As you might remember, last week’s episode ended pretty poorly for the Summerland gang; David accidentally botched his friends’ escape attempt, which resulted in an already-injured Kerry Loudermilk getting shot in the chest. Upon their return she’s put into stable condition (where Cary can absorb all of her wounds into him), but there’s still a lot for David to explain about where he’s been and what’s going on.
But David doesn’t really seem all that interested in finding answers; now that he’s back from the Astral Plane, he is curiously confident about his abilities and wants to finally break his sister out of Division Three’s prison. If you’ve ever seen The Guest, you know that this kind of quiet, unsettling charm is Dan Stevens’ specialty — even if last week’s final scene hadn’t tipped us off that something bad is happening, his whole vibe would be enough to trigger some major alarm bells in everyone around him.
Well, everyone but Syd. Despite her increasing distrust of David and his gap-filled memories, she’s completely on board with his plan, because he’s pulled the ultimate morally grey telepath power move on her: creating an illusory, psychic space where they can finally be sexually intimate, so that she’s all distracted by the endorphins and easily manipulated. (Honestly, Emma Frost would be so proud.) Dr. Bird, however, is not quite so easily fooled. And she’s right to be concerned: lurking in the bathroom of David’s White Room is Lenny, who convinces him to leave in the middle of the night and rescue his sister from D3 on his own.
When the gang realizes David is gone, they suit up, thinking they’re on their way to a losing battle with no intel or plan… only to discover that almost everyone at the facility is already violentlydead. Remember how Lenny was found spliced by a wall in the first episode, with her limbs jutting out all akimbo? It’s like that, only worse. Way worse. The only person left intact is Dr. Kissinger, the psychiatrist at Clockworks, whom they leave trapped in his cell because he’s obviously the Eye in a shapeshifted form. Be less obvious and creepy, dude.
Once they make it to the control room, Dr. Bird and Rudy (who helped bust David out in the pilot), start to piece together what happened. In the footage, they finally catch a glimpse of Devil with Yellow Eyes— and deeper into the facility, they encounter a dying Brubaker, who gurgles out a warning to Syd and Ptonomy that “It wears a human face.” Yeah, if I wasn’t pretty convinced this thing is the Shadow King, that’d do it. Oh well. there’s always room for Mojo next season, I guess?
Anyway! Back at Summerland, Cary has come to a similar conclusion while looking through old recordings of David’s brain scans, and immediately calls up Dr. Bird. This monster isn’t a part of David at all, he says; it’s an older, powerful consciousness that “burrowed into David’s brain” and has been living there for the past 30 years. That explains why David’s memories are so out of whack: every time he realizes it’s there, it makes him forget. So, it’s The Silence from Doctor Who, but actually scary. Cool. Cool cool cool.
David summons Syd back to their psychic sex room, where he plays what has to be the most upsetting cover of “The Rainbow Connection” I have ever heard. Spurned by his clues, Syd realizes that David’s returned to his childhood home with Amy, “where it all began.” There, The Shadow King steps through the mirror of David’s bedroom and makes a full display of its power, once again taking on Lenny’s appearance as its default (but like, if Lenny were also the evil lovechild of The Eighth Doctor and Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Honestly, it’s the dopest Aubrey Plaza’s ever looked, and she should dress like that all the time). The Shadow King and David both know that Amy’s been carrying a secret all these years, so she finally spills the beans: David was adopted. Bum bum BUM.
It’s clear now that David and The Shadow King are more interlocked than ever, so the Summerland gang devises a plan to to isolate David’s brain waves with a nifty ‘90s-looking headband, in the hopes that they’ll be able to communicate with him separately. Of course, it immediately falls off the rails when all the sound disappears and the Summerland gang is forced to go through a brief reenactment of the Buffy episode “Hush” as they noiselessly navigate their way through David’s house.
Finally the crew comes face to face with Lenny, who makes a big show of groping the comatose David in front of Syd (much like your average Tuxedo Mask-capturing Sailor Moon villain would, IMO). At the worst possible moment, the Eye reveals that he’s infiltrated the group and fires a shotgun pellet at David. Syd suggests hiding in the White Room to escape the attack, but that turns out to be a mistake — they can to run from The Eye, but they can’t run from the Shadow King, who hunts Syd down while David looks on helplessly…
And then, suddenly, everything stops. Syd’s back at Clockworks. Everyone from Summerland is at Clockworks; even the Eye is there. And leading the therapy group is a doctor… who looks exactly like Lenny.
Dang, guys, what a way to end an episode. Normally the “We were actually in a mental institution this whole time” trope is a bit cliché, but it’s so perfect for this series that I’m surprised it took so long to get here. What about you? Let us know what you thought in the comments!