Synopsis 01×02: Melanie Bird begins trying to shift David’s long-held perception of himself with the help of Ptonomy Wallace, the “memory artist.”

After the breakneck pace that was established in the pilot, Legion takes a step back into the past – specifically, David’s past. Melanie Bird is somewhat unconventional in her methods to teach David that he doesn’t have a mental illness, he has powers that are going to help them win “the war.”

Teaching him to tune out as many other voices as possible, she allows him some time to acclimate to Summerland before having Ptonomy take the three of them on a journey through David’s memories. The plan is the help him reshape his memories of mental illness into the framework of powers, but they find instead that someone or something may be altering David’s memories.

After witnessing the telling of a bedtime story (The World’s Angriest Boy in the World), David explains that his father was an astronomer who took him out to look at the stars. We never see his face and the reading of the book seems to be a traumatic moment as the adult David switches places frequently with the young David in bed. When a future – but still past – therapist tries to ask him about the talking stars, David demurs with an uncomfortable admission that he’s not supposed to talk about that.

There is also some time when a young David runs around outside playing with his sister and time spent with Lenny outside of Clockworks. While the childhood memories are innocent, his time with Lenny showcases what may have damned her to Clockworks to begin with. After procuring a stove from who knows where, Lenny trades it to a drug dealer for some kind of blue vapor and gets high with David.

During this memory, the Demon with the Yellow Eyes flashes into Lenny’s place for a moment, but David doesn’t recall it and Ptonomy finds that he can’t manipulate the memory to get to the truth. It’s the same for the therapy session where they all notice a glitch in the memory where David doesn’t even have a fuzzy recollection and instead skips topics altogether.

Once its realized that David is too strong for Ptonomy’s particular form of memory artistry, he’s sent for an MRI to see if that will explain anything about how his powers work. While in the machine, he seems to broadcast himself back into Clockworks, where his sister is trying to locate him. The woman at the desk insists that David was never a patient, but before she can make too much of a fuss the man they call The Eye that was there for David’s interrogation seems to take her captive.

He sets out a tank of leeches in the room where he’s to question her at the same time that David, stressed about helping his sister, potentially moves the MRI machine from inside the building to out on the lawn and away from around him.

Determined to rescue her before anything bad can happen, David packs up and heads out of Summerland. Only he’s intercepted by Syd, who first offers to hold his hand if he stays (even if it makes her uncomfortable) and then tries to dissuade him from leaving by telling him that Amy is clearly the bait. He needs to finish honing his abilities before he goes running into battle and he seems to be stopped from leaving for now.

Also, with the intrusion of Ptonomy and Melanie into his mind and memories, that marks at least three people who have entered into David’s mind. When he first followed his sister and was warned not to interfere, as it distorts her memories, it will be interesting to see if anything they’ve done to David has an obvious effect on him – especially given that Ptonomy actively tried to manipulate his memories and David (or someone) pushed back against that.

It’s interesting that, even in this more grounded episode, Noah Hawley plays with perception. When David is lying inside the MRI machine, the new scientist studying his brain, Cary, appears to be talking to himself in the third person more than once, but later – as the camera pans out – viewers see Kerry, to whom Cary was talking to. Whether David, who was very confused by the exchange, ever realizes this remains to be seen.

This episode, maybe even more than the last, questioned David’s perception of his surroundings. There were many moments in the pilot that we knew the absurdities on screen were in David’s mind, but “Chapter 2” was much more subtle in its approach and presentation and that ultimately may be the most disorienting thing about Legion.

Leave a Reply