Legion: Chapter 19
June 12, 2018 8:07 PM - Season 2, Episode 11 - Subscribe

Know what this is about?
posted by homunculus (35 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Excellent finale. That was great!
posted by homunculus at 8:08 PM on June 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I really loved the animated astral showdown at the beginning.

I did not love the feeling (despite Syd's declaration that she's the hero) that a lot of this episode and the previous were basically a tug-of-war between Farouk and David, where Syd's the rope.

Hitting the point that a white dude with the delusion "I'm a good person, I deserve love" is actually an extremely dangerous person is certainly apt in this cultural moment, as frustrating as it was to watch David get railroaded.

No idea where they go from here, though. As amazing as the show is visually and thematically, it's gonna get really hard for me to stay invested if there's nobody left I can actually root for, and the number of characters I really like shrank dramatically over the course of the season, without any new genuinely likeable replacements being introduced. I'm still in Cary and Kerry's corner (and Ptonomy, if we ever see him again) but other than that...I guess I'm tentatively on Team Lenny?
posted by mstokes650 at 9:03 PM on June 12, 2018 [5 favorites]

We've certainly traveled a long, dark path from the sweet and quirky days of season 1.
posted by homunculus at 9:19 PM on June 12, 2018

Since early season one I've been assuming the Lenny is really just one of the voices inside Daid's multiple personality filled head, albeit encouraged by, but separate from Farouk. Maybe next season, say if David restores Amy then Lenny will need somewhere to go.
posted by homunculus at 9:29 PM on June 12, 2018

I guess I'm in complete agreement with the AV club review. There's no reason for the sexual assault aside from control, so as motivations go, it's garden variety rapist logic (I tried thinking of some better motivational logic for rape and couldn't that's why it's a fucking third rail I guess). I'm not sure this is the Buffy reference the AV club went for, but it's like what Warren does to women. Warren (is that his name? guy who lost his skin) was never a hero. He wasn't even a proper comic book evil guy. He was just a rapist who got a gun.

And Legion does this to the putative hero to the story. Jesus. Was there not a single woman on the writing team?

And I'd come to adore the show, and honestly, I didn't want to believe that David had raped Syd, and I felt like a rapist myself in trying, after the show, to think that David was not a rapist so I could go on loving the show.

posted by angrycat at 11:27 AM on June 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Jesus. Was there not a single woman on the writing team?

It really didn't feel like it, this season. In retrospect it doesn't really feel much like there were any women writers for Season 1 either but it was less noticeable.

That AV Club reviewer and I have basically the same concerns about what the show can do from here.
posted by mstokes650 at 11:58 AM on June 13, 2018 [7 favorites]

Yeah, I would almost be willing to follow the show or even defend it for taking a turn like this if I didn't feel cheated out of well-written female characters in a vast majority of the episodes so far. Their dialogue has been so clichéd and clunky that it sounds a couple decades old and I've very low confidence that this plot point will be handled skilfully; and if it is, then it's only because the serious, grounded nature of "sexual assault" has forced the writers' hands to do a good job and therefore it'll still come off as cheap.
posted by QDeesp at 1:34 PM on June 13, 2018

I can't remember a show I liked so much at the the end of season 1 taking such a spectacular nosedive halfway into season 2.
posted by runcibleshaw at 5:21 PM on June 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

I've been fearing this turn since I saw the single season of Fargo I've watched, Season 2, which was great but [not really spoilers] took what felt like a very conservative turn in the last episode. Anyone who wrote that, I feared, was unlikely to overcome the various feminist criticisms this show has been gradually accumulating. 20+ hours in, has it actually passed the Bechdel test yet? Certainly not this season. Watching all these potentially great female characters get gradually subsumed by "their men" -- and worse, framing that via a supposed critique of those men -- has been a sad grind. The fact that David is basically the bad guy (as I've suspected all along) doesn't get them off the hook one bit, particularly because the emergence of that badness seems tied to the resurgence of his mental illness, as if the latter causes the fomer. And somehow, ending it with a male cover of that Amos song (have there been any female vocals in any of these episodes? I vaguely recall Cat Power in there somewhere) was the final straw. Ah well -- I'm still happy to recommend the first season as a stand-alone masterpiece.
posted by chortly at 10:55 PM on June 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

From TFA:
Even when he was torturing Oliver last week, we may not have liked it, but we understood doing something bad to achieve something good. He was trying to save Syd.

