Legion 2×9 Review: Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Seventeen was wall to wall sadness. We primarily followed two characters for the majority of the episode, and both showed rather bleak outlooks on their lives.
The main focus of Chapter Seventeen was Melanie. The last we saw her she had attacked Clark and dragged him off for who knows what reason. Through a series of flashbacks we are shown how she was manipulated into compliance by Oliver and the Shadow King. Throughout all of season one we saw Melanie’s devotion to Oliver and had a vivid mental picture of how intense their romance was before he got stuck on the Astral Plane. When he returned and forgot her, I forgave him because of the mental toll being stranded on the Astral Plane must have taken on him over the decades. Now, however, I don’t have much of a sympathetic view of him. Yes, he’s under a lot of pressure from the Shadow King and went through a lot on the Astral Plane, but he still implied that he’d rather have had Melanie destroy his body so he could be free. That showed little regard for her feelings. And even his ‘you could tag along’ response was rather dismissive of her.
It hurts to have to point out Oliver’s flaws because he’s by far my favorite character. Jermaine Clement is spectacular and I adore the way he portrays such an eccentric character. But Oliver really doesn’t treat Melanie with the consideration she deserves. His mind was scrambled quite a bit by his time away, but now that he knows he has a wife who has been pining for him for twenty years he should pause and consider her at least a little bit. It’s so incredibly painful to watch this unfold. Melanie is being completely crushed under his disregard for her feelings.
For a moment there it seemed like Melanie was going to move on from Oliver. She was drowning herself in drugs, which isn’t at all healthy, but on the other side of her poor coping mechanisms she seemed to recognize that Oliver wasn’t the same person that she fell in love with two decades ago. Their relationship isn’t the same. But by the end she was reuniting with him and looking at him with that same longing expression from season one. I’m not entirely sure what caused her to regress like that. It’s possible her wanting to move on was an act and she was always clinging onto her feelings for Oliver. Or it’s possible that Oliver might not have been such a bad guy after all and there’s more going on behind the scenes than what we are privy to as an audience (or maybe we did see it, but like many things on this show we didn’t quite understand what we saw).
The other character Chapter Seventeen primarily focused on was Lenny. Her life prior to Clockworks didn’t seem all that spectacular. She seemed to be a drug addict with a reputation and not many prospects in life. Her return was briefly celebrated, but things quickly settle back into their bleak routine ways. For a while Lenny seems content to just fall back into her previous life, but then Amy begins to haunt her. When Lenny took over Amy’s body, it seems at least part of her was left behind mentally. That’s a huge relief to me because as I expressed in Chapter Thirteen, I was going to miss the actress.
Chapter Seventeen also solidified my recent crush on Aubrey Plaza. Last year when I first discovered Legion I fell head over heals for her, I adored her so much in this role that I binged all of Parks and Rec in just a few weeks. Lenny has been clearly somewhere on the LGBT spectrum from the beginning, but this is the first time we’ve seen her with a woman as a partner. Crush amplified times ten. I hope Legion returns to SDCC this year so I can see her in person again. I adore her so so much.
We also spent some of the episode with Kerry and Cary. While this episode was primarily focused on Melanie and Lenny, we got a deep look at this pair as well. I’m enjoying watching Kerry develop her independence and insist that the psychic instructions were in their head, not his. The actors who play them have developed an interesting dynamic and I adore them, too. In fact, most of this cast has quickly become favorites. They are a truly special group of people.
We head into Chapter Eighteen (which was supposed to be the last episode of the season but isn’t) with a lot of questions. At this point in the first season most of the questions were being answered, but this year is much more complex and confusing. I hope the confusion isn’t the show’s downfall because I love shows that have deep and interesting mysteries. That’s not always the case with the majority of viewers, though, and I fear Legion could be cut short due to this. I hope I’m wrong.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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