In the final three installments, the forces at odds in this story come into open conflict. They do that by returning to places we’ve already been, places adorned by illusion and false memory in each of our previous visits. With the aid of some magic glasses created by a psychedelic psychic who lives in a mental iceberg, those illusions are stripped away, leaving an array of blank slates where a series of final confrontations will play out, both predictably and unpredictably. What the earlier episodes were doing for us in one way was introducing us to our super-team, giving us a chance to get to know their quirks and idiosyncrasies before they were too endangered. And so Hawley places a lot of reliance on his actors because the script at times is paper thin for these archetypal roles. Ptonomy is the memory surgeon with a Gatling gun, gathering intel and then making surgical strikes. Cary is the absent-minded genius, surrounded by gadgets and aided by a non-identical twin who is the brawn to his brain. Melanie is the calm leader, making decisions for all her charges while haunted by personal tragedy. Sydney is the sad loner girl whom it’s unsafe to touch, though she has at last found love with David due to his psychic powers. And David is the god-like mutant who doesn’t know just how powerful he is, because he’s been harboring a hungry parasite feeding on his energies since birth. Good thing Jean Smart, Bill Irwin, Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement and above all Dan Stevens were on hand to provide the nuances the plots required. Because the cast (aided and abetted by brilliant set design, great costumes, and inventive direction – eschewing black leather for actual fashion, there’s never been a better-looking batch of mutants on screen) has the hard job of making us care about the humans caught up in these outlandish events. They were doing so from the finale of the very first episode, when Melanie’s team breaks David out of confinement by Division 3 (who are mopping up from the chaos he and Sydney caused at the Clockworks facility when their powers fused by accident), when Dan Stevens loaded maximum manic ironic energy into the carefully choreographed action sequence long enough to ask Sydney, urgently, if this was really happening. Chapter 6 found everyone back at Clockworks, and everyone being “treated” by Aubrey Plaza’s “Doctor” Lenny Bunker. This was a ruse for the parasite (finally revealed in Chapter 7 as the Shadow King, Amahl Farouk, as long suspected) to attempt to control David’s newfound friends, who were interfering with his/her long-held plan to erase David permanently from his own body. Though maybe when Lenny does a sexy striptease dance through all of David’s most private bedrooms we should have realized. There’s one wrong note among many in this Clockworks mental illusion, and that’s a non-clinical door that leads to David’s childhood bedroom, where Sydney has the sneaking suspicion they might all still be, frozen in time. By Chapter 7 David has been confined to a coffin in his own head, as the Shadow King reigns supreme over a zombie-filled silent movie she uses to torture the other Summerland mutants, each in their own stylized way. This time we get classical requiems, inter-title placards, and a growing resistance as Oliver (whom David had visited in his frozen home) acts to free his old friends from Lenny’s control, surreptitiously appearing to Cary, Melanie, and Sydney. Amidst classic sci-fi TV show imagery, Sydney, Kerry, and Rudy face Lenny directly, while Melanie, Cary, and Oliver (who is formidable, but not as powerful as Farouk) try to prevent the hail of bullets back in the real world. David, of course, wants to help, so much so that his own consciousness divides so that his rational self (speaking with Stevens’ own native British accent) helps him piece together exactly the sort of situation he’s in, just as we have been doing as viewers. Add animation to the movie tropes referenced by this mutant art film, as mental chalkboard characters come to life to carry out a compelling super-villain origin story. And if that all wasn’t enough, the final denouement in Chapter 8 finds David almost but not quite more himself than he’s ever been (wearing the headband that was supposed to help Jean Grey contain Dark Phoenix once long ago), back at Summerland with his friends, confronting his interrogator from Division 3 in the first episode, who’s come back with his own backstory (Agent Clark is also a gay dad with an adopted black son, just because) and an army for David to overcome if he can. Of course, he can. Exactly as Clark fears, they’re all gods, aren’t they? And if there’s a problem with the final episode, it’s not in how neatly it ties up all the stories that have threaded and circled and tangled and untangled along the way. It’s instead how it gives us not one but two unexpected cliffhangers in the final minutes, as if somehow in doubt that we’d be back for season two. Overkill, that was. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.