Nothing happens in a vacuum. There may not always be an equal and opposite reaction – no. If anything, that reaction will be greater. As it turns out, the shadowy divisions of the world’s military were not simply going to be routed and go away. That horrible psychic parasite will not simply live in a box. And somewhere else, apparently, all of this activity has not gone unnoticed.
This episode is a rollercoaster of emotions. Things are better, but then worse, then better, then far worse, then maybe calm. And then, finally, maybe worse again?
The episode opens with Clark. I don’t recognize him immediately, but who would under all that gauze. The burns are awful. The other side of this conflict is not without victims. But honestly, for as hard as this segment is to watch, I love seeing it. Humanizing the other side, and tell me you don’t feel something when Clark’s son crawls into bed to hug him. Or this:
“If you want me behind a desk, you better find me a portable one, because the second I walk out of this room, I am going to war.”
Maybe this is extraneous to the main conflict. I don’t care. It’s painful and it’s damned good. Clark maybe tempers my sympathy somewhat by dressing like a real villain – sinister cane and all – but he is far more relatable for having these moments. And it puts the central conflict in perspective.
So, Summerland. It turns out that David being in control is every bit as frightening as the government imagined, as evidenced by a tower of helpless soldiers. (Clark: “Shit.”) The government will not go away, but they will wait. Lenny – maybe I should say Shadow King, but I’ll stick with Lenny – will not. And Lenny may be more desperate than the government.
While Cary and Kerry fight, and Melanie trades threats with Clark, the others debate on how to handle David’s situation. And so a plan is formulated. Meanwhile, Lenny is falling apart. So Syd and Lenny have a real heart-to-heart, just girl talk, finding a suitable host for your boyfriend’s psychic parasite, normal stuff. Yes, I feel validated that Syd considers Lenny to be a tumor.
“You know what they do with a tumor when they cut it out? They put it in a bag and burn it.”
Things come to a head as a border of red light goes up, and we step backwards through David’s memories, eradicating all traces of the tumor as we go. Pink Floyd’s “Breathe” plays – what else? When the pilot gave us both The Who and The Rolling Stones, I felt like anything was possible here, musically. And a character named Syd Barrett is a harbinger if there is one.
The psychic chemotherapy is not a success. It comes close, but Lenny will not go quietly, or alone. So, to save David’s life, Syd makes a pretty bad decision. In short order, Lenny takes Syd, then Kerry, only to face down a coherent David in a psychic clash that floors everyone. Well, almost everyone.
So Oliver and Lenny are taking a road trip. Summerland regroups, as David seems to offer to work with Clark. But then, then David disappears, abducted by a floating mechanical eye? It’s an ending, all right. But things haven’t really ended. Things are different, and probably going to get weirder.
This is a solid episode, maybe not the technical marvel that Chapter 7 was, but a fitting conclusion to a great abbreviated season of TV. I loved the Clark stuff, I loved Syd vs Lenny, and I loved that we get a tease of David in control vs the Shadow King. The trip backwards in David’s memories had a real sense of finality, and I loved that Aubrey Plaza has reason to pop up again here.
- I’ll probably write a season recap article at some point, and then leave this alone until S2 is available to me. By that, I mean S2 is available at the library.
- Oliver being a beatnik and gone for 21 years places this show somewhere in the Reagan administration. But Clark having a husband and an almost definitely adopted child puts this show somewhere closer to modern day. As do the soldiers’ gear. It doesn’t really matter, but it’s fun to speculate.
- I think it would have broken my heart if something this weird and this focused on an institution didn’t utilize Pink Floyd at some point, mostly because it seems clear there is some room in the budget for extravagance.
- Letting Clark live was a nice touch, even if he had a rough go of it. But I like his buddy-buddy style of interrogation.
- The red light perimeter that fills the room when Lenny escapes is a nice touch.
- I mean:
- Thanks for reading these. I hope you enjoyed the reviews, and watching the show as much as I have.