If you came to that conclusion, you utterly missed the point of those scenes. The point was never “David is justified and poor Syd is being duped by Farouk.” Him lying to Syd was a step to being the bad guy. Him torturing Oliver was another. Him wiping Syd’s mind was another. Him raping her was another. And at every point, he was deluding himself that he was doing the right thing.
I do wish the women had been written better this season. Melanie’s character, in particular, was a travesty. But Syd clearly labeled his actions. Everything in the courtroom was clearly the capital T Truth. David ran, rather than face it. But none of that was played for the “What is reality?” feel the rest of the season had. I don’t think they have any intention of walking this back. Now, will they do it justice next season? I don’t know. But this season, to me, brought us from the quirky band of supers at the end of season 1, to the OMG David is for sure the villain, and at no point did I disbelieve their arcs. In fact, the arc that was least believable to me was Farouk’s. He was too old and too smart and too capable to have been bothering with allof them for the whole season.

Also, I’m thrilled to have heard Cornflake Girl at the end, because that Cornflake Girl line Lenny said recently now makes more sense. And with Tori being the poster girl for sexual assault survival and advocacy, it fit.

Should this show be better? Absolutely. Did I enjoy this season? Immensely.
posted by greermahoney at 12:11 AM on June 14, 2018 [9 favorites]

I'm fine with David ending up as the villain, but it stetches credulity that anyone would trust Faroik for a second if not under mental control. Farouk is a mass murderer who put delusion eggs in Division X's heads and killed Ptonomy with them. Farouk's attempt to be paternal with David fall flat, camping out in someone's head for 30 years as a demonic entity might prevent them from thinking of you fondly.
posted by benzenedream at 12:26 AM on June 14, 2018 [7 favorites]

I really loved the animated astral showdown at the beginning.

Legion 2x11 - David & Farouk sings "Behind Blue Eyes"
posted by homunculus at 9:49 AM on June 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've generally liked this season more than most folks but I'm not at all sure how I feel about this episode.

1) I'd become wary of what seemed to me to be an increasingly self-indulgent portrait of David as a kind of troubled but heroic god. "Behind Blue Eyes" is the pinnacle of that sort of brooding toxic masculinity, and I groaned when it started playing. You can have troubled but heroic gods in comic books, but in the real world, that narrative is a mechanism for guys to romanticize and excuse themselves for their own bad behavior. It can be an especially appealing narrative if you are struggling with severe mental illness because, like David, it lets you recast your illness as something more appealing. I'm ashamed to have bought into it myself when I was younger and so hate seeing it propagated uncritically now, but this episode convinced me the writers were very much aware of the undertones of that narrative and were were deliberately using that self-indulgent story as part of David's path to becoming a villain.

2) This season has done a good job of gradually making increasingly clear how emotionally and socially stunted David is---as one might expect from a lifetime of poorly treated schizophrenia and Farouk's manipulation. The scenes in David's mind where he latches on to "I'm a good person and deserve love," was extremely well done, and Stevens' delivery of the mantra was desperate, uplifting and sinister in turns. It was easy to see why David would get caught on this idea and how it would lead him astray, not least through the undercurrent of....fetishization? Objectification? of Syd as his way out and reward.

3) So I'm inclined to see a lot of this season as spinning out the consequences of David forgetting his own warning last season that one of the dangers of mental illness is that it tricks you into thinking that you're not sick and having that play out in terms of David's unexamined participation in patriarchal tropes and behaviors. That's not a bad narrative arc, and you don't have to be mentally ill to take something from it. To run with the patriarchy example, one of the dangers of patriarchy is that it makes it easy to convince yourself that you're no longer sexist (the same can be said for racism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, and on and on). And that's pretty much where David ends up. But...

