodbye Amy.