Dreams come true in this episode of Legion, but not all of them turn out the way the dreamer hopes, as is so often true of dreams. My dream of SpyCatSyd came true, and was as perfect as I’d hoped. Ptonomy and Melanie were also quite happy in their garden and game dream mazes. The group dream of finding the Mi-Go monk also came true, and was a disaster. Lenny’s wish to be set free is as far from coming true as ever. The Carries appear to be in some kind of limbo. This is very much an example of “Be careful what you wish for…”
Chapter 11 starts with the parable of the week. Jon Hamm describes the “nocebo effect“, which is the opposite of the placebo effect. Instead of a fake treatment working as if it’s real in a good way, as with the placebo effect, in the nocebo effect the patient is given an inert substance, told it will make something undesirable happen, and it does.* We see an elderly man given sugar water by a nurse who tells him it will make him vomit. He projectile vomits. “Your mind had the power to create its own physical reality.”
This parable makes me want to projectile vomit. Be forewarned, I’m only writing about the rest of the parable under protest.
This week on The Crossing, the refugees are on the move. Thomas returns to the others with stories to tell, while Hannah makes a break for it. Reece continues to wander the countryside, being misunderstood everywhere she goes. Leah is still in isolation, so she stays put and her new doctor is brought to the camp. In order to understand Leah’s illness, the doctor’s mind has to go places she never thought it would go. Jude’s son Oliver serves as the wandering child this episode, as he gets more adventure than he expected during his visit with his dad. Emma feels railroaded by her boss, Lindauer, who’s become worryingly secretive. And Nestor continues to be the rock that holds this small town together.
This week, the Invincible Three learn that invincibility, like magic, comes with a price, as the prophecy/time loop plays out all over again. Ruby’s dreams start coming true along the way, bringing her closer to becoming the Destroyer of Worlds. Deke confesses his feelings for Daisy, which doesn’t bode well for his long term survival, if history is anything to go by. But, hey, Ghost Rider was technically dead before he met Daisy, so he’s just banished to an alternate dimension instead. Maybe the guy from the future will get a creative send off as well.
It’s an action packed episode, with a few laughs, a few revelations and some heartbreak thrown in for good measure. With only five episodes left in the season, and possibly the series, we’re racing toward the big finish. Every episode feels like it’s part of the set up for whatever is coming in the grand finale.
When watching Legion, it’s important to keep in mind the concept of the unreliable narrator. Jon Hamm is an unreliable narrator, no matter how much he sounds like the epitome of trustworthy patriarchy. David Haller is also an unreliable narrator, even though the audience finds him attractive and likable, and Farouk is supposedly no longer inhabiting his psyche. That means that we can’t trust much that we’re told in Legion.
This paranoid episode tries to determine if there’s anyone the characters and the audience can trust. Unlike season 1, when the sides and main conflicts became clearly established, in this episode it feels like everyone is gearing up for a war they don’t know is coming yet. Uniting Farouk and his body have become a means to an end rather than the end game itself. Jon Hamm’s discussion about perception vs reality vs paying attention to what’s in front of your face seems like it could be the theme of the season.
Of course, there is a 63% chance that I’m lying about all of this, and a 27% chance that this recap will blow up in our faces. But Melanie Bird has awoken from her stupor and is talking back to Fukyama, so something 100% good has already come out of David’s partnership with Farouk. Who am I certain we can trust? Melanie.
Sheila and Joel get a new pet this episode, after Sheila and Rite Aid Rita finally meet. Gary proves to be a valuable friend. Eric becomes a pawn in a game of tug of war between the undead women of Santa Clarita, which is not as much fun as you’d think. Joel and Abby continue to work through their feelings about their new lifestyle, trying to find an elusive new normal amidst Sheila’s undead adventures.
