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Cary, Kerry and the Sibling Connection

As is typical with Legion‘s “show first, explain an episode or two later” philosophy, it took until the halfway point of the first season to learn exactly what’s up with Cary (Bill Irwin) and Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder), Summerland’s resident scientist and muscle, respectively. They’re siblings, albeit unlike any siblings we’ve seen before. Born at the same time to the same mother, the two of them “share” the same body, with Kerry living inside of Cary until she’s needed. And since Kerry doesn’t age while she’s inside Cary, the two Loudermilks are vastly different ages. She only comes out to fight, to engage in the exciting stuff. Since that’s her entire life, it’s no wonder that she seems restless and uneasy in every scene – if she’s not immediately useful, why is she wasting her time? Cary, on the other hand, gets to experience the day-to-day tedium of actually living a life.

In keeping with Legion‘s way of taking more abstract ideas and allowing them to exist literally, these siblings, these twins, actually have the mental connection that so many real-world brothers and sisters talk about. As Kerry battles soldiers from Division 3, doing what she does and loves best, Cary feels her joy and can’t help but break into dance while sweeping the floor of his workspace. When she is beaten down, he feels her pain and despair. When she is shot, he feels the wound, too. It’s beautiful and it’s weird and it simply takes us back to the question Cary himself ponders in the episode: what happens if one of them dies? After all, one conjoined twin cannot survive if the other passes away and while their connections may be a step beyond reality, they are attached in fundamental ways.

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Lenny, Benny, and the Not-Quite-Truth

Anyone who thought it was peculiar that David’s best friend at Clockworks was also his junkie friend in the time before his hospitalization was on the right track. Reeling from their experiences inside David’s mind last week, Syd, Kerry, and Ptonomy put foot to pavement and set out to do some real detective work in “Chapter 4” and learned that David’s unreliable mind was hiding even more than they expected. He was hiding the truth about the night where he broke into his doctor’s office: he was looking to destroy something, not to steal (not to mention the fact that he also committed assault in the process). And in an even more unsettling twist, they learned that David used to hang out with a middle-aged male junkie named Benny before his time in Clockworks. The memories with Lenny were false.

So…who the hell is Lenny? It can’t be a coincidence that her name rhymes with the actual guy David knew before Clockworks. Other characters interacted with her back in “Chapter 1,” so we know that she’s real in some basic sense. Beyond that, her presence in David’s head, her infiltration of his memories, and her “tough love” approach to counseling him on his given situation all remain big ol’ mysteries. We don’t know what she wants or whether we can actually trust her, whether she’s the only one telling him the truth or a devil whispering in his ear. She’s crude and lewd, but does that make her any less fishy than Melanie Bird and her cult-like compound and possible ulterior motives? Should David trust the voices in his head or reject them outright?

One thing seems certain, though. David was only able to escape the astral plane after being taunted by Lenny, teleporting his mind and body to the exact place he needed to be. Once again, David’s powers are not triggered by choice, but by interaction with the figments living inside his brain.

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Not Quite a Superhero

Despite the X-Men connections, Legion has avoided being a typical comic book adventure since its opening moments and “Chapter 4” finds the show once again side-stepping convention. In this case, the episode’s grand finale drops David into a heroic situation, only for him to botch the whole thing because he has limited information and because his fellow mutants have confusing powers. It’s an absurd clusterfuck – how was the unpredictable psychic time bomb supposed to know that his body-swapping girlfriend was inhabiting the form of his arch-enemy when he arrived to save the day? It’s an amusing and frustrating-by-design finale, but it drives home a larger truth inside of a typical comic book observation. You don’t become a superhero overnight and simply assessing your personal issues does not give you power over them. Both require work.

So let’s await next week with a question: when Lenny presented the dire situation to David, when she gave him the motivation to find his powers and escape the astral plane, how much did she actually know? And what does her smile, seen in the final moments of the episode, actually mean? We’re at the halfway point of season one and this feels like the most important query going forward: should David literally trust himself?

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