Directed by Andrew Stanton
Written by Noah Hawley & Nathaniel Halpern
* For a recap & review of the Season 2 finale, click here.
* For a recap & review of Chapter 21, click here.
We’re given a few lessons for time travel. like “all past is future” and other tidbits. A young woman— Switch (Lauren Tsai)— listens to her headphones. She sits at a long table where she’s brought a TV set and an older man on it, potentially her father, asks how she is while he eats soup with her on the other side of the television.
She walks she streets and sees a peculiar sign that says DON’T TRUST THE MOUSTACHE and FIND THE PREGNANT VIRGIN, like a real life scavenger hunt. Other posters have strange warnings which don’t make any sense to us. There’s a number on one, too.
At home, Switch thinks the number could be a radio station. She tunes in and hears someone talking. She pulls an almost Uma Thurman-like moment from Pulp Fiction, except this is not a cool postmodern film trick, it’s her ability to time travel. Across the airwaves are those voices. Could they be Lenny (Aubrey Plaza) and David Haller (Dan Stevens)? Switch follows several girls to a door marked with the pregnant virgin’s symbol. Inside is a surreal puzzle of a room that guides Switch where it wants her to go.
Then a dance number begins set to “Something for Your M.I.N.D.” by Superorganism. Eventually there’s a tunnel built for Switch to crawl through, taking her past the regular urban world of her city through to those inner spaces, past everything we normally see to a world beneath. She makes it to a place where people are smoking hookahs. She sees a blue liquid running through a pipe— “prayers mixed with dreams“— made from the mind of the “Dream Come True Man.”
And you KNOW who that is, don’t you?
“Time is not a river.
Time is a jungle filled with monsters.”
Switch first meets Lenny, who tells them about their cult. She’ll only prove her time travelling skills to the “Master of Disaster” himself. She’s brought to see David at his quaint little home in a cave he created from his thoughts. He talks of love and healing sadness. David operates on pure truth. He’d rather read minds, a spiritual form of fascism. Why exactly does he need Switch?
Note: Interesting Biblical imagery— some new, some Father Gore never noticed before. For instance, the obvious Virgin Mary imagery in this episode with the “Pregnant Virgin.” Also, David says he was plagued by the Shadow King for 33 years— the same age as Jesus when he died.
The place is soon invaded by Division 3 soldiers, led by Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder). She puts a device on David’s head to dull him, except his powers are strong. So she cuts off his arm. He’s able to manifest enough power to disintegrate her and take on the men with guns. He manages fine until Syd Barrett (Rachel Keller) arrives to pump a hole in him with a shotgun.
Before anything else can happen Switch cuts a hole through time to escape. A great visual shows her passing through a space where she can choose how far back into the past she’ll go. What about “the demon” lurking too far back in the shadows of the past? Not only that, Switch has tooth trouble the more she travels, like they’re loosening.
Switch goes back to her meeting with Lenny, then back to meeting David when the soldiers are about to turn up. The time traveller sees two Davids inside— one with a Scottish accent— and she tells him about “the forces of division” coming to kill him. David transports them into the carnage, where the soldiers and his followers are fighting brutally in a fever dream of madness. David sees Amahl Farouk (Navid Negahban) appear. He tries to get Switch out safely. This necessitates her cutting a hole in time.
But she’s too late. Another shotgun blast from Syd kills David.
Switch has to go back in time again. She goes further now and comes to a dark space on the astral plane where she finds Farouk. The Shadow King is curious about the time traveller. He wants to know why she’s seeking out David and helping him. She quickly zaps out of there through the corridors of time.
In the sky on a Division 3 plane, Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) is working on a “fully synthetic bipedal quantum computer.” It’s a man with a moustache— like the Vermillion, probably who the posters warned of earlier. Ptonomy Wallace (Jeremie Harris) is brought back to semi-life, a disembodied spirit in a tin can, essentially. Also interesting to see Farouk working with Clark DeBussy (Hamish Linklater) and the rest of the team. Times have changed.
Division 3 comes down upon the cult hideout again, just like we saw before.
Only the time traveller is already at work, anticipating these events.
An explosion occurs, leaving nothing but a crater in its place. Only a tooth remains.
Fucking spectacular opening episode for this swan song season! God. Father Gore loved this series right from the get, but somehow Hawley & Co. manage to subvert expectations every year. If this premiere is any indication, Season 3 will give us plenty to think about / talk about / love / trip over. Any lovers of the surreal who aren’t watching this show are MISSING OUT.
Chapter 21 is next time.