As I watch these episodes, I take notes. Normally I tap out a couple pages of MS Word and then write the actual review almost immediately after the episode ends. This works out well for the writing process. But with Chapter 18, there was a real problem, that being the temptation to forget the review and watch the finale. I did write the review first, though.
There is a brief vision of the future. The nod to David Haller’s comic hair – a flattop so ridiculous that it makes Guile look like Ken – is amusing, but anyone paying attention should know what this is. So, back to the present to see if it comes to pass.
This episode goes by extremely fast, but it is not easy to watch at times. Sure, there is a giant bath plug near a huge hole in the earth. Seeing the rabbit on a line fly out of the hole gave me a legitimate laugh. This is a live action Looney Tunes moment, really. But this is the only moment of levity in an episode that brings everyone’s fears to the forefront.
It was inevitable that someone would fall down the hole. What Syd finds there is Melanie, her neglect having been used to distort her world view. What she shows Syd is a limited, distorted version of the truth to present her lie. Is it a lie? In this case of The People Vs David Haller, the prosecution has made a damning argument.
Disney: if you keep doing live-action remakes of your animated classics, you are going to need an evil stepmother, a wicked witch, a lady to menace some ingénue. My advice to you is to call Jean Smart’s agent immediately and make an offer. She is phenomenal in these scenes, absolutely selling a believable argument from a viewpoint supported by decades of neglect.
David is not helping his case. Blinded by rage, he finds Oliver’s body, and nothing good happens when anger and power tools are combined. David calls it torture, and while it may be psychic, the visuals are real and disturbing. Melanie calls him a monster, and seeing this, it feels like she is right. This is every one of Syd’s concerns being realized.
Outside, our friends are coming. Lenny finds a series of men wearing safes as helmets, to be left unhindered. Those men, monks repurposed by Farouk, are here for D3, specifically for Cary and Kerry. No. They are here for Cary and the soldiers. Kerry is here for them. Yes, I am happy anytime Kerry gets to express herself through violence.
Down the rabbit hole, inside the labyrinth, Kerry finds a literal monster, Farouk’s last gift to Melanie, a hobbled minotaur given strength and fire. And because they do everything together, Cary finds a figurative monster, David, along with a tortured Oliver. Cary is afraid of David. David is afraid of himself.
Clark and his team come, with a giant tuning fork. I should be amused by its size – the prop department deserves a lot of credit here – but the novelty is lost. It’s a good bit of misdirection to have this wildcard brought in at the last moment, only to have Farouk fling it over the hills. Too bad. I still appreciate that D3 made an effort, rather than simply hoping the world might not end.
The episode ends with the promised confrontation. Farouk is back in his temple, ready to put all of this behind him. But David is there, too. Boo.
- Lenny carrying a tote with an oversize rifle that defies physical space is another good Looney Toons moment. Also, everyone else being dead serious throughout this episode and Lenny just being “whatevs” is good characterization.
- I am here for Aubrey Plaza dressing like rock and roll garbage.
- Kerry and Cary finding the unlocked boxes on the ground is a great bit of foreshadowing.
- I really like Syd as a character – she may be the most relatable and believable human on the show. But loitering near the conspicuous huge hole in the earth, and going right for the rabbit, is a real absence of common sense.
- It is damned hard to pick a handful of screenshots for each review. Regardless of anything else, this show is a visual feast every time. I mean: