Things are starting to make sense. To take shape. For us, the viewer, anyway. For our principals, they have some sense of truth, but for them it remains out of reach. Down a hallway, behind a door that might be there or might not.
CLOCKWORKS. DOCTOR LENNY. There is therapy, there is familiarity, there is structure. But there is also déjà vu, and there is unease.
Part of therapy is willingness to participate. A belief that treatment is helpful, and that resistance is the opposite of progress. The same is true of hypnosis, though. And not everyone here wants therapy, wants help.
In CLOCKWORKS, things are mostly normal. There are pills, Cary and Kerry are weirdly close, and The Drooler is, well…you know. But there are some signs that things aren’t right. Nurse Amy is not like regular Amy, to say the least. David seems content, which is weird. And the pie only sounds good.
But most of all, there is a door that looks different from other doors. And behind that door, is where old memories become glorious, vamping dance sequences. If you are going to dance around in your underwear, lording your reign over the place, well, you best put on some brassy Nina Simone number and have a nitrous-fueled chair hump while you’re at it.
But the residents are restless. Melanie and Ptonomy are held to their respective pasts, Cary and Kerry are held to each other.
The Eye Walter is resistant to therapy, to sitting. Syd still does not like to be touched, does not care for therapy much either. David is fine, though. Better than fine. Comfortable. And that is what really bothers Syd, maybe even more than the odd door.
It does not take long for the illusion to develop some cracks. The Diving Man – Oliver – finds his way in, and Melanie finds her way out.
The Eye Walter comes to visit Kerry. And while Syd sleeps, there are flashes of reality.
Doctor Lenny – now with Smart GlassesTM – is doing her best to maintain her hold here. But when Syd becomes restless, and has to be musically sedated, David comes asking. And here, the truth comes out.
I’m sure the dance scene earlier is what people remember from this episode. And they should! But for me, this scene where Aubrey Plaza becomes openly menacing, this is what makes the episode. Talk of fungus, an infection that claims the ant for its own purpose, only to spread its own madness. The metaphor is as clean as the intent is malevolent.
So David had his chance, and now we are going to do things Doctor Lenny’s way.
But out in the hall, there is some resistance. Melanie sees the Diving Man, and steps through the wall. While
The Eye Walter pays a visit to Kerry, Syd gets a visitor. The Diving Man. But this time, it is Cary. Shhh.
Cue the credits, and yet another beautiful piece of music.
This episode really worked for me. All the parallels to the pilot, and the visuals, are welcome callbacks. The show is really leaning into its dark fairytale vibe – I sense Alice in Wonderland and Little Red Riding Hood, and maybe something else I can’t place yet. (I suppose One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, while decidedly not a fairytale, is the other obvious touchstone.) The balance between spectacle and plot seems ideal here. I care about what is going on. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to move fast if it looks and sounds this good. Maybe, like Syd, I wonder what the outside is like, but I’m not ready to leave just yet.
• I buy
The Eye Walter as being misguided, dangerous even, but I don’t believe he wants to harm Kerry. I think he is not our friend but he knows something. Maybe his threat is just too obvious.
• Kerry and Cary continues to be my favorite part of the show.
• Much as I enjoyed Lenny revealing her ambitions to David for Aubrey Plaza being menacing, I also appreciated a little explanation of why. Revenge and plain evil. The PB&J of villainy! Maybe I just liked understanding the motivation, and getting a glimpse of how this fits into X-Men lore.
• Don’t get me wrong, I would watch this show for menacing Aubrey Plaza alone. It’s like small-town slacker April Ludgate went back to school and got serious about her career!
• Looking forward to the next two episodes. Shame there are only eight, but it does mean I can wrap this season up over the weekend.
• At the end of this I’ll be tempted to write a S1 Character Rankings. Try to talk me out of it, if you may.