4) That story could have been told almost as well with him just wiping Syd's mind so she'd "love" him again. That's still a massive betrayal, but it's a little more removed from the real world than rape. Hawley and the other writers are good, but I don't see how they are going to handle sexual assault in a way that is effective in the story while still being sensitive to audiences and society. And while I'm happy to see this season avoid romanticizing mental illness by showing the toll it can take on one's own life and the lives of others, I'm not really thrilled to see such a tight connection between "You're schizophrenic" and "You drugged me and had sex with me." I certainly can't recommend this show without hesitation or qualifiers now.

5) This episode and the last have used Syd and Melanie to push the viewer to reexamine the casual way the narrative has dealt with violence so far. David's attack on Division 3 was horrible when it first happened, but it takes on new moral weight as Hawley has us watch Syd watch David's violence. (I know some people complained about the clip-show feel, but it seemed to me to be a pretty deliberate way of shifting the viewer's identification from David to Syd.) That changes the viewers' expectations about the moral and narrative conventions of the story being told. E.g., we're expected to overlook the lack of social, legal, and psychological burdens that come from killing someone in Star Wars because Star Wars isn't that kind of movie, but we wouldn't overlook them in certain dramas. Comic-book rules don't apply to David's actions, and this season we learn they never did. We're supposed to treat his mind-wiping and having sex with Syd with the moral seriousness that it really deserves. That's very much as it should be, but it leaves me uncertain about how seriously the show wants viewers to treat other parts of the story. Farouk has murdered countless people---including the criminally underused Ptonomy and the forgotten telekenetic guy. Clark was going to torture and execute David in Season One, and ordered troops to fire on unarmed civilians. Syd tried to straight-up murder David just before he mind-wiped her, and perhaps most uncomfortably given the sex and mindwiping in this episode, Syd swapped bodies with her mother to have sex with her mother's boyfriend without either one's knowledge or consent. I'm not objecting to these events as components of the narrative, but I'm not sure what narrative conventions the show intends me to impose on them.
posted by This time is different. at 10:18 AM on June 14, 2018 [7 favorites]

I do not like it one damned bit. I feel like the first season bumped into these issues and landed firmly on the right side of the line. In this season, it's been a slow burn of watching them cross the line, and hope there's some way for them to thread the needle by the end.

And instead we see David rape Syd. And yet that's not even what his trial is about. His trial is about the fact that he will become a villain worse than the Shadow King, and he needs to be preemptively jailed. The rape is just Exhibit A of his descent into becoming an irredeemable villain.

And this is one of my hobby horses. Our inability to see rape as a common crime committed by common men who have learned from society that their desire trumps the autonomy of women. Society's opinion about rape is never about the woman, it's our judgement of whether or not a single man is deserving of Privileged White Men's communal property. It's only Rape when it's done by Bad People. (And I don't even want to get into the grossness of Syd initiating nonconsensual sex that ends with a man going to jail. Which just makes the whole thing feel like an MRA take on rape)

It's lazy writing. And it undoes all the careful depictions of mental health in season 1. It paints David's inability to be a good person as inevitable. (there was maybe 1 dangling trajectory where he might not have killed more people?) What choice do we have but lock him up for the good of society.

I'm not opposed to making David the villain. Legion as villain is a great story generator, but he's a terrible protagonist. Develop your other characters, don't simply make them cannon fodder.
posted by politikitty at 11:03 AM on June 14, 2018 [8 favorites]

Basically, this episode is only okay if you take out the vile rape element and if it turns out that all of it is further manipulation by Farouk. I'm still done with this show but I'd like to show how it could have made sense and been justified by the rest of the series.

Supporting evidence

- Melanie, who lays out the case for David being a monster/villain/psychopath, is Farouk at the time as far as we know.

- David thinks he's torturing Farouk, not Oliver. Oliver specifically says "don't harm the vessel", at which point David goes inside Oliver's mind to torture what he thinks is Farouk wearing an Oliver mask. Everything everyone knows about Farouk up to this point is that he's a mind virus who kills people. In fact in episode 2 Division 3 is going to kill Oliver to get rid of Farouk, which wouldn't work anyway, since we know that Farouk can travel from vessel to vessel if he needs to. That's how he got into David in the first place. So David is trying to keep Oliver/Farouk alive and physically unharmed and save Syd.

