It was bound to happen folks, but this week we got ourselves a snoozer. Last week’s episode of Legion focused on Syd, and her backstory, but this week tried, and failed, at repeating the same formula, only with Lenny. I have been quite outspoken of my admiration for Lenny Busker/Aubrey Plaza in this series, but it was only a small part of the episode. Now the episode does end with a “shocking” moment, which adds some stakes to the series, but the handling feels cheap. I’m glad that the show has shown a chink in its armor, because it lowers the bar for the next episode.
So, instead of another backstory episode, we get 2 halves of different stories. I applaud the variation in storytelling, but here it just doesn’t quite work. There is a lack of cohesion, which causes a detachment from the audience. It was hard to get into the episode when it is as schizophrenic as the main character. The structure of the show allows for risks like this episode to happen, and it’s very appropriate, but I want a nice, tight, clear story.
So Lenny is back, and Lenny is freaking awesome. Instead of having an episode dedicated to Lenny, like we had with Syd, we have half an episode that dances around the question of Lenny’s return. It is a question that should be asked, and, simultaneously, needn’t be answered. So we are unclear on if Lenny is a machination of the Shadow King, a manifestation of the Shadow King, or a released prisoner. In this show nothing is really what it seems, but this week it was all questions, with an unsatisfying payoff. I like that nothing is what it seems, but that’s because each episode usually ends with a good payoff, or a metaphor that parallels the overall story. Unfortunately, Chapter 13, ends because they needed to end the episode rather than finish a story.
So, spoiler alert, the episode ends with the death of Amy, the step sister of David. I had forgotten that she was in the show. It’s supposed to be a shocking death, but bringing back a character that has had no impact on the overall plot, or no interaction with the main characters, is the cheapest way to elicit an emotional response. Sure, it is important to David, but the audience isn’t David. It’s been over a year since we’ve seen Amy, so we’ve lost the connection, and without that, there’s no sympathy. It does serve a purpose to motivate David, which I trust the showrunners will steer in a strong direction.
Look, they can’t all be winners, and this week was the first stinker, but only because it was 2 unfinished ideas. The show still retains the most bold narrative on TV, which can come at a cost of incoherent storytelling. Lenny is still one of the strongest aspects of the series, but this episode was a wasted opportunity. This season has focused on the agency and their relationship with the mutants, but roping in Amy, just to kill her was an incredibly cheap move, and I had no attachment to it, whatsoever. I haven’t even remotely lost interest in this series, and I have faith that what was set up in Chapter 13 will pay off but, as a singular episode, boring.