Remember when last week we had the worst episode of the series? Oh boy, what a 180. This week we get a full episode that is centered around the wonderful premise of the series. This chapter is unique in that it is the first episode to explore the multiple personalities of David. The greatest aspect of this episode is that it raises the question: which reality does David live in? Anything can happen, but what actually is happening?
David has had an extremely hard life. He is absolutely one of the most powerful mutants in the world, but for most of his life, he has believed that he just suffers from severe mental disorders. All the voices he hears are the different versions of himself that live within him, that give him his strength, but without an understanding of this, it’s just a barrage of noise that has plagued him from early adolescence. He’s like Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho, only he can’t control the psychics in his mind. One of the best parts of the X-Men series (movies, tv, comics) is the broad spectrum of how the mutations affect everyone. Some people are barely affected by their mutation (Domino, Iceman, Pyro) some have real problems (Rogue, Beast, Wolverine). We catch a glimpse at all the possible realities under which David does, doesn’t, or may live out, and only a small handful leave David happy.
So Chapter 14 shows different versions of David, throughout his psyche, and nothing is clear as to which one is the true David. We see a vagrant, a billionaire, a mentally disturbed David, and suburban Dave. Like the shows running theme of perspective, each version is a potential outcome for David, at some point of his life. It’s very compelling seeing what David can be, could be, or could have been, and it’s very heart-wrenching seeing how crippled David’s mutation is. Sure he’s powerful, but at the expense of his sanity. Just because David’s mutation isn’t actually insanity, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t drive him crazy, especially with the Shadowking living in his head.
Have you ever watched the show Downton Abbey? How about the movie The Guest? Perhaps you have seen the live action Beauty and the Beast? They all star Dan Stevens, and as far as I am concerned, this week’s episode showed that anything is possible in the realm of David’s mind. There was no clear resolution to the images in David’s head, so I am unclear on what is reality. Every time I see Dan Stevens in visual media, I now think it is a potential alternate reality within the mind of David Haller, especially in The Guest, where his name also happens to be David, and he is super human in addition to being crazy. The episode was so organically strung together, that it screams at the viewer, “you know nothing”.
It is safe to say that this is my favorite episode of the series so far, and is the perfect contrast to last week’s aimless chapter. It shows every layer of mental illness, and its effect on David, from the severe, to the mild. It lingers on the theme of perception, but, as always, that is the subtext for the story at large. Anything can happen, and, in the mind of David, everything can happen. As broad as the X-Men universe is, it seems that the mind of David Haller is just as broad.