- David is shown killing people, but Farouk is in control at the time. Melanie (controlled by Farouk) says that he didn't pull the metaphorical trigger, but he somehow enjoyed it. That doesn't make any sense. By that logic Farouk can control people's actions but not their reactions to what he makes them do. Also by that logic, when we see both Oliver and Lenny enjoy killing guards does that mean that Oliver is a psychopath? I mean, Lenny probably, but Oliver?

- When Farouk leaves a vessel he obviously still has some semblance of control over it. Oliver says "he made me". So either Farouk can control multiple people at once, or he can leave a sort of post-hypnotic suggestion behind. If that's true, then what did Farouk leave behind in Melanie when he's transferred back to his own body? Perhaps the idea that David is a villain and should be imprisoned is a post-hypnotic suggestion.

- Syd tries to kill David. As far as David knows, and really as far as the audience knows, Syd is under the influence of Farouk. David wipes the memories of what are essentially lies fed to Syd by Farouk/Melanie. If he doesn't do that, when Syd wakes up she's going to try to kill him again. It's still a violation of Syd, but there's an arguable self-defense justification, as well as the justification that he's removing lies told by Farouk. Please note I am not trying to justify the later rape. I am not.

- When convinced of David's future villainy, the Division 3 folks just let Farouk go? What the hell? Farouk is still a dangerous murderer with god-like power. Even if they believe Farouk about David, why would they let him go? The only plausible answer is that he's still influencing all of them in some way. Also, how have all of Farouk's wounds healed in one day?

Here's how it could all make sense and not be the terrible finale we got (it was the finale right?)

As I've suggested before, the entire series right up until this last episode has taken place in David's mind. All the places are in David's mindscape, and all the characters are other personalities of David's.

Evidence that it's a mindscape:
- The giant green floating pointing figures seen in the sky earlier in the season.
- The giant drain plug in the desert.
- The random cow
- The unexplained army of bolo-wielding ruler-faced dudes who sometimes wear safes on their head.
- Everyone (except the guy with the burn face?) has mutant powers, even the people we don't think have mutant powers. Amy dreams she's one of Fukuyama's (Fukiyama?) mustachioed gynoids. Melanie is able to manifest her inner minotaur, which we saw in her maze, into "reality". Lenny doesn't seem to have powers, but my explanation is that she's really part of Farouk.

Farouk is "real" in that he is an outside entity who has been in David's mind since David was a child. Farouk has been trying to take over David's mind since the beginning. David is schizophrenic and/or has multiple personalities. Farouk first tries to get David to love him by being David's beloved dog. Then he tries to scare David. This and David's latent powers cause David to spiral into psychosis (apologies if I'm getting the mental health terminology wrong during this). David then begins exhibiting alternate personalites, which actually act as a support network for him and allow him to fight back against the Shadow King.
The Shadow King retreats and regroups, taking two personalities with him (Lenny and Oliver).

Farouk realizes the only way to defeat David and take over his real body is to turn David's other personalities (everyone at Division 3) against David. Oliver, pretending to still be Farouk, tells David that "I know something you don't know" and that he's "part of" David, even appearing to be David for a moment. If all the other character are David's own multiples, then who are the other David's? They're delusions/masks/puppets created by Farouk (notice they only appear after Farouk is released) meant to convince David of what everyone else already believes. It all works... if you take out the act of rape. My guess is that Hawley didn't think he had done enough to justify everyone turning against David. Take it out and I think I'd be at least okay with how this season ended. As it is, it's a massive disappointment that frankly makes me feel dirty for having watched it.

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted and hopefully the above deluge of fan theory will be the last thing I write about this show.
posted by runcibleshaw at 7:08 PM on June 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

All great points above, everyone.

On a lighthearted note, I felt like the guys from Hot Tub Time Machine, waiting to see when Syd loses part of her arm.

