Syd takes centre stage in ‘Chapter 12’ as David is lead on a psychic journey through his girlfriend’s own maze of memories, in one of the shows most emotional and genuinely moving episodes yet. Following last week’s dive into Ptonomy and Melanie’s mazes after they were infected by the monk, writers Noah Hawley and Nathaniel Halpern throw the current overarching plot out of the window to focus entirely on Syd’s history and origin.
In this episode it seems as though the writers are directly addressing criticisms about David and Syd’s perceived ‘shallow’ relationship, as well as the lack of Syd’s background, by using a looped narrative to show us the key events in her childhood. In some beautifully shot montages we see her mum comforting her as a child by using a pillow between them, a young Syd dressing up in other’s peoples clothes, trying to guess their identities cutting to a teenage Syd fighting of bullies and trying to feel something by cutting herself with a dull blade, set to the sounds of Bon Iver, The National, Tame Impala and a cover of of Cream’s ‘White Room.’ The episode highlights how her mutant powers have affected her connections by stripping her of one of the most basic human experiences – physical contact.
David originally travelled into Syd’s mind to try and save her from her maze, but everyone who was infected has now woken – in an interesting twist Syd won’t let him leave until he works out what he’s trying to tell her. David repeatedly travels further and further into her darkest and most painful memories to try and decipher the message, but can’t seem to look deep enough, each time he guesses incorrectly he ends up returning to a museum exhibit of Egon Schiele’s artwork. That’s until he focuses on the book that young Syd is reading throughout the flashbacks, ‘The Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven’.
“God loves the sinners best because our fire burns bright,” she tells David. This whole entire time Syd has been trying to show David that the trauma and pain in her life has shaped her and made her become a stronger person, a survivor. Love isn’t how they’re going to win this upcoming battle, she explains, he must take his pain and suffering and use it as a shield, to become a warrior. David and Syd then awaken to the worrying return of Lenny in her physical body being taken into Division 3 custody. Just what is Amahl Farouk planning?
‘Chapter 12’ is a truly moving journey about pain and trauma and how these experiences can shape and strengthen you – huge credit to Noah Hawley and Nathaniel Halpern for the bold move to halt the current narrative in favour of a much needed standalone episode focusing on Syd’s character development. Legion continues to the boldest and most creative show on television, and I’m truly hooked!