WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week’s episode of Legion, “Chapter 10,” which premiered Tuesday on FX.
If, after watching Legion, you have “Tra la la, la la la la” stuck in your head like some chipper, parasitic mutant, you’re not alone. It’s from the aptly titled “The Tra La La Song (One Banana, Two Banana),” the theme to The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, which unexpectedly plays a key role in this week’s episode.
It’s only fitting that a late-1960s Saturday morning program should be a solution to at least one of the problems on a drama so fascinated with nostalgia, childhood memories both real and implanted, and the design aesthetic of that era. Indeed, the manic, brightly colored stage backdrop of The Banana Splits wouldn’t feel out of place at either Summerland or Division 3.
In “Chapter 10,” David Haller (Dan Stevens) leads his Division 3 allies to what he believes is the location of Amahl Farouk, only it’s to learn it was a ruse to allow the Shadow King, as Oliver Bird (Jemaine Clement) and Lenny Busker (Aubrey Plaza) to slip into their headquarters and wreak havoc. Soldiers are turned to dust — or, in one case, transformed into a pig — children are frightened, and Cary Loudermilk (Bill Irwin) is trapped in the body of Kerry Loudermilk (Amber Midthunder).
The two have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship since childhood, inhabiting the same body, with the thrill-seeking Kerry typically only appearing when there’s an opportunity for action.“He does the boring stuff, OK?” she explained in Season 1. “Eating, sleeping, whatever it is you guys do in the bathroom, and I get all of the action. He makes me laugh, and I keep him safe. If that’s weird, I’m OK with it.” Following separate confrontations with Oliver and Lenny, the Loudermilks attempt to merge once more, only for the process to go terribly, terribly wrong. Legion seldom veers into body horror, but when it does, watch out.
The experience leaves the Loudermilks frightened and desperate to return to their status quo. “Try getting flipped inside out and see how you like it,” she tells David. However, as (ahem) disarming as the experience is, they’re still able to function, only with Cary communicating with Kerry from inside her head. With Kerry’s physical condition seemingly deteriorating, Cary arrives at an answer, which requires his embarrassed other half to sing the chorus of “The Tra La La Song.”
It evokes happy childhood memories — real ones, not like David’s, which so often involved the Angriest Boy in the World or a dog he never owned — of sitting in front of the television, watching The Banana Splits Adventure Hour. It works, too (because, science?), freeing Cary from the prison of Kerry’s body. However, it’s not a permanent solution, as they’re still unable to merge properly. “Can you fix it — this?” Kerry asks, her hair already streaked gray from the experience of living on the outside, of actually aging. “I don’t want to be out here the whole time, living life — like, the boring stuff, that was not our choice.”
For the time being, Carry tells her, they’re going to have to cope with this existence, living as two separate people. Some problems, it turns out, the Banana Splits can’t fix.
Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on FX, Legion stars Dan Stevens, Rachel Keller, Jean Smart, Bill Irwin, Amber Midthunder, Jeremie Harris, Aubrey Plaza, Jemaine Clement, Hamish Linklater and Navid Negahban.
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