It still seems to me that David destroys the world because the people that he trusted turned against him, and they turned against him because he will destroy the world. I wonder if David had never spoken to future Syd, and if Farouk didn't use that to manipulate everyone to turning against David, would he have just killed Farouk and then lived happily ever after (until the next crisis of course). Its the kind of time travel loop where intervention to stop something causes that thing to happen. (And after some googling I find that this is called the Predestination Paradox) I think that is the most annoying (besides the misogony, etc.) thing this season. No one stopped to wonder why David went full villain and tried to stop that. They just tried to stop David, which caused him to turn full villain.
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:58 PM on June 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just rewatched, so I have questions.

Couldn't they have used the giant Tuning Fork to strip David of his powers, then have a trial? As well as a trial for a powerless Farouk.?

From season one episode one, David meets Syd, she speaks, he's enamored, and asks "Will you be my girlfriend?" She says "OK."

Is this just a meet cute, or was David using his powers on Syd from the start? Maybe even subconsciously?
posted by Marky at 12:12 AM on June 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

It all works... if you take out the act of rape. My guess is that Hawley didn't think he had done enough to justify everyone turning against David. Take it out and I think I'd be at least okay with how this season ended. As it is, it's a massive disappointment that frankly makes me feel dirty for having watched it.

Agreed. On my first watch I didn't see that scene: when Act 3 was starting I went outside for some coffee and a smoke to recharge my fading brain (insomnia) and I came back in when the trial started. I had a WTF moment when Syd told David what he did to her, but then I thought the rest of the finale worked great. But on rewatch, it was thoroughly unpleasant. The one thing I'll give the writers is that it was narratively coherent: I can believe that David, with his combination of problems and powers, could do that to Syd while deluding himself that it was all an act of love. But having missed that scene the first time, I think it was totally unnecessary for David's character arc, which worked fine without the rape.
posted by homunculus at 5:21 AM on June 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

Yeah, the thing that gets under my skin is that it's a long road from "David is actually evil" to "and Farouk is innocent in all of this" that feels thoroughly unexplored by anyone else in Division 3 this season. I'm sort of hoping they figure out a route in the 3rd season, but this whole season was both hard to watch and hard to get invested in.
posted by Kyol at 8:26 AM on June 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Well, I've been saying all along that I've been watching this show purely for the ride, but it looks like this is where I get off.

There's a lot I enjoyed about this season, up to and including large early chunks of this episode, but I came away from the last 15 minutes feeling pretty alienated by the whole thing. I knew that David would eventually become the baddie, and the show would challenge us to find sympathy with him, along with the dangled promise of an eventual redemption arc, but I don't know that there's any coming back from this.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:28 AM on June 15, 2018

It does seem like pretty much everyone is holding the idiot ball except for Farouk.
posted by lizarrd at 4:31 PM on June 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Yeah I wonder how much influence Farouk still has over everyone at this point, even David. And the rape scene was unpleasant and unnecessary, but was to me the only action the writers could give to convince us that David is the monster. It felt lazy.

It would have been much more interesting that Farouk is still in control at the point of the trial, and the time loop is actually started by Farouk, with bad guy David "ending" the world to stop Farouk, but future Syd and future Cary are still under Farouk's influence and used the ball to keep the loop going.

Clearly the mouse-whisper trick is something Farouk did to all of Division 3 (I somehow doubt it was just Syd that got that inception) to release himself for the trial.

I guess I'm frustrated that so many things are left as loose threads and unexplained and then also the main plot worked overtime to make David the bad guy, which illustrates the points others have made that his actual mental health issues are a real concern and shouldn't be used as a tool to make him turn bad.
posted by numaner at 4:59 PM on June 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

The opener was a highlight of the entire season, and the lyrics to BBE are almost too on point for the change that has occurred as David has become the villain.
For my money the show could have ended right there. The rest of the episode was just more obfuscation. Why put Farouk on trial? If it's all in David's mind and he knows F is guilty then just kill him. If it's Div 3's job to save the world then kill him. If David is an irredeemable killing machine then just kill him. If David even suspects that anyone, including Syd, is acting strangely then he has to assume that Farouk is manipulating and he should just ignore and go on with the ONE SINGLE OBJECTIVE which is to kill Farouk.
I am sorely disappointed that this compelling show is revolving around one single antagonist for 2+ seasons. I enjoy the visuals but I don't know if i'm invested enough to grind through another season now that they've made almost every character unlikable and none of the mysteries get solved.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:40 PM on June 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