In episode three, Sheila and Joel attempt to fulfill Gary the severed head’s last wish, prove they are good people, build cherry wood bookshelves, and possibly eat a real life Nazi. They achieve only moderate success, but Joel does get some great ideas for the bookshelves, while Sheila discovers an all you can eat buffet of white supremacists. Eric and Ramona manage to have an entire relationship in one episode, from 1st date to the awkward break up that ensues when he discovers she’s been using him. Ramona is the Zen undead femme fatale of Santa Clarita, and she uses her powers without guilt. It’s a successful date episode for both couples, in the sense that they all come out of it in better circumstances than they were at the beginning of the episode.
This episode continues the world building begun in the pilot, using flashforwards* to follow Reece’s future memories from her adoption of Leah to her decision to come back to the 21st century. In the present day, the hunt for Reece continues, Leah’s illness is discovered, and Lindauer’s questionable motives continue to surface.
This episode spends time getting to know the characters better as individuals in a way that the pilot didn’t have time for. It’s could almost be seen as a part 2 in that sense, since it finishes the set up of the story and gives us insight into why we should care about these people. We get a sense of the factions at play in the future and how they’re being transferred to the present day. The stakes are made more immediate, drawing the viewer into the suspense and intrigue inherent in the premise, but kept at a distance in the pilot.
There’s nothing like a killer future plague to make you sit up and take notice, except maybe morally ambiguous future people accidentally trying to keep the cure from reaching Patient Zero. Or are they preventing the cure from reaching Leah on purpose?
The Crossing is ABC’s latest outing in the summer(ish) scifi popcorn genre. It’s frequently a short-lived genre, as ABC’s series Prey and Resurrection prove. In fact, TV critics were skeptical about why they should commit to a series that had a good chance of being pulled after the first, or at most second, season, and posed those questions to the showrunners, who tried to reassure them that the show had potential.
I’ve been burned by the big three TV networks myself, and don’t watch them much anymore*. The cancellation of NBC’s Revolution on a major cliffhanger was the one that did it for me. I’m giving The Crossing a chance because Mr Metawitches really likes it. I’ve seen the first two episodes, and while it’s far from prestige television, it is entertaining, with a fun time travel, plague, evil mutant vs good human vs evil human vs good mutant plot. There are two female leads, and minor female characters abound. A child from the future is involved as a major plot point, meaning the show should stay more than just a procedural in scifi drag. This season has 11 episodes, described as the pilot plus 10. So, let’s give these recaps a whirl, and I’ll try to grade on a broadcast network curve!
Now that Sheila’s feeling more like herself, it’s time for the Hammonds to try to return to their normal lives, starting with getting their careers back on track. There are also a few loose ends to tidy up from the whole “becoming a flesh-eating zombie/finding a cure” odyssey, but nothing that the family can’t handle.
This episode finds the Hammonds dealing with relatable issues, like trying to beat out the underhanded competition at work, figuring out the best microwave setting for an unusual item, trying out a new exercise routine, and having to redo a chore they thought they were done with. It’s all taken care of with the family’s usual good humor, and hardly anyone gets eaten. Plus there’s an adorable dog.
This week Agents of SHIELD features two daring prison breaks by two death-defying groups of people who are being treated unfairly by their captors. The captors themselves feel that their prisoners betrayed them and their trust, and that the prisoners aren’t listening to reason, so they feel justified in containing the prisoners indefinitely, while they attend to other matters.
The prisoners also feel like they aren’t being listened to. They seek out unlikely allies and use their wits, skill and reckless bravado to pull off their escapes. Someone almost dies in each escape. Meanwhile, the leaders and seconds in command are distracted with their own plots and plans, so they underestimate their prisoners need to escape and deal with issues. The leaders don’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late to prevent the escapes.
Hale and Daisy are mirrored as soft-spoken leaders who fail to pay attention to what’s happening within their teams, and the HYDRA and SHIELD gangs both rebel as a result. Neither leader has either the history as team leader or the watchful muscle to back her up in order to be able to expect absolute loyalty from her best people. As a result, they lose the control they’re holding so tightly.