Where do we go from here?
This episode promised a clash, and it opens with a tremendous scene of David and Farouk, levitating towards each other, presenting a foreboding version of “Behind Blue Eyes.” And then, the promise is delivered.
The battle between David and Farouk is reminiscent of the animation from season 1’s finale, illustrating Farouk’s first defeat in chalkboard form. Here, their imaginations take vivid forms, competing in a number of conflict scenarios. One wonders what the effects budget was like for this show; it certainly didn’t skimp on sets and props. But I suppose animation is another thing entirely. This scene may be something of a novelty, and probably an expensive one, but damned if it wasn’t over far too quickly.
David’s pocket sand (Lenny) comes to his aid as Farouk seemingly has the upper hand, setting off the giant tuning fork with her oversized sniper rifle. Deprived of their powers, David seizes the upper hand, only for Syd to appear, with a minotaur’s skull in one hand and a pistol in the other.
“We need to talk.” “Sure, let me just finish killing this asshole.”
When I ranked characters for S1, I was lukewarm on Syd. I thought Rachel Keller was good, and that Syd’s troublesome powers made for interesting scenarios, but she was more an extension of David than her own character. The criticism may still be true, but seeing her doubts grow and culminate in this scene illustrates how great she has been this season. Her warped perspective has an enormous grain of truth to it, and her accusations will hit home to anyone who has been in the dark about their significant other.
“He kills people.”
“You kill people.”
Lenny, however unlikely, probably saves David’s life here. Thankfully, D3 shows up in time to handle Farouk (Cary: “This is going to hurt a lot”). But this is far from over.
David makes a last visit to Farouk’s cell. This is a bizarre scene, seeing such a reversal of character. Farouk is humbled, even solemn here. David promises a violent end, one way or another. The interaction here is difficult to watch; Farouk’s contrition is not entirely believable, but his words are full of sharp truth. “You can’t make someone love you” is as painful as it is true.
What happens in the remainder of this episode is a spectacular convergence of doubt and paranoia. I like the mouse creeping into Farouk’s cell – what the hell was the Admiral watching on his basket TV then? – and serving as the snowball that causes the avalanche in the climax.
There is some levity in Kerry telling Cary about the minotaur. “Did I tell you what his blood smelled like? Those beef bouillon cubes from when you were a kid. It didn’t taste like that, though.” But this ends as Cary sees David touching Syd’s mind in the desert. And that is enough.
Farouk is misleading everyone for his own purposes. But I also think everything about this is believable: David’s increasingly questionable behavior, the fear of his tremendous power, the doubts about his sanity and touch with reality. Even with good intentions, at what point does the end no longer justify the means?
Seeing David speak to the doubts in his head – visualized as other Davids appearing, but only to him – is not a good sign. This is stress, maybe PTSD, and a frightening thing in a normal person incapable of everything David can do. But things get worse.
Seeing Farouk there at David’s intervention, dressed in a suit and expressing concern like an old friend, explains everything. Though I wonder: if Farouk had not been present, would this seem rational? Even so, seeing David’s friends turn on him is still stunning. So this is where the season ends: with David breaking Lenny out of her cell, the two of them disappearing from D3. “What about blondie?” “There ain’t no blondie no more.”
“What do we do now?” “Now we pray.” Bring on season 3.
This is a damn good episode of TV. “Behind Blue Eyes” may be the best use of music in the show, and both the psychic battle and Syd confronting David are great scenes. Everything else is a rollercoaster of emotions. I don’t know what I thought would happen, or even what I hoped would happen, but I struggle to complain about anything here.
- I’ll probably post a summary article sometime in the next week and give some overarching thoughts on the season as a whole.
- I can’t ignore it anymore: this show has become Hannibal. That’s not a bad thing; I loved Hannibal immensely, and the common elements are strengths for both shows. I think seeing story beats from Hannibal‘s season 1 and 2 finales both take place in this episode wiped any questions I had about this.
- “Meanwhile he’s driving around Portland every night with a van full of duct tape.” Yikes.
- Yes, I very much enjoyed Kerry telling Cary about fighting the minotaur.
- I’m kind of ignoring the Melanie / Oliver scene at the beginning, though them remembering their old friends is solid humor. “Glasses McLabcoat. The girl who would kick everyone. Sydney.”
- I really don’t know who to root for next season.