If Farouk gets his body, he'll be unstoppable, except by our tuning fork, or a radio shack crown
posted by benzenedream at 6:53 PM on June 17, 2018 [7 favorites]

The only reason I watched this season to the finale is because I was hoping against hope that it'd have some miraculous explanation for why it was so bad. Whoops, the opposite happened! I'm done. There were good, maybe great, isolated scenes, but this season could not carry its weight.
posted by destructive cactus at 11:05 AM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't know how to redeem a villain on trial for drugged rape at this point, so I'm cheering for Kerry, Cary and MAYBE Amy/Lenny to split up and survive all of this, somehow.

Great acting and directing all around but my stomach cramps with dread imagining rape apology happening next season. Not sure if I can keep watching a show I've been utterly obsessed with up until now. Rape is a pretty hard line in my emotional sand.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:47 AM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

There's no small amount of irony in David's refusal to acknowledge what he is being mirrored by Noah Hawley's innability to see he can't write this story. Power blinds both the character and the writer to their limits and Hawley's refusal to recognise that there are stories he is not best placed to tell may have killed his show. I assume he thought his epiphany would be shared by his audience but was deaf to the cries of "well, duh".

Like David, there is no way he can walk this back.
posted by fullerine at 12:20 PM on June 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I think the "David is actually crazy" conclusion is what throws all this off for me, it would work better and be in line with Melanie's monologue about "our men" earlier in the season if this came down to "David may or may not be mentally ill, but power and the toxic masculinity of the hero narrative is a dangerous thing." It feels like a cheat to lay it at the feet of mental illness or possible Farouk meddling when the toxic masculinity is right there already in the story and more realistic, and actually starts saying something worth saying about the things that men get away with because of the societal narrative around masculinity, and where that leads. Like aaallll the elements are there for that story except that conclusion, to the point that I have to wonder if the network said no to going there pretty late in the process.
posted by jason_steakums at 12:48 PM on June 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

This season definitely shows that Fargo works because of it's anthology set up.

He creates interesting marginalized characters that get more depth than they would in movies. I appreciated that his deaf/mute character is actually a deaf/mute actor. The kid who played Charlie has cerebral palsy. I love that he reinvented Forge as an older white tinkerer and young Native American woman. He's interested in creating a diverse world.

But on closer inspection, they're diverse because it adds to the surreal colorful atmosphere. They are never given any agency. This is especially true of Fukuyama. He was so boring in our timeline, and then we're given a 5 minute backstory where he's a non-lethal Weapon X. Holy hell, why are we sidelining him as orientalist decoration? how is David's Man Pain more interesting? Why are we centering the story around a telepath trying to destroy our other telepath, and not the person genetically manipulated to withstand telepathic attacks?

The second season had all the secondary players just rehashing their old archetypes, and ignoring any nuance. They became caricatures of themselves.

I kinda feel like this season is a very MRA response to Jessica Jones. Kilgore is destined to be evil because all telepaths can't help but bend people to their will. That Professor X will always be a jerk. We shouldn't have power because we will abuse it. Hawley doesn't notice the toxic masculinity behind that inevitability. He references the Shadow King, Legion, Professor X as our telepaths. He ignores Jean Grey, Rachel Summers, Betsy Braddock who occasionally struggle with the ethics of telepathy (and phoenix force), but primarily experience telepathy as a call to be the ultimate caregiver and protector.
posted by politikitty at 1:55 PM on June 18, 2018 [9 favorites]

I loved season 1 of Legion, which I binge watched in like two days. I've been pretty luke warm about this season, although it's had it's moments, and I stuck with it because I loved the first season so much.

In this episode, I loved the opening, and Melanie and Oliver in their ice cube, and I was also glad to see the show returning to the theme of mental illness more explicitly, since the reason I decided to watch the show in the first place was largely because I was interested to see how a show about a super hero type character in a psych ward was handled.

But I could have really done without the rape scene. I get enough of that from watching Game of Thrones, thank you very much. And a show that's built on unreliable narratives/narrators and "who knows what is real" and "a delusion starts like any other idea" is not a great fit for having the main character rape the supposed love of his life.

I'll likely check out the third season, but I'm not sure I trust the show to handle this narrative turn in a decent way, which is a bummer, because there are so many great things about this show.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:46 PM on June 20, 2018

Wow did I hate that episode and the forced turn to make David the bad guy.

Given the way SK was walking freely and D3 turned on David, it seems likely that events are not what they seem (which we've also been beaten over the head with all season long). Between SK and David messing with Syd's head, joining the supersquad is not working out so great for her (which I guess was Melanie's message before she also got derailed as an interesting character).

Is there a more boring, overdone story than the confused young man and the romance gone sour? As one who has been that myself, fed by bs like this, we could do the world a massive favor if we uprooted that story and that twisted notion of love completely, burned it to ash and started telling better stories about love.

Still I'm glad David escaped. I hope he and Lenny retire to that lake, smoke lots of blue, raise those chickens, and enjoy tasty non-SK-poisoned eggs with homegrown veggies. Of course, that would make for a really boring S3 so we'll probably get the continuing adventures of Mental Boy and Crazy Girl (which I'd totally watch if it turned into a road trip along America's backroads with wacky banter and occasionally helping folks in menial ways, like restoring the broken well or finding lost cattle).

But yeah, lines crossed that can't be uncrossed.

Just really frustrated that such a promising first season turned into such a poor second season.
posted by kokaku at 1:08 PM on June 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Also, are we of the opinion that David fiddled with Syd's mind to put something there that wasn't (feelings for him) rather than removing SK's negative influence (such that she could feel for him again)?

That makes a difference as to how one interprers the sex scene. What Syd said at the trial could have been from the whispering mouse or it could have been an accurate statement of David's manipulation. That's where I think the show really messed up.... ambiguity is a really poor decision for a turn of that weight.

Forgive me if I've misread the whole thing entirely or missed something in the show that made it much clearer than I'm seeing.
posted by kokaku at 12:52 AM on June 23, 2018

Also, are we of the opinion that David fiddled with Syd's mind to put something there that wasn't (feelings for him) rather than removing SK's negative influence (such that she could feel for him again)?

I think that's an important crux, and judging by how much they rolled out the red carpet for the SK after the mouse whispers I'm leaning towards the latter? But it could totally be the former. It's squicky either way, and it feels like the "I'm a good person, I deserve to be loved" wants to push it more towards the former? I'm annoyed with how blinded to psychic suggestion all of division 3 seem to be. OH HEY Y'THINK MAYBE THAT'S HOW THE SK IS SO POWERFUL, GUYS? rar grar.

If Farouk gets his body, he'll be unstoppable, except by our tuning fork, or a radio shack crown

Well, he did overpower Kerry's crown in the end, right? I assume there are long term negative consequences to the tuning fork, above and beyond keeping it ringing. (Like, say, it's a general power suppressor, so everyone else at d3 gets a little fucked up.)
posted by Kyol at 10:07 AM on June 25, 2018

I rewatched season 2 ahead of season 3 coming out. It's much clearer on rewatch that the Shadow King is manipulating everything and everyone. He lies throughout the season and continues to push boundaries, killing D3 guards & Amy Haller (and her husband and their guards), gas-lighting David and future-Syd along the way.

When David does something to Syd after she tries to shoot him, it seems much more like when he was removing the little black delusion beasts from everyone's head (there was the same glow happening then too) - removing the SK influence. That moment is too weighted and should not have been left ambiguous - though it's probably also setting up season 3. When David meets with the SK, it seems like the SK was playing on David's fears and mental instability when he talks about Syd. And the SK whispers to the mouse who whispers to Syd in her dreams, continuing to poison the well. The sex scene plays way more ambiguously in there - though again it's too weighted to have been handled the way it was.

I'm looking forward to season 3, despite the weakness of the 2nd half of season 2. Here's hoping they can carry it through to a decent finale.
posted by kokaku at 8:20 AM on June 6, 2019

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